Update as at 18 April 2013 –
Generally no changes. Images above of the TRM ambush committee trying to hook them before they reach the Braids – or rather what is left of the Braids…
Update 29 January 2012
(Image of Bain Pool as at 29 January 2012Instead of the weekend fishing report the images today illustrate some of the recent history and changes that have occurred down river below the Braids and Swirl Pool down to Bain Pool.
This series is in response to enquiries from inmates. (Who suggested the licence holders aren’t interested in what is happening in the fishery?)
i.e. 25 January:
Hey Ross and Pip
Had a nice walk thru the braids yesterday avo – wading no longer required it seems
A few fish were about to be beached as the tide went out of the plank
Bulldozer stalked me from one run to the next –but managed to pull a fresh rainbow out of the top of the swirl before he caught up to me !
(Image on right is looking down river from tail of Swirl Pool with half the water on right flowing to the Honeypot and half on left re-directed to the new channel on TLB down to Reed Pool – hence drying out the Braids.)
Have they really gone?
Looks like x spot and pines would have gone as well?
Bugger. where is Mike going to fish now.
The maddening crowds will probably be spreading out again?
I think Pip was not far wrong with the earthquake theory!
First some recent history…
(Images on right below of “before & After” flood in June 2006 when they last tried to quarry metal from the Braids)
This section of the Tongariro below the Bridge Pool was devastated in the 1958 flood. Most of the old pools were washed away as the river realigned to leave a wide slow moving stretch down to Reeds Pool. Then the Tongariro Power Scheme realigned it all again. In 1965 below the Swirl Pool the river was diverted along the True Left Bank (“TLB”). The whole area was dredged before the river was diverted back to somewhere near the original course in 1972. The diversion channels rejoined the main river between Log and Reed Pools. Metal was extracted mainly from the Braids – below the Swirl and above Bain Pool. The old Island disappeared and new pools – such as the Honeypot and Bain (named much later by Wallace Bain who – with Barry Greig – wrote a Tongariro fishing guide book in 1983) etc. were formed.
Further floods, particularly in 2004, and major excavations removing metal (described as flood control measures?) off the island in front of Tongariro Lodge and created stop banks since have completely transformed the original contours and aspect. So this new channeling programme in preparation for more metal extraction is nothing new. As the images indicate the 2006 Resource Consent to remove metal was a failure when an overnight flood removed the truck access. Now in 2012 they have had a rethink and are shifting the river instead of trying to ford it..
In 2011, or over the last few years, the main flow below the Bridge Pool was split between the old Swirl Pool taking about a quarter and the main run flowed down to the Honeypot – through Vera’s Pool as marked on TRM’s Bucket List map. Then about half went straight down the TLB below the Honey-pot to Bain Pool and half meandered through the riffles over the Stones to Plank Pool on the TRB. OK so far? Hang in there as it gets messy from here on… Note – this lower section of the braids may appear very messy but when you discover new lies they are very very very productive… so you need to get to know it well.
Now the riffles in front of Tongariro Lodge leading to the Plank Pool are almost dry, so where did the flow go?. Heavy machinery has altered the course over beyond the TLB by opening up and deepening the old Hirangi Arm, where all the willows have been removed, on the TLB. Now most of the Plank Pool flow is redirected down the deepened channel known as the Hirangi Arm to emerge at the head of the Reed Pool. To get over to the TLB of what is left of the main river you need good balancing skills over a fallen tree!
So it has all changed. The Braids was always changing after each fresh but even the mis-named Bain Pool has moved up-river now as the flow from the Plank Pool has gone and the channels down from the old Honeypot force the main current over to the TRB.
The bad news is that the new map – “Fifty pools to fish before you die” – aka the Tongariro Bucket list, is already out of date below the Bridge Pool. But there is no point in revising it until the earthworks and quarrying is finished. But that might be never?
Your job for the next year is to locate all the new lies throughout the bypass and report them to TRM.
That is enough punishment for one day. Tomorrow it gets easier. TRM Daily Report will update the new easy peasy anglers highway access down the TLB from the Crescent – Swirl Pool car park to Reed Pool.
But there are more surprises down there too.
August 18 2011 Update on Bain Pool
After Tongariro River Motel posted the excellent well researched informative report on Tuesday about the Bain Pool and pool names etc. one inmate had the audacity to question TRM for not providing better images of Bain Pool location as he was confused where it is. We can’t win… I blamed SWMBO of course. But if he was confused then there are sure to be others.
That is Bain Pool in the foreground above. It was taken prior to the removal of the willows along the TLB below the Honeypot. The flow pattern has changed again since. There is now much more flow down the TLB than through the Plank Pool pines side and the Honeypot has been smashed apart.
Bain Pool is usually approached via the access track in the bottom left of the aerial photo – if you look closely you will see the cars parked at the Plank Pool. Bain is the next pool down river where the Braids end. It is usually fished from the TRB by wading out from the beach.
This older aerial image also serves to indicate why the Braids is so fishy. Migrating trout moving steadily up the wider lower river discover their first real rapid just below Bain Pool and then the river shallows out and splits into various bypasses etc. The shallow riffles and back waters and various options confuse them. So they are more vulnerable as they spend more time here in the Braids inspecting every bypass and sniffing around before continuing further up river looking for Nirvana.
Other images below individually described if you click on the photos. So hopefully the following pics – updates taken late July – are self explanatory and will suffice.
Above – looking up river from the TLB beach below Bain Pool.
March 23 2011 Update from Daily Reports
Images of the Tongariro River below the Braids and above Log Pool feature today.
Why? This part of the lower river was previously neglected. Access was difficult if not impossible in parts.
Now new tracks make angler access easy. New productive pools with easy wading will make this part of the river far more popular during the spawning runs in 2011.
These images are a continuation of the series of lower river reports.
Last week TRM featured the TLB below Bends Pool.
This part of the river is not for everyone. Compared to the town pools to upper river it has many snags. Compared to the river above the road bridge the landscape of swampy willow lined banks are a disaster. The scenery is plain ugly. The river is a mess in parts.
But the fish love it.
In late 2010 there was a major effort at removing willows south of the Hirangi Stream along the tracks back from the river. Several acres along the banks were slashed and heaped. New shoots off the trunks are now growing again furiously. The original hydro project roads were reinstated and widened for machinery.
The tyre marks indicate they are now used regularly by anglers. The main track extends from below Crescent Reserve on Tautahanga Road. This used to be popular as the main access to the Swirl Pool before the 2004 flood made this a backwater. It is now a five minute walk from the Crescent Reserve to emerge on the TLB (True Left Bank) beach – “Shaw Reach”.
This was the historic name of the pool and beach on the TLB below the Bain Pool adopted from old maps such as the 1983 survey map by Barry Greig based on a 1977 survey and the old Sporting Life map produced by Lyn Lloyd. The tail of Shaw Reach is particularly targeted where the river widens but beware of snags. More success may be enjoyed at this time of the year, to avoid being snagged, with an attractor pattern and a tiny dropper. i.e. A #16 flash back bead head pheasant tail.
Beautiful Autumn weather continues in Turangi. Continuing the report down the TLB (True left bank) beyond the Braids from yesterday…
The track which extends along the edge of the mounds of willows removed along the TLB now provides direct walking access to the tail of Log Pool. Alternatively below Shaw Reach is a bull-dozed track to link with the top of Log Pool.
This Log Pool beach is much wider now after the 650+ m3/s flood in late January and forces the flow into a much narrower channel which should improve casting for the winter runs. The huge dumping of sand, silt and ash from the last flood in late January is evident in the top image.
The tail of Log Pool – where it merges with the head of Reed Pool – is a well known lie providing easy wading as the usual notoriously slippery Tongariro boulders have been ground into shingle and sand by the time they get this far down river..
Yesterday there was continual surface activity from small rainbows slashing at tiny moths in the flow and a number of brown trout were seen quietly resting in the still shallows.
Boof managed to spook them all before I got there – again!
Also at the top of the Log Pool is the confluence of the Hirangi Stream emerging into the Tongariro River – another well known lie or hot spot where it is much easier to fish through the deepest gut of the pool, than the longer casting from the usual Reed Pool TRB.
But if we tell you too much about that we will be in trouble with certain TRM inmates…
If asked, suggest you found out about it from SWMBO…
February 2011 Update:
Tongariro flood damage.
(Copied from Daily Report 29 January 2011)
Following the big 665 m4/sec flood last Sunday (23 January) are images below to illustrate how the lower river has been trashed. (The Bain Pool did not suffer as much as Pools above and below)
If you look closely in the foreground of the dead trout you will also identify the spidery legs of a large koura – freshwater lobster – and several tiny trout that were left stranded.
Other examples of the extent of damage from such floods – on the track down to Reed Pool – and throughout the bush were thousands of stranded tiny trout.
Since last Sunday’s flood TRM have had a “flood” of genuinely concerned angler enquiries about the reasons why? Why does the river flood and what is being done about it. TRM have tried to explain the issues and problems previously. So the following is a repeat response to those latest enquiries to briefly scope the big picture problem.
Basically the problem is simple. So is the solution… In any natural environment a river would flow into the lake and would carry the silt with it, as it has done for the last few thousand years. But with the Tongariro River there is a major accelerated aggradation (the process of a river depositing sediment on its bed, thereby raising its level) issue. About 30 years ago engineers meddled with nature and raised the level of Lake Taupo to suit the Government’s commercial agenda, to suit hydro power requirements to increase the supply of water down the Waikato River and through the Tokaanu ower Station for hydro power generation. But nothing was done to minimise the damaging effects on the Tongariro River, despite the Tongariro being recognised internationally as one of the greatest trout nurseries in the world. (They would never get away with that today.)
The images illustrate a tiny visible portion of the problem. The invisible portion – under the surface water, is far more serious.
To feed the demand for electricity, Lake Taupo is controlled by Mighty River Power at maximum (i.e. excessive) levels. So when the river floods it has nowhere to go. The flood hits the water dam (Lake Taupo) and backs up, spreading tonnes and tonnes of silt all through the lower reaches, also spreading out over adjoining privately owned properties. The natural process of aggradation has been greatly accelerated. There is no allowance for annual floods, and the likely damage they can do, at all.
Their cheap option, band aid, ambulance at the bottom of the cliff reaction from the big 2004 flood (which reached over 1400 m3/sec) has been to build stop banks – as in front of Tongariro Lodge at the braids. These do nothing towards fixing the problem. If continued , they will convert the mighty Tongariro River into a hydro canal.
The power company maintains the lake at artificially high levels to feed the power stations down the Waikato River. The only way to prevent further flooding in Turangi is to lower the lake level (for – say – two years?). Then these annual floods would flush out all the sand and silt and ash from the lower river into Lake Taupo.
This problem started with the Tongariro Power Project removing half the water flow via canals to Lake Rotoaira and through the Tokannu Power Station about 30 years ago. Now the silting up problems are able to be seen.
The Tongariro must be the only major river in NZ that does not even have a sustainable catchment management plan – despite Government and EW (Environment Waikato) promises – to address the silting and inevitable flooding issues in the future.
Now EW’s latest Resource Consent Application is to excavate the metal in the lower river as a flood control response. The application was for 300,000 m3 per year for thirty years, but they are wasting their time playing with nature. It is their “political strategy” response. One single flood like last Sunday would fill all their excavations with silt overnight. Yet everyone agrees that any mechanical extraction is better than building more stop banks, but it does not address the real issue.
If they lowered the lake level for a short period – say 2 years – nature’s floods would flush all the silt out naturally and far more effectively for another thirty years. Otherwise the images tell the story of what anglers must expect more of in the future. The solution is so easy. All anglers are asking for the Tongariro River is an integrated catchment management plan to address all these issues – to protect the river for future generations of anglers to enjoy. That is perfectly reasonable. But that requires EW, the regional council, to face up to its obligations…
All Town Pool and Lower River Pools are likely to be subject to major physical changes in 2011 as the result of substantial river bed works for erosion control & flood protection with a resource consent application for up to 150,000 m3/year to be removed from below Hydro Pool to the Delta.
Refer to comment below by the Advocates for the Tongariro River:
Tongariro River Gravel Extraction Consent
December 7, 2010
There has been much interest in the Advocates position on the Gravel extraction consent which has been applied for by Environment Waikato.
Turangi experienced a 1 in 100 year flood in February 2004. The flood of 1958 was slightly larger and caused much damage within the river environment. Should another flood the size of 1958 or 2004 return then Turangi is in danger of flooding. Apart from moving the town to another location which is not a realistic option, the town can be protected by increasing the size of the stop banks or removing material that has built up and which endangers the town.
Given this option the Advocates support the removal of gravel and volcanic ash from the river bed to assist the river to move the bed load through to the lake. We do however have reservations about the consent document.
Our concerns are:
1. The action is piecemeal and not part of an overall plan for the river. Our desire is for an Integrated Catchment Management Plan (ICMP) to focus on the whole river and not just a section of it. We want to see an ICMP.
2. The consent period is for 35 years. We see a period of 3 years as reasonable at this time.
3. The consent document is too broad and lacks detail. Many who have seen the document think that 150,000 cubic meters per year will be removedeach year for 35 years, which is not the case, but can be read into the intent of the document. There is concern at the meaning of “diverting the river from the area of the Hydro Pool” by many.
4. The river as a fishery is seen as threatened by many. We don’t see the threat given that the fishery was not affected by the gravel removals at the time of the construction of the town and again recently when some 30,000 cubic meters were removed. We wish to see the consent spell out more strongly the protection of the fishery
The full consent document can be read by clicking on ftp://tongarirorivapps:[email protected]
It is a big document and takes time to load.
The Advocates will make a submission on these points and other such as an opportunity to dredge the mouth of the river. If you wish to make a submission then it must be with Environment Waikato by the 17th December.
An opportunity exists for you to give us your opinions through this website and we would welcome your opinions.
Do not be discouraged by cars already parked ahead of you as most of the traffic is for Reed Pool further down river. The main improvement since the construction vehicle access across to the islands was removed is the pool, now usually referred to as the “Plank Pool”, below the car-park, has now settled and achieved top status as the most improved pool during 2006.
Be cautious where you park as anglers cast off the high bank along the RHS, above the car-park, where their back cast can tattoo cars parked behind… Anglers here on the elevated RHS of Plank Pool need a long handle landing net as it is not easily wadeable below the car-park. The best casting and easy wading is from the LHS of the Plank Pool. But the access to get here includes two crossings of the main river from Swirl Pool car park.
The usual access is by crossing below the Swirl Pool and back again below the Honeypot. Some keen anglers do cross at the end of the access road but we cannot encourage this as the flow is too fast for novices.
Looking down river at the 4WD track from Plank Pool car park leading to Bain Pool. The river can be forded here but wading poles recommended as current is too fast.
Nymphing and wetlining anglers (younger and fitter than the writer!) also target the fast turbulent flow below the pool with some success, particularly in fine bright conditions when the river is clear.
The most popular lie is just below the willow tree which hangs out from the RHS at the extreme eastern end of the parking area but we have received many reports of fresh run trout being caught throughout this pool all day during the spawning season. Note you don’t even need waders…
Bain Pool is now not as popular as the Plank Pool but do not under-estimate the number of spawning trout that rest up here after wet weather or when the water clarity is nil. Always fish the shallows up to the log jam island first before wading out.
(Photo right – Difficult access to Bain Pool after rain)
Bain Pool Update – September 2005
In the June Report the access off Graces Road was described as a rough gravel track down to a car park disguised as a muddy puddle. This has now been graded and metalled to remove the puddles. A real car park area has been formed at the river end with a native shrub border.
Bain Pool Report – June 2005 Below SH 1 road bridge all pools – Bridge, Lower Bridge, Swirl, Stones, Honeypot, Nursery – were significantly altered by the February 2004 flood and more recently by excavating 50,000 m3 (+?) and developing stop banks to prevent future flooding at Bridge Lodge and Tongariro Lodge. Only time will assess the effectiveness of this work.
(Looking up river from the tail of Bain Pool beach – easy wading, easy casting. “FFF” Fish feet first! Always check out the shallows first.)
Similarly, only time will judge whether these once famous pools are still holding anything like their previous reputations or are even worth their dubious naming rights. There is confusion over the names and locations of these pools – these reports are based on DoC¹s 2004 map – FREE (incl. GST if any?) maps available from Sporting Life or Tongariro River Motel. Previous pool locations vary and confusion is assured as the braided river changes course with each flood.
Access: Vehicle access to Bain Pool is indicated on the DoC map off Grace Road – a rough gravel track down to a car park disguised as a muddy puddle. A narrow pumice dirt trail then leads to the Bain Pool but is only navigable for high clearance 4WD vehicles (or rental cars) to park on the stony beach. The walking track down to Reeds Pool leads off this access.
Bain Pool enthusiasts’ theory is that this is the first turbulent flow the trout encounter on their up-river spawning run – after growing to maturity for three years in Lake Taupo they have forgotten the thrill of shooting rapids. Therefore they are more disorientated, they need time to wait for others driven by instinctive sexual desire, flashing their red flanks and more focused on mating rites, to lead the charge through the confusing braided sections. The wading is easy.
Left – Successful Plank Pool angler, David Westwick from Auckland, enjoying
nymphing off the high bank above Plank Pool car park on 4 August 2006.
The Bain Pool was not named as such on the1928 map, nor in Freshwater Admiral by Vice-Admiral Hickling, printed in 1960, nor on the 1974 map contained in Barbara Cooper’s “Pools of the Tongariro”, nor in Tony Jensen’s “Trout of the Tongariro” published 1974, after many changes to this section of the river following excavation of gravel for the Tongariro Power Development. It appears on the maps drawn by Lyn Lloyd and Barry Greig as a supplement to his “Fishing Guide to the Tongariro River and Lake Taupo’s Southern Shore” published in 1983.
Back then the Plank Pool area was described as the Upper Island and Lower Island Pools with the Stones Pool sweeping around the curve in front of Tongariro Lodge buildings. This area was most recently changed in 2005 by the removal of gravel as the build-up of metal was considered likely to be the cause of flooding through to Herekiekie Street. In 2005 a stop bank was formed along the front of the Lodge.The pool above Bain is still known as the Plank Pool for the white board that prevented traffic from driving straight into the river but now replaced by the earth wall. Walking track from Bains Pool to Reeds Pool down river -15 minutes in waders.NOTE: Pool Reports for the Tongariro River are prepared from guest/anglers experiences. As such, Tongariro River Motel do not accept any responsibility for the opinions of other anglers who are traditionally acknowledged liars about their best fishing pools.