TRM have never been allowed to mention shore fishing at Lake Rotoaira – reputation protected by a few faithful inmates who continually tell us access is so difficult and it is so exposed it gets so rough and is only for boats and the trout are so small and what a waste of time, etc.. Yeah right… TRM had a neat little ‘secret’ (?) possie there that was saved for a chosen few BOF’s. You were supposed to have Maori heritage to qualify. But now that North Shore Flyfishers newsletter have revealed TRM’s shore based fishing spot we can pinch their story for you.
From North Shore Flyfishers May newsletter:
Lake Rotoaira is situated at the foot of Mt Tongariro on the northern side, accessed from either SH 47 or the Te Ponanga Saddle road from Tokaanu. The alternative local name is the “Maori Lake” as it is owned by the Ngati Tuwharetoa which means that in addition to a Taupo licence an angler must also have a separate licence to fish this particular lake. However, from a fishing results viewpoint the additional expense is well worth it!
The rainbow trout which abound in the lake are great fighters and with bright red flesh, are excellent eating as well. The majority of fishermen (and women) use boats or float-tubes but my most successful fishing has been from the shore and more specifically, at the mouth of the Wairehu canal, the outlet canal from Lake Otamangakau further to the west. Rough vehicle tracks either side of the canal provide access down to the lake shore but be warned! They can do serious damage to the undercarriage of anything other than a good four wheel drive.
Both sides of the canal extend into the lake proper with groins made from boulders with the northern side being considerably longer than the southern. Given the greater level of fishing opportunity, I prefer the northern side but be careful as one needs to wade out to the end and although the water is quite shallow, the rocks are very slippery.
I use a floating line with a yarn indicator, about one to one and a half rod lengths of 8-10 pound fluorocarbon leader and two slightly weighted size 10 hair and copper or halfback nymphs. I cast up and across the gentle current starting along the bank (where there are often resting fish) and then extending the casts further and further out before walking about 6 or 8 metres upstream and continuing the same pattern.. If you are fortunate enough to have the possie to yourself, you can fish several hundred metres of bank before repeating the process.
The water is generally clear and with polaroids, you can often see groups of fish quietly cruising past. May and June have always been the most productive months for me and while Rotoaira has, in the past, been associated with smaller (but plentiful) fish, there are some bigger fish to be had as well. My best was a beautiful rainbow jack of 3.4kg.
So grab that licence and give it a go. It could be well worth it!
Dave Symes – President.
(This is worth remembering as an alternative particularly after rain when the rivers get flooded. If another fisho – almost always a TRM inmate – is already there then continue left along the shore to the mouth of the little stream… access only permitted if you are staying at TRM of course… but we are not allowed to write any more about that as it is still on the BOF’s secrets list.)
Description from Wikipedia: The lake is located in a graben between the broad volcanic dome of Mount Tongariro to the south and the smaller volcanic peak of Pihanga to the northwest. It is naturally drained by the Poutu Stream into the Tongariro River.
However the Tongariro Power Scheme utilised Rotoaira as a storage lake for the Tokaanu Hydropower Station. Extensive engineering works were carried out including the diversion of a number of other streams (including Whanganui River) into Rotoaira via the Otamangakau Hydro Lake and construction of a tunnel through Pihanga to the Tokaanu Power Station.
Description from NZFishing: Because water is diverted into Rotoaira during times of low electicity demand and then diverted to the Tongariro Power Station during times of peak demand, the lake levels fluctuate and there can be different currents at different times at inlets and outlets to the lake. Rotoaira is a shallow lake. The large amount of weed around the margins produce good food for the large population of rainbow trout. This lake was used as a venue for the 28th World Fly Fishing Championships.