Another ‘historic’ pool report on the Tongariro River –
Red Hut Pool
After the original Red Hut anglers access bridge was washed out in the BIG 1958 flood, a ‘flying fox’ was used by anglers to cross the river. Thank you for this image (reproduced from old ‘slides’) from Robbie & Eddie Cadogan. Compare the river flow – pre-hydro scheme – to the flow in the image below taken October 2018 when the level was down to about 25 cumecs. The sandy pumice aggradation covering most of the pool gravels is quite evident.
RED HUT POOL
(x-TRM Report 2006)
Considering NZ Army Engineers being questioned recently over their bridge building competence, it is timely to reminisce that the Red Hut Bridge was built over 50 years ago – in 1960 – by the NZ Army.
It has survived two major floods since which would have swept away any normal footbridge built to Government specifications.
The 1958 flood scoured out both banks and the concrete columns at each end collapsed.
Then again in 2004, mother nature had another assault on the Red Hut (and Major Jones) swing bridge(s) but they have survived – a credit to their design and construction. So for the bridge 50th anniversary, anglers should acknowledge where credit is due – specially to TALTAC (Tongariro & Lake Taupo Anglers Club) who were largely responsible in convincing the Government to build the footbridges for anglers.
Do not be discouraged by the number of cars in the car park.
Apart from the day trippers, mountain bikers, canoeists, and tourists using the DoC organic long drop loo, the Red Hut Bridge also provides anglers access over to other upper river pools such as the Poutu, Shag Pool, Duchess, etc. plus various other new noname pools.
Therefore the anglers may not be in the pool you are aiming at. There are many options available in the upper river. An example of one of the many new noname (yet?) pools can be seen immediately upriver on TLB (True Left Bank looking down river – see image taken 2011) from the footbridge and can be accessed from walking up the TRB under the bridge. It is too early to merit naming rights but there are many other small holding pools formed after the 2004 flood.
The second point to remember is to pause when crossing long enough to have a good hard look into the river below the bridge. Polaroids help to reduce glare and see into the depths where there are usually several biggies resting on their journey up river.
The theory is that during daylight the fish are wary of crossing under the shadow of the bridge across the river, or perhaps they are just feeding off the rapid above, before continuing upriver towards Waddells Pool.
The main pool does not appear to be holding the same numbers of fish as prior to the 2004 flood. It used to be compulsory to peep out from the high bank on the LHS (from the track to The Duchess Pool) to spot which fish you planned to aim for before crossing the bridge to nymph or wetline from the RHS beach.
It is easily fished from the RHS and good for both wetlining and nymphing. We have seen anglers in the lower pool casting across as far as possible towards the LHS while a small shoal has passed through about six metres in front of them.
NOTE: Pool Reports for the Tongariro River are prepared from guest/anglers experiences. As such, Tongariro River Motel do not accept any responsibility for the opinions of other anglers who are traditionally acknowledged liars about their best fishing pools.
Aerial view of Tongariro River pools looking up river above Red Hut Pool – what a glorious river.
Following is a short video with better images of Red Hut Pool and other Tongariro pools from Red Hut down to Kamahi…
Compare above images and conditions to those described by Harvey Clark – NZ Herald fishing journo in 2004 – after the BIG 1400+ cumec flood in Feb 2004. Proof that these big pools hardly change at all.
By HARVEY CLARK
Anglers disillusioned with fishing on the upper Tongariro River since the 1998 flood can now celebrate. This year’s big flood, initially thought to have wrought further destruction, has in fact improved the middle and upper river out of sight.
Two upper pools have disappeared – the Breakaway (or what was left of it after the ’98 flood) and the Fan just above it. The riverbed here is now dry, the flood having lifted and dumped the river 500m to the east into the old Dreadnought Pool course where it flowed before the great flood of 1958.
The Cliff Pool just below the old Breakaway has also been badly affected and is now only a shadow of its former self, but just about everywhere else you look on the middle and upper river you’ll find new pools big and small, deep and wide runs, numerous patches of rock-strewn pocket water that should be a nymph-fisher’s delight, and new river crossings that make access to top fishing water much easier.
Says the Department of Conservation’s Taupo Fishery Area Manager, John Gibbs: “The flood has dug the river out, creating a lot of pools and holding water. It’s as good as I’ve seen it and I think the fishing will be brilliant.”
At the upper winter fishing limit, the Fence Pool has partly reformed and has been yielding fresh fish this week. The famous Whitikau Pool, destroyed by the ’98 flood, remains unchanged, but the Sand Pool has lengthened and deepened in the middle.
At the Blue Pool, a bank of rocks has narrowed the top on the left bank, the tail has disappeared and in its place is a mighty fish-holding run right down through the old Boulder Pool, which has been steadily reforming at the head.
You could get 20 anglers along here, and the tail of the Boulder looks easy to cross to the right bank, giving access downstream to a couple of new wide, sweeping pools. Above the Blue Pool, two excellent patches of pool and pocket water have formed within a 200m walk.
I was unable to walk upstream from the Red Hut footbridge because the track had been washed away, but I have been told there is some outstanding new water not far down from the Cliff Pool. The track has now been restored.
The Red Hut Pool has been reduced a little in size but this shouldn’t affect the good fishing; the Shag Pool below it has lengthened; and from there all the way down to the Admirals some wonderful-looking new spots have formed.
The most interesting changes in the middle river are behind the hatchery, where the Birch Pool area has reformed into three separate pools and the rapid, boulder-strewn run up to the Silly Pool has disappeared. The river can be crossed to the right bank at the bottom of the new Middle Birch Pool, but anglers should fish the crossing first because trout are sheltering around the small holes and boulders there.
This handy crossing means the Lower Birch Pool, which is a delightful stretch, can be fished from the right bank without having to walk down from the Red Hut bridge; and it’s a short walk downstream to the popular Cattle Rustlers Pool, one of the best fish-holding pools on the river (trout were stacked up in the tail when I was there), and to the Stag Pool, which has widened and is looking great.
So all’s well with the new Tongariro. The river has settled. The lies are there. The big runs are just around the corner. They’ll be coming up in their thousands with the next burst of bad weather.
And then it should all be on.