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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.

Expect a busy weekend.
Thu 31st May, 2018

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Another crisp start to the day in Turangi this morning but at last that bitterly cold southerly has gone.

Boy was it cold on the river earlier in the week.

Only one angler below the bridge this morning and the lower Bridge Pool was empty. There are fish sneaking through but still no big runs and its very much a case of being in the right place ... at the right time. Some fish did come through on the weekend and despite the biting wind there were several locals lined up in the bridge pools.
I was pretty keen to have a good look at the Braids after the fresh. And as I predicted, that breakthrough below the lower bridge has widened again. Now there's even more water flowing through the Braids and the current feels quite strong in places when you're crossing.

I could see several rainbows in Spot X and a brown tucked in just below the tree at the top of the stretch ... but the wind made it impossible to get at them. Although it didn't stop this shag {pictured right} from grabbing one.

Because of the wind there weren't many on the river at the start of the week...and I don't blame them..it wasn't pleasant. With a stiff southerly blowing, casting was tricky. But the good ole downstream waterload always helps when its like this. Especially if you keep the trajectory low and parallel with the surface to cut underneath the wind. But mending was a different matter and it was almost impossible to consistently acheive a good drift ... unless you were fishing close in.
But there are stretches where this becomes less of a problem depending on the wind direction. With that in mind I headed upriver towards the Fan Pool. There are quite a few spots on the way up you can tuck yo urself in, and the Fan itself is sheltered from a southerly.

What I didn't expect was to see the pine above the Cliff Pool still standing. But its clinging on ... just! Although as I got nearer I could see that as it swayed back and for in the gusty wind the movement sent up clouds of dust as the cliff continued to crumble, exposing more of its root system. And it surely can't maintain its precarious grip for much longer.

I didn't see anything at all in the Fan and only had a couple pf "maybe" takes. But on the way back hooked what felt like something worth landing in the Cliff Pool ... but eventually lost it.

Yesterday dawned to more clear skies and not a breath of wind. A perfect day for a walk up the TRB above the Koura Street swing bridge.

This track is one of my favourite walks on the Tongariro , especially with the crunch of frost underfoot. There's a lot of opportunity for anglers between the two bridges. And if you aren't familiar with the river the well known spots are clearly sign-posted.

There's also plenty of lesser known places that you'll usually have all to yourself. And I didn't see another angler on the TRB all day.

The last time I fished the Stag I never had a touch. But this time I hooked up within the first five minutes and lost another before I moved on. Thats why Its important to keep on the move because there isn't an even spread of fish yet. Its always the same during the early part of the winter runs but this will soon change once the fish get the message. However on this occasion I could have saved myself a walk because the angler who arrived opposite me hooked a couple straight away Czech nymphing.

Once we get that first taste of winter, most reach for the glo-bugs. But it often pays to continue fishing "naturals" until the runs are well underway. This fish ignored the egg and grabbed the nymph. That's why I like to hedge my bets and fish a three fly rig until there's more spawning activity in the river. This consists of a bomb with a glo-bug and nymph below it.
As I fished my way back to the swing bridge this rainbow had the same choice but on the Czech nymph rig and this time chose the jelly egg. So you never know at the moment.

Later on, once the river is full of spawning rainbows, fish will switch on to natural eggs. And there'll be days when its pointless using anything other than a glo-bug... but we're not there yet.

Cold and clear as we approach the holiday weekend. Then an increasingly unsettled spell of rain and showers later next week.

"Queens birthday" is always a very busy few days in Turangi so don't expect to have too much of the river to yourself. But if you put in a bit of effort and get away from the car-parks you'll ncrease your chances of finding some un-fished water. If you're here with a couple of mates and have two vehicles a great day out is to fish between the two swing bridges. Leaving one car parked up at the bridge you're fishing towards. But keep an eye on the lower river as well.

Enjoy the weekend.

Tight lines

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