UPDATE images as at MARCH 2013
The usual annual reminder – this pool immediately below the road bridge has none of the usual attractive features of Tongariro pools BUT remains the most productive pool on the river. Trout can usually be seen – with polaroids – off the road bridge. You need to get there before sparrows fart to get a good possie. OK?
Update 24 January 2012
Tongariro River Motel angler from UK, R. Tovey.
Brown jack landed in Bridge Pool (TLB above the bridge), Tongariro River, 24 January.
Caught on an intermediate sinking line and one metre trace with a #8 bug eyed olive and crystal flash smelt fly.
Weighed in at nine and a half pounds.
Updated images below – 12 January 2012:
Updated March 2011
Mature pines were being removed for public safety purposes and will be replaced by native plantings. The pines removal project is similar as that organised by the Advocates on behalf of DoC – short term pain for long term gain – but far more public. Compared to the concerns heard over the poisonong of pines up river SWMBO reports no dissent about the removal of these – so far. Perhaps it is too early?
Above the road bridge much more flow is now directed down the western or left side of the island below Judges Pool. Previously it was about 90% on East side, then after the floods over the last few years the flow to the west increased to 50/50 – see 2009 image below. Now it is more like 80%.
Anglers may also notice that this change was cleverly anticipated by the Advocates’ naming of the Lonely Pool on the western flow on their new Tongariro Bucket List map. Sometimes – not very often, but just occasionally – we get one right… Now, in the photos you may be able to you see the new pools forming in the Western bypass.
Also below the Tongariro road bridge is the extended beach on TLB (True Left Bank) below the bridge. This doubled in size after the flood in late January 2011. The effect is to narrow the channel under the bridge even more making the flow stronger and more difficult to get lures or flies down to the fish hugging the bottom.
Updated September 4th, 2009
Another big week on the river has passed and plenty of fish have entered and moved through Taupo river which have given anglers some exciting trout fishing. The most consistent river again has been the mighty Tongariro with other rivers such as Waitahanui offering good angling when crowds or bad weather push anglers from the Taupos main spawning river. We experienced a large amount of water which flushed out the system during the week with the Tongariro rising up and over 300 cumecs. I am hesitant to call it a flood due to the river rising so quickly due to closing off hydro power canals being responsible for the quick increase of water. This sort of (artificial flash flood) “FRESH” is not what the trout like and will not run into the system like they would if it was true rain from the heavens.
As it is Friday I’m sure you have all logged onto see what we have for you in the way of a pool report so this week I am concentrating on a pool which would have been the most consistent fish producer in the last 4 months and that is the Bridge Pool. Yeah, Yeah I can hear you all cringing as it is not the prettiest pool in the world but it is part of our wonderful river and there wouldn’t be too many of you which have stopped and had a thrown or watched anglers pulling fish from this water while on recent visits to Turangi.
In my opinion it is only in recent times that this pool has constantly held big numbers of fish that can be caught. As with most pools at certain times there will be good numbers of trout but there are very few pools which you could confidently go to every morning and pull a fish from in your first 3 casts if you were first there. This at the moment is one of those pools. The bridge offers a great bird’s eye view for fisherman to scout out where the best lies are and how many fish are holding in this pool and even if they feeding. There are not too many days when you cannot stare at fish from the bridge and depending on how many trout are in this water, it gives me a good idea of how many fish are in the river.
The success of this water has not gone unnoticed and finding a position or casting space in this pool can be interesting and an early start in the dark is needed. Popular with locals – this pool is usually busy with guys on their way to work who stop and catch their limits and carry on. Easy access to the pool is also why it receives so much attention with good safe parking on both sides of the bridge. An extra advantage is the fisherman’s coffee trailer. No fishing expedition to the bridge is complete without a skinny latte from the beautiful SHAZ.
For some reason normal fishing etiquette does not seem to be carried out by locals or greedy fisherman once they hit the sweet spot but it does not have to be like this if anglers communicate with each other and remember why they are actually there. I have heard of older fisherman telling me stories of dunkings and beatings on the side of the river while having falling out with others. This pool in my opinion is where something will happen if it’s going to happen. At the end of the day we fish to enjoy the scenery, the company and the companionship with good friends – so lets not let the thought of catching all the fish in a pool spoil such views.
The bridge pool suits all kinds of anglers and their styles and if nymphers and wetliners can get along they can work around each other with a bit of communication. Nymphers will generally occupy most of the pool and I generally see very few wetliners here – probably as most people nymph these days and to avoid confrontation they move on. There is an option for a keen wetliner which you will quite often see and that is if you can climb up on the pillar of the bridge on the true right hand side. By casting off the concrete piller you will enjoy a very easy fishing experience. Obviously your retrieve will be straight up the river back to your feet but you will be dragging that fly right through the main lie and will hook up as long as you are getting deep enough. Landing fish could be an issue as you are up high and will probably be trying to wind fish up river, so using 12 lb line would be advisable to avoid break offs. The other option is to communicate with others, then jump off the pillar and land the fish the conventional way by walking down river and applying side strain to get them out of the main current. Caution should be taken while trying to scramble up the concrete piller as falling in off here will generate a response from other anglers and tourists watching from above. The most productive time to be wetlining this water would be at night with a black woolly bugger or lumo fly retrieved slowly. Chances are you will be there by yourself and be able to fish from top to bottom with no disturbance from a nymph fisherman. Wet lining at night will catch fish guys – it just takes a bit of effort to get out of bed or don’t go to bed.
Nymph fisherman definitely have the best fishing here and more water to explore with good runs below and above the bridge on both sides of the river. Casting room is good and the willows which were creeping up too high have been kindly pruned to small stumps to avoid flies ending up in them. Nymphing should be done with a substantial bomb as when you get up to the hot spot which is under the bridge on both sides you need to get those flies down pretty quickly. At the moment and at first light glo bugs are generally a good fly to fish here but when conditions are clear and bright you might consider using a natural pattern such as hare and copper or white caddis.? As always it’s useless using the right fly and even the right weight if you are fishing a short leader so remember to use a longish leader in those deeper spots so your fly can get down to the desired depth.
Nymphing can be practised on both sides below the bridge and above the bridge successfully by using the standard Tongariro set up. Generally you need to jump in where you can as fishing spots are limited in this pool and to be honest, if the pool is empty jump in the hot spot and main lie which I think is on the true right and under the pillar, as starting in the tail and working your way may not happen as someone may just jump in front of you. If you are on the true left the best lie I think can be fished from about half way up the pool casting to the head of the pillar and let it drift through. If you are unaware of where to fish get on the bridge and study where fish are sitting and where you will have to cast to, to ensure those flies get down properly.
That covers the lower part of the pool under and below the bridge but there are other options just above where the bypass runs into the main river creating a confluence which we are calling the Groin. The Groin has been about for donkey years but has been overlooked as part of the pool under the bridge. We would like to call all this water the Groin as we already have a lower bridge pool so I would like to see all the water we have talked about today named or renamed the Groin. The bypass which finds the main river again passes some great water which is now a series of fast riffley holding water. The Sportsmans pool and the Lonely pool used to be substantial pools and the Sportsmans lodge which still backs onto this water was named after this great piece of water. The Lonely pool has started to come back and is slowly getting deeper again and is now starting to hold and produce fish. Basically the bypass runs through some nice fishy water which spills into the pool to create the Groin but with it it brings fishy smells and trout will sit in this confluence and wait for the right time to run the rapid. Nymphing I think is the only way to really get to these fish and as it is swirly and hard to fish. You are best to fish a heavy bomb in here and hope that it is dropping down quickly.
Access to the pool is very easy and is part of the problem of why it is always so busy with anglers or on-lookers. To get to the true right park in the car park before you go over the bridge in the dirt car park and walk down 50metres to the rivers edge. To get to the true left park in the car park near the coffee van on the right as you go over the bridge. Again walk down the stock bank 50 metres and start fishing. Doesn’t sound like much of an adventure I know but you could spice it up a bit and stay at TRM and walk down the highway to the bridge and then start fishing on your desired side, cant wait!
Above the bridge has some mean snags and before fishing it I would advise checking them out from above and familiarize yourself of when to pull out or where not to let fish run for. Below the bridge seems to be ok but there is still one log laying close to the pillar on the true right which seems to occasional take a number of nymphs from different anglers.
There are a couple of local boys which are very young but who know this water like the back of their hand so with any problems while fishing here, consult them and ask for information. I personally have never guided here due to road noise, graffiti and lack of any fisherman’s etiquette, but do occasionally stop for a chuck by myself when the pool is free, as there is always fish in here on the feed an it can be very productive.
Not the prettiest pool in the river but a pool all the same and it’s an easy place for elderly or disabled to enjoy fishing for a few hours without having to walk a mile over stones.
Tight lines guys
Andrew Christmas www.taupotroutguide.com<
(Except for the Google aerial above and last photo of 2008 casting school at Lower Bridge pool, all photos were taken today. As Andrew says, you always find a few characters to share your experiences with at the Lower Bridge Pool car park. First photo on right is looking across the pool towards the famous Tongariro Riverside B&B – please tell Maryke & Les Wilson that TRM promoted it for them)
The Taupo region really is a picture perfect area at the moment with awesome snow capped mountains and frosty still mornings to wake up to and get out and enjoy. It is always hard to get out of bed when the electric blanket is ticking over but it’s always worth it once you are out. The pool that we will review this week is visited by many locals in the wee hours of the morning and in the main spawning runs you will need to be there in the dark with the head lamp, which brings us to the “Lower” Bridge Pool.
(Photo left is Trev. Hanover from Melbourne at Lower Bridge Pool. He arrived late last night for a week’s fishing and the first pool on his programme was Lower Bridge – it is not often you will find it this quiet – but the photo does not indicate how cold it was… Trev. is now a legend being the first inmate to book his unit 5 at TRM for the entire World Rugby Cup in 2011. From TRM, halfway to everywhere, he can commute to all North Island matches and go fly fishing between games – the perfect dream holiday in Paradise. I wonder if he has told his wife?)
This is not a pool which offers charm, charisma nor great scenery but it is one of the most heavily fished pools on the Tongariro and produces the largest catch rate of fish every year. This pool nearly always has someone in it and is the favourite pool to fish before work for many locals. Why do people fish it so regularly? The Lower Bridge pool can be accessed by driving your car onto the river bank and stepping out and chucking your line in or by parking at the end of Herekiekie Street and fishing from the rock wall which is on the true right, both sides effective.
(During our inspection today we met Boof’s new friend Mister with Larry & Anna Tompkins from Waiuku)
It is also a piece of water that can be nymphed or wetlined and is larger enough for everyone to do what they prefer without upsetting each other. Do not expect the river etiquette to take place here, if you are happy where you are stay there as once the locals have their spot they don’t seem to move.(you wouldn’t argue with them anyway unless you had BOOF).
(Robert is one of the most regular locals usually found around the Bridge Pools. These guys are so reliable as barometers of the fishing. He was leaving – meaning the fishing has gone off.)
The only issue with parking on the river bank is to keep your car at a safe distance as 5mm tungsten beads can cause stars in the windscreen as I have found out over time. If you are as old as Ross and can’t walk this pool is perfect and you will be able to take yourself back to yesteryear with all the old boys and enjoy a sociable chat while enjoying your fishing.
(Photo above is looking down from LHS towards the tail where the pool splits into the old Swirl Pool on LHS, a smaller bypass to the right towards Tongariro Lodge and straight ahead towards the Honeypot – see google image above)
Every year this pool produces some big fish as it is a great holding pool after they push up out of the braided area and at the right time of year wet lining for big browns can be great. Fresh fish are caught through out the season and in many cases anglers can be on their way home at 7 30 with a good bag limit if the runs are holding in there. Nymphing is my preferred way of fishing the entire pool but it is famous for it’s wetlining as it is a long large deep pool which gives freedom for casting and time for that shooting head to reach the desired depth. As always Woolly Buggers and Rabbits are the pick of the bunch and will take most fish if using this method. In the past I have seen locals using big glo bugs and retrieving them like a wet but I should imagine this is best done when the river is loaded with stupid spawning fish.
Sandy access track is more suitable for 4 WD or rental cars)
The head of the pool offers some great nymphing water as it tumbles down different veins created over the years by flooding, this creating great chances for nymphs to be dislodged and taken as food by awaiting trout. This is a simple pool to nymph and you dont even really have to mend as the flow is very constant without any surprising swirls. I run a standard nymph rig with a rod length of leader and three flies consisting of a bomb-glo bug and a small natural. If you are not confident with three flies switch the point fly around till something works and you start getting hooked up.
Most of the pool as far as I know is snag free which enables awesome drifts and long constant swings of a wet line which will definitely make your fishing more enjoyable. The easiest side to fish would be the true left where the cars are parked as you have the entire length of the pool and heaps of room to cast behind you. The true right requires a lucky cast or a steeple cast because of the high rocky edge which will be behind you that previously had a few bushes growing from it in awkward positions – most of which were recently removed. In saying that the water is deep one foot of the bank and a cast up stream is all that is required so water loading downstream and flicking up is an easy option. Wetliners can easily feed the lure downstream and begin retrieving up along the deep edge which is quite effective when the water is slightly dirty.
(TRM are often asked about the car access to the LHS of Lower Bridge Pool. These photos illustrate the vehicle access across the park from Te Rewha Road, then down the track to emerge at the parking area beside the pool)
Dry fly in the summer evenings can be great especially under the willows on the far right side when the Cicadas are around. This pool is easy to fish with a dry because of it’s constant flow and no need to mend, so once again if you are a beginner this could be the pool for you.
As I said earlier this pool gives up heaps of fish especially in the spawning runs and is one of the most heavily fished pools in the Taupo region because of all the easy things going for it. Well worth a flick first thing in the morning or in the height of winter or if you are just passing through town for business as you only need a rod because wading is not required.
(4WD is preferable to access the car park)
All in all another great pool which is always holding fish and could get you out of trouble on a hard day so never write it off just because it’s close to town and can be accessed easily. Hope this has been some help to you all and it spurs you into trying it next time you are on the Tongariro.
(This was a casting school of 25 pupils who found enough room at the Lower Bridge Pool for all of them to practice the famous Tongariro roll cast in August 2008)
Lower Bridge Pool Rating (out of 20) LHS 17, RHS 14, Bridge Pool (below bridge) 14
an extension of the main pool. We are not aware of fish holding there.
The pool can be fished from both sides with most preferring the true
LHS where there is easy vehicle access. The rock wall along the RHS
requires skilled roll casts with super long leaders and at times can
outscore the LHS. All the notable physical changes have been
immediately on either side of the bridge.Immediately
below the bridge the wading has improved from either bank (see photo
right above) or alternatively the pool is a bit shallower and the main
channel has narrowed down to a central gut which is easily cast
across. If anglers are casting from both sides their lines will now
cross. As always, it is still a great holding pool. We are told the
migrating trout do not like to go under the shadow of the bridge during
daylight (unless one leads the way) so they stack up here until night
time when the bridge shadow has gone. The photo above left has local
angler casting from below the bridge on RHS into the main channel on
Saturday afternoon. In the distance is the usual gaggle lined up along
the beach on the LHS of the “Lower” Bridge Pool.Above
the bridge the previous shallow bypass on the LHS from Judges Pool has
deepened, widened, with much faster flow. The confluence with the main
river is now a reliable holding pool and is now more popular (as at June 2008) than
below the bridge. Based on “polaroiding” from the bridge it appears to
be holding more fish than the run below the bridge. Extra long leaders
and heavy bombs are necessary. The photo shows the new stone beach
that has formed at the LHS confluence with wading access available from
the walkway nearby up river to Judges Pool. Extra long traces with
lead added or heavy bombs are recommended.2007 Report
The Bridge Pool is practically unchanged for 2006. Still has the most reliable production, week in week out, in the Tongariro River.
Unfortunately it is too popular for most fly fishing purists as the usual river ethics and etiquette for wading – i.e. anglers moving through the pool – are often sadly neglected. Anglers looking for more solitude and natural beauty and traditional anglers’ camaraderie would be wise to proceed much further up-river.
During the last flood in July it was noticeable that during the higher volume – over 200 cumecs (Cubic metres per second – recorded from Genesis) – the increased river flow began excavating a more direct route from the lower Bridge Pool straight through the Honeypot to Bain Pool. In future years this route could erode further and also bypass the Swirl and Plank Pools.
The Bridge Pool is the most popular pool due to the combination of convenient vehicle access, close parking, easy wading, reliable producer, plenty of back cast room, no snags, plenty of scope for all anglers with wet lines from the LHS beach and nymphing off the elevated RHS rocks.
Novices learning how to roll cast should spend time studying the variety of casting skills displayed along the rocks at the end of Herekiekie Street.
The naming history of this area above the bridge is as controversial as the river history. Remember that the river has changed its course over the years and the bridge location has moved up-river.
Starting at the Lonely Pool, this name was coined after 1955 when the Birches swing bridge was built and it was necessary to make a long walk down-river to fish the Lonely. This was when the pool was located against the stop bank, below the walkway, where the river is now a flood by-pass.
Then there was the Groin Pool located immediately up-river and fished from the LHS, named on Barry Greig’s 1983 map, confirmed in notable books like Tony Jensen’s Trout of the Tongariro and Hicklings classic Freshwater Admiral.
Prior to this it was known as the Weir Pool, named by R. L. Begg in the NZ fishing and Shooting Gazette, in June, 1936, and prior to that it was named as the Daisy Pool on the 1928 map in Barbara Cooper’s booklet – Pools of the Tongariro.
However, as the bridge was then further down-river from the present location, the Daisy Pool was where the Bridge pool is now.
Vehicle access to park on the sandy beach is from Te Rewha Street. i.e. proceed north from Turangi shopping centre on Ohuanga Road, past BP, turn right after the college into Waipapa Road, then left into Te Rewha Street, then drive across the domain.
It is still a bit bumpy but OK for the firm¹s car, so take it slow. Do not park too close to the river for fear of finding tungsten tip patterns tattooed on the company car bonnet.June 2005 – Bridge Pool Report
This pool appears to have its own fishing etiquette (?) rules. Usually anglers proceed to their favoured spot and anchor there until their arms get too tired from pulling in trout or until the breakfast bell tolls. Do not expect any procession of anglers to shuffle along to give up their spot – they probably have a mortgage on it.The Pool is usually dominated most mornings by regular wet liners, each with their preferred bait – start before sparrows with Black Dogs, once the sun sparkles on the water change to large Olive Woolly Buggers, if they don¹t work, switch to traditional standby Red Setters, if the strong green flow is too clear, substitute Yellow Mallards, if too milky try Fuzzy Wuzzys or Rabbits, etc. If still no action, add a large muppet behind whatever.Sometimes all are effective to suit changing climatic conditions. Just experiment to see what the trout have on their menu each visit. Some regulars will bet the ranch on their home made special custom designed lures which defy written description. There are not many days when this pool does not produce – but get there early! By my breakfast time many anglers have been there, done that, with their catch already cleaned in the freezer.
Constant pressure from fast sinking deep trawling wet lures appear to push the shoals over to the RHS so smart nymphers should prepare with a hearty breakfast first, read the morning paper, then amble on down in office hours to the end of Herekiekie Street armed with long leaders and heavy bombs to run a nymph along below the bank . You need to be agile and will need a landing net.Check it out first with polaroids – trout can often be seen sulking along this RHS just out of reach of the deep lures.Or on balmy summer evenings, try a small dry fly through the shallows on the LHS as trout are seen moving back to wait for the hatch as soon as wet liners depart. The pool immediately down river from the bridge is often fished with a deep nymph from below, off the bridge pier, where again longer traces and heavier bombs do the most business.This spot is not recommended in summer when local kids have reserved this pool for jumping & diving practice from the bridge above for the amusement of SH1 traffic. (No longer applicable as at March 2007 – wire outriggers fitted to stop jumpers)If all the fishy excitement is too much strain on the nerves, some relief is available in the form of the unisex loo in the main road car park – for a memorable melodious musical moment in waders it deserves a highly recommended classification
ideally suitable for nymphing practice waiting for the indicator to
tremble. Where else could you get this sort of variety – i.e. TRM’s 3-4 hour loop fly fishing programme:
I know TRM suggested not to wade the main river crossings, but these
are all minor streams through the braided area so are quite safe – if I
cross over, it has to be! This route provides lots of options if
river appears crowded. Try it.
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.