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The place to be.
Sat 7th April, 2018


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The fishing on the Tongariro continues to be pretty challenging. Rainbows are still a bit thin on the ground but there are some nice browns in the river.

Local clergyman Father Michael Fransham spotted three of them fairly close together in a middle river pool. And after a few casts tempted this fish on one of his favourite soft hackle patterns, suspended under the dry.

But it doesn't always work out.

Geoff Wade {pictured left} had already lost a good brown in the Stag and later hooked this one further downriver. You never quite know how things are going to pan out when playing a brown trout and just when he thought he had it beat ... it took off again on another powerful run and pulled the hook.
We've enjoyed some fantastic summer-like weather recently with temperatures well above average for the time of year. But the appearance of fly agaric and other fungi tells us we're well into Autumn and the runs are not far away.

I've been using this quiet spell to catch up on the changes along the river and although we've lost a few good spots...what the river takes away with one hand it gives back with the other. "

Several years ago we lost one of the most reliable and productive spots on the river... the much missed "Braids." A combination of "the powers that be" deliberately altering the rivers course. And the affect of subsequent floods meant that a lot of it became dry river bed and stagnant backwater. For a little while one or two spots clung on. But most of what remained was a shadow of its former self.


Then a few years ago after a big fresh, it began to break through again below the lower bridge pool. Albeit a little further down than its original course. I remember writing a report at the time entitled "Is the Braids back?" Unfortunately it turned out to be wishful thinking and as soon as levels in the main river fell back ... it dried up again.

But after a few more false starts, with every passing flood the breakthrough gradually widened and deepened. This enabled a greater volume of water to flow down the right hand side in front of the lodge. And last year in particular {during the runs} fish again began using the stretch in big numbers. The floods earlier this year have allowed the river to consolidate its hold here, and there are once more all kinds of fantastic nymphing opportunities. With new pools, runs, glides and riffles in this part of the river.

Because of the breakthrough the river now divides again below the lower bridge pool. At present its probably a 60/40 split with the majority of water still flowing down the left through Vera's. But the flows have slowed there. This will be a change for the better because its been a little too fast through there the last few years and fish tended to move through quickly. That nice run along the TLB is forming again and it should fish well this winter.

Some of the other old favourites look a little different too. But Spot X, The Stones and the braided section between there and what was The Plank are all back and there is also plenty of other very fishy looking water all the way down to Reed.

In its heyday, ease of access and big concentrations of fish in winter, made this the place to be on the Tongariro. And from the early hours of the morning until late in the afternoon there'd be a steady stream of anglers trying their luck here.

This year I'm sure its going to be back with a bang. And residents of Herekiekie Street will once again here cars doors opening and closing well before dawn as flyfishermen try and intercept migrating trout before they experience the "delights" of the Bridge Pool.

"Summer" rolls on in Turangi and the wonderful autumn weather ensured visitors flocked to the area during the Easter break. The tracks and pathways along the Tongariro were busier than ever with bikers, walkers and anglers which is always good for the local economy.

Much quieter this week and I never saw a soul on the upper river a day or two ago.

There's still a lot of juveniles in the river and I don't think I ever remember them hanging around for so long. Anglers fishing the lower river have had a lot of fun catching these feisty little rainbows with small dries imitating passion vine hoppers.

What we need is a drop in temperature and some of the wet stuff to get things moving. But you have to be careful what you wish for sometimes ... now I've done it!

Tight lines guys

Mike
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