Continuing rehashing old Tongariro pool reports with latest images taken last week – particularly to illustrate the improvements (Thank you DOC) to the anglers access track to the TRB (True Right Bank looking down river. Previous reports included an update of any changes following the 700+ flush out last January.
Continuing anglers photo-journey up river… when the TRM Daily Report showed images of the town pools that were hardly affected by the weekend 700+ cumec flood. At the time the river was flowing about 40 cumecs. Further up river through the “middle pools” are a few more surprises.
Similarly the Admirals and up to Cicada look much the same. In the image above the gravel shelf in the tail of Cicada looks wider to provide easy wading in the tail. Last season there were two massive Browns lurking in the deep pool in the tail. I expect they will still be there. They were only usually seen at day’s end during the evening rise. Their role in life was to chase any Rainbows out of the pool into the head of the Cicada Pool under the cliffs – where they were easier to hook.
Looking down into the head of Cicada Pool the gravel bank appears wider to help wading. With the lack of much clarity – still settling and clearing after the flood – we could not see how many were waiting for anglers. Usually we can see exactly where they are on station and work out where to stand and cast. Then anglers can bike around to the Stag Carpark on the TLB knowing their chances of success are much better.
If they do that then they should always have a quick flick into the tail of Stag Pool from the TLB – just through the bush from the car park. From what I could observe, the angler in the image above hooked up on his first cast. Opposite him on the TRB the beach at Stag Pool has shrunk – where the rafter on a tractor tyre is floating – and the head of the run has changed.
Stag Pool – 2006
Update by Ol’ardy – a regular guest/angler at Tongariro River Motel
This reach lies between the Admiral’s Pool, and the Stag Pool. After the Stag Pool, the river runs down, bangs into the cliff, and runs below the cliff for 100 yards or so. During summer, exploring the river because there were few fish around, I walked across, and noted curious wavy black shapes in the water – lots of them. They all quickly took off to the deep flow by the cliff.
Head and tail of the pool are both productive, but the best fishing should be (untried) wading deep, a la Hydro to the centre, and nymphing along the cliff face.
Might also need caution at the head and tail of the pool, whereas the centre appears to have a reasonable depth – only 3-4 feet.
Next time I’m there, I’ll borrow your waders and try it. It looks very similar to the Hydro pool in style, and there is plenty of water to fish.
Steps to catch Fish on the Tongariro
(Images below to show the access track in from the Tongariro River Trail on TRB. As it is not clearly marked some anglers have missed the track completely. The new track can clearly be seen leading off the old track away from where the river washed it out)
With apologies to the 10,000 fishermen who know far more than I.
Listen to Ross – he knows what he’s talking about. (Did I say that?? Must be senile decay setting in!) When you live on the river, you acquire an intimate knowledge and feel for where they are, and what will catch them. Use him – Ross derives great pleasure and satisfaction from happy fishermen – as do we all.
Explore. It’s a big river, and different parts have different charms – enjoy it. The fish in winter appear to go in waves, so they are always on the move, and the pool that took fish yesterday might not hold them today – they’ve moved 2-3 pools upstream. If you explore, you may find them all by yourself, and then you will definitely have some fun. And you’ll probably find delightful spots you go back to time and time again – whether you catch fish or not.
A further corollary is that you should explore different water depths for your nymph or wet fly. The fish may be cruising at different depths. Use a fast and slow retrieve on alternate casts to have the line at different depths if wetlining. With nymphs, well…. Fishing depth has always been an important factor on the Tongariro (less so now than pre-Hydro days) and may mean the difference between bothering the water, and making a killing.
Don’t wade too much. Fish your feet first, as Ross is always reminding us. Of course, you, gentle reader, always do, whereas the rest of us – forget. After delicately approaching the Blue pool from the true right bank, I was carefully about to fish the water around me, put my foot down beside a rock in about 6 inches of water – stood on a rather nice brown trout! Should take Ross’s advice seriously.
Incidentally, brown trout in summer at night may be caught within a foot of the shore, and with their backs out of water as they chase bullies. You may even need to cast your line on the sand to get the leader and fly close to them. It’s quite common to be wading, and have the fish swimming around you legs.
Most fishermen on the river scare the fish by wading. The fish then go to the tail or head of the pool, and wait. You, clever angler, go to the tail, or head, which appears ridiculous to fish, and take the fish everyone scared. See notes on No Name Pool. If you are having no luck, fish the tails, the swirls, etc. It may seem silly fishing where there is white water and boulders, but good fish are everywhere, and they are safer there. Look for pockets and eddies. Just imagine the fish there, and cast to it.
On the Gowan River, in Nelson Lakes, you look at the river and doubt you could get your line on it, (or walk up it for that matter) let alone find any fish – its wild, steep, and mostly white water. But fish there are, and they are very good fish. (You don’t retrieve your line – you cast it upstream, and within seconds its behind you – quite possibly with a fish attached)
Leader length. For nymphing – Advice from Expert Guide 1 – use a long leader. Advice from Expert Guide 2 – use a leader no more than 4-6 feet long. All advice works sometimes. How deep is the water? How deep are the fish? How fast is the current? (There is a speed differential between top and bottom water that means usually the nymph is trailing. Watching good fishermen, they seem to use long in deeper, slower pools, and shorter in faster, shallower water. For wetlining, the current vogue is for short – 1-1.3 metres. It used to be 3 metres – the fish, not having been consulted, don’t seem to care one way or the other. Neither should you
Be ready to switch methods. If the fish will not take nymphs, or dry fly, then have a spare spool with a sinking line, and switch to wetlining. If all else fails, borrow Ross’s volleyball net and …………..
This also applies to river mouth fishing. If the waves are a bit high, meaning the fly is getting jerked around if you use a floating line, switch to a slime (or slow-sink Intermediate) line about 2 feet under the surface to stabilise the presentation of the fly. Else go the bottom with a sinking line and one of those “floating things” just off the bottom.
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.