Aussie Angler Peter Julian's Tongariro Fishing Report

Peter Julian, better known as a fly fishing journalist writing for Fly Life magazine and for his book “Fly Fishing for Trout Down-Under”, provided the following summary of his week on the Tongariro River.

Bagging a big one

Dear Ross,

Thanks for your generous hospitality while we were staying at the the Tongariro River Motel last week. And what a week we had!

How good is it when you can go down to the river in the last hour of light and hook solidly into seven fish more or less in a row and have six of them race so fast down the river that they either break off, jump off or just pull free? The score on that night was Peter one and Fish six.

We found the fishing to be challenging as always, but the fish were absolutely catchable. Some of the smaller rivers were on fire too. I kinda like the small rivers for a change, too – there is less water between the fish. Catching half a dozen in a morning somewhere between 4 and 5 pounds is my idea of fun.

Ironically, I found fishing these smaller rivers quite stressful – in the best possible way. Each cast was a cast of high anticipation, each pause in the drift of the indicator sending the heart racing, even if it transpired that the reason for the pause was only a rock or snag. Many times it was a very lively, very strong fish which went racing hither and yon.

Many times for the first few seconds, I or my mates were in a state of absolute chaos with line flying in every direction, the rod varnish crackling and the line slicing audibly through the surface of the water a nanosecond behind the fish itself. it doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Thanks also for smoking the fish for us. We tend not to keep too many, but based on the smoked one and how good it was, next time there will be a few more kept. Look out, fish. We felt like we were dining in a gourmet restaurant.

I loved the motel too. I know some people like to spend up big and have five star accommodation and the equivalent dining. For me, though, I am perfectly content to fish until a late lunch, head back to the river and fish until dark, head back to a warm unit and hot shower before making a salad and cooking a steak or knocking off the fish I mentioned.

The smaller rivers were quite a challenge

All this done with a couple of friends so laughter was ensured. I always say that I can never guarantee anything with fishing other than a few good laughs. We had plenty. Then of course, it’s off to bed in warm comfort, as I endeavoured to recover before starting it all again the next day.

New Zealanders kept on telling me that the fishing was patchy and that the main run of fish hadn’t started. Maybe and maybe not.

All I know is that when you put in each cast with a lot of anticipation and every now and again the indicator bobs down, it’s all wonderful. To my way of thinking strong, fit fish most of 4 pounds of more is pretty amazing. I hope i never get blase.

Sometimes a few of my less trusting friends want to see proof of fishing success, so I have added a few pics.

Thanks again to you and Pip.

I’m already looking forward to coming again.

Peter Julian

PS Forgot to say also that it’s pretty cool to be able to sneak down to the river in the early morning while your mates are still snoring and catch a couple before they are even awake, isn’t it!

TRM thank John & Peter for sharing their experiences – such pleasant knowledgeable guests sharing their fun and fishing make life in a motel laundry in Turangi so enjoyable too.


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