Some years ago TRM published the Tongariro Bucket List – “Fifty Pools to Fish Before You Die”. Demand exceeds supply so look after your copy as TRM’s stock is almost exhausted. They will soon become collector’s items. After contributing to the Turangi tourist map as well SWMBO’s budget will not provide for another print run. Regular TRM inmates value them more than others…
Some dedicated TRM anglers take the map more seriously and have turned it into their own personal retirement challenge to fish every pool. But one pool eluded them as they could not find how to access off the steep bank. The Silly Pool!
So this report is all about the Silly Pool anglers access, using the images to explain to them how to get down to it. SWMBO thought you might want to know too. The first challenge is to locate the steep track access. This should not be attempted by anyone over 12 years old – OK? It really is steep and slippery but Tongariro anglers love a challenge. Tackle shops encourage it as waders will often require replacement after sliding down the bank.
The access can be located by looking out for the two mature trees growing in the middle of the bike trail. The lower access is between them. The upper access tack is above them. Simple really…
To refer to it as a “track” might invite criticism. It is more of a steep bum slide. Walking or wading poles are recommended. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted or anyone with a fear of heights. TRM bikes need to be chained up out of sight in the bush at the top. OK?
Once anglers slide to the bottom they are faced with a vertical bank wash-out about three metres above the bypass. This was the problem encountered by the TRM inmates who were determined to “knock the bastard off” from their bucket list. It is necessary to struggle up-river along this bank to find the only spot where the bank has crumbled. A tree has been thoughtfully carefully lowered over across the bypass to serve as a rail or “balustrade” to assist elderly anglers crossing. It is not deep but is slippery.
As the TRM inmates could not find it we have had to provide photographic evidence. The crumbling bank is also evident. A stout wading pole has been left above the high tide mark for them to use (and return!) as the shaded stones are particularly slippery.
After fishing the main pool there is no point in struggling down river over the slippery boulders and through the jungle (with under-growth of blackberry to hook holes in waders, so you have been warned) down to the lower point of the island above the Sly Grog Pool on the TRB. It is too difficult and a waste of good fishing time. Anglers valuable time on the river is better spent casting up above the Silly Pool instead.
(Before you ask, the SGP was not listed on the Bucket List Map as it too has steep dangerous physical access problems. The access from the Tongariro River Trail is even more difficult to identify, particularly as TRM fishos have been known to cover the track with bushes to block and disguise the entrance.)
Only struggling old resident brown trout cruise in the quiet pool on the TRB. After several years spent on spawning runs from the great lake they have become too tired to last another run and decided to become river residents in their dotage. This is their private retirement village and they prefer not to be disturbed. They deserve your respect to be left alone so there are no photos of it. It is like the sacred place that old elephants go to die. Their hospice pool is inaccessible any other way.
Keen adventurous anglers wade over to the TLB above Silly Pool. After spotting from the lofty heights above Duchess Pool they use this crossing to return upriver, confident in the knowledge they know exactly where the trout are stationed and feeding. However, this does not mean they will automatically take their flies, but it does provide a pleasant circuit walk from Red Hut car park.
In the Pool Ratings Chart on the Bucket List map, the Silly Pool “access” scored 0 out of 3. Got the picture? But then it scored 2/2 for “difficulty” as once you climb down there, casting is easy. The attractive “setting” framed by mature birches, full of happy native birdlife chirping away to entertain anglers, scored max at 3/3. For some reason there is no angler pressure and the “reliability” factor, the biggie, scored 8/9. See why the maps are so popular…