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Expect a busy weekend.
Tongariro up ... with more rain to come.
A better week.
Rain on the way.
Right place...right time.
Mission accomplished...just.

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Mission accomplished...just.
Tue 1st May, 2018


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Over the weekend there'd been a bit of a picket line forming below the bridge. So this morning I decided to check out the the lower bridge from the TRB just in case the rain over the last couple of days had kicked things off.

But my heart sank a little as Blue and I walked along the public footpath that runs next to the fence on the right of Whitewater Lodge. For in the distance we could hear the beep, beep, beep and clanking of the digger working just upriver. And for a few moments I thought they may be filling in the breakthrough that's breathed new life into the Braids the last couple of years.

As we waded the shallow crossing above the "Stones" we could see the digger up ahead with the site engineer close by... so we walked over for a chat. I'd spoken to him when they first started at the Bridge Pool and he told me then they had no intention of altering things too much below the lower bridge ...that's why I was a little surprised to see them working there.

But there was no need for panic because far from filling in the breakthrough { see arrow} they were scraping out a shallow channel adjacent to it, to encourage more water down the right side {through the Braids} when the river floods. The whole thing is a little ironic because several years ago they did the complete opposite, which resulted in the loss of most of the Braids and with the flows going left, it caused huge problems with bank erosion further down. The last few years this stretch has gradually been making a comeback. And last year in particular it fished really well during the spawning runs.

Its good to see it back again. Unfortunately its one of the most unstable parts of the river and prone to dramatic changes after a big fresh. Its difficult...almost impossible to predict what will happen here because so much stuff gets moved around during a flood. But I think we'll see the Braids become more braided and more like it used to look. The last twelve months have seen new ribbons of water appear all over the place forming interesting little runs, riffles and even a new pool or two. I just hope the flows don't increase too much.

Before they started the work at the Bridge Pool it was a sixty/forty split with most of the water heading down through Vera's. Last week it was fifty fifty but now I think we'll start to see a reversal and most of the river will eventually flow down the right hand side again. The channel they've scraped out this morning may be shallow at the moment but so was the breakthrough next to it when it started ... and look at it now!

Whatever happens I think its safe to say there'll be some big changes here over the next few years ... lets hope it works out for all concerned this time!

By the way its mission accomplished for now and work has ceased. Mainly because they want to minimise disturbance during the spawning runs ... so they set May 1st as the deadline for this phase. However, they've actually run out of time and couldn't achieve all they wanted, so operations will resume further downriver some time in the future when spawning is over.
Anyway there was far to much going on, so after watching the nymphers and wjet-liners in the lower bridge for a while I headed upriver.

By the time I got up there it was flowing a perfect creamy green. And I had a couple of rainbows on jelly eggs. But the takes were really tentative and both times the egg dropped out once the fish were on the bank.

Not too many anglers around and most of the car parks were empty but that'll soon change when the Tongariro switches on.

Tight lines

Mike
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