Rating (out of 20) 12 – (Reduced for 2011 review of pool ratings)
Kamahi Pool 13, Neverfail 14. (increased)
(Following info is obsolete but retained for historic reference only)
28 May 2008 – Poutu Canal maintenance programme postponed until 2009. Canal re-opened and Tongariro River now back to the managed level of a minimum of 16 cumecs below the dam which, after additional flows from various tributaries such as Waipa, Whitikau, Poutu, Mangamawhitwhiti, etc. results in approximately 23 cumecs at Major Jones Pool.
22 April 2008 Update: The flood on 15 April rose to over 500 cumecs and will have affected many of the pools and river crossings. So take care!
(2007 Google Earth aerial photo of Tongariro River from Kamahi at top, Admirals centre, Cicada at right corner centre, Stag Pool and Cattle Rustlers below)
(Photo left – Local guide
Andrew Christmas trying not to smile (?) with three out of nine fresh
run pink rainbows landed in one early morning session on 11 February
Admirals Pool has been a “great” holding pool through 2007 and continues into 2008. See for yourself – drive to the lookout from the car park and find the track to the left so you can get a good elevated view into the tail of the pool. We have counted up to thirty trout which are within easy casting by wading up behind them.
But the best way to fish this pool is by casting from both sides. i.e. As anglers cast from the true RHS beach the school of trout are forced to move across under the cliff. Then the angler who has approached from the steps on the LHS can cast and move them back over. We have seen this pair trawling strategy work with deadly results.
No material changes from 2006.
Disregard the 2005 negative comments. Admirals is back! After the major 2004 flood this pool has taken over a year to settle and is now holding very well – arguably our second best (after the Plank Pool above Bain Pool?) most improved pool for 2006, according to TRM inmates… But never believe everything they tell us…
Successful recent converts to Admirals tell us the best lie is usually in the centre gut of the pool just towards the tail, or up in the head at the end of the feed line, or the shallower tail out – get the picture? Cover all the water.
(Photo left – Paul Bright with a five pound fresh run rainbow at Admirals Pool – August 2007. Note the lucky cap!)
RHS The usual access is from the track to Kamahi Pool, 25 minutes walk via the Koura Street footbridge. Also, do not forget there are a couple of good pockets worth inspection below Admirals Pool. If Admirals is already occupied continue the tramp across the stones up river to the Cicada Pool – described below.
Major Jones Pool may be famous for its apple trees, other pools have wild blackberries, but Admirals car park has PEACHES! Organically grown Golden Queens available from end of March – limit is one per angler per day.
LHS Access to the Admirals Pool side road is about 3 km south of Tongariro RIver Motel, then a further 1 km down to the river bank. The fork off to the right leads to Stag Pool car park.
The old Admirals carpark drops off where you can look over the pool with deep powerful swirling eddies which splits into two channels towards the tail. Car park opposite on LHS provides more direct access from SH1 but best fishing is from RHS. Old steps on the north side before the original car-park lead to some shallow pocket water which can easily be crossed to an island. This has become more popular for nymphing from either side in 2006.
Another option is to take the right fork towards Stag Pool where a foot track up river from the car park leads to some more interesting pockets along LHS. DoC advise this track will be extended eventually (promises, promises?) to link Red Hut and Koura Street swing bridges.
The walking track up RHS from Koura Street swing bridge (past the Hydro) takes about 25 minutes and has the advantage of also accessing the top of Kamahi below Admirals, or continuing further upriver to Cattle Rustlers for more athletic anglers.
(Left – Garth James from Adelaide casting into the head of Admirals July 2007)
We encourage tourists on this track to enjoy some of the last remnants of native bush – mainly ferns and Manuka – and to hear what is left of the morning chorus from Tuis and Bellbirds on the Anglers Access side track heading down to Kamahi. Bird life here extends on to the river where ducks antics help to fill in the attention gaps between casts. On the Big T there is so much potential for increased pleasure and satisfaction on new water, stalking and hooking and landing and releasing (?) fresh run trout from new untested pools. That is the challenge.
The ever changing distinctive element of riffles and reaches and pools are a feature of the Tongariro. These offer the great annual leveller for all fly fishing aficionados – everyone will regularly be challenged to learn new skills. The moment your favourite no-name pool is “sussed”, you can bet that the lie, or the course, or the flow, or the depth, will change after the next fresh and spoil your expectations. Every fly fishing trip should be and can be a new adventure. So we implore you to recapture the childhood excitement of discovery in a new pool.
Named after Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Jellicoe, second Governor General of New Zealand, 1920 – 1924. It is recalled that when staying at Taylor’s lodge, Lord Jellicoe used to leave quietly without saying where he was going and would return with plenty of fish. It was found that he caught most of them below the old Ministry of Works quarry. Joe Frost (well known local resident angler) recalls him as a very good angler and very friendly. One day when Lord Jellicoe forgot his lunch, he shared Joe’s a cup of tea from his billy.
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 pool.
An Admirals Pool Angler Profile
(and his secret fly, an anorexic smelt)
Bill is a retired builder from Paraparaumu, where he usually chases sea run trout and whitebait in the Waikanae River. For many years Bill’s annual pilgrimage is to the Tongariro River Motel in late January, when every one else finds Summer fly fishing conditions too difficult. The clear conditions usually challenge any anglers’ ability to innovate. (Even Pip tested his versatility. Last time he stayed he repaired the motel washing machines.) His favourite fly is called “Billy’s Dream”. It looks like an anorexic whitebait?
You will not find this fly in any tackle shops or fishing books. Even major fly distributors don’t stock it. Of course we were not allowed to photo the fly. It is Bill’s secret weapon. Bill has been using his smelt fly for more years than he can remember and rarely uses anything else. Billy’s Dream catch rate puts it in the top 20%. The rest of his fishing gear is not available from any retail catalogue or tackle shops either and could best be described as historic i.e. his favourite reel is a 50 year old Rainbow Green Dolphin. Note the camo (?) clothing – so the trout think he is a tourist. There is more glue than rubber on his old black waders, covered in glued patches. (New waders were seen on his 2008 visit)The fishing gear has survived many seasons and defies description. Most like the landing net, wading pole, etc. are hand made of course.
As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get going; for anglers read the wetter the better. So Bill is definitely one of Tongariro’s favourite characters.