This has to be one of the most interesting day trips in the middle reaches of the Tongariro doing a loop from the Koura Street swing bridge up river to fish from both sides to fish five widely different pools.
There are 5 hot spots as marked…
The first rule for this – after making sure the river is flowing at usual rate of 25-27 cumecs is to wear sturdy studded boots, carry a wading pole and have a buddy as well to hang on to or hang off – whichever is appropriate – as crossing the Tongariro River can by tricky. But this programme is one of the easiest and opens up new water that most have never fished before. You will also need a landing net for the wade across to land all the trout.
So starting at the Koura Street swing bridge tramp up river to Kamari Pool – 30 minutes walk – not allowing for a stop on the track just before you get to Kamahi to listen to what used to be called the morning chorus. In Paradise aka Kamahi Pool track, it lasts all day. Kamahi is named from the trees that attract so many birds aka Weimannia Rocemose. We know you were worried about that.
As previously suggested, Kamahi has to be one of the classic most beautiful pools on the river. It always has some dark murky shadows waiting in the depths but most of the visible action is hard against the TLB on the surface where trout can be seen slashing at insects – don’t ask which ones as they vary throughout the year. From the very head of the pool a good cast will reach the far bank and you can follow it down (walking the dog) to keep the fly close to the bank. That is Spot 1.
From the tail of Kamahi walk out and down river in a diagonal direction keeping above the run out where most of the flow swops sides towards the TRB of the island. This is a long wade so take your time. On the long wade down river it is only about shin deep. Keep casting over to the quieter dark deep water flow on the TLB and releasing them again until you reach the island. That is Spot 2.
Where the pool rushes down a rapid the TRB into a rapid that dissipates into bubbly feed line against the TRB is known as the Never Fail Pool. So once you reach the island swop sides to fish the TRB from about where the bubble lines runs out.
From the high bank the migrating trout make their way up river ever so slowly hard against the bank. That is Spot 3.
Below the island folllow the current to swop sides again to cast below the ledge where the riffly frothy flow crosses back over the ledge to the TLB again. The fish are usually hiding under the gravel ledge feeding and waiting for anglers.
Below that ledge is Spot X or Spot 4.
By then you should be fished out so return to the island to cross over to the TLB at the tail where you can see the track skid marks to climb back up the bank. But hesitate before you wade across and have a good look into the riffles of the tail of the side channel. Sometimes we have seen as many as 10-15 trout voraciously feeding there above the crossing. That is Spot 5.
Then walk back down the track carrying your limit bag past all the wet liners bored with their repetitive casting and retrieving – trawling the Hydro Pool.
To be able to fish five different pools, each with their own varying character, is usually enough excitement for one day. But if you still have energy to burn you could still join them in the Hydro…
SWMBO insisted we should explain more about the Kamahi?. So I apologise – here is everything you never wanted to know about Kamahi:
Weinmannia racemosa (Kamahi)
Family: Cunoniaceae (semi tropical genus and includes similar trees to Weinmannia racemosa such as the Cunonia capensis (Butterknife tree)
Binomial name: Weinmannia racemosa
Common names: Kamahi,
Weinmannia racemosa is a medium-sized tree of the family Cunoniaceae, is a very common tree in New Zealand, occurring in lowland, montane, and subalpine forests and shrubland from the central North Island south to Stewart Island. Weinmannia racemosa Is the dominant tree on Mt Egmont/Taranaki and that’s unique as virtually all New Zealand mountains have beech trees as the dominate tree, Mt Egmont/Taranaki has none. The theory is the eruptions killed all the beech. In Taranaki. Except for local gardens the closest specimens growing wild are found at Awakino or near Whangamomana.
Weinmannia racemosa sometimes begins life as an epiphyte on the trunks of tree ferns, kamahi attains its greatest height of 25 or more metres in the Catlins forests of the south-eastern South Island.
It has small creamy-white flowers in erect spikes. Kamahi generally occurs with other broadleaf trees, at times acting as a pioneer species which is eventually succeeded by the southern beeches (Nothofagus spp.
It is a spreading tree to 25m with dark green leathery leaves.
It produces masses of creamy flowers in summer. It can be found in regenerating bush or is often common on clay banks on the side of the road and streams. The flowers are sweet scented and produced in profusion in November and December.
Kamahi bark is greyish, with white blotches and relatively smooth. Kamahi bark was a rich native source of tannins, which were used to dye cloaks and mats and to preserve fishing lines. Its timber, often protected by tapu, was durable and “lucky” for fishing rods.
The Maori also use kamahi as a chest tonic if kumarahou is not available. It is given to people suffering from the flu, bronchitis, heavy chest colds; the bark being boiled and the infusion drunk. This was also used to bathe wounds, burns, etc since it has antiseptic qualities, as well as accelerating healing.
The tannic acid from the bark reacts with the ferrous salts in the paru – the mud in certain swamps, etc., – to produce a strong and permanent black dye.
With its high tannin content (10 – 13%) the bark was much used in early European times by tanners, who apparently almost wiped the species out in the Auckland region.