The Te Whaiau Canal is a slow flowing body of water that is part of the Tongariro Power Scheme taking water from the Whakapapa and Whanganui River catchments to Lake Te Whaiau which then flows into Lake Otamangakau.
The Te Whaiau Canal and Lake can produce trophy trout with trout here each year caught in excess of 10lb. While there are good numbers of fish with both brown and rainbows of spectacular sizes catching them can prove challenging with the canal being lined with heavy vegetation often making casting difficult, however with persistence and whacking through some dense vegetation, anglers are usually able to find some castable and fishable stretches of water.
It wouldn’t be an overview of this area without mentioning she really is a temperamental beast and can be off and on often for no apparent reason. In saying this the canal and lake do tend to do well after heavy rainfall though there are no guarantees.
Public Access Points
The Te Whaiau Canal is accessed via a forestry road that comes off SH 47. The map below provides directions to this area.
Fly Fishing Methods
The Te Whaiau Canal is best approached with an open mind when it comes to choosing a fly fishing method, you may often end up applying a number of methods on any given day to see which if any is producing best. A rod anywhere from a five to an eight weight is recommended depending on method and personal preference.
Indicator nymphing is a popular method to fish the canal and can be successful. Nymphs such as damsel flies, pheasant tails and glo bugs (not exactly a nymph but anyhow) are often used and dead drifted. This method works particularly well after heavy rain when the water contains a bit of colour. Experiment with fly types and sizes to see what is working.
Nymphs can also be slowly retrieved on an intermediate or floating line. This approach may work well when there is less flow in the canal.
The Te Whaiau Canal can be fished well with a dry fly and can make for some exciting sight fishing to edge cruisers! Dry flies can also be cast blind further into the canal to entice any hungry fish that may be looking upward
Popular day time dry flies include Parachute Adams, Elk Hair Caddis, Blue Humpy and Cicadas.
Wee Wet flies and streamers can produce good fish in the canal. The large fish here enjoy other fish as a large part of their diet, when fish are feeding a retrieved streamer such as a wooly bugger or black rabbit can do well. Fish are often taking emergers just below the surface. In these condition a wee wet can be fished to imitate an emerging nymph.
Heave and leave of large foam eyed glo bugs is also a popular and less active way to fish the canal and lake. Chartreuse glo bugs do well in this area.