Tongariro River

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Tongariro River
Tongariro River 3430.jpg
Looking south towards the Hydro Pool
Origin Tongariro National Park
Mouth Lake Taupo
Basin countries New Zealand
Mouth elevation 356 metres (1,168 ft)

The Tongariro River is a river in the North Island of New Zealand. The part of the Waikato River from the Waihohonu Stream, down to Lake Taupo, was formally named the Tongariro River in 1945.[1] The river originates in the Central Plateau of the North Island where it is fed by numerous tributaries (such as the Whitikau, Poutu, and Mangamawhitiwhiti streams) that flow off the surrounding hill ranges and mountains such as Mount Ruapehu. It then winds its way north, through the township of Turangi before entering Lake Taupo via a number of river mouths. The minimum volume of water flowing down the lower Tongariro River ranges from approximately 16 m3/s (recorded at the upper rivers Poutu Intake)[2] to 21 m3/s (recorded at the lower rivers Major Jones Pool).[3] This volume can substantially increase due to catchment of rainfall by the surrounding mountains and hill ranges.

The Tongariro River is New Zealand's most fished river,[4] and is a drawcard for anglers the world over, who come to the Tongariro to fish for spawning rainbow trout and brown trout, which run up the river from the lake to spawn over the colder winter months. Approximately 75% of the trout in the Tongariro are rainbow trout, and 25% are brown trout.

The Tongariro is classed as one of the best trout fishing rivers in the world, and part of its charm lies in its accessibility. New Zealand’s State Highway 1 follows the river for a number of kilometres providing anglers with easy access to the numerous pools and rapids. As many waterways in New Zealand are owned by the Crown, no one person has ownership of any stretch of water. For the cost of a Taupo Fishing Licence (NZ$90.00 for a 2012-2013 seasonal licence) anyone can fish the river. It is therefore not unusual to see locals fishing alongside overseas anglers or celebrities (who are usually out with a guide).

Pools on the Tongariro River are usually named after historical people who have fished the river (Major Jones Pool, Duchess Pool), or their geographic location (Birch Pool, Fence Pool, Redhut Pool). Floods have significantly altered the size and shape of many of these pools (such as in 2004 when the Breakaway Pool was completely lost due a change in the rivers direction), while others such as the Major Jones Pool have remained relatively unchanged in the last 50 years.

Fishing techniques that prove to be popular include nymphing, wet lining and dry fly techniques. A fly fishing casting technique similar to a single handed spey cast called the Tongariro roll cast[5] was developed on this river. The name[6] was coined by Herb Spannagl who noticed its use on the Tongariro and felt it was sufficiently different from other casting techniques. The Tongariro roll cast is used to cast a fly line in situations where there are obstacles behind the caster that obstruct the angler from using traditional fly casting techniques.


  1. ^ Miles, Sue (1984). The River: The Story of the Waikato. p. 1. ISBN 0-86863-418-2. 
  2. ^ "Poutu Intake". Genesis Energy. 
  3. ^ "Tongariro River at Turangi". Genesis Energy. 
  4. ^ "Taupo Fishery". Department of Conservation (New Zealand). October 2006. 
  5. ^ "The Tongariro Roll Cast". 
  6. ^ "New Zealand Fly fishing-Tongariro Roll Cast video". 

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Coordinates: 38°56′17.00″S 175°46′51.70″E / 38.9380556°S 175.7810278°E / -38.9380556; 175.7810278