The last month in the greater Taupo region has been relatively dry with the lake low and the Tongariro River only getting to 49 cumecs briefly once in the past three months. It normally sits around the early 20s and you can fish it up to around 60 cumecs – in January 2018 it got up to 700. Having no major flooding lets the insect and aquatic life thrive, but it also means a build-up of weed.
We have rain forecast all of next week so can expect the first big spawning run of the year which will be awesome!
With no major rains and low river flows there have been lots of trout congregating at the local river mouths like the Waitahanui and the Tauranga-Taupo. A sink tip or slow sinker can work well with a Woolly Bugger or Boobie, and the old glow-smelt can work well in the evenings too. As noted previously, if we get a westerly blowing with a drop in the barometer then get out and fish the mouths.
Small numbers of early running Rainbows have been caught in the town pools of the Tongariro River along with the usual Brown trout this time of year. With low clear conditions it helps to employ a backcountry approach with longer lighter leaders and smaller flies when nymphing. The C3 Pole Position size 16 has been working well, as have small Flashback Hare and Coppers.
With fewer anglers on the rivers this time of year we’ve seen more trout in the shallows, so take your time when you arrive at a pool to check the slack water and sides before you charge out to your waste to try and cast to the opposite bank. Dry-fly dropper rigs have been working for fishing the shallower edges.
A few walks up the Hinemaia River have shown no cars in the park which is a good sign that if the locals aren’t there on a Sunday then there are likely not many fish yet. We’ve spotted few trout and cut a pile of blackberry branches but as with other local rivers we need some good rain to get the first spawning runs going.
Backcountry fly fishing has been going great with cold starts then warm clear days. A lot of people associate backcountry fishing with summer and Taupo rivers with winter, which leaves a lot of time in between. Brown and Rainbow trout spawn in our backcountry rivers and this time of year they are in the best possible condition, and in both shallow runs and deeper pools. If you’re in Taupo and frustrated the Tongariro is not firing yet, its not much more of a drive to head up the Napier Taupo road to the Waipunga, or up to Murupara then off to the Whirinaki. They are rivers worth exploring this time of year.
As always, stay safe, appreciate our amazing environment, and if you have a nice fish pic then share it on our Facebook page.