With warmer summer conditions threatening (?) TRM have been besieged about the best time for dry fly techniques on the Tongariro River. Many anglers curiously imagine this is an exciting new phenomenon? Not so…
About 60 years ago, that is even before SWMBO’s time, Joe Frost, was the owner of what has ‘morphed’ into Creel Tackle shop,.
He wrote the following article based on his experiences on the Tongariro with a dry fly over 90 years ago – in the early 1920’s…
(Above right – Joe Frost at his tackle shop -1939)
“For a long time many anglers were under the impression that the large rainbow did not feed on the surface and, therefore, would not take a dry fly. This idea has proved to be wrong as many anglers now use this method on the Tongariro, as well as smaller streams in the Taupo region. Today this type of fishing has become very popular and good sport can be expected under favourable conditions.
The upper reaches of the Tongariro are particularly adapted (*) to this method of fishing, for there one finds more broken water with ideal eddies, and it’s in such places that fish will be resting and feeding, and only short casting is necessary.
Fishing the ortodox method upstream with reasonably light gear such fish provide grand sport and when the water is low and clrear they can be tempted when they are not so keen on the lure.
With favourable conditions, the angler could use this method throughout the season, as I myself have had good sport right through from November to May……”
(*) The article by Joe Frost was published before the Tongariro Power Scheme dams and tunnels and canals pinched most of the flow from the Tongariro to transport it across to Lake Rotoaira for the Tokaanu Power station turbines.
In the early 1920’s Joe Frost was originally employed at the trout hatchery and then as a ‘ghilly’ (fishing guide) at Taylor’s Lodge providing dry fly casting tuition.
(That is Joe Frost above and Pop Sanderson below)
At that time the shop was part of Taylor’s Camp – photo below.
The shop was then shifted by Frank Schlosser & Frank Harwood to its present location and renamed “Creel”.
The Tongariro has so much interesting absorbing history unmatched by any other trout fishing location in NZ.
i.e. During the 1920’s Taylors Camp accommodated the ‘gentry’ (on right below – now looking more than a little tired and recently sold – awaiting redevelopment into superior residential…).
Their ghilly, Joe Frost, guided Lord Jellicoe – Admiral of the Fleet and Governor General from 1920 to 1924.
(SWMBO is still waiting in considerable anticipation for a GG to book into TRM…)
And what does all that rich history have to do with dry fly fishing?
Sorry. I got carried away.
Perhaps that is what the Tongariro needs today – a Governor General keen on fly fishing would soon put a stop to the wanton abuse and destruction of the lower river brown trout nursery in the name of ‘progress’ aka flood protection?
(Photo on right – In 1959 a more modern anglers ‘motel’ and camping ground was developed on the main road – now Taupahi Road. Can you recognise which one?)