Barlow’s Pool Report updated by Andrew Christmas – Tongariro River Guide.
(Photos below from Barlows LHS – 29 May 2009)
Weeks are flying past at the moment and I have found myself continually stuck in front of this computer instead of hunting trout on the Tongariro, but I do enjoy it and I hope you find this weeks TRM pool report beneficial for your next trip to the mighty Tongariro. This week’s report is based upon a pool where over the last few years I have spent a lot of time and have had mixed success.
It is Barlows Pool.
Like other pools on the Tongariro there are many different ways to get to this water safely and fairly quickly with a little bit of walking in all cases. The way that I prefer to get to the pool is to park in the Stag pool carpark and walk up the true left along the Doc track until you hit the tail of the Cattle Rustlers and this is where I like to cross. It looks deep and it generally is but it is slow flowing and sandy bottomed for most of it so getting across at a good water level should be fine. Once on the true right I march straight past Cattle Rustlers without looking into it as there are always fish in it that I can’t catch and head for the next pool upriver which is Barlows.
Other options to get to the same water on the same RHS side include walking down the track from the true right after crossing over the Red Hut Bridge or walking up the track on the true right afte crossing the Major Jones. These are great options especially if you want to have a great walk and see the scenery. But you will also cross many famous and great fishing pools on the way, which to be honest in many cases, are more productive pools.
(Photos are of Dee Taylor from Hamilton who stalked & hooked & screamed & chased & played & screamed & landed her very first Tongariro rainbow from RHS of Barlows in 2008 – just so she could be on Andrew’s report.)
These are all ways to fish the true right of this pool as it tumbles down from the Lower Birch but you can fish it on the true left reasonably well accessing it through the Trout Hatchery as well. This side I feel is far better wetlined instead of nymphed as it has nice deep fast water with reasonable space behind you to gain a bit of length and produce a good swing. Nymphing is fine though and if you are lucky enough to be a left hander you should find this pool favourable. All the good old patterns that I mention will do just fine here depending on the time of year, always fish them under a heavy bomb.
OK, back to sorting out the general rules of the pool from the most popular side which is easily the true right. From this side fishing the entire length of the pool is easily done so start in the tail and work your way to the head fishing your feet first and pushing those casts furher across if and when you feel you have to. I generally have ten casts in one foot setting and then slowly move up so I’m fishing new water with almost every cast. This method really gets you into the rhythm of moving through the pool and making every cast count. When you have guys up your backside wanting to move through you soon learn how to get the most out of the time you have in one area hoping they dont pull one out from behind you. If you are not satisfied with the attention you gave the pool or it just looks so damn fishy you just can’t leave then move through again but this time change your rig with either a different fly or a change in weight. This pool has responded well to small natural patterns or glo bugs in the morning fished below a substantial bomb. Wetlining is obviously done by starting in the head and working your way down swinging the wet as you go and is also a good way to cover plenty of water in this pool. As far as I am aware most of it is pretty much snag free and you will do well with the good old Woolly Bugger in varying sizes and colours.
(On left is supposed to be a photo of the fish trap that anglers need to navigate over or around on the track to Barlows LHS from the Anglers’ Access carpark at the Trout Centre)
I personally like to nymph this water and I find standing up to about my knees in the water the best and easiest way to achieve the right length cast into the edge of the deeper water. If you are not the best cast don’t worry, if you stand in the water there is plenty of space to lay that line down and water load that cast into the bread basket. In the past I have not caught a lot of trout in this water but when I do they have been in the main spawning runs and in awesome condition. This pool has a fair bit of water moving through it and I don’t think unhealthy fish have the power to fin into it so they get pushed back to Cattle Rustlers to recover in slow easy swimming water.
(On right is the historic chain that was part of the fish trap which extended across the river in a failed experiment at counting trout in the 1960’s – still in place at the head of Barlows LHS)
All in all it’s a nice easy piece of water to fish with no snags, safe wading and plenty of space to land that fish so if you are up there on the way to another pool it’s well worth a chuck.
Catch all the latest with all the fishing news and the epic battle between Shane and TRM as I think something big is going to go down soon and pride will be hurt all on tommorows fishing report .
Editor’s Note: – from Pools of the Tongariro by Barbara Cooper.
Barlow’s, situated above Cattle Rustlers at the mouth of the Waihukahuka (Hatchery) Stream, took its name from B. U. (Bubs) Barlow. NZ Fishing Gazette, March 1931 – “Mr. B U Barlow says he has taken 300 fish from the Tongariro so far this season. We understand that Mr. Barlow has a government whare at the Hatchery Camp.
The shingle Bank which was on the LHS has now moved to the RHS and the name of Barlows has transferred with it.Above right is new public entry path to Trout Centre being completed as at 29 May 2009. Left is the Kids Fishing Pool – click on the photo – then you might see all the shadows waiting nervously for kid’s day)
2009 Cattle Rustlers Pool Rating (out of 20)
(Lower Birches (RHS) = 12, Cattle Rustlers (RHS) = 14)
Barlows RHS = 11.