Advocate 22/9


The paper tells me that a long, hot, dry summer awaits us. 2022 has seen an interesting change in the weather. The start of the year saw a prolonged dry spell and saw the lake level drop. When the rain did come it lingered and then there was a succession of floods. The winter wasn’t particularly cold but then the  coldest day was only a short time ago when we had  a -5 frost which blackened the hydrangeas and killed the buds of the fruit trees so that we will not have plums or cherries this season.

Taupo is in the news for a swarm of earthquakes but they have had no known impact in this area. However, there has been a loss of 30 m. of foreshore land at Four Mile Bay (Wharewaka). The beach ‘disappeared’ last week – possibly as  result of the tsunami wave that swept into Tapuaeharuru Bay on Thursday last week. GNS  scientists are still investigating the cause. 

Taupo District Council is busy  with water metering (waiting to be turned on in Turangi)  and Turangi Rubbish Dump is to have a weighbridge installed to accurately assess the green waste. We can only hope that people will use the dump and not seek the river margins as a dumping ground.

All told it has been a great fishing season – in both quality and quantity of fish. 

What is left of this year requires a settlement of the year’s events and preparation for our accounts and our activity to be scrutinised by our members. Groups such as ours fold when key positions cannot be filled and the Advocates For The Tongariro River are a respected organisation by Iwi, Fish Management, Waikato Regional Council, Taupo District Council, Genesis, and Mercury Energy. When issues arise we are often asked by both members and non members to take action and it is for this reason that it is important that we exist. We would love you support.

From our Treasurer

And just another friendly reminder from your Treasurer to please renew your subs for this year if you haven’t already done so. Go to Membership on the website https// the advocates, or if repeating last year just deposit in the bank account- 38 9000 0863130 00 Advocates Tongariro River. Your continued membership is very valuable to the Advocates.

Interesting Birds

Committee member Alasdair Keucke,  driving past the wetland area from Waihi to Tokaanu,  noticed a large white bird that he had not seen before. With camera at the ready he stopped to photograph what he had seen. It wasn’t a heron as he thought, but an Australian Spoonbill.

Australian Spoonbill. Alasdair Keucke photo

Personally, I have not seen such a bird but our President Gary Brown tells that he has seen them on the Mokau river when he was whitebaiting.

On two occasions I have picked up a Morepork ( Ruru). On the first occasion I was visiting Hautu Prison and the vehicle in front hit the bird a glancing blow. I stopped and picked up the bird and continued into the prison. I took the bird with me. It was the quietest group of inmates I have encountered! I took the bird home, put it in a shoebox overnight, and it had recovered sufficiently by the next morning.

On the second occasion we returned home from a walk along the river with our visiting grandchildren and found a Ruru on the lawn. I picked it up, a painful experience as its claws were like blunt pins and it was hanging on tight.

In both cases we put the birds in a box with small holes to let the air in, some food and water and watched over them for a couple of days. The first one I took to the Jones Pool as at that time you could drive there down the true left bank and the bird flew away without a problem. I returned frequently at dusk and heard a morepork sounding in the very spot I released it.

The second bird we thought was gaining strength, and on our lawn we freed the bird which flew into a nearby  tree. It sat a while and then flew away. From time to time at night we can hear Ruru calling down by the river.

Tall Stories

I have had some memorable catches that I thought lucky, or flukes.

  1. I asked a number of anglers what ‘flukes’ they’d  had in catching a trout. Most simply said “Catching a trout.” 
  2. Fight with a shag. I have witnessed, and had the experience of, a trout played on a line which was then contested by a shag. On one occasion at the tail of the Major Jones pool the angler won and shag lost. For me the trace was broken- I lost, the shag won. The shag is such a powerful swimmer it is a wonder they don’t win every time.
  3. In my early years, when my casting was less successful than it is now, I caught a 4 lb trout on a broken hook. If the casting wasn’t good the playing of the fish was, as the broken hook had not penetrated flesh or skin in the mouth.
  4. In my younger days we had a house in Taupo as well as in Turangi. We decided  to go to Taupo on Saturday morning, not Friday night as it was pouring with rain. That year I loved fishing the Blue Pool, and early on Saturday morning, in the dark, I went to the pool. I didn’t expect anyone else to be  silly enough to be fishing in the dark and was surprised that there were 3 or 4 anglers waiting for daylight. I had limited time so cast immediately and hooked a brown in the middle of the river, which I landed and then returned to the car and home again without any one speaking to me.  I thought noone had noticed, but  Mark Cosgrove soon asked about  the size and quality of the fish I had caught. Who told him??
  5. It happens on occasions, when boat fishing and jigging, that I have caught two fish at the same time. I have known of an angler who did this with two fish in excess of 3lb. It is quite common when Snapper fishing at sea, but not so common when Trout fishing.
  6. On two occasions I have had a trout breaking the trace and freeing itself, only to be caught on my next cast with an identical fly catching the trout I just lost with two hooks in its mouth.
  7. I once caught a Smelt with a size 6 wet fly.
  8. But the greatest fluke was to catch a trout that had a hook in its mouth that had broken off from a prior engagement with another angler, and then for me to catch that same trout through the eye of the hook already in its mouth.

We, the Committee of the Advocates For The Tongariro River, wish you all a safe and  Happy Christmas and New Year and that you can achieve your goals for 2023.

Eric Wilson