New Zealand

Tongariro Lodge – North Island


In an average season, 50,000-plus adult rainbow and brown trout migrate up the Tongariro River. The Lake Taupo fishery is the only area in New Zealand that remains open to fly fisherman all year. The lower sections of the tributary rivers and streams provide access to Taupo’s large run of wild winter steelhead. With five of these tributaries within a twenty minute drive of Tongariro Lodge, it’s easy to appreciate what a great winter fishing destination this is. Lake Taupo is one of the most productive trout fisheries in the world. May to October is the prime time to target the large adult rainbows, averaging 4 – 8 lbs, running up Lake Taupo’s tributaries to spawn. The days are crisp, temperatures average 55 F, and it is often possible to fish wearing only light winter clothing, in mid- winter. The main method is upstream nymphing, and truly magnificent sport can be had targeting these bright silver hard fighting fish: they cartwheel, jump and run just like a steelhead! Truly exceptional numbers and size of fish can be taken during these months. It is a popular time for local fisherman also.

For those anglers in the know, the spring and early summer period, October through Christmas, has always been a premium time to enjoy the very best trout fishing New Zealand has to offer, at Tongariro Lodge. The rainbows and browns tend to feed more aggressively, and be less spooky. It is quite a sight to watch a feeding trout move 10 feet to engulf your fly! The longest day in New Zealand is in December, so by November the days are long and the sun is higher, making spotting and stalking conditions ideal. With a lot of rivers running through high valleys, sun on the water is an important element. The waters are less busy, and more opportunities exist at this time of year. Nymph fishing is often used, but there can also be excellent dry fly fishing with good mayfly hatches, along with brown and green beetle, by mid -November. The first of October is the traditional opening day for trout fishing in New Zealand. Since these fisheries have not been visited by anglers for many months, some great angling can be anticipated. Helicopters can be used to access remote rivers that provide the ultimate in fly fishing to sighted trout.

Locally, the rivers around Tongariro Lodge hold many trout left from the winter runs out of Lake Taupo. Many of these trout will migrate back to Lake Taupo, but a number of them remain in the tributaries, and begin to feed after their winter spawn. These trout will readily take a nymph, with some dry- fly opportunities starting to happen. December will often see the start of the dry- fly fishing. Our first major terrestrial insect now appears, being the ‘Manuka’ or Green Beetle. Warmer water temperatures also stimulate aquatic insects, with the Mayfly and Caddis becoming more active. The number of anglers fishing at this time of year is low, so it is a great opportunity to helicopter into less accessible areas, for that remote wilderness fishing experience. Over 40 rivers and lakes are accessible from the lodge, not only by helicopter, but by rafts, boats, and 4WD vehicles. Lake Otamangakau is one of New Zealand’s trophy trout fisheries. It has a great damsel hatch, starting in December, and is located only 20 minutes from Tongariro Lodge. Fly- fishing over weed beds, and off the shoreline for cruising trout, produces many 25- inch to 30- inch rainbows and browns every season.

Fly- fishing on Lake Taupo improves with the warmer spring weather. The major bait fish on the lake, called smelt, spawns in the shallow lakeshore water around this time. Browns and large numbers of rainbows can be seen charging these shoals of minnows. Wading around the shoreline of the Tongariro Delta, sight- casting to these cruising trout, is often compared to the flats fishing at Christmas Island. The first of December is opening day on the Taupo tributary headwater streams. This always provides great angling for trout, which have not seen a fisherman for six months. Walking up a stream in shorts, casting a big dry fly to sighted fish, or probing good- looking lies, from January to April: this is the time and place to do it. In the central North Island, our most important hatch is the Cicada. It will usually start mid- January and last until the first couple of cold snaps in fall. Hot, dry weather is needed to stimulate these terrestrials to come out from underground. When it happens, you will see action to rival any hopper hatch in Montana. Fishing both streams and lakes with Cicada imitations is considered by both clients and guides to be some of the best fly fishing in New Zealand. In a good hatch, many double digit browns are landed below our lodge on the Tongariro River. Lake Otamangakau is also famous for its Cicada hatch, rises here can be seen 200 yards away at times.

Most of our helicopter fishing is done at this time of year. Most headwater streams are low, this often relocates the trout into the faster water giving the angler a slight edge Flying into these wilderness streams is the ultimate fishing experience. As this is the prime time to dry- fly fish for trout in New Zealand, many more anglers are visiting during this period than, say, ten years ago. Some of the water we fish has public access, so, while meeting another angler on the stream is unusual, it is more likely to happen at this time of year.

Fall – (April and May) – can be a great time to fish the back country of the central North Island. An ‘Indian Summer’ during April is not uncommon and gives you warm days to fish in, but cooler nights. The trout are in prime condition after feeding on the abundant insect population all summer. All headwater fisheries are open until the end of April, and some into June. Helicopter access is still an option. You may catch the last of the Dry-Fly season, but it is more likely you will cast nymphs at sighted trout. Fishing pressure is very light on these streams at this time of year. Each fall also sees the commencement of the annual migration of Lake Taupo’s rainbow trout up its tributary rivers and streams. These headwaters of these tributaries are open until the end of May, and offer miles of great fishing water. Trout range from 4lb to 6lb, with larger trout often caught during the early run. Brown trout are also running at this time of year, with some 30- inch+ fish landed each season. These trout readily take a nymph or streamer, and a number 8 rod is not out of place on the river at this time of year.

This is one of the finest large trout fisheries on the planet and an absolute must for those who love to sight cast to big Browns.


This is principally a wade fishing destination. Inflatable rafts and Bell helicopters.


The Lodge is equidistant from Auckland and Wellington, a 30 minute flight to Taupo in either case. There is at least one daily flight. Transfers from the airport can readily be arranged. The easiest way to get in and out is through Auckland which has a more consistent flight schedule to Taupo.

Slipstream is a full service travel company that can handle a variety of services relating to your trip. For assistance, please contact us directly at 1 866 644-7703.


2-5 Bedroom Villa

7 Nights 6 days: $7,805 NZD, DBL
6 Nights 5 days: $6,590 NZD, DBL
5 Nights 4 days: $5,475 NZD, DBL
4 Nights 3 days: $4,160 NZD DBL

1 Bedroom Chalet

7 Nights 6 days: $6,755 NZD, DBL
6 Nights 5 days: $5,690 NZD, DBL
5 Nights 4 days: $4,625 NZD, DBL
4 Nights 3 days: $3,560 NZD, DBL

1 Bedroom Chalet Single Angler

7 Nights 6 days: $12,190 NZD, SGL
6 Nights 5 days: $10,390 NZD, SGL
5 Nights 4 days: $8,425 NZD, SGL
4 Nights 3 days: $6,460 NZD, SGL

All rates at this destination are in New Zealand dollars and guests will be billed in USD at the booking days rate  

  • CHC - New Zealand
  • The Lodge operates Year-Round
  • Rainbow and Brown Trout…
  • 30 anglers per week guests
  • Wifi: Yes
  • Language: English
  • Physicality: Low
  • CC Payment at Facility : Yes
New Zealand

Tongariro Lodge – North Island

Tour Location


Tongariro Lodge Lake Taupo, North Island, New Zealand.


Rainbow and Brown Trout.


Year-round, but in the depths of winter (July to September) not all fish are available in good numbers. Many guests elect to hunt as well as fish during this same period, targeting Sika Deer and Red Deer Stags, or Duck, Pheasant, Turkey, and Quail. Peak season is October though April.


There are no set arrival and departure days at Tongariro Lodge.


The Lodge was established in 1982, on a stunning tract of 22 acres. This area of the North Island was popularized in the 1920’s by American novelist and fisherman Zane Grey, and both the Queen Mother and President Carter have come to the lodge to fish. Guests are accommodated in spacious cabins located away from the main building. The riverside chalets vary in size and will range from 1 and 5 bedrooms. Each of these executive chalets has private facilities and its own secluded sunny terrace with views of the Tongariro River, Lake Taupo, or the mountains. The Lodge features numerous amenities, including Astroturf tennis courts, pool and spa, Pentanque court, and a lounge with chess sets, games, and library. There are five golf courses with 45 minutes’ drive, and hot mineral pools nearby.


30 anglers per week.
New Zealand

Tongariro Lodge – North Island

Value for money
New Zealand

Tongariro Lodge – North Island


  • 7 nights accommodation
  • 6 days of guided fishing
  • All Meals
  • 15% New Zealand Government Goods and Service Tax (GST)


  • Round trip international and domestic airfare to Auckland and the to Taupo
  • Round trip shuttle service from the Taupo Airport to the lodge
  • Alcohol
  • Gratuities for staff and guides


U.S., Canadian and EU members must have a passport that is valid for 3 months beyond intended stay as well as tickets and documents for return or onward travel. No Visa required for stays of up to three months