Anglers who happen to stray away from the Tongariro – SWMBO understands everyone needs a change every now and then – often head west to the Whakapapa and Kakahi. Wonderful river fishing and beautiful natural scenery.
The Whakapapa is more inconsistent relying on the hydro power demands for the Tokaanu Power station. Much of the flow is diverted through tunnels to Lake Otamangakau – which is really just a large shallow puddle comprising the swamp that used to be the head of the W(h?)anganui River – serving as a hydro storage dam before the flow follows canals into Lake Rotoaira.
The Wanganui and Whakapapa merge above Kakahi and provide excellent summer fishing.
Anglers claim that a three pounder from over there is equal to a four pounder from the Tongariro.
Why? The Tongariro fish are raised in Lake Taupo where their fin and tail development is not as strong and large as true mountain river raised trout.
These rivers are also affected more by weather and often take days to settle back down after heavy rain.
Nevertheless they have their own keen supporters who rave about them.
Two most notable of these were Peter McIntyre, NZ’s most famous war artist who lived there and wrote the bible “Kakahi” about the fishy virtues of the Whakapapa, and his neighbour Greg Kelly who wrote “Flies in my hat”.
Since they lived at Kakahi the cliffs have collapsed and their original houses are now buried, so there have been many substantial changes. Nevertheless the old map at top prepared by Greg Kelly will be of interest to many anglers.
The only feature that remains is the ‘cutting’ which is the old railway line route to Taupo that was never completed. It is visited more often these days at night to admire the display of glow worms.
Thanks to Shirley Fraser for the historic images.
Some time we should feature the Whanganui River which now has legal status as a person?
NZFishing.com describes the Whakapapa as follows:
|Description||The Whakapapa is a large river with turbulent rapids, deep pools and low boulder runs. A degree of caution is needed: there are few easy places to cross and it is not a river for the faint-hearted. The water is extremely clear (visibilty can be as much as 15 metres in some of the headwaters). Consequently, great care should be taken when wading – the river is deceptively deep and the current stronger than it looks. Fishing however is excellent with different sections offering differing types of fishing experiences.|
Only fit and experienced anglers should attempt to fish the upper reaches of the Whakapapa as frequent and difficult river crossings are required. The river flow has been depleted by the intake that extracts some water for hydro electricity production.
The water is crystal-clear with clarity usually exceeding 10 metres. The trout population is generally low but here is always a chance of catching a trophy trout. Above the intake for the Tongariro Power Scheme, there are a few very large rainbows, while below the intake, brown trout are also present. This is water suited to those who like to stalk and cast to sighted fish.
Access to the upper reaches is from the intake structure for the Tongariro Power Scheme. Prior permission to cross National Park Station is required from the station manager (ph 07 8922 818).
From SH47 (the National Park-Turangi road) a good sealed road provides access through Taurewa Station to the intake structure. See the Whakapapa River access map
In the middle reaches there are many kilometres of wilderness fishing with a procession of productive pools and boulder runs. This section provides excellent fishing opportunities with the chance to hook into some double figure fish (ie above the 10lb mark). Highly recommended for the more skilled and energetic anglers. But do take care. This is a large powerful river.
Access is usually from Owhango where a good metal road leads to an old timber company bridge across the river..
Downstream from the bridge a track on the true left bank leads to several large pools. Upstream from the bridge a short road leads to several paths and many kilometres of spectacular fishing.
See the Whakapapa River access map
The lower reaches of the Whakapapa are the easiest and most popular part of this magnificent river. Access is generally easier than in the middle and upper sections and fish numbers are high. This section also give access to the Whanganui River. Upstream from Kakahi there are many good pools and the crossings are comparatively easy.
From the village of Kakahi, follow Te Rena Road to its end. See the Whakapapa River access map