A guide to fishing the Tongariro river  
River Reports  

River Reports and contact
Fishing Tips and contact

Rain does the trick with autumn almost here.
Some rain on the way?
An improvement since the weekend.
Hard going.

Rain does the trick with autumn almost here.
Thu 28th February, 2019

  email Tell a Friend

There are already some surprisingly good rainbows around as we head into autumn.

I fished with Sandy Macfarlane again on Friday and even the sniff of rain seemed to have the desired effect and we enjoyed some rewarding fishing in the light drizzle.

I'd started in the Hydro hoping for a brown but although there were a couple of fish rising along the tree-line on the TRB they weren't interested. So I gave up after an hour and drove upriver.

First drift in Boulder Reach it was almost as if a hole appeared below the dry and it was sucked down. I don't know why but fish always seem to fight harder when you hook them on a dry and this one was no exception. Sandy turned up not long after and as I mentioned we had a pleasant morning there.

The next day, after hours of heavy rain and showers, the river was the colour of milk chocolate, and running at around forty cumecs. Judges is always a favourite of mine in these conditions. And when I arrived there early Saturday morning, at first it looked perfect.

But although this was only a mini-fresh the stronger flows were just enough to dislodge even more of the weed that's plagued anglers the last few months. It didn't matter how you fished, there was so much of it coming down throughout the water column that it was impossible to get a weed free drift. Even the dry was covered in weed on occasions. It wasn't until flows dropped back to under thirty that the amount of this stuff coming down eased a little and the flies were clean long enough to get some interest from the fish.

By Monday the skies had cleared and it was all change ... chilly mornings and a howling south easterly. I never do well on this river when the wind is blowing from this direction. But with the sun shining, and very few anglers braving the conditions, I decided to head down to Judges again.

First cast a rainbow walloped the dry ... no wonder they call it the Woomfah! Unfortunately I lost it but landed a couple on the dropper before I headed upriver to a spot that's unaffected by a "southeaster" ... no matter how hard its blowing.

Again it wasn't long before I hooked up on the dry...and again I lost it. The same thing happened just a little further down in the head of the Fan. But this time the fish snapped me as I tried to steer it through the powerful current to where I was fishing on the TLB. I had a little better luck on the same dry in a stretch not too far away that I usually nymph with the five weight. And probably ended up with five fish landed for the day.

Yesterday it was an early start in Boulder Reach chasing browns.

This pool has been fairly consistent recently if you can get in first.

The head of the pool reminds me in some ways of Judges and responds well to the same sort of approach. {more later} And by staying well back and putting a longish cast or two just off the seam at the top of the pool it wasn't long before the dry hesitated for a second and I felt the unmistakable resistance of a brown when I struck. I was just in time because as I played the fish I heard the excited chatter of school kids as the first flotilla of rafts splashed through the pool. I don't mind rafts coming down, the fish soon forget about them once they've passed.

But with mission accomplished I headed back to town.

One of the oldest and most often used bits of advice passed on between generations of anglers is "fish your feet first. " Even so, many anglers choose to ignore these words of wisdom and will often wade straight out without bothering to look at all.

There are places where you have to wade to get at fish ... the head of Judges is definitely not one of them. All the likely lies here are easily reachable with the most simple cast. I'm always very careful here and as I mentioned stay well back and explore every inch of it. In fact the only time I wade out here is if I'm going to Czech nymph the faster water a bit further out. But usually I'll start close in with the dry and dropper set up, before gradually casting my way out towards the seam ... then beyond if its necessary.

As an example of how close in the fish can be here. I was slowly working my way up this stretch again yesterday. And just to my left spotted the long dark smudge of a brown lying in the cool water where it spills in from the riffles above. I managed to get a little closer without spooking it but it was lying with its nose almost touching the rock in front of it making it difficult to get at. To be honest, it probably wouldn't have been interested anyway. And looked to be just lying there enjoying the cooler water. But this didn't put me off trying with a couple of lightly weighted nymphs, until it eventually had enough of me and headed off to deeper water.

This sort of thing isn't unusual here or for that matter elsewhere on the Tongariro. You see it all the time when there are browns in the river. This fish was all of seven pounds and its back was barely covered but although this particular brown wasn't feeding, there's often fish in this stretch that are.
But if you go charging in without looking first you've ruined your chances before you've even cast.

In most of the middle of the pool it can be an advantage to wade out because of the silt.

But again if I am going out there, I usually fish my way out, just in case. I had some great conditioned rainbows there yesterday which really gave the 5wt a work out. And while I was out there spotted another couple of pretty big browns that again declined my offerings.

Although the small fresh we had flushed out some of the weed you'll still see ribbons of the stuff floating past. Its nowhere near as bad as it was on the weekend but it will need more than 43 cumecs to get rid of it. However, with the lake the lowest I've seen it for quite some time, when we eventually get a big fresh it should flow unhindered out into the lake.

So a definite improvement since the rain but with no more wet weather forecast for the next ten days it may not last as things warm up again. You can still hear cicadas along the river but if you listen carefully its not the massed chorus it was. And with autumn nearly here, they will fall silent over the coming weeks. But until then fishing cicada patterns is still an exciting option and I've had some great sport again, teaming them with small "spiders."

Tight lines guys

Back to Top
Surity Web Design