Map shows where to go for fishing

By Laurilee McMichael

Murray Cullen from Australia, consulting the new Tongariro River Bucket List fishing map.
Murray Cullen from Australia, consulting the new Tongariro River Bucket List fishing map.

Sometimes, if you want something, you just have to create it yourself.

That's the approach of a group of Turangi businesses who have created their own map of the most popular river in the Taupo fishery.

The first map in the series Tongariro River Bucket List - Fifty Pools to Fly Fish Before You Die - has just been produced and is selling briskly.

The map shows the Tongariro River, fishing pools, access points and parking, and also rates each pool according to its access, difficulty, setting, reliability, snags, wading and fishing pressure. It also includes information on the new Taupo fishing regulations and fishing etiquette and even a ruler so anglers can check their catch is legal size. It retails for $5.

Originally produced by Jim Lewis of Jim's Maps for the Advocates for the Tongariro River in 2012, the map has been updated because rivers change over time.

One of the map's sponsors, Ross Baker of Tongariro River Motel, who hosts plenty of anglers at his establishment and gives them a free map each, says fly fishers regularly ask him for maps and the one supplied with their fishing licence is inadequate for people unfamiliar with the local rivers and how to get to them.

"We're dealing every day with fishing clubs from Australia and I have to instruct them where to go or take them myself and show them all the access points to get them started."

Although DOC has a Tongariro River map of its own and has also produced a fishery map which has the new regulations, Ross says each major river - the Tongariro, Tauranga-Taupo, Hinemaiaia and Waitahanui at least - needs its own map and they need to show the access points, parking areas and fishing pools.

The table on the side of the Tongariro River Bucket List fishing map which gives each pool a rating out of 20 was developed with input from the fishing experts at Sporting Life to help anglers decide where to fish.

"They can pick and choose and see what suits them in terms of the wading difficulty, etcetera. They don't realise [until they get a map] that we have 50 pools."

Fisherman Murray Cullen, from Ballina, Australia, has been visiting the Tongariro River for more than 20 years and visits three times some years.

Murray says he's disappointed there are no fishing maps of the other local rivers available as during his month-long stay in the area he has relied heavily on the Tongariro River Bucket List map and consults it daily to plan his fishing.

The new map has cost "a couple of thousand" to produce and the $5 price is to try to recover that cost. Ross says they're selling well.

"I've had to go back to the Turangi i-Site and give them more. Fishermen love that sort of thing. Each time they come they get another map. It's really instructive and easy to follow."

To be able to print it, Ross put it some of his own money and secured sponsorship from local businesses Sporting Life, Turangi Tavern, Rafting New Zealand Fishing and Outdoors newspaper. Ross says DOC is supposed to promote the fishery, and maps would be a logical way to do so.

DOC community ranger Pete Shepherd said DOC was aware of the need for angler information, whether electronically or on paper and was planning to review the information it gives out.

"In previous times we had a lot of information about etiquette and how to release fish, the husbandry of the fishery and things like that," Pete says. "We have stuff around the changes to the fishery regulations that came out in July and we're keen to review all of that hard copy hand-out information. There's lots more information on line that people can find relatively quickly."

- Rotorua Weekender

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