All Town Pool and Lower River Pools were reported as 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.
(Update: As at February 2012 this has only occurred late 2011 below Swirl Pool down to De Latours Reach.)
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.
Rating (out of 20) = 16
2009 update for Major Jones Pool
by Tongariro Fishing Guide – Andrew Christmas
Hi all, I think I will have to produce a book once I finish these pool reports as they seem to get harder and longer each week. Even I don’t even know where I have been. All my precious information that has taken years to discover and fine tune all gone in a few paragraphs. It is with pleasure that we bring these secrets and reports to you as your readership week in week out is very valuable to myself and Ross or we wouldn’t have anything to do except the laundry at the motel. Both Ross and I have sat down many times and spoken about the secrets of the Tongariro and having the upper hand on those who just roll in once per year and try the easiest most accessible places but we both agree it’s nicer and more rewarding to see you guys succeed and catch good fish than us. I know for a fact this one of the main reasons I remain so positive and passionate about my guiding, it is such a lovely feeling to be involved with someone’s first trout and share that special moment with them.
This pool this week is one of those easily accessed areas and has earned the right to be most probably one of the most famous pools in the world – not just the Tongariro. I have fished here and guided here for many years and if it was not so close to town and didn’t get the attention that it does I would fish here every day as it is such a great fish holder. The pool that we are looking at if you have not already worked it out is the Major Jones.
(Note the extent of the stony beach compared to previous years reports below)
The Major Jones is a long piece of water which stretches from the bottom of the Breakfast pool to the head of the Island Pool and is one of our largest pools in the river that you can fish the entire length of. There are walking tracks for joggers, dog walkers, runners and tourists to discover the beauty of our river which run along both sides of the Major Jones pool making fishing access pretty easy. Over many years many books and films have been produced or photos taken on this water and when you look back at them today and compare you can still recognize the pool as floods and the mood of the Tongariro have not changed too much of this water. It was one of the most fished pieces of water in the early days and many older gentlemen will remeber the days of the wetliners moving through the entire pool with split cane poles, hardy reels and silk lines. Today this water is still one of the main holding pools of the Tongariro and attracts a lot of angling activity from both wet liners and nymphers. Being a big piece of water with a big reputation you might have to get up fairly early to have the best shot as first line in this pool in the morning.
The best access for both nymphers and wetliners would have to be to cross the Major Jones swing bridge (aka Birches or Koura Street awing bridge) and walk down the track on the true right side until you get to a left turn which drops you into the head of the pool. The track will tumble you out onto the river bank at the head of the pool which has a fair flow through it as it tumbles over freestone rocks from the tail of the Breakfast pool. Many wetliners start swinging sink tip lines with Woolly buggers right there and make their way down the pool taking small steps and covering as much water as they can. Wetliners can enjoy all of this water as it has plenty of back cast room and the pool runs quite deep so you can really get those flies down with a decent cast. Caution has to be taken as per normal but the bottom is quite silty and sandy and strolling down this side with your wet can be quite therapeutic and productive (I hear). It does have a few nasty snags spread throughout the pool but wetliners will always find these beasts with the deep trolling equipment that they use. Once you have worked through the entire pool there is a nice little track at the tail of the pool which you can climb out on and get back on the track that first took you to the pool.
Generally the nymph fisherman will concentrate on the top half of the pool and fish the faster water a little more thoroughly than the wetliners which is a good thing as it means everyone gets along well. I usually walk to the end of the rock river bank on the true right and enter the water to my knees and slowly make my way up with the nymph rig. Casting is fairly easy here and the further you make your way up the easier things can get as you are able to water load if you wish on your backcast.
This pool is quite deep and while nymphing I would try and use an 11ft leader in here with a fairly substantial bomb to make sure you are bouncing along the river bed. The drift is very easy and you will hardly need to mend in here as it is just deep and constant – a great pool for beginners or elderly. There is a very obvious area which you should try and spend most of your time of working up the pool and this is where it tumbles of the shelf and into a deeper eady which is located about halfway down. If you can read water you will pick this up a mile away and you will find fish in here on most days.
Casting to the other side of the river will not help your cause when nymphing here as your flies will not get down quicker enough because of the strong flow on the true left so just keep it to the side you are fishing and concentrate on that perfect drift. Most fish will sit in this quieter water but just remember that fish sit in quiet water because they are tired so expect to find a few more slabs or spent fish this way. In saying that remember where the big browns lie? in the slack water so don’t be surprised if you hook into one because this pool is also famous for these hard fighting fish. Last season I had some great fish from here and one of my personal best sessions was from here when I had about 14 in an hour and they were all prime conditioned fish including two browns. It is hard to judge what one pool may hold but you would have to say that this pool has huge potential to hold good numbers of spawning fish when they are pushing through.
The Major Jones is one of those pools you just love to see the old boys occupying as it is one of the few pools they can easily and safely get down to and enjoy some of the best fishing in the river along with everybody else. Hopeless for me to guide in generally due to the high turnover of anglers in here so it’s all left for you guys.
There are a few other places to fish the Major Jones which are a little more difficult than that discussed above but when the river is busy could get you out of trouble. The true left can be fished with a nymph outfit quite well from the rocky edge by dropping over the walking track and edging your way up the pool using small flicks or a backcast. Left handers would suit this side best and by using a heavy bomb you should penetrate this water fast enough to get a decent drift and encourage a strike from a rainbow. Once hooked up here hang on and hope to dear god that the angry fish can be turned as the elements are against you in this situation with step sided banks and raging deep water. This water can be found by walking down from the Major Jones bridge past the Breakfast Pool or walking up from the road bridge which has a clear walking track from it. This option would not suit wetliners in most cases as casting would be challenging although wetliner extraordinaire and trophy winner Wayne Godkin would probaly find a way to get one in there. The usual suspects will work fine in this pool with Green Caddis being a favourite of mine fished behind a good bomb and or a glo bug in the winter months. Heavy sinking lines and Woolly bugger patterns will be a safe bet for the wetliners attracting most of their strikes in the latter half of the pool.
If you are a new comer to the Tongariro or the sport you must fish this pool before you give the river away as it will remain with you for life and as you read more and more about the Tongariro you will able to put yourself right in their boots. It is a must do before you die!!
Tight lines till next week people.
Andrew Christmas www.taupotroutguide.com
No changes since 2006. The major improvement for anglers wasting good fishing time in their offices wishing they were here (so do we!) is the installation of the Tongariro River web cam at River Birches Lodge. This displays either the Hydro Pool or Major Jones Pool with vital information so you can assess angler pressure to see how many are fishing without you. It is updated every 30 minutes with a weather station providing wind speed and direction, barometer reading and outside temperature. Go back to home page – links.
Understandably however, most anglers prefer to park closer to the Birches foot bridge at the end of Koura Street hoping to be first in the pool. This requires a 3-4 minute level stroll across the swing bridge and 300m down river to the top of the pool.
(Note the two old self seeded apple trees – proof that DoC¹s possum eradication programme works on public walkways – note the apples are not ripe until May – limit is one organically grown apple per angler per day)
If you are first in, ensure the shallower RHS is trawled as well – out of the main current where the trout rest over night. This golden rule applies to all pools.
Similarly after a fresh, when the river is still coloured, the shallows are always worth a flick.
Anglers who are more intimately familiar with the flows have advised of minor changes to the faster head water – from the breakfast pool – but essentially this pool is the same, if not easier, as before the 2004 flood. Compared to Judges where anglers only need thigh waders, the Major Jones pool requires chest waders to cover all the water.
The pool is about 500 metres long and 50-60 metres width. Wet-liners need to have a decent cast (or be about 2 metres tall). Technically, most of the lower pool favours fast sinking shooting heads to reach the deep strongly flowing channel under the higher left bank. Most strikes occur on the swing. Traditionally rabbits or woolly buggers or glo bugs predominate on the main menu.
The top 100-150 metres into the faster water on the left side is ideal for nymphing. There is no need to wade too deep – knee depth is adequate as it can be slippery in the more boisterous top end flow. In the lower section wading is easier. This is an excellent holding pool throughout the entire length. The pool can support 10-12 or more rods and often anglers have to queue for the often photo’d angling procession moving down river during peak spawning runs. But do not be intimidated by the rod numbers – more trout will be holding in the channel than arguably any other Tongariro pool.
For this report TRM¹s intrepid reporter wet lined the pool on May 5 in the middle of a fine mild autumn afternoon and watched a fat fighting fresh run hen landed on a wet line from mid pool, a release towards the top off a nymph, whilst we lost our only hook-up at the bottom RHS of the pool where the current swaps sides – all in less than 30 minutes.
Summary: A majestic big fishy pool which will always hold trout.
(Following article taken from Target Taupo issue 38)
“Major Jones: the name is synonymous with the greatness of the Tongariro River . Probably, if it were not so over-populated at the height of the season it would be everyone’s favourite, and despite the number of rods it is still the first choice of many overseas and local anglers. It has so many attributes to make it a fisherman’s dream come true. It has depth. It is, by far, the longest pool on the river. Despite flood and drought it remains virtually change-less. Yielding fish to the skilled, it will still be kind to the inexperienced or inexpert. It is an easy pool to wade.
The far or left-hand bank is a kaleidoscope of colour provided by native and exotic trees and shrubs. Major Jones is, simply, a great pool and I do not use the adjective lightly “
Tony Jensen in Trout of the Tongariro published in 1974.
Major Jones Pool, Tongariro River
Situated as it is in the middle of Turangi it is hard to imagine that prior to 1920 the Major Jones Pool, like all others above the main road bridge was rarely fished because access was so difficult. However by 1929 the pool was identified on a tourist map along with the Admiral’s, Hatchery, Duke’s Camp (Duchess?) Tawaka (Red Hut?) and Dreadnought pools.
The Major Jones pool derives its name from Major Rhys Wykeham Jones who fished the pool with a 5.2 metre (17 foot) rod which he had previously used on the Spey in Scotland . Joe Frost described Major Jones in Freshwater Admiral by Vice Admiral Hickling “He must have been six foot two in his socks. His handlebar moustaches were always getting tangled up in his line, he had a voice like a bull and he played his fish with the delicacy of a ship weighing its anchor in a hurry. I understand he originated from India and I should imagine he would be a fine sight on parade, monocle and all”
Major Jones was also known for his strong dislike of big brown trout which he maintained were cannibals and should be destroyed for the benefit of the fishing. He paid local children to capture mice which he used at night, floated down the current into the deep pools to capture many large brown trout.
While many of the original pools that made the reputation of the Tongariro were lost for good in the 1958 flood the Major Jones has remained remarkably unchanged over the last eighty years. Vice Admiral Hickling regarded the pool as the finest on the river prior to the flood, if not the finest in the world. After the flood he wrote “It is still a very fine pool, although its beauty has been marred. Derelict tree-trunks clutter up the foreshore and the grassy bank at the lower end has been washed away”.
Hickling describes how Alec Clark and his next door neighbour Henry Hickton would two or three times a day leave a notice on their front door “Back in 10 minutes”, wander down the 30 metres in their carpet slippers and almost invariably end up with a fish.He also describes fishing the pool with a friend one cold but sunny morning and hearing a terrific splash. ‘That’s a big fish we said together, looking up. And so it was, a 180 pounder. Across the river was a naked body swimming in the icy water; it was Moore Hunter, 80 if a day, taking his daily dip. Hardy chaps these New Zealand farmers.” The Major Jones has always been the providence of the downstream wetfly angler. In pre Tongariro Power Development days when the river was a lot larger and more boisterous than today anglers fished with relatively crude sinking lines such as those made of silk or dressed with powdered lead or tar. These lines sank poorly compared to modern sinking lines yet the pool regularly yielded limit bags. Interestingly Hickling (1960) shows the lies of the fish being principally on the inside of the bend out of the main current.
In the 1980′s with the advent of nymph fishing anglers soon realised the very head of the pool was a good spot for this method but the majority of the pool remains too wide and deep for anyone other than the wetfly angler waist deep in the water. There is probably no other pool in the Taupo fishery which retains such an timeless feel about it. The line of anglers wading chest deep in their dark jackets and fishing their sinking lines could just as easily be 40 years ago. Access to the Major Jones pool is via the swing bridge just upstream which most people know as the Major Jones bridge. However it is more correctly called the Birches swing bridge, so named after Bert and Effie Bolton’s property which it originally adjoined on the true left bank.