So this beauty of a river has been on our list ever since we did it back in November. The access to it has been closed down due to release of water from a Dam just above the very first crossing. It has been releasing water all through Summer making it impossible to cross. We noted last week that the levels had dropped and so made the plan to get in there yesterday, (Saturday) and try to get to the confluence of the two tribs that make up the main river. We tried to do this back in November but rain was forecast and when it came in, it was heavy and we bolted, getting caught in this terrain with the river rising it would have been horrible.
It has a reputation for big fish and in the past Alex and I have both landed 7+ pound beauties from here. We were super excited about this trip as being late in the season we were sure it would hold something big. The first crossing was a breeze, levels were low and they were not generating electricity. The second crossing is super scary as if it goes wrong you get swept into the intake.
From there it was a torturous slog up a very big river system that has some of the nastiest terrain I have ever encountered. Every crossing was deep and really made us think about direction and safety. All of them had the potential to go wrong and end the day with a choppa ride out. The weather forecast was meant to be sunny and warm, however this area of New Zealand has its own climate and it drizzled on us all day making the rocks super deadly.
The fishing was very hard too. High water levels made these already deep pools super deep, some of them 20 to 25 feet, which meant our 16 foot leaders weren’t even close. We picked up a few trout each but to be honest the amount of energy we were exerting was not worth the quality or quantity of trout being caught. The crossing that stopped us was horrendous. Long deep, rocky, swift it had all the trade marks of a day about to go wrong so we turned tail and headed out. By the time we got to the last crossing the bastards were releasing water and it was the most horrible crossing out of them all. I was so shagged by the time I got to the car I could hardly remove my pack. I was pleased to see Alex looked like I felt and hes like the superman of back country fishing.
Will we go back in there again…. well of course, the water is to die for, we just have to time it better.
I see this morning that the Tongariro has come up in volume from the rain yesterday, this should have pushed fresh trout into the river. I would stay down low if I was on there. Some of the reports I am getting is that the trout are a bit on the small side and they are a wee bit skinny to boot I don’t really want to be seeing that but to be honest the fish I have pulled from April onwards have not been as good as last year. Its early season yet so fingers crossed guys, watch this space.