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Fly fishing Queenstown in the heat of New Zealand summer

Fly Fishing Queenstown

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.

Fly Fishing Queenstown

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).

Fly Fishing Queenstown

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.

Book your Fly Fishing Queenstown Expedition Now

Mixed fly fishing south of Queenstown NZ

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.

Fly Fishing Queenstown

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!

Fly Fishing Queenstown

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 [email protected]%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 [email protected]%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:

Fly Fishing Queenstown

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!


Spotting NZ Trout

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Spotting NZ trout is a bit of an art form in a funny way and some anglers become very adept at it, others do not. I often get asked how on earth did you spot that fish? You know sometimes I don’t even know! Many years of walking rivers and looking at water is a big chunk of it. If you don’t do it on a regular basis it is probably a wee bit more tricky.

Here are some of my tell tale signs for spotting NZ trout:

1. It’s an add on to the river….. I am looking first and foremost for something that is not quite right, a touch out of place. A bit like Sesame Street … this one’s not like the other one! I am never looking for a fish.

Spotting NZ Trout

2. Movement ….. does it move? Yes, well then it’s a fish (unless it’s a bit of weed – this had me going a few weeks back thinking I had been spotting NZ trout). No, watch a minute or two and see if it does move. Still unsure, make a cast.

Spotting NZ Trout

3. Shape ….. does it lie the right way? If it’s lying across the current flow it’s is not likely to be a fish although on the odd occasion I have seen large trout lying deep and appear to be sideways to the flow although where they were actually lying they are directly into the current at that depth  i.e. an eddie pool.

Spotting NZ Trout

4. Colour and flash ….. Not much really but rainbows especially can give themselves away with the red stripe but it pays not to use this as you will miss many that are not coloured up but it may help it some cases.  Often fish can appear as a grey smudge in the water and you might see a flash as it turns to one side to feed.

Spotting NZ Trout

5. Shadow…… A fish will cast a shadow from it to the bottom, using sunlight (if you have any) correctly helps.

Spotting NZ Trout

6. Go slow, slower than you think ….. no slower still! Many anglers miss spotting opportunities just by walking too quickly.

Spotting NZ Trout

7. Look into the water not at it …… good Polaroid glasses are key. I use Maui Jim

Spotting NZ Trout

8. When necessary choose to have back drop. Great on cloudy grey days. Spot where you can and blind where you need too.

Spotting NZ Trout

9. Know where to look ……  Pool eyes are where most people see fish easily. Other likely spots include: lips and drop offs. Seams and bubble lines = food = fish. Structure …… rocks just behind or just in front, logs too. The outside of mild bends just on the seam and especially if the bank has little bays. The tail of pools just before the next rapid starts. Generally where the water is knee deep and has one or more of the above.

Spotting NZ Trout

10. Shitty places to get to because of foliage or river structure ….. as the season goes on this can really be important.

Spotting NZ Trout


These tips will get you seeing more trout and if you can see them you can catch more of them!

Spotting NZ Trout

Summer is on the way so make sure to book your fly fishing expedition with me now!

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