A guide to fishing the Tongariro river  

The last report and some messages from readers.
It may be autumn ... but
Rain does the trick with autumn almost here.
Some rain on the way?
An improvement since the weekend.

Mike Hughes has been fishing most of his life starting as a small boy in the rivers and streams of the Welsh valleys where he was born. He "caught" his first ever fish, a small brook trout while on holiday in North Wales. The truth is that while he wasn't looking his grand-father attached a fish to the end of the line and Mike has been hooked ever since.

He spent his formative years fly-fishing all over the UK and has even caught rainbows in the trout dams of the Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa.

Mike Hughes

Several years ago he emigrated to New Zealand with his wife Gail and soon discovered the joys of fishing the iconic Tongariro River.


"I've been out fishing with Mike numerous times in the past 6 months. Originally I wanted to reacquaint myself with fly fishing and the Tongariro after living overseas for 15 years. I figured a guide was the best way to do this and searched for one and found Mike.

On that first day, I was blown away by Mike's commitment to the art of fly fishing and the Tongariro River. Mike has made a conscious decision to focus on the world famous Tongariro and it shows with his knowledge of the trout behaviour, entomology and little known stretches of water that most people walk past. When you combine all this knowledge with Mike's sense of humour and innovative methods, you're assured of a light-hearted and action packed day out.

Since that first time 6 months ago I've taken numerous people down to Turangi and out with Mike. Without fail they've had a great day and found a lot of fish. If you want to enjoy the river, catch trout and learn a thing or two about the art of fly fishing, all while having a laugh, then Mike's your guy."



"So I Google searched 'Tongariro fishing guide nz' and Mike's website came up #1 so I phoned him and booked a day on the Tongariro. We lost count of the fish we landed, but was at least 12 to 14 (both Browns and Rainbows), all good fish with the best an 8.0lb brown hen in superb condition. Mike helped me to tidy my act up with casting and mending then introduced me to some really cool ways to fish, producing spectacular results. Whilst the methods we used (and the gear set-up) were all 'outside the square', everything made absolute sense and produced results well beyond expectations. Mike really is the 'best Tongariro fishing guide nz' with an absolute wealth of knowledge about the river and how to catch fish - one after the other. Thanks Mike, see you again soon…"



"Mike - I'm highly honoured by your posting of my muddy mug-shot with soon to be returned "Tongariro Brown". Indeed, it was a somewhat busy day on the river, but you knew exactly where to go and what to fish - and whilst we paid due courtesy to the excellent Tongariro etiquette of a few casts and move-up - you clued me in - were patient as I struggled with a longer/heavier cast than with my native California 4wt - and we struck gold repeatedly. I can't thank you enough for this terrific intro to NZ waters - which served me well as I toured with my family for the next 4 weeks. I used the same techniques in both the N & S islands to great effect - and met many acrobatic rainbows along the way. It wasn't until the Outlet stream in Wanaka that I found another big brown - and just as you say - after dark, skating/stripping a big Sage Moth pattern on that occasion - also returned for others to enjoy. To anyone reading this & looking for a guide to the Tongariro - I hereby heartedly recommend Mike. When a guy really knows a river you can tell, and when he's willing to share that experience, largely for the genuine pleasure of others - that's quite a gift. Such experience won't just help you on the "T" - but your whole NZ fishing style and confidence - just as it has mine. Thanks Mike - without the "T" Brown I'd have been lost at Dean's Bank. Your buddy in California."



"My wife and I recently visited NZ for the first time. I was fortunate enough to have arranged a day on the Tongariro River with guide Mike Hughes. Although I have fished California and the Western U.S. extensively, I was not sure what to expect. You just don't get many chances to sight fish for large trout in the U.S. Mike, however, knows the Tongariro like the back of his hand, and thanks to his expertise I had a great day catching and releasing Rainbows migrating up the river from Lake Taupo. Mike had all the gear I needed, including two rods for the different river conditions we encountered. Although the weather had been unsettled before my trip, Mike was on top of the river flows, and took us to the right area to fish. He also had great provisions to keep me going. I enjoyed every minute of the day we had on the Tongariro, and it probably has spoiled me forever."

Sebastopol Ca.


"When others around me were only retrieving wet lines, under Mike Hughes's tutelage I was reeling in fish, not one or two but 7 good hook ups. Two beautiful Jacks' into the net and released, one magnificent brownie missed the net by a nose and others were just plain jumping fun.

Mike guides, coaches and advises fantastically, his knowledge and tricks are generously passed on freely, he is truly an ambassador for guiding and deserves all praises, he is easily recommended to others.

Turns up on time with gear ready and sorted and listens, advises and demonstrates. His knowledge and skill is evident by my results ... a good days fishing. No fish were harmed in writing this testimonial however they will not be that lucky next time…… the smokers' waiting".



Dear Mike

I would like to thank you for the great afternoon we spent together. The way you are guiding is just perfect, you know a lot about your river, and I really appreciated your sympathy! To be honest, I was not expecting so many trouts...

I will definitely contact you next time I will have the opportunity to visit New Zealand !

Thanks again


Mike, we can't thank you enough for such a fantastic day. The pictures are EXCELLENT! You are a professional beyond all expectations! Great advice, great gear, great stream-side manner… the whole package. I hooked up twice more, at the Major Jones pool, after our day trip but couldn't bring the fish to the bank. It's a magnificent fishery!

Take care

Jon and Amanda Novoselec
Newcastle NSW
I had the opportunity to spend a half-day with Mike on the Tongariro river, after many years of fruitless thrashing the drought is over. I benefited immensely from the guiding experience, with a number of fine fish both Brown and Rainbow falling to nymphs. If there is one thing I would recommend, book Mike at the beginning of your stay in Turangi and with his help build your knowledge of the river, you won’t regret it. Cheers, Jas.

Jason Court
Hi Michael, thanks for taking Peter and I trout fishing – it was a great introduction to fly-fishing – I’ll do it again soon and now that I have your email address can book straight to you – a whole day would be fun. Your coffee and goodies were much appreciated. Best Regards, Jim.

Jim Brennan
NSW Australia
I had a great four hours on the river this afternoon with Mike. Really great guiding: informative , friendly, infectious enthusiasm combined with a great work ethic . Thank you Mike! All the best, Nick.

Nick Cater
I have been fishing since I was a little boy, starting with a Bamboo stick and worms 50 years ago in small streams back home in Norway. I think I have learned a lot over the years, enough to know that there is still more to learn. I have been fishing the Tongariro river with Mike now for two days. I have landed some 15 fishes, one of them a brown trout of 9.5 pounds. I have learned a lot about techniques new to me, and about the fishing for trout in New Zealand. Mike knows any stone in the river, the best spots and how to get them big ones. He is also a guy that is nice to be together with. I strongly recommend him as a fishing guide.

Tore Aalberg
Thanks for the memorable day on the Tongariro, I'll never forget it. If anyone reading this is considering hiring a guide on this river, you can't do any better than Mike. He knows the river, he knows where the fish are and he knows how to catch them. The flyfishing knowledge I gained was worth the fee, even without my personal best rainbow. I will be back.

R. Davis Gisborne
Mosier, Oregon
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