TRM’s photo above of local resident angler John Lunt with his silver fresh run brown trout from Judges Pool immediately sparked more questions about the fishing. He was there yesterday afternoon.
At dusk yesterday another TRM inmate checked out Judges Pool from the end of Te Aho Road. As it was empty he quickly walked up to the Koura Street swingbridge crossing and back down river to the pool. By then there were five others lined up. He was the sixth. Total catch was zero. No cicadas seen or heard, no hatch, no evening rise and no trout. Probably the result of excessive angler pressure (?) but that is very disappointing for this time of the year.
We were feeling particularly concerned as this angler – John Porteous from West Island – is a regular visitor about this time to target the BIG browns when any angler pressure is usually low. The photos from his previous efforts over the years from 2007, 2012 and 2019 illustrate what he came for.
So we looked back for an old report on Judges Pool to explain. Since the 2022 report a new track has been cut along the TLB to provide anglers access but it is still a difficult physical effort compared to some of the easier pools – like the Daisy Pool. Any traditional casting is impossible due to overgrown overhanging blackberry and broom.
For about ten years TRM used a huge photo of Paul Dyson at Judges Pool (below) to promote the Tongariro River fishing. Back then it was that reliable.
After tourists’ directional signage was added – “TURN LEFT TO TONGARIRO RIVER” – the Toepaw Council fined TRM and removed the offensive wording… How petty, but that is another story.
The other Judges Pool options?
Yesterday TRM blog comprised an update of Judges Pool with comparisons of reports back to 2005 to illustrate the changes. That was not enough for some fishos who requested more photos and more info about the TLB. The short answer is, do not waste your time on the TLB as there are other excellent options… The better solution should be apparent in the photo story below:
Any comment on the TLB in yesterday’s report was deliberately avoided for social media as only TRM anglers are allowed along the bank at the end of Te Aho Street. It is still a bit too tricky, too physical, too dangerous, too difficult and technical to cast for other anglers. After several TRM inmates returned dripping wet the TRM Health & Safety Committee (SWMBO) decided that, purely in the interests of health and safety, it should not be included. The many photos following may explain it better…
The recent flood wiped out most of the rough track and without the scrub roots holding them together, the banks are still crumbling. A strong current flows closer to the TLB so wading is extremely limited for the brave only and too difficult to be worth inclusion. But as we have been particularly asked for more info due to the close proximity of TRM, the following photos indicate what to expect…
First the access from TRM. As it is easily accessible waddling in waders from the motel, the most direct access is directly across Taupahi Road and down Te Aho Road – see photos below:
For anglers who are determined to walk to the TLB of Judges Pool only to discover the crumbling steep bank looks too intimidating, a second access to the extreme lower tail out is from the Tongariro River Trail about 270 m or halfway along the stop bank towards the road bridge – see below:
This over-grown narrow track winds around in an “S” shape to emerge at the extreme tail of the pool.
Then there are the pool photos starting from the top – Te Aho Road track end – to indicate the difficulties. Hopefully, they are self explanatory:
This TLB side is only really suitable for lefties as a right-hand cast is almost impossible unless the line is water loaded and the back cast flick threatens to take an ear off – so wear protective head gear and polaroids.
Hardly worth the trouble… There are many other much easier access to pools – i.e head upriver is the Doctor and Island pools or down river to Daisy Pool. These are under-rated and equally productive.
The wading across the shallow bypass from the end of Te Aho Street to the “Doctor’s Pool” is far easier and provides more options. Take the track to the right heading upriver instead. See more photos below:
Alternatively head upriver along the stop bank which forms the Tongariro River Trail to the Taupahi Domain, to where the rafts are taken out after their river trip, and the wading is even easier.
During spawning runs tourist anglers should spot plenty of trout in the byapss. For a view of the best wild trout fornicatorium in the world, walk further up the trail to the garden seat at the back of Creel Lodge and have a squiz in the bypass above that seat.
Do not waste any time trying to hook them. They are not feeding and are far too busy admiring each other.
So that ends the longest instructional photo essay – over 20 photos! – ever attempted for these town pools, but they deserve it! The close proximity within easy walking distance from TRM suggests this beat should be compulsory before breakfast – more so as it has been under more intense angler pressure recently. Many guests prefer to leave their cars at the motel for wives/partners’ shopping so they need to learn all the local beats. But the recent results so close by make it worthwhile.