In answer to more phone and email inquiries from anglers… preparing for the winter spawning runs. Kerry was trying to decide whether he should bring his boat down or not? Another – Adam – was trying to decide between Rotorua or Turangi? A big decision – although Taupo waters should win at this time of the season – timed just before much of Rotorua is closed off for spawning.
But the saddest request was from a regular angler who was reluctantly looking further beyond the Tongariro after bad manners ruined his fishing trip. Some uncouth lout walked in ahead of them, into the pool where they were fishing, but when they politely questioned his ethics he turned nasty. There is absolutely no place on any river for such bullying tactics – must have been a dreaded wet liner wanting the head of the pool? Very sad to hear such abusive negative attitude on a river where there is always room for everyone.
(If you ever witness any such aggression then use your cell phone to get some close up images and send them to TRM – so we can name and shame them.)
They said they were familiar with the Tongariro and particularly wanted to know what other options were available if the Tongariro was not firing or to find some pools all to themselves. So we suggested we would have a think about it and would post our reply on the daily report for others to consider as well.
First step, if you are a novice and considering Rotorua, you should start with the Trout Man at Ngongataha – Harvey Clark. The TRM inmates’ video below might help explain why.
The choice is no different to the decision we made yonks ago when we were looking for a trout fishing retirement location. As we chose Turangi we should warn we cannot help but be totally biased.
There are reputed to be some BIG trout in Rotorua Lakes too but most are landed by boats when Turangi is more about the river fishing. Anglers tell us there is nothing elsewhere like the variety of fishing available from various tributaries feeding Lake Taupo. These all contribute to Turangi being well known as the trout fishing capital of the world.
These vary from the mighty Tongariro – see map above for fifty pools to fish before you die – providing all year round wild trout fishing with pools to suit every age and ability and style.
The Tongariro is such a famous big river that is as close to “troutopia” as you are ever likely to find in NZ. If you wanted just one river to learn and concentrate on this would have to qualify first. But then occasionally we need to provide for some inmates who need a change or want to avoid any other fishos or prefer smaller more intimate streams. We understand!
On the eastern side of Lake Taupo heading north from Turangi are the Waiotaka and Waimarino – see images on right. Both offer more gentle intimate flows where river edge spotting and classic stalking is available.
Next is the Tauranga Taupo – about 15 km north – a larger flow and with a mixture of river edge below SH1 or wading above. The TT fishes particularly well and is very popular after wet weather.
Next just over half way to Taupo at Hatepe, about 27 km north – is the Hinemaiaia River. Ample access tracks provide anglers with a selection of pools but anglers need to be prepared to wade in and cast in the river. The Hine is also often chosen in windy weather as the river is well sheltered – flanked by mature native bush – Manuka – where the wind cannot penetrate.
Last of the well known rivers is the Waitahanui – about 40 km north – a spring fed river which is more comparable to the Hine where the riverside walking tracks are so delightful the fishing results are almost secondary. I said ‘almost’.
All of these offer good dry fly fishing in summer and suitable for either standard nymph rigs or, if you are desperate, dredging with wet flies during winter.
Just a reminder that although anglers are fishing rivers these are not usually river fish – they are lake trout that have entered the river to spawn. Therefore fly selection is not so important.
In addition are several other smaller rivers or tributary streams but that list above should be enough to convince any angler that we live in Paradise…
Other fishing venues accessible from Turangi include the smaller lakes – Lake Otamangakau (our trophy lake closed for spawning in winter months), Lake Rotoaira, Lake Kuratau, as well as Lake Taupo.
Each of these have their own special features and dedicated anglers.
There is so much variety that there is always somewhere to go all year round. Sometimes, like last week, for some strange reason the Tongariro goes all quiet. It does happen. Then we hear about an earthquake down in the Wairarapa or Manawatu. Not ‘shaky’ enough for us to feel or sense it but the trout are more sensitive and go off the feed and may sulk for a day or so.
The fish are still hiding there but refuse to take anything offered. That is when we know the other tributaries will also be affected and we have to take drastic action. Another time it might be severe southerly winds (like at the time I am typing this) so the choice is made to be a river where the casting is out of the wind.
Occasionally we might have to panic and recommend anglers to drive further afield, beyond Taupo region. This needs a F&G licence. Sometimes inmates just need a change of river and some new pools to refuel their enthusiasm. In those circumstances we send them on SH 41 to the W(h?)anganui and Whakapapa, over the hill westward. There are some really interesting options over there which, for obvious reasons, we cannot post on the web.
Our usual recommendations are to four different access options on the W(h?)anganui, each with their own charm, and/or four on the Whakapapa, returning via Owhango (and back via National Park Railway cafe for late lunch and SH47).
Luke reported he enjoyed one of his best days ever and they returned again the following day. That is their happy-as faces – Roger on right and Luke below. So it can be that good.
This excursion requires more planning – i.e. lunch etc. for a full day trip although often anglers such as Roger and Luke find only one access point is necessary as the results can be so good they stay there.