Category Archives: Tips and Tricks
Fly fishing guiding has many components to making a successful day for both the client and the guide. At the end of the day it is teamwork. A good guide will work hard for the client but they can only do so much, the client has to be able to deliver the goods on the stick to achieve their fly fishing goals.
Setting up the situation for a successful outcome is paramount. Whether you are the client or the guide here are some things to consider that will help to set you up for a successful guided fly fishing day in New Zealand (and probably anywhere).
- Who – who are they/you? Beginner, novice, intermediate or expert. Have they/you fly fished in New Zealand before and your/this area in specific?
- What – What do they/you want to achieve? Is it realistic goal? There may need to be a moving of the posts to make it an achievable and successful outcome. This is something that may be negotiated between client and guide.
- Why – Why do they/you want to achieve this? Clearly knowing why will help set the steps in place to bring the goal to fruition.
- Where – Where is the best water/weather to deliver this? When is the best time to do it?
- How – How are you/they going to meet the goal/s?
When these questions have been worked through a good plan can be put in place to deliver the goods and make both client and guide happy.
There are many variables that can alter the outcome in fly fishing (I am sure I don’t need to list them). Clear communication about what is happening or has happened will often necessitate a change to the plan and an altering of the goal to make for a successful outcome. Being flexible and honest are both desirable and necessary.
So as for the fly fishing since my last post and the big deluge it has been an interesting and mixed bag. The floods did a lot of damage and moved fish around, altered rivers and swept aquatic insect life clean. Luckily the fish have been keen to look at the surface eating all kinds of terrestrials, small nymphs down deep and big streamers in the right place.
We have seen no rain now for 6 weeks and many rivers are getting very low and warm so looking for cold water has become important. The aquatic bug life is coming back and the latter part of season should fish well, particularly if we get some welcome freshes thru the system soon.
My good old fishing pack finally gave up the ghost so I decided to splash out a little and get a new Sitka Overnight 30 pack ….. absolutely brilliant piece of kit. If you are after something to use as either a day pack or a overnighter this is the baby. Whether you fish, hunt or enjoy both.
Don’t forget that the end of season often produces the options for big fat fish and our late season mayfly action. Many anglers have done there dash and miss out on what I think is one of the two best times of the season to be on the water taking full advantage of the conditions and to have some stunning fly fishing days. Book your fly fishing expedition for the late season session now!
Queenstown fly fishing since Xmas ……. one word WEATHER! After a December of dry weather and low flows mother nature has balanced itself! Rain and more rain with several rivers beating historical high flows the lakes are on the verge of flooding and the severe gale force winds just adding insult to injury.
Luckily for me just prior to Xmas I decided purchase a Sitka Cloudburst jacket to make Queenstown fly fishing a more comfortable affair when the weather turns as even in the harshest of conditions I am still out there guiding. Thank goodness I did as I have almost lived in it since the 29th Dec bar a few days when the weather has pleasant. It’s a great bit of kit and one that I would now not ever be with out! I have stayed dry in even serious deluges and have enjoyed the wind resistant protection on cold days with snow to low winter levels and to top if off I seem to be able to get closer to my prey and certainly spook less (not that I spook that many anyway). It also rolls up into not much so is a great space saver compared to bigger, heavier jackets.
So needless to say the Queenstown fly fishing has not been the easiest but with a little thinking outside the box we have not resorted to lake edges (yet) but have been able to catch fish on moving water each day. From the hot days of xmas with 20ft leaders and fine presentations things certainly changed. Cicadas (there has still been some heat in the weather too) willow grubs, streamers, czech nymping, mayfly hatches, you name it we have done it.
Windy days have made us shift to shorter leaders and single fly set ups …… turn it over and get it on the water upstream of the trout.
Perseverance and patience along with guile and cunning and good skill level on the rod has paid off with having very limited amount of clean water to fish. A few times we have spent a whole day on only 100m of water but still had opportunities and hook ups. The old adage of don’t leave good water and trout to find some more (maybe) has paid off.
Dead drifted (under an indicator along bank edges) or swung streamers have also proved deadly on big fish in dirty water with some very exciting days watching hogs chase our often wounded looking bait.
To be fair tho its like throwing a dog on a chain trying to cast some of the things we are throwing …… stop soft!
As I mentioned dries have been on the menu from time to time with some nice fish eating off the surface on a variety of morsels including cicadas.
Rainbows love smashing cicadas at this time of year and we had a great day amongst the maelstrom of weather on a small stream enjoying just so!
You just had to watch closely and decide if they were eating it on the first smash or smashing it orca style before swing ing round to eat the stunned cicada.
Some days you just need to change your expectations and do the things you don’t normally do, probably because you are not very good at them …… turn it into an opportunity to get better. Willow grubbing can often be one to shy away from but for many anglers proves very exciting fishing and usually is close quarters combat on very fit, healthy fish.
Speaking of expectations some days you need to be happy with smaller fish too. A 3lb trout out of water you can jump across is often as challenging and satisfying as a 8lb+ from medium/large water. The perspective of the angler needs to change to suit conditions ….. some are more successful at this than others.
Prior to all this crap weather I had the pleasure to go fish with my father and my bro over the xmas period ….. this is something that hasn’t for a long time. One of the many things that stood out was a mid afternoon visit to a great bit of water …. walking 300m or so and putting bro onto a nice 7lb brown before being back to the truck and home with a Steam Brew beer in hand and home again in under 2 hrs to hang with our families.
Great fishing with you ……. lets do it again!
Now for my weird but true fish story those who follow my facebook page may be waiting for.
Fish! You see it? Yep right there. He’ll eat off the surface. Run this over him.
First cast is on the money and a bigger snout than expected comes up and eats it. Angler goes a bit early but has enough slack line and manages to hook up. Battle for about 1min and fly comes out.
Bugger! He was pretty big.
The bug fush slides in right next to where we are standing just off the edge of a deep drop off into a fast run.
Give me that rod (swap and give him the other I have already set up) and hurl this (big articulated streamer) upstream of him and dead drift it.
Watch the fish and hit him if he eats it!
Bullshit it’s never going to happen…lets roll on and find the next one. No give it a shot ….sometimes funny shit happens!
First cast (a lob really) the artic comes beautifully thru the seam edge and bug fush turns and eats it. Angler is so surprised he doesn’t even strike.
F*$k me … he ate it!
Go on give it to him again and if he eats this time strike! No way it can happen again ….surely? Only one way to find out right!
2 casts later and bug fush eats it again and this time my guy strips strikes him and bang we are on and got a great 7lber to the bank! You may think that this was a rainbow but no a bloody hungry brown. Several hours later my guy can still not get over. It was just one of those crazy things that sometimes happens.
Right that’s me for 2 weeks …. I’m off with the family camping somewhere for 2 weeks and then back into guiding at the start of Feb. I suspect that with the rivers getting so well turned over fish should be looking at the surface to eat as in many places the invertebrate life is back to square one!
Don’t forget to book your trip in Feb March or April and May …. I still have some space left and the weather will come right and the Queenstown fly fishing will be good
Queenstown fly fishing is good as Xmas is fast approaching. A wee fresh came thru and livened the rivers up again which was well needed as the water has been getting low. Nymphing has been the most productive still but the terrestrial action is starting with Manuka flowering and lots of blow flies appearing ….. the fish are starting to look at the surface again.
Make sure you check out my Facebook page Fly Fish New Zealand to keep up to date with the fishing as I am posting more regularly there than my blog.
Other news … a good friend of mine JDub has just gone into commercial beer making (ex-head wine maker for Chard Farm) with Queenstown Brewers “Steam Brew”. Very refreshing after a days Queenstown fly fishing. It available at the Queenstown New World supermarket and most of Queenstowns liquor stores.
Even in mid summer Queenstown fly fishing can throw some unpredictable weather at you so a Cloudburst Jacket from Sitka is a great option to keep the cold wind off you and keep you dry in the heaviest of downpours and keep you concealed from your elusive quarry with it’s amazing camo technology. Well worth getting some of this kit!
Check out Manic Tackle Projects new website and note they are now the Simms guys for New Zealand!
Tip – some situations a nymph or a dry fly just wont cut it. The shot below was one such fish in a tricky spot on the other side of a fallen tree with tons of over hanging branches. There was no easy way to get at it from below so we snuck around to the top of the fallen tree and delivered an accurate cast across the small channel and let it swing from the far bank towards the tree ….. the fish came skipping across the surface in hot pursuit and nailed it (it looked a lot like a skipjack tuna) …… the real fun started trying to negotiate the obstacles to land the fish!
Have a great Xmas and remember BOOK YOUR TRIP!
Fly Fishing Queenstown and local area over the last month has not been the easiest in regard to the weather. The typical spring weather has been bringing thru plenty of fronts delivering wind and rain making the rivers rivers go up and down like yo yos. The good news is on the 1st Nov the back country water opened and now we have our full array of fly fishing Queenstown water to hit.
Even tho the weather has not been easy the fishing has been good…..getting geared up to beat the cold stormy days and choosing the right water to fish and then hitting the good stuff in the breaks in between has certainly got us in to some good fish.
The small waters have been fishing well too on those shitty days.
Almost with out exception the fish have been in great nick
Most of the time we have been getting down deep with big heavy stuff and running a small dropper rig which has been doing the real damage…….but only when we have been at depth. Making sure you can deliver the casting goods is crucial to success … here are the basic 5 essentials.
Last week I was out guiding and 3 out of the 5 days the weather was exceptional and my client had a ball with learning some new techniques and getting some cracking fish. Not only some big boys but plenty, a conservative count would have been around 50 for the week. Amongst these was a brown trout that went 2 ounces under the magic 10lbs ….. oh so close and a big bow that went 11lbs to finish an outstanding week of fly fishing.
I made a mistake one day …… should have been in the waders…….freezing southerly wind and snow showers coming thru the bush line. Spent most of the day running on the spot and doing burpees to stay warm!
Love the back country when you stumble across a good size brown …. this fish had a brief look at a nymph and then wouldn’t eat anything until ……… well the pic says it all.
During this day I managed to break some ribs…..big boulder rolled and I was keen to get my legs out of crush zone and threw my body sideways in the air but being no gymnast I came down heavily side on into a small but friggin hard boulder straight into the the side of my chest……..3 hours walk out in some tough terrain to get to my supply of pain killers! This did not stop me guiding the next 2 days although we changed plans and fished some easier water with great results.
The week finished with this bad boy ……… well done MG …….. see you again soon!
So all up a great week of fly fishing Queenstown …… if you want some of this be sure to book your trip now!
The New Zealand Fly Fishing 2012 season is well underway amidst the usual spring time weather patterns that the Roaring 40′s throws our way. Its nothing that some good gear, layering up and keeping warm and dry won’t stop you getting onto some good fishing.
The temps have been up and down. Both air and water temps, big rains and snow melt have discolored rivers and streams on and off, but when the water temps have risen above about 9 deg C there has been some pretty good fishing, even some good dry fly action. Just yesterday after a big rain storm I hit my local piece of water choose a spot and sat and waited. It didn’t take long to spot a nice brown cruise out of the willows circle around and disappear again. By the time he came back I was rigged up and tossed and nice big terrestrial into his path and wam, bam thank you mam!
It just goes to show how good the fishing can be at your doorstep!
To be honest though the dry fly has been mostly mayfly occurring sometime after lunch with the odd exception.
Here’s an interesting series of pics showing a nice brown trout coming up to take an imitation mayfly:
When the mayflies have not been on, getting heavy and going deep generally produces results….I like to tow a wee emerging style light nymph in behind. The big stuff gets you down and Mr Fluff emulates the emerging mayfly nymph which takes the fish 90% of the time.
When the going gets tough wiping out a big streamer pattern and dead drifting down banks can be a good way to pull out some great fish …. this one actually took just as the swing started.
Having really good line control and using slack line presentation was the undoing of this fish …. close quarters combat in difficult pocket water.
Make sure to book your Fly Fishing Expedition NOW
Fly fishing New Zealand Southern Lakes with a week to go is a good warm up session for the New Zealand season opening in a weeks time. We drove up to where one of New Zealand premier fly fishing rivers joins Lake Wakatipu and hit the mouth of the Greenstone river.
A morning spent getting casting up to speed was well worth it as the afternoon presented a few fish with the best being a 7.5 lbs brown caught on a Airflo Di 5 Sixth Sense line with a small bugger. Depth was required on the side of the rip as the upper water columns was not providing much sport and a count of 45 seconds was dropping the line to around 20 feet before using a slow retrieve……due to the depth and the size of the fish a good typical brown trout battle ensued and after about 8 mins we were able to beach this beautiful New Zealand brown trout.
It was released and swam away happily back into the depths to give another angler and opportunity to catch a fine trout while fly fishing New Zealand.
If you want to really give your self the best chance to catch fish like fly fishing New Zealand be sure to get some practice in…..get that casting sorted, practice, practice, practice …. it does pay off when it comes time for your big trip or even just your one or two weekends away, your rod will be bent more often and you will become one of the 10% who catch 90% of the fish.
Book your Fly Fishing New Zealand Expedition now and get in on some of this great action.
New Zealand Fly Fishing season starts soon……..are you ready? Read my post from the previous season on some things to prepare yourself for the New Zealand fly fishing season.
I have had a busy winter teaching skiing in Queenstown and have a few more weeks to go until I really turn my full attention to the pursuit of catching trout but have started going thru all the gear prep to make my New Zealand fly fishing season awesome, it takes a bit of time but is well worth working thru now so when it’s time to hit those rivers the rods gets well bent.
I finally got the chance to sit down and whip up a quick vid from last season late summer’s fly fishing and I am working on another, just a little tease to get you all fired up for the new fly fishing season. I hope you enjoy this little bit of New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions footage!
Tips to remember when filming New Zealand fly fishing action:
Stand still …….don’t walk and film!
Don’t worry about zooming in/out stay on wide.
Rinse aid on camera lens if filming underwater footage of trout!
Remember to get more out takes for editing.
My good friend and guiding buddy Chris has written a good piece on the opportunities that are around between now and the season opening. Like him, I will be getting amongst it over the next few weeks as time allows to chase those fish on the whitebait frenzy and trying to hit some of those rainbows before they run for spawning.
Make sure you book your New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions trip for the season early to ensure you can get the time period you want.
Fly Fishing Queenstown has seen a change in the last couple of weeks move into an Autmnal mood. The day time temps are still really good, pretty hot in fact but the early morning is cold and the temps take a bit longer to build. The sun is lower in the sky and droping everyday as we draw towards winter. This is my favorutite time of year to be fly fishing Queenstown and the surrounds, the terrestrial life is still there but ebbing off and the mayfly hatches are not far away. The browns are fat and going into an eating frenzy before they consider spawning runs in late April and May.
Fly Fishing Queenstown has not been the easiest since my last post as we have had a series of weather events that blew a lot of rivers out, some of which will stuggle to come back on form this fishing season. Many have survived the large floods well and have continued to produce some great results.
I was lucky enough to guide a couple of fellas last week, conditions both river and weather wise were not easy but we caught some good fish every day and the the weather finally improved so it off to find some big boys. A good long walk on a cold but clear morning put us in position for an epic day. The fish were out. Our first attempt went astray watching a large brown siddle off into the deep but from then on things improved. The sun was out and the heat was on but nothing would look at the surface so we went to them. The first fish we landed came in at 10.25lbs and then successive fish of 11.5lbs and 10.25lbs plus a 7 and a 9.5lber came to the net. Seven more refused to be subdued and were lost in battle, at least a couple of these were in the big boy class. Or as a freind likes to say 8+ because you know they are big but until you actually weigh them you don’t know. Here are some pics:
For those who put in the work the rewards are there!
Had one of those funny days too where a great hot day and again no surface activity to mid afternoon then Nek Minnit boom, somebody flicked the switch and the fish were just nailing cicada for the rest of the day…..thats fly fishing Queenstown!
A quick tip:
Tippet – as a guide I tend to use quite heavy tippet … as long as I can thread the eye I am happy. This means you can go harder at the fish and have a shorter battle and there is less chance of the fish “doing ” you. It’s a very rare occasion when fish are tippet shy. It’s usually more to do with crap presentation!
Book in now to get some of that late season Fly Fishing Queenstown goodness!
As the days are long and hot fly fishing Queenstown back country can be quite arduous on the body with many kilometers covered to get some of the best fly fishing in New Zealand (unless you take a helicopter). I had a day like this yesterday fly fishing Queenstown back country water with a young and fit client.
It’s always interesting to see how anglers approach a big day out fly fishing and also what happens to them during the course of the day as heat and fatique take its toll both mentally and physically. The angler who does not prepare well will get tired and miss easy opportunities that an equal ability angler who is well prepared takes all the opportunities and converts them with a high degree of success.
A lot about fly fishing Queenstown (or anywhere) successfully is about using the top 6 inches well. Here are some things that will help you maximise your fly fishing chances during the day and be at the top of your game.
1. Eat well the night before (not big necessarily but healthy and nourishing food) and don’t drink to much booze!
2. Get a good nights sleep, it’s hard to operate well on a big day if you only have had 4 hrs sleep. Go to bed a bit earlier ….. yes I know you are excited about your fly fishing Queenstown expedition but still …….. go to f#*king sleep!
3. Wake early enough to have a decent breakfast. Enjoy that coffee but maybe only have the one …. it does dehydrate you!
4. After the coffee drink some water ….. now drink some more …… yes you will piss a squillion times!
5. Make sure your hydrapak or drink bottle is full. I like using a hrdyapak as I can drink easily all day long as I fish and walk. Its easy to forget to take the water bottle out of your pack/vest to drink as often as you should. You should drink 2 litres minimum ….. yes you will piss more!
6. Take food that is easy and fast to eat or nibble on and is packed full of energy. Eat often through out the day.
7. Pop a pill once or twice during the day ….. sounds dodgy but I use Go Magnesium 800 which helps the body to rehydrate by replacing lost mineral salts. It also will stop/reduce the chance of muscle cramps and can also help with sleep if taken before going to bed. I usally take one the night before (see #2) and one during the day.
8. Take a bottle of a sports drink such as Powerade which is full of electroltes and drink it before you start your walk back to the car …. yes more pissing! Another good option is Nuun which is a tablet that dissolves in water and is full of the good stuff you need to stay hydrated.
9. Use a product like Gu (you can get these at any good sports store such as RR Sports) …. take 2 or 3 with you for the day and whack them back as neccessary …. big energy kick (oh they wont make you piss more).
10. When you get back to the car after that long hike out from your favourite back country fly fishing spotX, drink some more water before you have that well deserved cold beer/s. Yes guess what …. you will piss more!
11. When you get back from the end of your fly fishing Queenstown back counrty expedition eat well again and try not to hit the booze to hard as you tell the days stories to your wife/girlfriend who is of course listening attentatively to every word (as she tries to stiffle the yawns).
At first you might consider some of these things a bit of a hassle but over time they will just become part of what you do on those big days out fly fishing NZ. They will help you keep in tip top shape both physically and mentally through out your day and will play an integral part in helping you catch more big New Zealand fish.
The last week has seen some mixed results fly fishing near Queenstown New Zealand. I think the weather has had a lot to do with it as there has been humid, muggy conditions and afternoon heat showers and the fish have not been overly active. When the heat has come out lowland streams have been seeing some willow grub action and patience has paid off. Getting in under tight willows time after time can prove challening yet hugely rewarding when you get one to take.
Conversly a recent day out in the back country heli fishing from Queenstown proved to be very sucessful with many nice rainbows and browns brought to the net. We managed to get into an area where the sound of the cicada was strong and the browns were not hesitating to chomp off the surface at our cicada imitations. As always though a few were missed by too early a strike. Remember the fish actually has to close its mouth before you hit it!
Sitting around last week in the evening swapping fishing tales and different ideas we had a few laughs with some good buddies who also happen to be excellent anglers. One of the intriguing things was the use of no indicator and when to strike while nymphing. In the old days as nymphing was first being trialed the angler used to lift the rod about every 3 seconds and hope a fish was on. Things have changed a fair bit now as nymphing technique has changed dramtically and revolutionized fly fishing. Most of you who know me know when we fish no indicator and I see the fish move and as soon as that sideways move has stopped I yell “STRIKE” very loudly (some people jump out of there skins but at least they do something …. at least that’s the theory). Well after this conversation the other night I am considering changing my call to “Eaten It”. You know if I say He’s Eaten It, He’s Eaten It, He’s F@%king Eaten It, it’s probably all over chance missed! Watch the Fish!
I was also wondering yesterday about changing the old ” God save the Queen” to slow down the dry fly strike for simplicities sake to making the call of “He’s Eaten It” or for the downstream take “He’s F@%king Eaten It”. Maybe this is a sign of the changing times where New Zealand may need to look more seriously at become a republic but that’s a whole other discussion to be had one evening over some nice Queenstown vino.
Anyway I dropped my daughter off at her Queenstown school this morning and went down to the lake edge for a look and here’s what I saw:
Lots of little fish chomping ….. it was quite pleasurable just to sit and watch.
Remember Book your Queenstown Fly Fishing Trip Now, the season has plenty to go and the fish are just getting fatter and fatter!