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Learning To Fish In Taupo, New Zealand


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Jean Juarez



Welcome to Taupo, New Zealand – a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. Located in the central North Island, Taupo offers breathtaking natural beauty and an abundance of fishing opportunities. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice looking to cast your first line, Taupo is the perfect destination to immerse yourself in the world of fishing.


Taupo is renowned for its stunning landscapes, pristine lakes, and mighty rivers, making it a haven for fishing enthusiasts from all around the world. The combination of picturesque scenery and diverse fish species make Taupo an angler’s dream come true. From fly fishing for trout in crystal-clear streams to deep-sea fishing for marlin on the awe-inspiring Lake Taupo, this region has something to offer for every fishing enthusiast.


But beyond its natural beauty, Taupo also boasts a rich fishing heritage. Maori legends speak of the giant trout that inhabited the lakes and rivers, and fishing has been an integral part of the local culture for generations. This deep-rooted connection to fishing is evident in the warm hospitality extended to visitors, as locals are always eager to share their knowledge and stories of fishing adventures in Taupo.


Whether you seek tranquility amidst nature or the thrill of reeling in a big catch, Taupo offers a unique fishing experience that will leave you wanting more. With a wide range of fishing spots, abundant fish populations, and an array of fishing techniques to explore, Taupo truly has it all.


In this article, we will delve into the world of fishing in Taupo, exploring the best fishing spots, the types of fish you can expect to catch, the regulations you need to be aware of, and the necessary equipment and techniques for a successful fishing outing. So, grab your fishing rod, put on your lucky hat, and let’s embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure in the stunning waters of Taupo, New Zealand.


Location of Taupo, New Zealand

Taupo is situated in the heart of New Zealand’s North Island, approximately 278 kilometers south of Auckland. Nestled on the shores of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, this town offers a truly breathtaking location for fishing enthusiasts.


The central location of Taupo makes it easily accessible by road, air, and even rail. State Highway 1 runs through Taupo, providing convenient access to major cities such as Auckland, Wellington, and Hamilton. If you prefer air travel, Taupo also has its own airport, handling domestic flights from various cities. And for a unique and scenic journey, you can even take the train to Taupo, arriving at the historic Taupo Railway Station.


One of the key attractions of Taupo is its stunning natural surroundings. The Lake Taupo region is famous for its rugged landscapes, geothermal wonders, and volcanic peaks. The majestic Tongariro National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is located nearby, offering breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor adventures.


Lake Taupo itself is a marvel to behold. With a surface area of 616 square kilometers, it is the largest lake in New Zealand and is known for its crystal-clear waters. The lake is fed by numerous rivers, including the mighty Tongariro River, renowned for its excellent trout fishing.


Surrounding Lake Taupo are smaller lakes and waterways, including Lake Rotoaira, Lake Rotopounamu, and the Waikato River, providing a diverse range of fishing environments to explore. From tranquil lake shores to fast-flowing rivers, Taupo offers a variety of fishing experiences to suit every angler’s preference.


Overall, the central location and natural beauty of Taupo make it an ideal destination for fishing enthusiasts. The convenience of access, the remarkable scenery, and the abundance of fish species combine to create a truly exceptional fishing experience that will captivate your senses.


Importance of Fishing in Taupo

Fishing is not just a recreational activity in Taupo; it is ingrained in the cultural fabric and economic significance of the region. Taupo’s fishing industry plays a crucial role in attracting tourists, supporting local businesses, and preserving the natural environment.


Tourism is one of the key drivers of Taupo’s economy, and fishing is a major drawcard for visitors. The pristine waters of Lake Taupo and the surrounding rivers offer an unparalleled fishing experience that attracts anglers from around the globe. The thrill of catching trophy-sized trout or testing one’s skills in fly fishing all contribute to the appeal of Taupo as a tourist destination.


Local businesses in Taupo heavily rely on the fishing industry. Fishing charters, tackle shops, accommodation providers, and restaurants all benefit from the influx of fishing enthusiasts. These businesses cater to the needs of anglers, providing equipment, guiding services, and delicious meals made from freshly caught fish. The economic impact of fishing in Taupo cannot be understated, as it generates revenue, creates employment opportunities, and sustains the local economy.


Furthermore, fishing in Taupo is not purely recreational; it also plays a vital role in fish conservation and environmental management. The Department of Conservation and local authorities implement fishing regulations and initiatives designed to ensure the sustainability of fish populations in Lake Taupo and its tributaries. This includes catch limits, size restrictions, and seasonal closures, all aimed at preserving the delicate ecosystem and ensuring future generations can enjoy the thrill of fishing in Taupo.


For the local community, fishing holds deep cultural significance. The indigenous Maori people have a long-standing connection to the land and waterways, and fishing has been an integral part of their traditional practices for centuries. Fishing in Taupo allows locals to maintain these cultural connections, pass down knowledge to future generations, and participate in the sustainable management of the region’s fishery resources.


Overall, fishing in Taupo is not just a hobby; it is a fundamental part of the region’s identity. Its importance extends beyond recreational enjoyment, contributing to the economy, preserving the environment, and maintaining cultural heritage. So, whether you’re an experienced angler or a novice seeking a new adventure, fishing in Taupo offers a unique and meaningful experience that captures the essence of this captivating region.


Types of Fish Found in Taupo

Taupo is renowned for its diverse fish species, making it a paradise for anglers of all skill levels. Whether you prefer fly fishing in the pristine rivers or trolling in the vast Lake Taupo, you’ll have the opportunity to encounter some impressive fish. Here are the main types of fish you can expect to find in Taupo:

  1. Rainbow Trout: Rainbow trout are the most prevalent fish species in Taupo. These elegant and hard-fighting fish are known for their colorful markings, including a distinctive pink stripe along their sides. Rainbow trout can be found in both the lake and the rivers, and their abundance makes them a popular target for anglers. They are known for their aggressive nature and acrobatic leaps when hooked, providing an exciting challenge for any angler.
  2. Brown Trout: Brown trout are another prized fish species in Taupo. These elusive and wily fish are highly sought after by anglers for their size and challenging behavior. Brown trout can grow to impressive sizes in Taupo, with specimens weighing over 10 kilograms not uncommon. Found in both the lake and rivers, brown trout require finesse and stealth to catch, making them a favorite among experienced anglers.
  3. Brook Trout: While not as abundant as rainbow and brown trout, brook trout can still be found in certain areas of Taupo. These fish, characterized by their striking colors and delicate appearance, can be a delightful catch for anglers. Brook trout prefer cooler, faster-flowing streams and are prized for their beauty and tenacious fighting abilities. While not as large as rainbow or brown trout, their aesthetic appeal and charm make them a favorite among trout enthusiasts.
  4. Salmon: Taupo is also home to Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon. These powerful fish are not native to New Zealand but were introduced to the Lake Taupo region in the early 1900s. Chinook salmon can grow to impressive sizes, with some weighing over 25 kilograms. Anglers can target these mighty fish both in the lake and during their spawning runs in the rivers. Salmon fishing in Taupo offers a thrilling experience and the chance to land a trophy catch.
  5. Other Species: While trout and salmon dominate the fishing scene in Taupo, there are other species present as well. In the lake, you may come across perch, smelt, and redfin, providing additional angling opportunities. These smaller fish can be targeted by both bait and lure techniques and offer some variety for anglers looking to diversify their catch.

With such a diverse range of fish species, Taupo truly offers something for every angler. Whether you’re a fan of trout fishing or have your sights set on battling a mighty salmon, the waters of Taupo will not disappoint.


Fishing Regulations in Taupo

In order to protect the fish populations and ensure the sustainability of the fishing industry, Taupo has specific fishing regulations that all anglers must adhere to. These regulations are put in place by the Department of Conservation and local authorities to maintain the ecological balance of the waters and preserve the fishery resources.


Here are some of the key fishing regulations in Taupo:

  1. Fishing Licenses: To fish in Taupo, you must have a valid fishing license. Licenses can be obtained online, at local tackle shops, or from the Department of Conservation office. Different licenses are available for residents and non-residents, and there are options for daily, weekly, and annual licenses. It is important to ensure you have the appropriate license before you start fishing.
  2. Catch Limits: Taupo has specific catch limits in place for different fish species. These limits determine the number of fish you can catch and keep in a single day. It is important to familiarize yourself with the catch limits for the species you intend to target and ensure compliance to avoid penalties. Catch and release fishing is encouraged for certain species, such as trout, to maintain fish populations.
  3. Size Restrictions: Some fish species in Taupo have size restrictions, meaning you can only keep fish that are above a certain size. This regulation is in place to protect juvenile fish and allow them to reach adulthood and contribute to the breeding population. It is important to measure your catch accurately and release any undersized fish promptly.
  4. Seasonal Closures: Certain areas of Taupo may have seasonal closures during spawning periods to protect the fish during their vulnerable reproductive stage. It is crucial to be aware of any closures in effect and respect them to ensure the sustainability of the fish populations.
  5. Bait and Tackle Restrictions: Some fishing spots in Taupo have specific regulations regarding bait and tackle. For example, some areas may only allow artificial lures or prohibit the use of live bait. It is important to familiarize yourself with any specific restrictions in the area you plan to fish to avoid any violations.
  6. Fishing Method Restrictions: Certain fishing methods, such as gill netting or spearfishing, are not permitted in Taupo. These restrictions are in place to protect the fish and their habitats and ensure sustainable fishing practices. Anglers are encouraged to use ethical and responsible fishing methods that do not harm the environment or other fish species.

It is crucial for all anglers to familiarize themselves with the fishing regulations in Taupo and ensure compliance. These regulations are in place to protect the fish populations, preserve the natural environment, and maintain the integrity of the fishing industry. By respecting the regulations, anglers can contribute to the long-term sustainability of fishing in Taupo, ensuring that future generations can continue to enjoy its natural beauty and abundant fishery resources.


Equipment Needed for Fishing in Taupo

When it comes to fishing in Taupo, having the right equipment is essential for a successful and enjoyable experience. Whether you’re fishing from the shores of Lake Taupo or wading in the rivers, here is a list of equipment you’ll need to ensure a productive fishing outing:

  1. Fishing Rod and Reel: A good-quality fishing rod and reel are the foundation of your fishing gear. For trout fishing in Taupo, a medium to medium-heavy spinning rod or fly rod is recommended. Make sure the rod length and action are suitable for your fishing style and the targeted fish species. Match your rod with a reel that has a smooth drag system and appropriate line capacity.
  2. Fishing Line: Use a fishing line with the appropriate breaking strength for the fish you intend to catch. In Taupo, where trout are plentiful, a monofilament line in the 6-10 pound range is usually sufficient. Consider using fluorocarbon leader material to increase your chances of fooling cautious fish.
  3. Bait and Lures: The choice of bait or lures will depend on the fishing technique and the fish species you are targeting. For trout, popular bait options include worms, salmon eggs, and softbaits. If you prefer lure fishing, have a selection of spinners, spoons, and various fly patterns in your tackle box. Match the bait or lure size and color to the prevailing conditions and the fish’s feeding preferences.
  4. Tackle Box: A well-organized tackle box is essential for keeping your fishing gear organized and easily accessible. Have a variety of hooks, sinkers, swivels, snelled rigs, and other terminal tackle in different sizes to accommodate various fishing situations. It’s also a good idea to carry extra line, leader material, and tools such as pliers, line cutters, and a hook remover.
  5. Fishing Accessories: Additional fishing accessories can enhance your fishing experience in Taupo. These may include a fishing hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, a fishing vest or tackle bag, a landing net, and a portable fishing chair or stool. These items can provide comfort and convenience during your fishing adventures.
  6. Fishing License and Regulations: Before you hit the water, ensure you have a valid fishing license for Taupo. Carry the license with you at all times during your fishing trips. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations in the area, including catch limits, size restrictions, and any specific rules for bait, lures, or fishing methods.
  7. Appropriate Clothing and Footwear: Dressing appropriately for fishing in Taupo is crucial, as weather conditions can change quickly. Wear layered clothing to adapt to changing temperatures, and ensure you have proper rain gear in case of showers. Comfortable and non-slip footwear is essential, especially if you plan on wading in the rivers or walking along slippery lake shores.

By having the right equipment, you can maximize your chances of success and fully enjoy your fishing experience in Taupo. Remember to choose gear that suits your fishing style and the specific conditions you’ll encounter, and always prioritize safety and respect for the environment while on your fishing adventures.


Popular Fishing Spots in Taupo

Taupo offers a wealth of fishing spots that cater to a wide range of fishing preferences. From picturesque lake shores to tranquil riverbanks, here are some of the popular fishing spots that attract anglers from near and far:

  1. Lake Taupo: As the largest lake in New Zealand, Lake Taupo offers endless fishing opportunities. The lake is teeming with rainbow trout, brown trout, and even salmon. Fishing from the shore or hiring a fishing charter to access deeper waters are both popular options. Some of the well-known fishing spots on Lake Taupo include Waitahanui, Kuratau, and the mouth of the Tongariro River.
  2. Tongariro River: Known for its superb trout fishing, the Tongariro River is a mecca for fly fishermen. Its crystal-clear waters and abundance of rainbow and brown trout make it a must-visit spot for anglers. The river is ideal for both wading and drift fishing, and its picturesque surroundings add to the allure. Hotspots within the Tongariro River include the Bridge Pool, Major Jones Pool, and the popular Braids section.
  3. Tauranga-Taupo River: Another iconic fishing spot, the Tauranga-Taupo River offers a unique fishing experience. This river is famous for its trophy-sized brown trout, which can grow to incredible sizes. Anglers can enjoy both spin fishing and fly fishing in its beautiful pools and runs. The river is easily accessible, with various entry points including the popular Stag Pool, Judges Pool, and Major Jones Pool.
  4. Waimarino River: For those seeking a more secluded fishing experience, the Waimarino River is a hidden gem. This remote river offers pristine surroundings and excellent fishing for brown trout. Fly fishing is particularly popular here, as the clear water requires stealthy approaches. The Waimarino offers a peaceful and serene fishing experience away from the crowds.
  5. Kuratau River: The Kuratau River is a productive and picturesque fishing spot located on the southern shores of Lake Taupo. This river is known for its bountiful rainbow trout population, making it a favorite among fly fishermen. The river’s scenic beauty and easy access make it an excellent choice for anglers looking for a less challenging fishing experience.
  6. Whakaipo Bay: Located on the northeastern shore of Lake Taupo, Whakaipo Bay offers a tranquil fishing spot with stunning views. This bay is a popular choice for both shore fishing and launching small boats. Rainbow trout and brown trout can both be found here, making it a versatile fishing location that appeals to different angling techniques and preferences.

While these are just a few of the popular fishing spots in Taupo, there are numerous other rivers, streams, and lakes in the region that offer exceptional angling opportunities. Make sure to do your research, talk to local experts, and explore different fishing spots to discover your own favorite places to cast your line in Taupo.


Techniques for Successful Fishing in Taupo

To increase your chances of success when fishing in Taupo, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the various techniques that are effective in this region. Here are some tried and tested techniques that can help you reel in that prized catch:

  1. Fly Fishing: Fly fishing is a popular technique in Taupo, particularly in the region’s rivers. Choose the right fly patterns that imitate the local insect life, such as mayfly or caddisfly patterns. Casting accuracy, proper presentation, and a sensitive touch are key to fooling the trout. Study the water conditions and be observant to detect any rises or feeding patterns that can guide your fly selection.
  2. Spin Fishing: Spin fishing with lures or bait is a versatile technique that can be effective in both the lake and rivers of Taupo. Popular lures include spinners, spoons, and soft plastics, while bait options can include worms, salmon eggs, or smelt. Vary your retrieve speed and technique to find the lure or bait presentation that triggers the fish’s interest, and tailor your tackle and line weight to match the species you’re targeting.
  3. Trolling: Trolling is a productive technique for targeting trout and salmon in Lake Taupo. This involves slowly pulling lures or bait behind a moving boat to entice fish. Use downriggers or lead core lines to control the depth at which your lure or bait is presented. Experiment with different lure colors, sizes, and depths until you find a combination that gets the attention of the fish. Keep an eye on your rod tip for any signs of strikes, and be ready to set the hook when a fish takes the bait.
  4. Nymphing: Nymphing is a popular fly fishing technique for targeting trout in Taupo’s rivers. Use weighted nymphs or beadhead flies to imitate underwater insects, and use a strike indicator or a sensitive fly line to detect subtle strikes. Make sure to present the nymphs near the bottom of the river, where the fish are likely to be feeding. Pay attention to the drift of your fly and mend your line as needed to achieve a natural presentation.
  5. Night Fishing: Taupo offers excellent opportunities for night fishing, particularly during the warmer months. Trout are often more active and less cautious at night, providing a thrilling fishing experience. Use large streamer flies, black woolly buggers, or glow-in-the-dark lures for success. Take extra precautions when fishing at night, such as having proper lighting, being aware of your surroundings, and ensuring personal safety.
  6. Chironomid Fishing: Chironomid fishing can be a highly effective technique for catching trout in Taupo’s lakes. Use a long leader with small chironomid patterns suspended below an indicator. Pay attention to the depth at which the fish are feeding, as this can vary depending on the time of year and lake conditions. A slow, steady retrieve can often entice strikes, but remember to vary your presentation until you find what works best.

Experimenting with these techniques and adapting them to the specific fishing conditions will help you increase your success rate in Taupo. Be patient, observant, and willing to try different approaches until you find the right combination that entices the fish to bite. Remember, fishing is as much about the journey as it is about the catch, so enjoy the experience and embrace the unique challenges that Taupo’s waters offer.


Safety Precautions while Fishing in Taupo

Fishing in Taupo is not only about catching fish but also about ensuring your safety and the wellbeing of the natural environment. Here are some important safety precautions to keep in mind during your fishing adventures in Taupo:

  1. Check Weather Conditions: Before heading out, always check the weather forecast. Taupo’s weather can change rapidly, and it’s important to be prepared for any unexpected changes in conditions. Stormy weather, strong winds, or heavy rain can make fishing unsafe and uncomfortable. If the weather seems unfavorable, consider postponing your fishing trip.
  2. Wear Appropriate Safety Gear: Wear a personal flotation device (PFD) when fishing from a boat or when wading in deep waters. Even if you are a strong swimmer, accidents can happen, and a PFD can save your life. Additionally, wear a hat, sunglasses, protective clothing, and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
  3. Be Aware of Water hazards: Familiarize yourself with the water conditions and potential hazards in the fishing area. Taupo’s rivers can have strong currents and submerged obstacles, while the lake can experience sudden swells or undertows. Always exercise caution and avoid fishing in areas with swift currents, deep holes, or submerged logs that can pose a risk to your safety.
  4. Prevent Hypothermia: Taupo’s waters can be cold, particularly during winter or after a rainfall. To prevent hypothermia, dress appropriately in layers, wear waterproof clothing, and bring spare clothes in case you get wet. Avoid staying in cold water for extended periods, take breaks to warm up if needed, and ensure you have access to warm shelter or a change of clothes if necessary.
  5. Fish with a Buddy: Fishing with a buddy is not only more enjoyable but also safer. Having someone with you can provide assistance in case of emergencies or accidents. If fishing alone, inform someone of your plans, expected return time, and the location you will be fishing. This way, if something goes wrong, help can be alerted promptly.
  6. Respect the Environment: Practice responsible fishing practices to protect the environment. Avoid littering and pack out your trash. Release undersized or unwanted fish carefully and quickly. Respect any fishing restrictions or seasonal closures to protect fish populations during their critical spawning periods. Conserving the environment ensures that future generations can continue to enjoy the beauty of Taupo’s waters.
  7. Be Cautious with Hooks and Tools: Handle hooks and fishing tools with care to prevent accidents. Avoid casting near people, and always be aware of the location of others around you. Safely remove hooks from caught fish using proper techniques or tools to minimize harm to the fish and yourself.

By following these safety precautions, you can enjoy your fishing experience in Taupo while minimizing risks. Remember, safety should always be a priority, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and the joy of fishing in this remarkable region.


Best Time to Fish in Taupo

Taupo offers year-round fishing opportunities, but certain times of the year are considered the best for maximizing your catch and enjoying ideal fishing conditions. Let’s take a look at the different seasons and their benefits for fishing in Taupo:

  1. Spring (September to November): Spring is an excellent time for fishing in Taupo, with the rejuvenation of nature bringing new life to the waters. As the weather begins to warm up, trout become more active and feed more aggressively. This period is known for insect hatches, making it ideal for fly fishing. Spring also marks the start of the spawning season for trout, offering exciting opportunities for anglers.
  2. Summer (December to February): Summer is peak fishing season in Taupo, with long daylight hours and pleasant weather conditions. The warmer water temperatures in Lake Taupo and the surrounding rivers lead to increased insect activity, resulting in excellent dry fly fishing opportunities. It is also a great time for trolling and spin fishing, as the fish are more active and readily taking lures or bait. As an added bonus, summer allows for more enjoyable fishing experiences, with comfortable temperatures conducive to outdoor activities.
  3. Autumn (March to May): Autumn is another favored season for fishing in Taupo. As the weather cools down, the fish become more aggressive, feeding heavily to prepare for the coming winter months. Brown trout, in particular, are known to be highly active during this time as they store energy for spawning. Nymphing, spinner fishing, and trolling can be effective techniques during the autumn months. Additionally, the autumn colors and serene landscapes add to the overall beauty of fishing in Taupo during this season.
  4. Winter (June to August): While winter in Taupo brings colder temperatures, it does not deter dedicated anglers. Winter fishing in Taupo is popular for those seeking solitude and the chance to catch trophy-sized fish. The trout population is concentrated, providing a greater chance of encountering large fish. Winter offers opportunities for nymphing and deep-water fishing techniques, such as trolling with downriggers, to reach deeper and colder water where fish seek refuge. Patience and proper clothing to keep warm are essential during winter fishing trips.

It’s worth noting that weather patterns, water conditions, and fish behavior can vary from year to year, so it’s always a good idea to consult local fishing experts or guides for the most up-to-date information. They can provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their experience and knowledge of the current fishing conditions in Taupo.


Ultimately, the best time to fish in Taupo depends on your preferences, fishing techniques, and the type of fish you wish to target. Regardless of the season, Taupo’s abundant fishery resources and stunning natural surroundings ensure that fishing enthusiasts are in for an unforgettable experience filled with excitement, challenge, and the joy of being immersed in nature.



From its stunning landscapes to its rich fishing heritage, Taupo, New Zealand is a destination that leaves anglers enchanted. The combination of picturesque lakes, mighty rivers, and diverse fish species make Taupo a haven for fishing enthusiasts from around the world.


Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a novice eager to cast your first line, Taupo offers a range of fishing experiences to suit every skill level and preference. Fly fishing in the crystal-clear rivers, trolling for trophy-sized trout in Lake Taupo, or exploring the secluded fishing spots – there’s something for everyone.


As you venture into the waters of Taupo, it is important to be mindful of the fishing regulations in place to protect the sustainability of the fish populations and the precious environment. Obtain the necessary fishing license, adhere to catch limits and size restrictions, and respect any seasonal closures or special regulations specific to certain areas.


Equipping yourself with the right fishing gear is key to ensuring a successful outing in Taupo. Whether it’s a well-balanced fishing rod and reel, a variety of lures and bait, or a tackle box stocked with essential tools, having the appropriate equipment will enhance your chances of landing that coveted catch.


While fishing in Taupo, be sure to prioritize safety. Check the weather conditions before heading out, wear appropriate safety gear, and keep an eye out for potential water hazards. Fishing with a buddy is always recommended, and respecting the environment through responsible fishing practices ensures the preservation of Taupo’s natural beauty for future generations.


As for the best time to fish in Taupo, each season has its own unique advantages. Whether it’s the lively insect hatches of spring, the peak fishing conditions of summer, the vibrant colors of autumn, or the concentration of trophy trout in winter, Taupo offers unbeatable experiences throughout the year.


In conclusion, Taupo, New Zealand is a fishing paradise that entices anglers with its breathtaking landscapes, diverse fish species, and rich fishing heritage. Whether you seek tranquility in a secluded river spot or the thrill of reeling in a trophy trout, Taupo offers it all. So grab your fishing gear, immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Taupo, and embark on an unforgettable fishing adventure in this remarkable region.