When Ross notified people that he would be going away for 10 days on the Great New Zealand Trek I boldly (stupidly?) volunteered to look after the daily reports while he was away. Now my time is up and I return back to Ballina in Northern NSW on the West Island. Ross returns on Monday with great news and photos of his fishing exploits, sorry – trekking exploits. Ross had kindly left some reports for me in case I didn’t have anything to write or ran out of time or had to watch the laundry explode with unwashed towels and sheets in Ross’ absence. I’ve had fun trying to think up stories but realise that my paltry efforts pale into oblivion compared to Ross ‘William Shakespeare’ Baker.
I now know how much work goes into his reports. Sure, he does repeat stuff and pinch stuff, but it’s always interesting. I’ve tried to steer clear of the controversial topics like trout farms, carp farms, TRM signage, DOC etc. No doubt Ross will pick up on those upon his return, especially after the recent efforts of Didymo Dave. Check out his Facebook if you’re not a friend.
I would like to take this last report to editorialise a little. I’ve been coming to TRM for 18 years now. That makes me a fully paid up BOF. I even came here in the days of Derrick, pre-Ross and Pip. Despite my 18 years experience I’m still a newcomer compared to some Tongariro anglers, but I’ve seen some changes I don’t like. I come for the quality of the fishing, and while that varies from year to year, it’s still a great place to come to catch fish and to NOT catch fish. The scenic values alone make the journey worthwhile. I’m worried about some of the recent goings-on, namely the possibility of trout farming, the carp farm and water quality. The photo shows a large Silver Carp.
Both Australia and New Zealand have bad experiences with introduced species. Think of the possum, foxes, rabbits, cane toads, various carp species. The common carp has ruined many rivers in Australia. The silver carp planned for farming in Taupo, has spread throughout many USA rivers and into the Great Lakes. The USA government spends a lot of money trying to control this pest. The proponents for a silver carp farm in Taupo claim the fish cannot breed in our waters but Nature has a way of bringing about change. For example the cane toad (picctured below) in Australia has evolved by developing longer legs allowing it to spread across the continent at a faster rate. Breeding was limited by by water temperature but now they breed in a much wider range of temperatures. What if the silver carp adapts to New Zealand conditions?
Water quality is another important issue. As a former Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science at Southern Cross University in Australia I have been involved with water quality issues there. So far the Tongariro doesn’t seem to have suffered major irreparable damage but aerial weed spraying and runoff from farms can have an effect, not to mention low flows. The encroachment of cattle into rivers and lakes causes problems, a topic that Ross has covered in the past. Human interference with river systems also is an issue. The canal and dam building on the lower Tongariro, along with gravel extraction have caused major changes in the lower river. In years past I was lucky enough to catch fish in Delatours Pool. The photos below show what it looks like now – a brown muddy swamp.
To end on a positive note I salute those who are trying to solve and/or stop the problems. Ross with his ravings in his report, Didymo Dave and his posts and actions , other anglers who write letters, contact politicians. The Tongariro River is a great national and international asset. Please protect it.
Thank you and may your lines be tight, your fish be large, your knots hold and you continue to enjoy the fishing lifestyle.