Further to TRM’s blog on our Whakapapa River raft fishing trip, several questions from inmates followed wanting more detailed info on how/where to access the Whakapapa and where could they find more info?
Fish & Game publish many excellent informative brochures of all trout rivers throughout NZ. The relevant brochure for the Whakapapa River is “Whanganui Headwaters”.
At TRM we have to hide certain brochures as some selfish fishos pinch them all to prevent others from finding out about the river access. True! Ditto for the Manganuioteao brochure – “Sports Fishing Opportunities in the Ruapehu District”.Fish & Game describe the river as follows:
“The Whakapapa is a large river that flows from the northern slopes of Mt. Ruapehu, along the edge of Tongariro Forest, before joining the Whanganui River at Kakahi. It is one of New Zealand’s finest trout fisheries with rainbow and brown trout averaging 2 kg. Generally, the water quality is pristine, very cold and crystal clear – in the upper reaches water clarity usually exceeds 10 metres.”
“For most of its length, the Whakapapa flows through native forest alternating between turbulent rapids, deep pools and long boulder runs. This is certainly not a river for the faint-hearted – there are few easy places to cross and some caution is required.
Access to the lower reaches is from the end of Te Rena Road via the village of Kakahi… Access to the middle reaches is from Owhango….” But what is not mentioned for some reason is the access from Stone Jug Road over the paper road, which is now open again? There are also other anglers access car parks near Kakahi, but you will need to get local directions from the Kakahi General Store.
The enquiries were referred to several old books which explain the status and importance of the river far better than we can in a brief update. These books should be regarded as classic fishy literature for Tongariro junkies – KAKAHI (published 1972) by Peter McIntyre, The Flies in my Hat (1967) by Greg Kelly, & two books by E G Webber, “you should’ve been here on Thursday” (1961) and “try again Friday” (1965) as pictured below.
All these classic trout fishing books are now out of print but can be found by googling or on “TradeMe” type sites. All are strongly recommended and should be treasured in any fly fisho’s library.
There are two memorable tourist features of Kakahi. First is the narrow road access down a scenic cutting leading down to the river. This was formed for a railway line to the bridge mentioned above. This narrow cutting seconds as a tourist attraction for the glow worms that appear at night along the steep banks.
Second is the local celebrity – Manu Lala – who has operated the local General Store for many years. Both are compulsory visits. The interior is a museum of treasures. It is compulsory for everyone, tourists and anglers, to visit him to pay homage and to buy some of his precious Kakahi Queen flies. We promise you will never forget the visit. It is like an extension of Te Papa. It should be preserved.