Stag Pool Update: 8 April 2013:
As Stag was such a consistent performer over the last few years it was over-due for a review. We regret it is all bad news…
(1) Below are images of the crossing – nothing has changed except that the stones are even worse. Very slippery.
The low flow was more than compensated by the growth of aquatic weeds which restrict foot holds and increase the chances of a dunking.
(2) Images on right illustrate the over-grown condition of the track in on the TRB (True Right Bank). It should only be attempted in the oldest patched 5mm thick waders.
We did make it through but even Boof was grumbling and reluctant to follow.
(3) The mixture of sand and silt and toxic ash that has been a feature of many pools in 2012 now covers much of the lower pool. This restricts any algae growth and food for trout. Trout avoid it. Anglers should too.
But it is not all entirely bad news. The wild blackberry crop in 2013 has been extraordinary and almost worth the trip. The prolonged dry spell has created delicious tangy flavours. The small amount of rain added some size without destroying the taste.
To find this organically grown wild vineyard, take the ‘Anglers Access’ track that leads off the main Tongariro River Trail between the cliffs above Cicada Pool and Cattle Rustlers access. Then the side track leads back down the river.
A photo of the log which marks the side track is below. Last warning – it is not for everyone.
Last – the fishing? As at April the algae that covers the bottom of many pools makes it a waste of time. Any weighted nymphs need to be cleaned after every cast. Even after changing to a dry and dropper, the dropper manged to find the weeds. Much easier to find a clean pool elsewhere.
Update 25 March 2012:
Crossing over the tail of Stag Pool…
Following more enquiries to TRM – some more up to date images below illustrating how to cross over to the TRB of Stag Pool – if you have the courage…
This is not recommended by TRM but some anglers cannot resist the challenge. The grass is always greener on the other side….
Firstly note how the three anglers linked up to support each other.
The crossing is not that deep but the boulders under-foot are greasy cannon balls and combined with the fast current make any individual crossing confined to those very experienced or over 2 metres tall.
As only two rods were being carried you can assume the angler on the left of the trio is a more experienced guide and the others imagine he knows exactly where to cross…
Secondly note the angle of their crossing. They move diagonally with the flow – rather than fight it.
See the position of the lone angler before and after they cross the gut.
OK? Personally I am not that desperate – yet…
The track in from the TRB below the Cattle Rustlers pool is now overgrown and the rampant blackberry makes it almost impossible. Hence the increase in enquiries about crossing over from the Stag Pool car park.
TRM’s recommendation: Fish the TLB instead.
Stag Pool Update
January 18 2012: Update on access to Stag Pool.
Images taken on 16 January when inspecting the middle reaches of the Tongariro RIver to update our “Tongariro Pools” files for 2012. Stag Pool remains much the same. In early 2011 a load of sand was deposited along the lower TRB and may have spoilt the lies but this is now being leached away.
But what this is all about is that anglers also need to know about access difficulty problems with the track to Stag Pool TRB. This off-shoot is now part blocked and very overgrown and part washed away requiring wading as well.
It appears to have been missed by DoC’s annual track maintenance contractors who trim the anglers access tracks.
Several old fallen (blown over) poplars now block the track plus the blackberry is closing in.
If you have to make this trip, wear only your oldest thickest leaky waders as they are likely to be snagged a few more times. We spent a half hour with a stick thrashing the blackberry but it will soon be impassable if left to grow. Ditto the old river bank track from Cattle Rustlers to Stag Pool.
It is more like a military obstacle course. It would be unfortunate to lose this track as this is still one of the most reliable pools in the middle reaches and this is the only access on the TRB.
Also at the tail of Cattle Rustlers Pool many anglers cross over by wading deep from the TLB in a big loop to get to the TRB beach.
For this access park at the Trout Centre and follow the track down river on the TLB and then follow the old road to the river. I am not sure if this crossing is still possible either?
The river was still flowing at over 30 m3/s when we were there so I was not prepared to test it.
If anyone can advise if this crossing is still wadeable, it would be appreciated, particularly by Boof.
Updated Pool Report by Andrew Christmas – Tongariro Fishing Guide
(Photo right – Author, Andrew Christmas with Mike & Brad from Cairns at LHS tail out of Stag Pool – 22 May 2009.)
Well the week has once again whisked away from us and we all find ourselves wondering what we will get up to on the weekend, who we will visit, which child’s sport we will watch or best of all what pool of the mighty Tongariro we will fish first thing on Saturday morning. Well I hope you wont take too much notice of this week’s pool report as it is my favourite pool on the river and it has served me very well over the last two years. I can rely on this pool for my clients as it is such an easy lie to fish with easy surroundings and almost no snags at all and it almost always has feeding trout occupying it.
(From LHS looking down river)
Welcome to the Stag Pool.
This pool can be accessed by turning off the highway at the Admirals Pool sign and follow the signs down to the Stag pool car park which is quite large as it is also the car park for the Cicada pool and Cattle Rustlers. This pool is great for every angler from very young to very old, to very experienced or the total novice. Hence that is why you will find me and my clients in here a lot.
(From LHS looking up-river)
The obvious place to fish this pool is from the true left as you drop out of the track as it is the first piece of water that hits you and it looks great-it’s hard to walk past. The way that I would advice to fish this water is to nymph it and start at the tail and work your way to the point that you can not wade anymore due to a high overgrown bank. Wading is not essential on this side of the river and you will see many elderly gentlemen fishing this water due to how close it is to the car park.
(From LHS looking further up-river)
The deep swirly piece of water at the head of the run quite often produces lovely big browns sitting in the slack water tight against the bank. In the summer the Cicada fishing can be productive in here as well as it does have some overhanging branches which house Cicadas and they must drop in as trout food. The pool is generally the same speed and depth all the way across so wetlining would be a method that could be used but I do not see that many anglers doing this here?. Nymphing is the best method in this water with the traditional Tongariro set up of small naturals or glo bugs and particularly if you are a left hander you are sweet.
(From RHS looking up-river)
I prefer to fish the true right of this pool and access to this water can be achieved by walking down from the Red Hut or walking up from the Major Jones bridge and dropping down off the track – sign-posted as “Anglers Access”. Both tracks have great scenery and you will pass awesome fishing pools on the way. To reach the Stag pool it will take about 45 minutes whichever track you take. Doc have recently redeveloped the old track from Cattle Rustlers down to the Stag so it is easily accessed once again. The old track was washed out and you had to walk down along the river to get to the pool.
(Crossing is not recommended but some anglers cannot resist the short cut across the tail from the Stag Pool car park)
If you are big strong and crazy and don’t value life very much or have a mate to use as a walking stick you might like to try and cross the tail of the Stag from the true left, but I strongly advise against it. In the summer months when the river was low it was able to be done but with the winter setting in and river coming up you would be better to walk the track and enjoy fishing on the way there. I am used to wearing breathable waders which are easy to cross in and divert water from, but the other day I broke out the neoprenes and it is amazing how much more the water grabs hold of you. So be careful this winter when you go back to the old waders.
From RHS tail of pool looking down river towards Cicada Pool cliffs)
The true right of the Stag offers great fishing for both nymphers and wetliners with nice long drifts and great depth to work that wet fly. I advise starting at the tail and work your way to the head until you hit the fast water fishing your feet first as there are large amounts of browns that hold in this water close to your feet and staying out of the main current. Drop back to the tail and then fish it like you are targeting Rainbows in the deeper faster water if you are wetlining it do the opposite way obviously. You will come across the odd snag while practicing both methods in this water but after the first time you will realize when to pull it out of there. I very seldom miss in this pool. It is my favourite pool to introduce new fishermen to as it holds heaps of fish and offers easy casting with not much mending. I find wading into the slack water just above my knees and casting into the current the easiest way to hit the lies in this pool. If you aren’t the best caster in the world that’s fine – even Ross can fish this water without too many worries because you can load your rod with your cast by laying it in the water behind you. There is plenty of space to lay your line out straight and push a decent cast up river without having to worry about snapping your flies off on rocks or catching them in the trees behind.
(From RHS head of pool looking down river)
From this side of the river it is hard to work out what is the true stag as there is another great run above the main pool which also holds plenty of trout and you would be mad to ignore it. It is only really fishable from the true right and is well fished after 20 casts or so. Fish hold in the fast water feeding on dislodged nymphs tumbling down from the braided water. Needless to say it really is best fished with a nymph rig. I also include this as part of the Stag pool and that’s good really as it gives two separate parties the opportunity to fish the Stag at the same time without pushing each other through quickly.
(View looking up river towards Stag Pool in distance. After trout have ascended this rapid up from Cicada Pool they have to rest to wait for you)
All in all there is not much wrong with this water. The only downfall I can fault the water on is that the big browns generally get away from me in here and we need to get together and dam the pool so when those buggers are hooked they cannot take off down the rapid to the Cicada pool. The last big boy went that way and I went with it resulting in a drowned camera, phone and waders full of water but the result was very worth it.
Keep fishing guys/gals, Don’t miss Saturday fishing report
(Photo of anon elderly angler photo at right by Brent Purser on 20 May 2007 – a hook up on first cast (!) at the head of Stag Pool RHS.)
(2008 – Signage now in place)
This is a pleasant walk, even in waders. Another option often used is to park at the National Trout Centre, follow the Angler Access track down river to cross at the tail of Cattle Rustlers Pool and then proceed down river to the Stag Pool. The tail of Cattle Rustlers has become a popular crossing being waist deep over sandy river bed in quiet current.
This last option may appear longer but appears more popular during Autumn for the ripe organically grown wild blackberries about 200m along the track.
Once across to the RHS, the Stag Pool side track is only about 20m down from the Cattle Rustlers side track. Follow this along the river bank – past where part of the track has been washed out – then back inland until you see the large log which identifies where the second side track leads to Stag Pool.
Note a local guide suggests that Stag Pool is subject to constantly changing contours from silting up after each fresh. Early in 2006 it was a hot pool but then went out of favour after silt appeared to ruin the lie in the gut. But soon after another small fresh, it reverted to its former contour, but by then was by-passed by many anglers despite being a consistent producer.
We are not aware why or how this was called Stag Pool. The river course has changed as indicated by the wide fan spreading out from the Stag Pool car park and no doubt will change again.
The crossing below stag is also known as Mill Race. On the Tourist & Publicity map of 1929 this leads into the Cicada Pool under the pumice cliffs. On Whitney’s map of 1932 it is named the Fly Pool.
Stag Pool car park is often used by anglers visiting other pools including Cicada Pool or for crossing over to RHS pools.
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.