It is Tuesday 26.8/14 and I have still to go fishing after a fortnight away but I have attended the Waikato Regional Council meeting in Turangi today to discuss the annual plan of work on the Tongariro River. The work plan is on our website and was emailed to members.
The works are a result of the 2004 flood. That flood of 1500 cumecs flooded some residents homes and caused almost $1,000,000 damage. Protection has been through stop banks and improving the river flow so that flooding of the town does not occur with any flood to a 1:100 year event or a 1700 cumec flood.
The visible actions to date are stop banks, willow clearance and a channel created to take water from the area of the Braids down to the Reed Pool.
WRC work is to maintain the stop banks and vegetation control.
Stop bank work was carried out earlier this year repairing the rip rap between State Highway 1 bridge and Herekiekie Strett. In the summer the rip rap will be extended by 50 meters further downstream to protect houses in Herekiekie Street.
Vegetation control will be through spraying. Concerns were expressed about the effects of drift spray and the meeting was assured that spraying would be closely monitored with a professional spray team taking account of weather, and responsible techniques such as using lager droplets rather than mist spray.
The meeting discussed the area at Smallman’s Bend where the river late last year in a 600 cumec flood cut a new course eliminating Delatours Pool though there is some flow still through that area. An outcome from that is that there is a faster flow of water to the Delta and that some of the debris at the mouth is being moved.
The next issue is that the river has been breaking through at the end of Awamate Road through Deep Creek and entering Waihi Bay beside the outlet of the tail race.
WRC have commissioned Graeme Smart to report on solutions to these problem areas. The draft report should be with WRC by the end of January.
After the meeting I spoke with Mak Venman and Kim Turia about their observations re angling experience. I have had two reports prior to this discussion from anglers having had a good day on the river and two who said that the fishing wasn,t great with the fishing being hard and the fish small torpedos without significant bulk.
Mark said that the main runs are still to occur and that there seem to be few fish in the river.
While there are some good fish being caught most caught are either reasonable length without good condition or are small but in good condition. He expects the runs to be from September through Christmas.
Kim reported personal experience of trolling on the Lake catching good fish. A number of anglers are at the Delta.
I have had conflicting reports from anglers. Two friends thought they had good fishing. Two others were not so positive. I copy a comment received.
“I enjoyed the fishing as usual(though glad to head for home on Friday considering the cold, strong, wind) Its a bit disappointing to realise that last years gains re fish size seem to have been negated. I also fished the Hinemaia on Thursday. Lots of small fish and hordes of anglers chasing them. Every decent river corner must get fished over several times each day.”
This afternoon I fished. There were few anglers around though the Bridge Pool looked crowded as I drove across the main road bridge. I managed 1 1.5kg fish of 50 cm length that was orange fleshed. A local who walks the river daily informed me that he saw a good number of fish in the Major Jones last week but virtually none today. My conclusion is that while the main runs are still to occur there are some fish in the river and you would have the opportunity of catching fish but it will probably be hard.