Are there Eels in Lake Taupo? A question which gets asked on a weekly basis while driving clients to the river. Sometimes the topic comes up when asking if there are any other fish in the lake apart from trout or if there are any invasive species such as cat fish, tench, roach or the dreaded carp which have devastated other fisheries in the world. I will generally just say no apart from a few cat fish as they seem to only in habit a few dirty bays around the southern end of the lake but maybe I will change my tune soon! It was not long ago when I caught a cat fish at night while slowly fishing a smelt pattern fly in Whakaipo bay, an unusual suspect and a shock to hit on the fly in a clean bay such as this.

While fishing the Waitahanui rip this week I have witnessed the strangest thing which I would of  only believed if I had seen with my own eyes, which I have now seen twice!! There is a Eel living at the drop off at the rip which would be the length of a fly rod and the thickness of a beer bottle. This thing is huge and nearly gave a fisherman the shock of his life as it tried to wrestle his trout from his belt which was hanging from him while he was standing in the famous “picket fence” (never seen him move so quick”. Eels have very bad eye sight but amazing senses like touch and smell and will turn up when something is dead in its area very quickly. I have seen thousands of Eels in the backcountry and in small dirty dairy backwaters but not one of this size, this thing must be a 100 years old. I should think there is plenty of food for them in most of the lake as they would just fill themselves on freshwater crayfish which are slow and no match for the vicious Eel.   So where has this guy come from? Can they actually live in Taupo and flourish? What does this mean for Lake Taupo and introduced species? maybe we are not so clean as we thought. It is not the first Eel I have heard about as there was a large fish caught at the harbour master wharf a few years back-also a large fish which caused a stir in the community. So….maybe we do have a decent population of other species in the lake these days? I’m sure we do!

Most rivers have had high water over the past week or so especially the Tongariro. The Hine, TT, Waimarino, Waiotaka and Potou have all been high and at times unfishable. All anglers should really be on their way here for the weekend as I would imagine angling to be very good, all rivers are fishable. I don’t think the Hine will receive huge groups of fresh fish but the southern rivers most certainly will be getting groups of trout moving through.

The Tongariro obviously received the highest water conditions, the largest flood for recent years infact. There will certainly be some changes here and most for the better I would say. Rumours are we might even have the braids back and the river has taken it’s natural path in that part of the river again smashing the alterations put their by diggers and excavators. Hopefully when conditions drop back to under 30 cumecs we are left with a channelled out river providing water down the right bank bringing back pools and runs such as spot x and the log pool, fingers crossed.

The upper river must have changed in some way somewhere though established pools will remain the same-hopefully some of that silt which has been a problem in the past couple of seasons has been washed to the lake-the high conditions over the past few days is a god send from that point of view maybe not so good for nymph life and eggs laid by spawning trout already. The river will be re stocked with healthy trout and more will be on the way but I feel we have had the best runs already, it’s hard to beat how good it was a month ago!!

Anglers will be watching the TT closely over the next 24 hrs, it was fishable to day but slightly still high. This river will receive the best catchable runs in the next day or so and being on the spot at the right time will see you into some huge groups of fish. The best fish may even be intercepted low in the river close to the car park so dont all run to the upper section and race the fish up the river! Glo bugs fished slow and heavy in the edges will be on the menu.

Tight lines guys

Andrew