A couple fishing on Lake Taupo this morning had just caught a few of fish when they noticed black clouds forming ominously above them.

Ian and Frances Jenkins, who own the Tui Lodge nearby, went out about 9am.

"We were jigging for an hour and it was not going so well so shifted up the lake to Kuratau and started to troll.

"We were fishing back and I was taking a photo of my wife holding a fish up and saw what was happening behind her.

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"I took the photo then thought I would just take a picture of [the clouds] as well.''

Jenkins took a few more photos of the cloud formation before the couple made the decision to head home.

He said the formation hovered for some time, but changed dramatically in the next few minutes.

"It changed from a waterspout/tornado thing and then the centre disappeared almost.''

The couple have lived in Turangi for the past 18 years.

Asked if he had ever seen such a thing in his life, Jenkins laughed.

"Yes - only in the movies.''