New Zealand is famous for its trout fishing and many people consider Turangi at the southern end of the lake to be the rainbow trout capital of the world, with the mighty Tongariro river being the star attraction.
Whilst there are other ways to catch a trout on the lake and in local waterways, flyfishing offers the greatest challenge and often the most fun. The winter spawning runs on Taupo rivers and streams are legendary and attract anglers from around the world. The majority of trout caught are rainbows and some anglers who have never landed a brown trout simply presume that the Taupo region is dominated by rainbows with their cleverer (and often larger) brown trout cousins being very rare.
In fact there are large populations of brown trout in the Taupo catchment and they can be the most rewarding fish to catch if you take the time to look for them. A number of places to look for brown trout are in the lower reaches of larger rivers in summer as they sip down cicadas and even mice in the afternoons and evenings. In late summer and fall big brown trout congregate around rivermouths and can be caught flyfishing in the evening till midnight using New Zealand flies such as Woolly Buggers fished on floating or slow sinking lines. You can often sight-fish to good brown trout as they patrol along the edges of weedbeds in local lakes on sunny days gorging on insects. In fall and early winter they head up the rivers to spawn before the more popular rainbow trout runs.
It is true that brown trout can be harder to deceive. They often fight smarter than rainbows by using logs, rocks and current to snag or break your line. This is what makes flyfishing for big brown trout in New Zealand, and indeed anywhere, so rewarding. The satisfaction of landing your first big brown trout is so much greater; and you never know you might even land a trophy!