Another typical inmates question received 14 July as follows:
Probably don’t remember me but I was over for 4 or 5 days with XX a few years back. I have been …. working out some details to bring my boy over and do some fly fishing in NZD. Hope all is well with you, just read today’s report and sounds like snow has you guys held up tight? I found you to be the most knowledgeable guy on fishing around that place and wanted to pick you brain on some info about dates and a few things. I see that the big runs usually get good in May and are good all the way through Oct and even Nov. With my schedule of guiding hunts in the states my latest dates to make a trip over would be middle on Aug. I am free June July and first part of Aug but start hunting deer and elk in late Aug. When would be the best dates to come spend a week in your opinion? Another question, we do a bunch of dry fly fishing here in the states and was wondering what is the best option for the hatches over there? I’m assuming that would be summer and fall which would be winter and spring here in the states. I’m planning on bring my boy over some time after he graduates in the end of May 2018. I’m assuming if we wanted to get into some really good dry fly fishing for big fish would need to do that at a different date? Which is no big deal, I can plan that trip for a different time, but I will be doing this trip 2018 summer and wanted to try and pin down a good date. Any info you can give would be greatly appreciated. I really hope to see you and sit and have a drink and enjoy all of your knowledge next year. Take care and hope all is well
So when is the best time to fish the Tongariro?
When is the best time to fish the Tongariro?SWMBO gets asked this question every week (I duck it) when is the best time to fish the Tongariro?. Her stock answer is whenever you can get here!Every year we try to answer the same query and every year it changes based on varying patterns from the previous year! It really is that changeable.But there is more to it than just trying to time it for the trout spawning runs.That is fine for Kiwis who just have to hop in a car for a weekend trip but explanations to this perplexing issue are for serious West Islanders. We understand they have to do much more preparation and go to much more expense. So we will try to consider all the aspects.Locals will tell you the best time is always in the few days after a ‘fresh’ as every time we get some decent rainfall, regardless of the month, it usually triggers a fresh run up the Tongariro.However the weather here is very erratic and the forecasts are nearly always wrong and misleading…The attractive element right now is you will have a choice of several pools to yourself that may have not seen another competing angler for several days.Also in the warmer temperatures there is more variety in fishing methods – apart from the usual wet line and nymphing rig using weighted nymphs, anglers also cast a little dry fly or dry and dropper rig.Swinging a dry fly in late summer is arguably the best fishing of all on the Tongariro. Add in the evening rise going off bonkers like it has for the last week and the late summer stands out.Moon phases are another consideration. For fine weather always pick a full moon although some anglers swear the fishing is best with no moon. Full moons remaining in 2017 are July 9,August 8, September 6, October 6, November 4, December 4.Aussie anglers are very important to TRM as they usually stay one or two weeks and return again and again. So they need to do their homework as to the best time… Some regular Australian anglers, who have been consistently successful over many years, have their own special method which they swear by – to time it perfectly so can then stay for much longer periods. They only come when cheap flights and the specials deals are on. So the other timing factors may not be as crucial as you imagine.Meanwhile we have had another similar West Island fishing club request for our opinion – as to the ‘best’ time when there is not too much pressure on the river. They cannot time it immediately after rain as they need a couple of months warning to get organised. They understand the trout are always here so the timing is an important decision.Tongariro River’s world famous tradition was based on the winter spawning runs. Up until about ten years ago the most popular time was July-August (school holidays) as the winter runs were concentrated into a much tighter time frame.Now they can happen at practically any time. For 2016 it was a very late season. Arguably for TRM anglers the best fishing month was last October, but it is not as simple as that. For an enjoyable relaxed fishing holiday, we suggest crowding – angler pressure – is probably the most important issue to consider to try to avoid.If you target any of the long weekends or more popular public holiday periods then you have to expect the trout to be ‘spooked’ by excessive numbers of keen anglers thrashing the pools to a foam from 5 am. If you arrive at 9 am and find the pool empty it is often because the anglers have already been and gone back to refuel… Often later in the day plenty of trout can be seen but will not respond after being hammered at first light.For a more relaxed enjoyable fishing holiday the peak times should be avoided regardless of how many fish are supposed to be lined up waiting for you.Having said that we also have to add that those who know there way around the river tracks never have a problem. All they do is walk (waddle in waders?) a little further away from the various car parks to find ‘virgin’ undisturbed water.Of course the more popular pools get thrashed. TRM anglers’ usual advice is to avoid all the town pools including the Braids, Bridge Pool, Major Jones, Breakfast Pool, Hydro.The more remote pools often get overlooked. Last week on a tiki tour around the pools – to introduce a new angler to the choices available – there were 8 cars in the Braids car park, one in Stag, one in Red Hut (some others were obviously bikers) and one in Blue Pool. The only angler met up at the Sand Pool had landed six…The ‘best’ time also depends on knowing what you are looking for? These comments are more aimed at keen anglers just wanting to catch lots of trout without specifically aiming at back country browns or trophy (Lake O?) Rainbows. OK?The truth is there are always plenty of trout in the river and with over “fifty pools to fish before you die” there are always plenty of opportunities if you go looking for them.In addition to the fifty pools, the fish are strangely forced to swim between them as well and these precious runs and reaches are often neglected by anglers.Many of these – i.e. on the TRB across the river from the main road car parks, are within easy walking distance from TRM or best accessed by TRM bikes – hint, hint. You hardly need a car.Between now and October is ideal to intercept winter spawning runs. October is usually a busy peak time as that is also when other water opens up – Lake Otamangakau, etc. December is too close to Christmas and holidays, January is NZ’s traditional holiday time when the river is also subject to many more canoes and rafting etc., February is similarly always too busy with tourists (more rafts) and too crowded on the river but by March the pressure is usually off.After October is also a good time to target other rivers in day trips to Wanganui River, plus Whakapapa, Rangitikei, etc. Some of these close off for spawning from the end of May but the Wanganui (below the Whakapapa confluence) is open all year round. Ditto other local lakes.Also we must add that if you dial up TRM website to check on bookings then please ignore it and contact us or email directly. Usually SWMBO has to block off most units to prevent the dreaded OTA’s – online travel agencies – ‘cherry picking’ odd nights out of the best months for one night tourists. There are plenty of other motels catering for them.TRM’s booking strategy for the last 12 years is to narrow the aim to regular fishos who we know always return again and again at their favourite time.So now you know… Ph 07 386 8555 or 0800 187688or email: firstname.lastname@example.orgNow just to confuse you we repeat another analysis in the article by Alan Bulmer previously published in September 12, 2016
When is it best to fish the Tongariro?An interesting article follows – pinched from Active Angling NZ. Many thanks to Alan for this and many other thought provoking articles on trout fishing. This type of analysis used to be regularly provided by DOC in the Target Taupo but it appears we now have to rely on the knowledge and enthusiasm of a few anglers instead. Alan and many others have suggested to TRM for a long time, they think it is time Fish & Game got involved in the Taupo Fishery… What do you think?
WHICH MONTHS ARE BEST TO FISH THE TONGARIRO?Back in the day most anglers timed their trips to the Tongariro river to coincide with the main rainbow trout spawning runs which occurred over the winter months. Between 1960 and 2000 these runs were mostly concentrated between May – August.However there has been a major change in the timing of the rainbow trout spawning runs since 2002 and the fabled winter runs have moved to considerably later in the year. Remember that the data is based on trap results in the spawning streams so the fish probably will be in the lower river around 4-8 weeks earlier.I recently stumbled upon an excellent Doctoral thesis by Elizabeth Heeg entitled “Population genetics and spawning time of Lake Taupo rainbow trout” which documents these changes. http://researcharchive.vuw.ac.nz/xmlui/handle/10063/2046As you can see from the graphs below by 2006 the main runs had switched to October-November. This is a fascinating development which has fisheries scientists baffled. It also seems to have by-passed many anglers as they still appear to be targeting the winter runs, even though these are now comparatively small.Several years ago I read an article in Target Taupo which also mentioned the trend so I started to visit Turangi in late November to take advantage of the later runs. Mid-late November is a great time to fish the river as there are fresh fish present, the days are warmer and you also get an evening rise when the conditions allow. Contrary to popular belief fresh run fish do rise at dusk to take advantage of hatching insects so the action can be hectic.