TRM’s fishy inmates have often asked “How do anglers get to the TRB (True Right Bank looking down river) of Admirals Pool”?
Admirals Pool is often regarded as a barometer of the number of trout in the river. The trout are easily spotted from the high bank at the end of the anglers vehicle access – gravel road – down to Admirals (most turn off to Stag Pool car park). It is an ideal viewing spot to impress visitors – to indicate how many trout are in the river. Fat lazy trout can usually be seen resting and/or feeding in the tail of the pool along the TRB.
From the car park the TLB can be fished but needs a tandem team strategy. Local kids are the experts at casting a heavily weighted nymph from the high car park bank – where the trout are easily seen and can be individually targeted. After they eagerly take the nymph and the hook is firmly set, when the initial mad scramble settles down to a contest of strength and the trout starts sulking in the depth of the pool, then quickly rip-off plenty of spare line and the rod tossed down to their mate waiting in the shallows at the tail below for him to play and guide the tiring trout into the tail of the pool. Brilliant strategy.
The track down to the river bed leads from the other carpark about 20m on the left back from the cliff edge.
The elevated car park is also a perfect place to study nature at work – in terms of a visual example of nature’s ‘pecking order’ in the wild. You will need your polaroid glasses to observe how the biggest trout are usually at the front of the shoal and the smaller trout get chased out to the back of the feed line queue. The biggest are often more difficult to spot in the depths below the strong current but the size of the trout steadily reduces towards the tail.
(An older image looking up river from Admirals car park – the current has now spread across the run – see image below. This used to be known as Gun Club Reach named from the traps set up by the old Tongariro Gun Club for trap shooting.)
Recent changes to the flow force the main current across to the TRB almost out of reach even from the elevated bank. The sight of 10-15 trout waiting and even more bigger dark menacing shadows in the depths get anglers juices flowing and they feel compelled to investigate how to get to the TRB corner position. It is not too difficult.
Think about this if you want to keep the catch as it is a long way to carry three x 4 pound trout. It will get worse later in 2017 when DOC increase the daily maximum catch to six… The obvious answer and easiest most convenient method that makes it much more accessible is to cruise up there on a TRM bike in less than half the time. Remember to take some fish bags to place in the bike-rack-packs available at reception. Waders are not needed.
After about 25 minutes turn off down the side access track to Kamahi Pool. Follow this about half way to Kamahi and count off the side tracks on the left. The third track provides the easiest unmarked access down a couple of steps into the usually dry overflow stony creek bed. Turn right and follow this to the river bank and turn left up-river towards Admirals Pool.
Rather than bush-bash along the river edge turn left up another larger stony overflow creek bed which leads away from the river towards Cicada Pool. (This wider dry over-flow river bed is clearly seen in the aerial image below on right.) Take this and walk (? take care – more of a stumble – wading poles recommended) over boulders for about 200 m looking out for a red ribbon tied to a Manuka bush.
That marks the turning point to locate a hardly discernible trail through the high secondary growth (beware of blackberry attacking waders) which emerges just below the corner of Admirals Pool. Simple.
It does take some effort but is well worth it. The only worry is walking all that way only to find some other angler got there first. In that situation nothing is lost – back track to Kamahi Pool which is arguably just as good and probably the prettiest track and pool on the river. The sweet chorus and chiming melody from bird life around Kamahi is often reward enough. The fan tails are so cheeky.
Best approached on a cloudy day or when there is enough gentle breeze to blur the surface and mask the vision so the trout are not so easily spooked or after a fresh when there is more colour in the water.
Admiral’s Pool is named after Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Jellicoe, second Governor General of NZ 1920-1924. In the 1920’s he used to stay at Taylors Camp on Taupahi Road (as Tongariro River Motel was not built until 1959)…
(View from cliff above Cicada Pool looking down river over Admirals Pool towards Kamahi Pool in distance.)