Big Bend Pool 2008
Score (out of 20) = 14
(Google Earth aerial image with Big Bend Pool at bottom right side)
28 May – 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 Update: The
flood on 15 April rose to over 500 cumecs and
will have affected many of the pools and river crossings. So
Special Note: The new pool below Big Bend – known as “Fan Pool” is HOT!!!! Easiest access across Red Hut bridge and walk up the by-pass.
No significant changes for 2008. Perhaps the only detriment is the pool is becoming too popular on LHS. The lower RHS is silting up after floods in November 2006 and has restricted the holding capacity and can now be waded across. Note: As one door shuts another door opens. For 2007 check out the emergence of a new “no-name” pool, formed in 2006 down river towards the Cliff Pool. Casting is limited to the RHS. Spawning fish can often be seen in the shallows at the head of the small stream which by-passes the Cliff Pool, on the RHS. Guides have been targeting this area – hint, hint.
Photo right – Jerry Cook from Island Bay, Wellington, landing his first Tongariro rainbow at Big Bend, April 15, 2007.
Big Bend Pool is mainly unchanged since Vic reported on the “Dandy” Pool in May 2005. The following comments are an amalgam of opinions from other anglers, many of whom have made Big Bend their favourite pool.
The small carpark is 1.8 km from SH1 along the Justice Department access road. If more than two vehicles are parked there, then drive on to Blue Pool, or somewhere else.
From Tongariro River Motel the access road is 7 km south on SH1 – turn sharp left after the Poutu Bridge where there is now an AA sign for the access to the Blue Pool The level walking track takes 2 minutes to emerge where the pile of stones blocked off the river flowing to the Breakaway Pool – now dry riverbed. Follow the track 2 more minutes over the rubble, then to the right, to the top of the pool. This LHS is preferred for nymphing, RHS for wet lines. Trout lies are in the swirling and bubbling eddies at the end and either side of the feed line – easily identifiable cascading along the RHS. Heavy bombs and long leaders to get down deep are more successful at the top of the pool.
Damon Taylor, almost a local from Waiouru Fly Fishing Club, nymphing a swollen Big Bend Pool on 2 May 2007.
Note this pool is ideal for “learners” as they can use the current to carry the line and indicator across where the best lie is – usually about 10m below the two large prominent stones on the RHS. Note for longer casting anglers, who cast across into the flow – there is an even chance of smashing your weighted nymph on the far side stones. Various lies are also evident down and centre towards the tail where the trout can be often be seen snoozing (?) when the river is clear. Wetliners can access the RHS by either wading across the tail of the Blue Pool (wading poles recommended) or by tramping up from Red Hut bridge via the by-pass.
Take time to observe and have a peep through polaroids below the Manuka bush at the tail of this pool, as many trout can often be seen pairing off playing mating games under the bank. That is supposed to be their bedroom. When they need a rest and nourishment to recover, they move up – through the dining room – where the feed line runs out – to the kitchen beside the rapid. At least, that is what we are told…
This pool was one of the most reliable early morning producers in 2005 season but seemed to suffer after excessive attention.
Anglers report it does not appear as productive as it was – so far…
Emerson & Harry from New Plymouth, Big Bend converts, who perfected their casting skills on Big Bend during 2005 & 2006
This is a new pool formed after the 2004 flood when the river made a new course directly from the lower Blue Pool – formerly known as the Boulder Pool – directly through to the Cliff Pool, leaving the Breakaway Pool and Fan Pool now dry river bed.
The Big Bend Pool was above the Breakaway pool in Hicklings book. The old name has been retained on the 2004 DoC map for the general location. There is no actual physical big bend as such, although beyond the pool the river does sweep through wider faster riffles to the left towards the Cliff Pool.
It is interesting that the new course since 2004 was labelled on the 1928 map as the ‘Old Watercourse”. So it appears the river has gone back to its original course – refer DoC sign at the old dry Breakaway Pool lookout, where the old watercourse was marked as a white bypass – see photo below.
May 2005 – Big Bend Pool
Thanks to Chicago angler Vic for the following report from the Tongariro’s upper reaches:
“I have been lucky enough to have fished the Taupo area for several years, however, this is the first year I have spent a good deal of time on the Tongariro. The folks at the Tongariro River Motel have asked me for my observations on my Tongariro experiences so far… I have had especially good fishing in the Blue, Big Bend and Boulder Reach, with several fish landed in each pool. Some of the fish had started to color but most were fresh. The nymph that fooled the fish was a simplified Beadhead Prince in sizes 12 and 14; when wetlining, what else, an olive Wooly Bugger. Not one fish on a Globug!
A TIP — The new pool that begins at the top of the old Breakaway is called the Big Bend on the new Dept. of Conservation river map. It’s a dandy. This is a small carpark and a track just above the Breakaway carpark. At the top of the pool you can nymph or wetline with short casts and there is also a good nymphing run along the true right towards the bottom end of the pool. If you haven’t, give it a squint.
Big Bend Angler Profile
Vic Krzyzanski kindly provided the 2005 “Dandy Pool” report after becoming addicted to this pool soon after it formed following the 2004 flood. He is a dedicated fly fisherman from Chicago who has been visiting the Taupo region for over 20 years. Like many others he started at Waitahanui, still his favourite river, (Please do not tell Shane French) and graduated to the Big T over the years looking for new challenges.
Carpark is 1.8 km down Justice Department access road with sign on SH1 at Poutu Bridge indicating the Blue Pool.
In April-May 2005 his aim was to fish every pool in the river over a 25 day period. He started up at the Fence Pool and fished his way down to Big Bend and did not get much further. He thought he had found Paradise. Although he did try several lower pools, the lure of what he described (in the 2005 pool report) as the Dandy Pool was irresistible and his catch rate soared. As such the rest of the river remains a mystery as most of his visit was spent in raptures of Big Bend. At the time TRM had other Australian anglers staying at Tongariro River Motel, Gary & Robyn Worrall from Adelaide, and they teamed up with Vic and share his addiction to this pool.
Also check out the dry river bed of Breakaway Pool towards Cliff Pool. There are a couple of puddles – backwaters below the pumice cliff well worth checking out when all else fails.
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 pools.