More requests for TRM reports to provide more fishy info – both phoned in to SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed manages everything She sees at TRM) while I was missing out west on valuable research.
The first question was about which flies are currently needed. The first point to make is we are not qualified to answer as we are influenced by just the Tongariro River trout. These are not very selective – like river trout – as they have lived in the lake for the previous two or more years chasing smelt. When they enter the river systems of any Lake Taupo tributaries they are way out of their natural environment and coping with flow pressures etc. with 99% of their brain power devoted purely to mating prospects, not concentrating on eating. So often they do not even know what they are looking for. Naturally this changes with time in the river – when cicadas arrive they definitely know what they are looking for.
But as to the best flies, that is not difficult as most of you know. I think you could get by on an entire Tongariro winter season with variations on just three flies – hare & copper bombs, pheasant tails & glo bugs. Of course you need a few more such as smaller & larger PT’s, Flash back PT’s, weighted PT’s, etc. different coloured and various sized and weighted glo bugs, heavier bombs, etc. All wet liners need are woolly buggers.
The other question to SWMBO was the usual problem at this time of the year wanting to know exactly when the main spawning runs will start? Traditionally at this time the river fishing pattern runs hot and cold. Some days everyone is successful. Then for no reason it gets harder. Full moons and clear conditions are not conducive to great results. Last week one angler from Auckland – Peter Harvey – timed it perfectly as he landed his limit with several over 5 pound every day for five days. But then once he left, from all reports, it went quiet.
On Saturday it dawned clear so I offered to “escort” (I daren’t call it guiding?) some new inmates – Ross & Sue from Napier – to another river system to the west, just for a change to introduce them to another river system. At the first spot on the Wanganui one good Rainbow was landed and two lost. At the next stop we met three anglers who assured us how hard it had been all morning so we left them there.
One of our guests – Kevin – had his own 4WD vehicle so we directed him to another access while we went further beyond up the same river – to spread out and improve our chances. We had a delightful day fishing and exploring with nothing to show for it while Kevin had a great time with some superb fishing. He found hungry trout in every pool and actually lost count – he rates it as one of his best days ever… OK? It is that irregular and cannot be anticipated.
So to reply to the question I have cheated again and dialed up whatever we may have said this time last year, as this same question is always asked annually. Following version of TRM’s answer to a complainant unhappy with our lack of more accurate forecasts – updated from June 2016:
2016 Report: Oh dear! Fortunately, at least to our knowledge, this is not a common problem, but we cannot please all the people all the time… Subscription to TRM reports is absolutely voluntary…
But in case others are suffering similar frustration about our neglect in reporting Tongariro fishing status more regularly we should attempt to provide an ‘insight’ as to TRM’s ‘editorial policy’ – in respect of the rules on reporting on the Tongariro fishing. Basically we have no policy! There isn’t any strict procedure.
If the fishing is not the greatest then we are not going to ‘invent’ it just to attract custom. That would backfire on us for sure. If the fishing is slow and not worthy of comment then of course we select another topic which we know anglers are interested in. TRM inmates have learnt to read between the lines…
So far (in 2016) I can only remember one day when anglers were regularly hauling them out of the Tongariro from 7 am to 5 pm all day. Usually by now we should have had many days like that. So this season is late. Biologically the trout still have to run up the river to spawn. It is a matter of ‘when’. Perhaps they might be running only at night when fishing is banned (for most anyway)?
On Saturday most anglers still struggled. One angler landed five and another landed nine. Yesterday one of our inmates released a real Tongariro trophy brown of over 10 pounds (estimates) but – out of respect for them – we cannot say where or how – unless you are a guest. Inmates qualify. Fair enough…?
TRM reports rely entirely on feedback from guests
That is an important consideration. So much of the positive reporting from us relies more on the ability and perseverance of guests. As any angler will acknowledge, it is called ‘fishing’ – not catching. But even in good years we often have blank days when there is nothing to report. There are many obscure reasons for this.
i.e. The Tongariro River and greater Taupo region is located in an unstable volcanic zone. This means irregular subterranean activity like tiny earth tremors that only trout and scientific instruments can detect. Over the last 11-12 years when the fishing goes quiet we have noticed a corresponding increase in volcanic activity. The fish are more sensitive to these tiny tremors and for no reason just stop feeding and sulk for a few days, regardless of weather conditions.
There are many anglers who visit regularly every year around the same time, ignoring weather conditions or rainfall patterns, and still manage to take home their maximum quota. At the same time there are many like the correspondent who are waiting for us or some other website report to give him the ‘thumbs up’ to get here as the trout are running.
We patrol the river almost every day and still manage to miss runs or have slow or blank days. That is when the whole experience is more challenging and much more satisfying when you have to use your wits rather than just joining the queue and going through the usual combat casting routine in the Trolls Hole.
Regardless of the climatic conditions there are always trout in the river and easy access to fish for them when the river is too high for wading. That is the challenge of river fishing. If blank days are too stressful then we recommend to ‘invest’ in a boat – lake fishing is comparatively boring but at least you will usually catch something at the Delta.
But for the excitement and satisfaction of the ‘chase’ there is nothing to match river fishing. I am still amazed at how good it is. In fact, it is better than I had ever imagined before moving here.
So the message is not to wait until your stars are in line when every other competing angler will be here too, but just get here when ever you can. The trout are always in the river waiting for you. That is the challenge of river fishing.
Timing of spawning runs?
Perhaps the complainant is just being too impatient? Later spawning runs in recent years are confirmed by DOC Waipa Trap results although this is not the only indication. The gravel quarrying in the lower river during spawning runs (posing as flood protection works?) in 2016 has to have a major negative impact too.
Also – with respect – please do not believe what DoC claim as the peak times through their Waipa Stream trap. Whilst DOC report the largest runs through their Waipa trap in recent years are usually October, this is misleading for anglers.
In a 2003 experiment it took tagged trout on average 61 days to swim from the Delta to the Fence Pool. To reach the Waipa trap could take at least another month as well. So the peak of spawning runs may not enter the river until July (or starting next weekend?). The best spawning gravels in the whole system are upstream in the Whitikau where the runs are not monitored at all.