A guide to fishing the Tongariro river  
River Reports  

River Reports and contact
Fishing Tips and contact

Tongariro drop-shot rig.
I said I'd let you know...
After the release.
Rod Benders!
All on again after last weekends blip.

All on again after last weekends blip.
Wed 5th September, 2018

  email Tell a Friend

The Tongariro attracted hundreds of anglers again last weekend. On Saturday for instance the car parks were already filling up at first light and it wasn't long before most of the popular spots were occupied.

My mate Dave and his family were down from Auckland and I'd arranged to fish with them for a couple of days. Unfortunately the 'fishing" generally on the weekend was a shadow of what it had been.

Although I must emphasise at this point its bounced back big time since ... more later.

We caught plenty of fish. Unfortunately the gleaming, fin perfect rainbows that featured in the last report were thin on the ground and our catch consisted mainly of spent hens with a few very tired looking jacks amongst them.

This is nothing unusual in Spring because fish that ran earlier in the year have finished spawning and are already heading back to the lake,.. feeding up as they go.

Dave's son Andrew pictured above doesn't get to fly fish that often and is more used to salt water fishing. So he was a little rusty when it came to playing fish on a fly rod. This was his eighth hook-up and the only one we managed to get in the net.

This isn't his jack but its a nice segue to the rest of the report.

I'm not the only one to have noticed there seem to be a lot of jacks around this year. And although there have been some very good male trout landed, a lot of them are smaller chunky little guys under three pounds. This got me wondering what determines the sex of an egg once its fertilised and are there other factors that influence the result. I'm no expert on this but I know a man who is...have the dictionary handy guys. This from our fishery scientist.

Many thanks to Michel for taking the time to provide this information ... you never stop learning eh !

"Hi Mike

The eggs in the females are neither male nor female they are X gametes. It is during fertilization that the sex of the offspring will be determined.

The gametes (eggs and sperm) are produced during the meiosis when the chromosomic material is split in two equal portions. Adult females are diploid (XX) meaning that they all have 2 equal parts of X gametes. Males are also diploid but they are XY so that the meiosis can produce X or Y gametes (sperm). Therefore, if an egg is fertilised by the Y sperm then the offspring will be XY or male if this is the X sperm of the male then the offspring will be XX or female. The sex ratio of offspring is around 1/1.

Yes the trap data also show that this year is more of a patchy bag than last year i.e. on average the fish are not as good but the better ones this year are better than last year. The echo-sounding survey from last April also showed an obvious patchiness in productivity and it looks like some fish have been able to remain in touch with the most productive parts of the lake but that other haven't, resulting in a more mixed bag this year.

The size at spawning is generally dictated by the conditions that existed in the lake during maturation. If the growth conditions are exceptional then the juveniles will grow quickly and some males may even become fertile at 1 year of age (these are called sneakers as they sneak to fertilise larger females).

Our trap data also shows that the date at which half of the run passes through the trap can largely be by the average size of the fish. The larger the fish the earlier they'll run and vice-versa. This means if the conditions are poor then the fish will hang on as long as possible in the lake to try to grow as large as possible to maximize the eggs/sperm output. However, if the poor conditions remain the fish will still move upstream albeit smaller to still contribute to the overall population. This is one mechanism that regulates the trout population when times are hard.

Tight lines


Now for something completely different. On Sunday I missed a call from Mr Fransham and when I rang him back it turned out he'd tried to get hold of me to see if I was on the river. Anyway, he mentioned he was showing a young lad and his father "the ropes" and wanted to know if I was in the Braids. He was a little elusive about the identity of his "pupils" ... so ... intrigued Blue and I headed over to take some pics of Mike in action with his mystery guests.

The Braids is a great place to introduce beginners to fly fishing and by the time I got there he had young Louis throwing out a pretty good line. Dad was sitting patiently on the bank taking it all in while he waited for his turn. I didn't take much notice because Louis was getting a few takes and I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. But then Dad shouted some encouragement to his son and there seemed to be something vaguely familiar about his voice and appearance. Anyway after five minutes or so of racking my brains I just couldn't figure out where I knew this guy from and shouted across "have we met before" ... "no mate I'm an actor" he replied. Then it dawned on me I was talking to "The Monster of Mangatiti" ... British born Kiwi actor Mark Mitchinson. Some of Marks many other claims to fame include "The Hobbit," "Siege" and "Human Traces"... no wonder he looked familiar.

Both Mark and Louis had fished the Tongariro before... but had struggled. So a mutual friend arranged for Mike to help them out this trip. And it payed off because Louis soon found himself attached to his first ever Tongariro trout. Mike coached his very excited "student" as he played his prize and after a "twitchy" few minutes slipped the net under a dark jack ... much to the relief of all involved.

Last year I mentioned that "the rejuvenated Braids would once again be a go to stretch during the spawning runs". But this winter I have to say its exceeded all expectations. It's fished consistently well for months and after last weekends "blip" has been back to its best the last couple of days. I started off there again yesterday because I wanted to try out my latest addition to the rod rack ... a Vision Onki 10ft 4 wt. I'd been introduced to this model at the Vision sponsored nymphing clinic many of us attended in June. And although I usually prefer to tight line nymph the Tongariro with a 5 wt, after reading a few very positive reviews decided to try the lighter rod.

I couldn't have picked a worst day because as I walked across the stop bank I was greeted with a howling, icy cold south easterly ... and wasn't at all surprised to have the place to myself. I don't mind the wind ... I'd rather not have it .. but sometimes you have to go with what you've got.

The big problem with tight-line or any other nymphing technique in these conditions is the huge downstream bow in the line which makes presentation and bite detection difficult...but I hasten to add ... not impossible. The addition of a couple of BB shot got the nymphs down quickly and slowed the un-naturally fast drift to a more acceptable pace and it wasn't long before I was playing my first fish of the day. I must say I had my reservations about playing fit winter rainbows on a 4 wt but these rods are designed to flex from tip to butt and this softer action cushions and protects your tippet and leader. Once you get into the butt section of the rod there's plenty of guts when you apply side strain and despite my initial sceptism ... I had no problems on this first outing.

Once again I'd only intended fishing the Braids area for an hour or so but when Norman arrived around lunchtime I was still there because it was pointless leaving fish to find fish and there were still fish moving through.

He'd just come from Judges but the fishing there was disappointing again. And conditions in the gusty wind pretty tricky. However as he walked past the Bridge Pool on the way back he spotted one angler with three fish between four and six pounds on the bank. Fish continued to dribble through for the rest of the afternoon in front of the lodge. And when we finally left there it had been a pretty good day.

Some really good fish moving up through the lower half of the Tongariro now. And with recovering fish heading the opposite way it should be another very productive week ahead as fish spread throughout the river.

Looks like those cold southerly winds are with us until Sunday but iat least its going to be mainly dry, with just a chance of showers.

The last few weekends have been crazy busy and I've no doubt the river will get hammered again so be prepared to get up early.

You've probably heard by now that ANZ is closing the Turangi branch. This will have huge implications for visitors and residents alike. Please don't sit on your bums and do nothing. Make your concerns known to the powers that be. Below are a few email addresses to try:




Tight lines

Back to Top
Surity Web Design