So my guide decided to check out some spots over the hill west of Turangi. BENY drove us in style on SH41 over to the Wanganui River. We returned via Kakahi and Owhango to National Park and then back on SH 47 past Lake O, so it makes for a pleasant drive on a loop circuit. We chose an absolutely wonderful afternoon in fine warm still weather – could not have wished for a better day.
This is always an interesting trip for TRM anglers to consider = when the weather is suitable – and to make comparisons… The following are Trev’s six comparable impressions.
1 When you add up the driving time – when you could have been fishing on the Tongariro – plus the additional expense, is it worth it? Trev compared it to a club golfer needing to try a new course every now and then. It is a pleasant drive with a stop at the top to climb the tower of the Waituhi lookout – see image above – with wide views over the Tongariro National Park and Mt. Ruapehu.
2 The Wanganui/Whakapapa trout definitely fight much harder. Their tail and fin development has grown stronger to cope with a fast flowing river. Comparatively Taupo trout just cruise around a lake before their spawning runs up the Tongariro River. In fighting ability, 3 pound Whakapapa trout compares to a 4 pound Tongariro trout, so be prepared to lose a few..
3 The Wanganui/Whakapapa trout are much smarter – they are river trout in their home environment and spook much quicker as they know every shadow and sense any movement. Tongariro River trout are in reality lake trout out of their natural environment and easier to catch.
5 After rain the Tongariro recovers much quicker. The Wanganui catchment can take a week to recover.
6 If you want to smoke your trout then stay at the Tongariro as these more remote wilderness fisheries are much more fragile and “catch and release” is more important. Generally Tongariro trout naturally taste better too from their usual lake diet of smelt (whitebait) and koura (freshwater crayfish).
Previously, occasionally, the trip to the Wanganui has been a waste of time due to other issues beyond our control – see image on right. But this was my first trip this season and we did not encounter any such problems.
So was it worth it? Absolutely. Highly recommended – particularly when you have an entertaining fishing guide like Trev.