After the flood last January TRM updated a number of pool reports including Boulder Reach. At the same time we repeat the older reports so that anglers will be aware of any changes.
Boulder Reach – August 2005
Damn, what can anglers do when the carefully selected pool is already occupied?
Take, for example, Boulder Reach – it must be one of the most popular pools on the Tongariro River. Boulder Reach was reformed by nature as partial compensation for the loss of the Breakaway Pool after the Tongariro flood in 2004.
Car access is through Justice Department land after crossing the Poutu River, 7 km south of Tongariro River Motel or from Turangi shopping centre. Then after about 1 km., veer left down towards the Boulder Reach car park.
For safety reasons in these reports we always prefer the Red Hut Bridge to cross over as the Tongariro is subject to rapid increases in volume without warning.
If you are first – you will need to be early – make sure the shallows are fully covered first. This pool produces through the full length.
Wading is easy – only knee deep to cover the main lies. It is fishable from either side although the true LHS appears to be the favoured side. Usual ammunition is a standard Tongariro nymphing rig – weighted hare & copper bomb with a smaller, say size 12-14 bead head half back or pheasant tail or prince nymph patterns. If they do not work, try glo bugs.
The current is even and not too fast for mending practice to achieve a natural drift. Perhaps that is why it is targeted so often by professional guides. Even my cast looks good on this pool.
It seems so basic – nymphing for dummies – spoilt only by everyone else targeting this pool too. There are other options, if you arrive to find a traffic jam:-
Cross over (take wading pole in case) below the Cliff and fish Boulder Reach from RHS;
Cross over and stalk the Cliff Pool – keep a low profile so as not to spook trout lying deep;
After crossing head up river to Fan and Boulder Pools – a 20 minute cross country tramp;
Return to carpark, head left 10 minutes to Poutu confluence – again longer leader needed;
Wade up the Poutu? Popular after rain as this tributary from Lake Rotoaira remains clear;
Continue on to Blue Pool, Sand Pool, Big Bend, Boulder Pool, wherever the crowd isn’t.
Boulder Reach Pool 2006
Boulder Reach pool is generally unchanged from 2005. It is probably the most popular pool in the upper river. This is still a top holding pool where most anglers stand in the lie and fish the top and tail of the main current although fish are found in most places throughout the pool. If you are first into the pool on the LHS make sure you fish your feet first as the trout rest in the shallows along the LHS. You hardly need to get your waders wet. Later on the usual enthusiastic angler pressure, testing their chest waders, forces them all out towards the central gut.
The foot access from the car-park has deteriorated further from flooding. DoC have now formed a walking track to the pool through the small side stream rather than down the previous road leading to the Cliff Pool.
These pool reports have been entirely based on various comments and feed-back from anglers/guests at Tongariro River Motel. By and large, they modestly claim to be the best fly fishers in New Zealand. From these accurate reliable reports, we have a hung jury on which side of Boulder Reach is best – a 50/50 call.
Boulder Reach can be crossed towards the tail, usually being about crutch to waist deep if you find the right crossing, but we recommend a buddy to hang on to, or stout wading poles, or both. Note the crossing is also the lower holding area, so if you are brave enough, try to cast ahead as you cross. You may need a net if you want to land it as well.
Once you have made it to the RHS, you can also continue further up river into no-mans land to check out the following – also covered in 2005 report.
1 Check the small swirly pool below the Cliff and by pass,
2 Check out the by-pass into the narrow gut,
3 Check the Cliff Pool, cast from the shelf at the top of the pool,
4 Check the new no-name pool above where the by-pass leads from the main river.
For nymph fishing each of these, review the leader length and weighted natural at each spot. If the river is clear, small natural patterns are reported to be more successful.
Alternatively, if you are like me and don’t like wading, you can access the RHS by crossing the Red Hut Bridge.
From the Red Hut car park cross the swingbridge and take the fork to the right – upriver. After three minutes you will descend down a dug out staircase to the sound of tuis and bellbirds to emerge in a grotto with stunning native trees fauna.
Veer off to the left hand track at the base of the steps. (The right track leads across the bypass to Poutu Pool) Then take time to enjoy a delightful stroll along the bypass. Lookout for trout in the bypass.
Well, so we are told…although no one has interviewed the trout about this, yet…
Previous updates on changes to the Tongariro River and anglers access since the 700+ cumec flood include the following:
10 January Town Pools i.e. Bridge to Hydro Pools
12 January Middle Pools i.e. Kamahi to Red Hut Pools
18 January Braids i.e. below Bridge Pool to Braids car park.
19 January Lower River – from Duffs to Reeds Pools.
22 January Lower Pools below Reeds
26 January Upper River – Waddells and Poutu
Today is Boulder Reach
Above is Waddells Pool (no changes) and below is Poutu Pools reported on yesterday:
The main changes to Boulder Reach are more to do with the anglers access.
The pleasant walk – waddle in waders – stroll from the car park now involves crossing a wash-out.
This has been such a pleasant bush walk for so long it was a surprise to see the extent of the damage.
The old dry creek bed overflow from below Big Bend was flushed out by the recent 700+ flood. This has added to the walking difficulty along the track to Boulder Reach.
You might need a wading pole just to get there…
On right you can see the impact from the “hydraulic bulldozer” which has re-created the old river bed.
Now the boulder bed of the over-flow, which used to have such famous pools as the old Breakaway about twenty years ago, looks like a river waiting to happen.
Anglers can now safely wade out directly from where the track joins the river, to cast into the seam of the main flow.
It may be just as well as the bubble line from the main flow has moved well over to the TRB.
The “new beach” should be evident in the images. Usually such sand is detrimental to fishing prospects as it covers the stony pebble river bed which supported most of the trout food – caddis etc. so there is a down side. The sand is a mixture of pumice and toxic ash. Trout usually hate it.
However during our inspection two good sized Rainbows were easily spotted casually cruising up and down the sand bank – possibly searching for their previous food source.
Short video of upper river pools: