Monday dawned another beautiful spring day so we deserted the laundry to have a look at some of the other tributaries feeding Lake Taupo. Ken Olsen from Canada – a TRM inmate for the last month – had not ventured north from the Tongariro and we did not want him to leave without realising how spoilt we are for choices.
This is important as for December he is becoming a ‘trout-bum’ cruising around all the South Island rivers and secondly in his life back in BC he is a salmon fishing guide advising clients of NZ’s trout fishing…
Before we left Denis Renard from New Caledonia returned from the Tongariro with his usual daily catch so he set the standard for us to beat…
Conditions were ideal after a wet weekend with most rivers coloured up and still going down. The first – Tauranga Taupo had three cars parked so we carried on to the Waitahanui.
Only one car in the Blake Road car park ahead of us so we started at the Totara Pool and worked our way upriver from there via the Pig Pool and spotted a few smallish trout in odd places and fished our way up to beyond the third bridge – to the Black Fish Pool. Unfortunately another angler ahead of us must have spooked most but we discovered another angler was hooked up in the Reid Bend having driven there. He also got the jump on us having parked at the steel bridge. Gordon Williams pool also had fresh wader prints so was unsuccessful.
Getting desperate I led Ken further up to the Black Fish Pool track but missed the pool altogether.
Whilst our fishing results were nil we had a marvelous walk for Ken to appreciate the pristine environment of what a NZ trout river is supposed to look like.
Then we headed south to the Hinemaiaia. Again a few small trout were sighted. I was aiming for one pool near the third carpark but Fishy Steve had a school in there ahead of us so we headed further south back to the TT (Tauranga-Taupo) River. Only one car there so instead of heading up river we went down but again there were too many footprints. After losing our gear on snags a couple of times we gave up and continued south past the smaller Waimarino and Waiotaka.
By then it was only 4 pm so we still had time for a quick flick in the lower Tongariro – down Graces Road to Bain Pool car park. I promised Ken I could find him a ‘virgin’ pool which he would have entirely to himself – the Duffs Pool above the old Log Pool.
Most anglers walk past it as the most popular destination down there is usually to Reids and Jones Pools. I was getting concerned as Ken had not landed a trout all day despite his ‘guide’ (?) and several km walking.
We popped into the lower Bain to make sure the next pool down was empty… ? Shock, horror! There were eight anglers spread through the pool – including their guides.
When this West Island team returned to their vehicle in the car park they kindly allowed their photo taken while I warned them how dangerous the lower river was due to snakes and how wading is so dangerous due to soft spots etc. Their smiles were so wide they had obviously had a more productive day than us.
But at least Ken now knows how fortunate Taupo and Turangi is for such a wide choice. Our catch rate did not even matter. It was a great day. It will be hard to match that anywhere in the South Island or BC. Just don’t tell the Australians about it…