Steady rain on the Tongariro this morning.
Above – you have been warned – the access in from the end of Grace Road has a few puddles – so high clearance 4WD almost compulsory.
10 January Town Pools i.e. Bridge to Hydro Pools
12 January Middle Pools i.e. Kamahi to Red Hut Pools
19 January Lower River – from Duffs to Reeds Pools.
Today is the “lower lower” river – tiger country below Reeds Pool. This could almost be classified as “wilderness” as the access is even more difficult than previously. But as several readers have requested updates on this access (if only to allow me escape the laundry) we will try not to embellish it… But it is ugly.
Perhaps the easiest access is from the Braids car park off Grace Road but that means spending most of the time walking down past Reeds Pool.
Understandably, most anglers do not enjoy “waddling in waders” that far. They prefer to drive to the end of a very bumpy Grace Road – like driving over a stream bed – and negotiate the flooded access track in from there.
As the first part of this update is more about the access difficulties, you have been warned. Some may decide it is not worth it. The above pics illustrate the vehicle access track off the end of Grace Road can be a bit “hairy”.
Perceptive fishos may have noticed that SWMBO’s 30 year old car was used in case it got dinged or scratched or we got into trouble. Please don’t tell her! (We managed it by holding my tongue just right and driving very slowly and carefully and maintaining a relentlessly positive attitude. We had paddles on stand-by.) So it is just possible without 4WD as long as you can steal or borrow the wife’s car.
We did not drive onto the gravel beach although it is possible as indicated by the 4WD vehicle. It is not for the faint hearted. I never know what to call this beach – above the old Bends Pool as it is described on the Tongariro Bucket List map. Some maps refer to as the Parade? Whatever…
Anglers love it for wetlines at the tail and nymphing in the head. Huge amounts of shingle and pumice sand have been shifted down all these pools, so contours have changed everywhere.
The main attraction is to be the first anglers to ambush the trout as they swim up river sniffing all the spawning redds. They believe there is a better chance of fresh run fish down here and fewer recovering fish. They are probably correct.
Above this beach the previous anglers access track eroded into the river. That is the new track (?) above on right. Thank you to DOC field staff for hacking a new (temporary?) access track. Make sure you have heavy boots to trample all the threatening blackberry thorns.
This is the only walking access possible back up river towards Jones Pool. This track emerges at the tail of Jones Pool opposite what is left of (now inaccessible) Smallmans Reach.
Anglers need to be prepared to lose some gear down here. A big dry fly (cicada?) is usually best to entice them out.
The long curved beach extending between Reeds Pool around the corner to Jones Pool may look much the same but is different as many tonnes of gravel and sand have been moved down river. Be very careful wading as soft sand can be treacherous.
(TRM cannot afford to lose inmates.)
In many spots the high pumice banks have been eroded and fallen in to increase the difficulty with big snags to severely restrict casting ability and swinging wet flies. Perhaps it could now be described as “challenging” or highly “technical”?
So the last image below is looking back up the river to the confluence of the main river below Log Pool joining the council canal at Reeds Pool.
At the time of inspection of the lower river above it was still looking mean as, flowing above 40 cumecs, so it was difficult to assess much of the river for wading, etc. With all the shingle cleaned and polished by the flood the wading is much easier – less slippery.
For any anglers brave enough to venture down here, it will be a learning curve all over again. That is what many anglers love about the Tongariro – it provides a continuing challenge…