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A guide to fishing the Tongariro river  
 
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Tongariro Patterns

RIVER TALK
The fish are still there...
A tricky week but ...
Mix things up a bit.
A river to yourself ...
Blue Pool access track now closed.
 
   
EQUIPMENT  
   
Guides will normally include all the equipment you need for your day on the river. Understandably some anglers prefer to bring their own, listed below are some suggestions.

In summer a 6wt or 7wt nine foot rod will cover most situations when nymphing , dry fly fishing or wet lining. Weight forward floating lines are normally used for nymphing or fishing the dry. Use a fast sinking shooting head or a sink tip line for wet lining. The Airflo Depthfinder range are a popular choice. Match these with large arbor reels loaded with plenty of backing and a smooth drag system.

For winter fishing most anglers beef up their choice of rods and lines to an 8wt or even a 9wt to cope with the much heavier nymphs, increased flows and the fit hard fighting silver rainbows fresh from the lake that are encountered at this time of year.

In the warmer months light weight breathable waders are the norm but many anglers prefer quick dry shorts or trousers and wading boots. Most will also carry a shower-proof light jacket packed in their rucksack.

The water temperature in winter can be very cold especially with any snow melt entering the river. If you are wearing breathable waders ensure you keep warm with thick socks and plenty of layers underneath. Many prefer to switch to neoprene waders and a good wading jacket.
 
Other items to consider:

A hat or cap to shade you from the strong New Zealand sun.

Long sleeved shirt again for sun protection

Some high factor sun block.

Good quality polarizing sun-glasses.

A strong insect repellant.

Wading stick.
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Indicators are readily available at all tackle shops and must be made of yarn only for use on the Tongariro.

Some anglers bring their own flies and as long as they are clean and dry have no problem at the airport. However New Zealand has very strict Biosecurity rules in place and if there is any doubt at all customs officers will do their job.

There are several excellent tackle stores in Turangi with well stocked shelves and all of their staff are also keen anglers. Some are also guides and will readily advise you on fly choice for the river.

Remember that felt soled boots are now banned in New Zealand but both waders and boots can be hired from tackle shops. If you intend bringing your own please ensure they are clean and have been thoroughly washed and dried. The easiest way to ensure your boots are not contaminated is to pop them in a freezer overnight.

This helps prevent the spread of didymo commonly known as “rock snot” an invasive freshwater algae. Didymo was first recorded in the Lower Waiau River of the South Island in 2004 and has now spread to several other waterways. The entire South Island has now been declared a controlled area by Biosecurity New Zealand.

Although the rivers and lakes remain open for all recreational activities including angling people now have a legal obligation to prevent the spread of this organism. Please follow the Check-Clean-Dry advice that you will see in most tackle shops and other places. Thankfully the North Island is up to now didymo free let’s all help keep it that way…complacency would be our biggest mistake.
 
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USEFUL TONGARIRO PATTERNS
   
The Tongariro River is open for fly fishing 365 days of the year. Below is a very brief list of some summer and winter patterns that you may like to consider including for your visit to New Zealand.
 
 
DRY FLIES SPRING/SUMMER
 
Royal Wulff

This fly doesn’t really represent anything but is a buoyant pattern useful in disturbed water, fast riffles etc when other more lightly dressed dry flies would sink
Royal Wulff
 
Parachute Adams

Probably one of the world’s most versatile dry flies and here in New Zealand used to represent several of our adult Mayfly species. Particularly good in the slower moving parts of the river where the trout have time to inspect your fly.
parachute adams
 
Humpies

Without doubt these are the number one rough water dries. Also useful as an indicator fly if you’re fishing dry and dropper methods.
Humpies
 
 
NYMPHS
 
Hare and Copper

This is one of the oldest patterns and a New Zealand favorite. Tied in different sizes and fished using a variety of methods this generic pattern is used to represent mayfly, caddis, stonefly the list goes on and on. There are dozens of variations and the Tungsten Bead Head versions make excellent bombs.
hare and copper
 
Pheasant Tail

A fly invented in the 1950’s by Frank Sawyer MBE who was a River-Keeper on the Avon River in Wiltshire England. The original and some maintain the best version is tied without using any thread. In fact there are only two materials used…very fine copper wire and fibers from the center of a cock pheasant tail. There are hundreds and hundreds of variations and I doubt if there is a fly-tier anywhere in the world who hasn’t come up with his or her own version. This fly is well known as an excellent general purpose mayfly nymph imitation.
pheasant tail
 
Caddis

The larval stage of the Caddis or Sedge is one of the most important sources of food for Tongariro trout. Popular colors are Olive/Green through to White/ Cream. The various types are too numerous to list here but all the tackle shops will carry a selection.
caddis
 
Globugs

Love them or hate them the Globug or Eggfly is the most often used fly on the Tongariro primarily for winter spawning rainbows and has been explained in detail else where on the site.
globugs
 
 
These are just a few suggestions but carried in sizes 12 to 16 will cover most situations and hopefully get you hooked up to your first Tongariro trout.
 
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