Advocate 20/2

This afternoon we had a thunderstorm and with it a very heavy shower. As with most of the country the weather to now has been sunny, warm to hot, calm, and rain free with brown grass dominating.

The riverflow through Turangi is 21 m3/s. Lake Taupo level is 356.581 masl (meters above sea level). The high level is 357.25 and the low level 355.75. Currently the Lake level is about half of the operating range of 1.4 metres.We shall see what that does to river fishing.

The two biggest floods of the river, 1958 and 2004 were both February floods.


This year I have been fishing from the boat, on the Lake, in the belief that it is an easier way to fish. The results have been patchy. My last trip was nil for me and Alasdair. It was nil for Graeme Hamilton as well. Bill Grace, retrieving his boat while we were launching, said he got three. There were 4 or 5 boats out from the Delta, jigging, but we didn’t see any fish caught. However, there have been very good days for some fishermen.

Flood Protection Scheme 2019-2020 Update

Those who met with WRC staff early last year to discuss the work plan were invited to meet, Monday 2nd March, on the river bank just upstream from the Major Jones Bridge. Allan Kirk and James Linehan of WRC were there to discuss the start of work. I attended as did Marion Hall of TALTAC.

Marion Hall, Allan Kirk, James Linehan

What we learned was that a local contract group led by Willie Asher will start work on Tuesday 10th March. They will be involved with killing the vegetation on the islands in the river between the Hydro and Bain Pools.

All vegetation on islands such as this will be dealt with.

As well they will deal to the vegetation along the river banks that will impede the flood flow and raise the flood level. (It is interesting to observe the effect of a couple of blades of grass in the kitchen sink and how it impedes the flow of water) No heavy machinery will be used which was a bit disappointing to me as I had hoped that the tops of the pine tree that fell into the river last year would be pulled out. They are a disaster waiting to happen for the Reed and downstream pools if a large flood were to happen.


Thankyou to those who have renewed subscriptions for 2020. I was pleased that we received no cheques and that Internet banking is accepted as the way to go. There is little alternative choice. That raises an issue in that we pay $180 for a PO Box but will now receive probably no more than a dozen letters per year so the Committee will need to discuss another way of receiving communications.

The venue for the AGM will be Parklands Motel conference room. The date set is Sunday 26th April. The time will be 9.30am. The Annual report will be emailed to members by 26th March.

Two committee members are standing down at the AGM. Dr Stuart Crosbie and Peter Deakin. Stuart has served the Advocates well. It was Stuart who played a leading role in establishing the Tongariro River Trail. He developed the format for an Integrated Catchment Management Plan and sold the concept to Waikato Regional Council’s Taupo Zone Committee. Ngati Turangitukua said they would develop the plan and the matter is now with them. The intention was that they and all other stakeholders would contribute information to develop the plan. It would seem that the existing Community Committees of Waikato Regional Council will no longer exist.

Peter has been supportive of the efforts of the Advocates but finds that his business commitments don’t allow him the time he feels he should give.We are grateful to Stuart and Peter for their efforts on behalf of all members of Advocates for the Tongariro River. If you are willing to join the committee please let me know.


Joe Bennett’s fishing experience

Joe Bennett kindly allows me to copy his column from the Dominion Post into this blog. Joe’s response was:

Glad you enjoyed the column, Eric.

You’re welcome to use it, so long as you do not edit it in any way. Not so much as a comma.!

Best regards


Fishing has long been the thing that salved my soul

Joe Bennett 04:45, Mar 04 2020

"Rivers are like time: they just keep coming. Rivers sweep away thoughts and send them out to sea," Joe Bennett writes.
STUFF”Rivers are like time: they just keep coming. Rivers sweep away thoughts and send them out to sea,” Joe Bennett writes.


Each to his own and my own is fishing. It has always been fishing. Since I first bobbed a worm down the Cuckmere River at the age of 6, to fish has been to salve the soul.

“If I were called in to construct a religion,” wrote Larkin, “I would make use of water.”

So would I and my water would be a river. Rivers are like time: they just keep coming. Rivers sweep away thoughts and send them out to sea.

In recent seasons I have fished too little. This season I haven’t fished at all. But one warm afternoon this week, when I am beset by thoughts of this and that, I go to the cupboard in the garage where I keep my fishing gear and I take down my rod.

All fishing tackle is lovely but a rod is the loveliest. Just to hold its lightness in the hand and to feel it flex is to be taken away from the world a little.

I tip dried sand from my fishing boots. In the pocket of my fishing vest I find an empty Bounty wrapper, nibbled through by garage mice. And some sort of mite had got into my fly box and chewed at the hackles, but the flies will serve.

I drive across town to a stretch of river that I haven’t fished for perhaps five years. A lot can happen in five years, and it has.

Thirty yards from the river, where once were cow paddocks, there stands a vast triumphal arch of concrete. And running across the top of the arch a four-lane motorway, the flow of vehicles as constant as the river.

I tackle up to the unaccustomed noise of traffic. My eyes struggle to see the four-pound nylon tippet and my fingers tie the old knots clumsily through lack of practice. I choose a pretty little fly with trim brown body and upright wings. I don’t know its name but it fools fish.

To build the motorway they had to fell a lot of old-man willows and the nearest pool of the river, once shaded and hard to get at, is now exposed to sun and wind and passers-by. A new track down to the water is barred to vehicles by concrete blocks. A council notice warns people not to dump rubbish. But a pink tricycle lies in the shallows, and what may be the frame of a washing machine.

After the first bend the motorway veers left and the river right and the noise of the traffic sinks to a distant hum. I step off the bank into the water. To wade is to feel a river fully, the cold force of the flow, the bed of the stream.

On this stretch a family of mute swans used to live, parents and cygnets paddling ahead of me as I waded upstream. At this pool here a terrier once leapt into the water to try to seize a fish I’d hooked. And under that overhang there was always a fish. I see no fish now but I strip line and cast, feeling the lazy flex of the rod and the sing of the line. The tippet unfurls like a frond of fern and lays the fly on the water’s skin as softly as a kiss.

Two hours later I am back in my car. I’ve caught no fish. I’ve seen no fish. I’ve left two flies in an overhanging willow. But as I drive back across town I am singing. Each to his own.

The Press

Thanks Joe

Eric Wilson