Update image above as at 18 April 2013 –
No material changes. Reed is a consistent producer – at this time of the year the browns are often seen along the shallow edges.
BUT do not spook them by walking along the river bank down river. From where the track emerges onto Reeds Pool keep away from the edge – walk a loop and come back up river behind them and you will see many many more. OK?
Update from TRM Daily Report 29 January 2012
New Tracks down TLB to Reed Pool:
(Above image looking up Reed Pool from TLB)
I’m staggered by the images from today’s report. The Plank Pool – one of my favourites- gone! My Tongariro River maps – useless below the bridge! I only hope my unfavourite snags have gone as well. I gather that the changes are all part of the mining/quarrying/flood mitigation/river improvement/dangerous Brown trout removal? I hope that in future reports you can keep up-to-date with the changes taking place. I also notice your “LINKS” have disappeared from the home page – did this get quarried as well?
Regards to Pip, Boof and Tyler,
In 2011 contractors cut down most of the willows on the TLB between the Swirl Pool and Reed Pool. As part of this road access was formed for machinery. Anglers have been using these tracks to drive from the Crescent on Tautahanga Road.
(i.e. From TRM drive to the village centre and turn right at the roundabout and the Crescent Domain is about 1 km on right. This access used to be popular for access to the Swirl Pool before the main river current bypassed the Swirl Pool and it reverted to a back water – except when the river floods. Then it is “hot”. Hint, hint…)
Back to the road access down the TLB – it is part metalled and suitable for the family car if it is dry. Previously it was only accessible to 4WD or rental cars. The cars we have seen parked at the Reed Pool TLB indicate the hump at the start of the track is now doable. Beyond the head of Reed Pool the track is blocked off – see image. The number of sawn off Willow tree trunks would make it impossible for all but tracked vehicles anyway. Behind the barrier the new cleared track continues and provides easy walking access along the river bank to the Bends.
Now here is the key point. About half way down towards the tail of Reed Pool after it narrows, the river current now swops sides from the TLB across to the TRB. Previously Reed Pool could only be fished from the beach on the TRB with access from Graces Road via the Bain Pool car park. Now it is just as good with access from the TLB and wade up the centre of the river. But don’t tell anyone we told you – OK?
At the tail of Reed Pool or at the head of Jones Pool there is a small spring creek on the TLB. Walk down to this and wade the creek which now provides easy wading back up for about 100m on a wide gravel shelf in the centre of the river.
Down there the trout practice apartheid. Only rainbows are waiting for you in the faster main current along the TRB and big Browns are tucked into the bank below the willows – where it is hard to drift a dry fly – along the TLB. Just thought you should know…
So how do you get the Browns to slide out from the banks? Float a big cicada past them… OK Apparently the cicadas gives them a welcome change in diet from eating all the rainbows. True! A local angler landed a ten pounder there last week. Several others of 7, 8, & 9 pounds have also been reported but we are not allowed to say any more as only locals go down there.
TRM had other reports yesterday of Browns savaging cicadas. The distinctive noisy racket from the cicadas mating calls down river and the numbers of dead cicadas along the track suggest the cicada season is in full swing but the noise quickly disappears every time it rains or perhaps the trout had eaten them all.
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…
Update February 2011
Tongariro flood damage.
Following the big 665 m4/sec flood last Sunday (23 January) are images below to illustrate how the lower river has been trashed.
Poignant images of the lower Tongariro flood include these five trout – 3 browns, 2 rainbows – stranded as the flooded river retreated – as the tide went down.
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.
The location was on the TRB (True Right Bank) back from Jones Pool, where most of the beach was washed away.
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.
(The surrounding bush on the anglers access track to Reed Pool looked more like a scene from a Peter Jackson movie with the mud left behind as the river backed up.)
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.
(The track below the Bends Pool washed away)
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 shambles of flood debris at what was Jones Pool beach)
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.
(Tail of Reed Pool beach washed away)
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.
(The Bends Pool – also known as the Trolly Pool – reduced in size)
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.
(A cicada trying to emerge and climb out of its hole. We gave him a hand out… and pointed him towards the river)
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.
(Reed and Jones Pools look a bit blurred through the perspex canopy. The Reed pool extends further to the left and Jones Pool curves to the right. Can you identify the little stream above Jones on true LHS. (Or see photo below left taken today) That may be why so many trout hold in Jones Pool – to inhale the intoxicating spawning smells from the stream. This is the first of many other similar spawning tributaries up the Tongariro River.)
Hi guys, finally have another minute to get back to you all as promised and report on the small but productive piece of water in the lower river called the Jones pool. I know you would rather read about what Lorna has been up to this week between bringing Ross cups of tea and fresh scones but as we all know that doesn’t catch us anymore fish does it.
The last report we touched on was the Reed pool which is a large long solid pool which favours many older anglers and leaves heaps of opportunities for all methods of catching trout in the Tongariro so I thought as the Jones Pool was only a stones throw down river we better get that one out of the way as well.
Last season when the big Browns were streaming up the Tongariro there were several large fish captured in this water along with countless amounts of fresh run rainbows which hold up in this water on their quest to reach the upper river. It is also a pool which can be fished with a nymph or dredged with a big wet fly by letting it swing across and slowly retrieved but does not have much potential to hold any more than just one rod or one method at a time.
The only real way to fish the Jones Pool is from the true right hand side of the river where there is a lovely little gravely beach which you can stand on and either make your way up river for ten metres or of course down for ten metres depending on which method of fishing you are applying. If nymphing you will be starting in the tail as per normal and working your way up to the head of the pool which has a slight tumble in and few nasty snags which are easily missed as they are very visible. The casting does not have to be huge and most anglers would be able to hit the willows on the other side if they wanted to but blind fishing like this will only end up in tears with no leader or flies left so stick with what you can see and read the water with the angling skills you have.
The tail of the pool is where the wetliners just love it and do very well..It is also where certain TRM stalkers spend their time hunting browns in the last minutes of summer heat before dark (Hi John, Hi Wayne, etc.). At this position above the pool you can really see a deep and steady drop of which just screams dredge me to wetliners. Casting for anglers is quite easy going and most guys will nearly cast down to the bends if they are using a shooting head with some substantial weight in the front of it. A short leader and a Woolly bugger is all that is needed here but watch out for the logs and snags which seem always hungry for flies. A good way to get out of snags is to test the water first by a quick strip in the first time and then get slower until you start touching the bottom, by doing this you wont get solidly hooked up first cast and may save a few flies. There are 2 or three snags in here but the more you “fush” there the better you will learn to navigate around them and get the most out of the pool.
The easiest and best way to get to the pool is to go down the true right of the river as if you were trying to get to the Reed pool after parking in the Bain pool car park. The track down is very visible and a great walk which everyone is capable of doing at their own pace. If you are heading down this way you have to try both of these pools. They hold huge numbers of trout at different times of the year and it is sure to be a good one for you at some stage.
Hopefully this adds another string to your bow for next time you are up this way and another option if the river is ever busy again.
(Photos taken today – 18 December 2009 – typical summer day when we did not sight another angler anywhere below the Bridge Pool to De Latours. The wet line poser in images above is WG)
NOTE: Both Reed and Jones Pool score 14 out of 20 in the Tongariro River ratings chart.
Reed Pool Update 2009
The last few weeks have been extremely busy and Ross has been nice enough to grant me a few weeks leave from doing the report to concentrate on guiding and my own website reports. But between guiding this week I have a minute to do a report and give you guys some insight to another pool. Many anglers will know this pool better than me as it seems to have it’s regular guys who love this pool and stay loyal to it.
Welcome to the Reed Pool.
The Reed pool is a very famous lower river pool and is favoured by older anglers as it is one of the best wet lining pools on the Tongariro river. Most books on the Tongariro will mention or have a write up on this pool as it used to be and still is one of the most productive pools on the river. It is also angler friendly. It’s productivity is due to location in the lower river and being a great holding pool for groups of fresh run fish which are still in the same pod that they entered the river in. Fish seem to stick together or move at the same pace while still in the lower section of the river or at least while they are below the bridge and this is why if you hit it right in the winter you can have some double figure days pretty quick. To have double figure days consecutively you must be following the group of fish you found the day before up river as they wont be in the same pool as the day before.
Given the length and depth of the Reed pool it is easy to see why large numbers of migrating trout form in here and even take up residence for spawning in the sandy bottomed shallows. Quite often you can see fish digging redds in the shallows and coloured up jacks chasing in behind or snapping at other smaller younger males trying to move in on their patch. I personally stay away from this behaviour as they are usually hard to catch and the males that you can tempt with a glo bug will generally be very dark or skinny fish. (Editor’s note: But remember usually about 20-30m down river there will be few old jacks feeding off any displaced eggs!)
All methods of fly fishing are welcome in here and most anglers will get along well in here as there is plenty of water for everyone to have a fair chunk of their own and not bother anyone else. Wet liners love this pool as it is easy wading with a good solid sand base and they can stand up to their nipples and get a nice long cast to the other side and swing their wets right through the best lies. I would use a fairly fast shooting head or sink tip in here with a short trace and a big Woolly Bugger attached with plenty of crystal flash sparkle in the tail to entice fresh running trout. If wet lining start at the head of the pool. It is generally the thing to do and slowly creep your way down to the tail while working as much water as you can cover as you go. As I don’t wetline a lot I can’t quite remember but I’m pretty sure that the pool is fairly snag free and if you do pick up the odd log you can usually wade down and retrieve it as the current is constant and your feet firmly cemented under the sand.
Nymphing should be done in reverse of course. To be really successful in this pool I think you will need a fairly long cast followed with a good mend to get the right drift and flies down to the fish on the far side. The head of the pool supports a shorter cast but does not allow you to stand there all day and hog the spot where wet liners enjoy starting their run down. While nymphing up you must be aware of anglers working down river and cross over at the right time to avoid confusion and tangles. Simple communication is all that is needed. I have seen some great arguments on the Tongariro over the years and they all seem to be between wetliners and nymphers in the winter fishing the spawning runs. Who fishes for this reason? You could stay at home for an argument!
Dry fly in the summer with those big ugly Cicadas can take some very large Browns which sit under the willows on the far (true left) side and with a directed cast and good drift they will get accepted on most occasions. Never dismiss any pool in the summer for Brown trout as they will be where you find them and especially in the lower river close to the edges and overhung banks. Down river they are mainly night time feeders but with the right fly and the correct approach they are great targets during the day as well.
Access to the Reed pool is very easy and is another reason why it is popular with many anglers and in particular those who like a gentle stroll down memory lane or those (like Ross) who can’t handle the uneven stony terrain of the upper river. The best option for me is to park in the Plank Pool car park off Graces Rd and take the track which follows the river down on the true right hand side. Not so long ago you could park right on the river but in recent times a large log has been wedged across the track so vehicle access has been obstructed and confined to the main car park. In more recent times I have noticed that the log has been cut in half or dragged aside and you could squeeze your truck down there once again but I’m not sure if this is supposed to be happening. To save hassle you are best to park in the main car park. The walk down through the trees to the Reed Pool should only take 15 minutes and where the track runs out onto the river you will not mistake the head of the Reed pool, as it is the one you are looking straight at.
The Reed Pool pretty much starts where you walk out at the track and follows down to the next set of rapids, thus making the pool about 500 metres in length all of which is fishable. I was going to include the Jones pool in the same report as it does get mistaken quite often as the same pool but as it is such a significant piece of water it deserves it’s own write up. To keep things fresh in everybody’s mind I will report on the Jones pool next week. Then it will warrant a walk down there on your next trip to Turangi.
From Bains Pool carpark take the 4WD track down to Bains Pool (if confused or lost refer to the Bain Pool Report), then divert onto the foot-track down to Reeds.
Take this left fork and wade across to the island (See photo on left). The track is steep onto the island but after that the track is easy to follow to the small beach. The best lie is up river on the LHS.
This leads on to an easy crossing over to the top of the Log Pool. Look out for snags… Fly retailers love this pool as they sell flies…
Reed Pool 2005 Report
This series of reports was originally requested by regular Tongariro River Motel inmates to advise them on changes to Tongariro River pools – particularly following the February 2004 flood and river works reconstruction since. Therefore, perhaps the Reed Pool hardly warrants an update at all. We are advised the only major difference is that the often flooded access is more difficult, and the pool now has larger and more numerous snags.
Easy casting and wading is available from the wide sandy beach which extends 300m-400m along the northern or RHS. The river widens and the rate of flow slows to a crawl, gliding smoothly through Reeds so long drifts are possible across to the main lie in the channel along the LHS. This lower river area is still strewn with flood debris, and is visually messy from natural fan aggradation compared to the more scenic upper river aspects. But spawning trout like all the shelter provided by the debris. Previously one of the main attributes was a minor spawning stream which spews in at the bottom of Reeds from the LHS, but a large snaggy log jam chose the stream mouth as a perfect place to anchor and collect flies, so this made any casting or wading unnecessarily dangerous and ridiculously expensive in lost leaders and snagged flies. With the first spawning tributary into the river, the flow rate increases strongly at this converging confluence. The lower Reeds has developed into a spawning area over the last two years.
Australian visitors at Reed Pool – 11 September 2006 .
The usual access is via Grace Road, then proceed down the only road on left after Herekiekie Street, just past Tongariro Lodge, along a rough and often flooded pumice track leading to the river. Parking is available either at the end of the gravel road or on the stone beach for 4WD vehicles – refer to the Bain Pool report.
A winding track leads down river from just where the vehicle access joins the beach. Reeds is about 20 minutes (in waders) beyond Bain Pool along the undulating bank on what struggles to even qualify as an angling trampers track.
Wayne & Phil Boustridge returning from Reeds Pool in usual style on their annual fishing trip…June 2006
Alternative access directly across the private farmland track to the top of Reeds is now fenced off, or the previous sunken trail leading upriver from the bottom of Graces Road was washed out during the 2004 flood and is now overgrown and too arduous for sensible anglers. Some anglers have been known to completely lose their way down on the swampy flood plain too This same breed of angling trampers suggest there is no easy access at all on the LHS after reconstruction works blocked the shallow spawning side stream, which only ever held skinny black recovering slabs anyway – well, so they advise. Evidently the only reason anglers waddle down there in waders most days is for their health – anglers love tramping in the great outdoors. We notice most also take their rods as well – obviously extreme incurable optimists – just in case?
But anglers cannot be trusted as this was all lies. Park in the Reserve off Tautahanga Road usually used for access to the Swirl Pool. (The track is clearly marked on Bayleys Turangi street map available at the office.)
Follow the old road down river and take the third side track on the right which should bring you out on the Reed Pool LHS opposite the snag below the bypass. There is excellent casting available directly into the deep channel from the bank and from shallow wading across the mouth of the bypass and below the bank. A rough track extends along the bank and leads eventually to the beaches down river opposite Smallmans Reach and The Bends, although these tracks get very over-grown during summer months. A good spot for either wet lines or nymphing with an extra long leader.
Fishing Report 2 November 2006:
Tongariro River Motel guest/angler with more evidence that fresh run rainbows can be caught in November. Alan Peterson drove over from Napier this morning, strolled down to Reed Pool in civilised office hours, hooked and landed five rainbows, released two. He had all of the Reed Pool to himself – just like heaven. All caught on olive woolly buggers – never use anything else says Alan. Some anglers make it very simple.