Tag Archives: cicadas
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
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!
The long hot dry spell seems to have dried up for now in the lower South Island but the Queenstown fly fishing has remained good and in fact has actually improved as there is more water in the rivers and the water temps have lowered a touch to much more favourable conditions for trout to feed. Over the hot summer months a good tip is to check out the river temps online before your trip …… 14deg C is optimium conditions for trout……if you are seeing 21deg C on that favourite river find somewhere else to fish as you will have a pretty hard day of it.
The Cicada’s are all go in some areas with areas recent fly fishing foray into backcountry river producing over 40 fish between 4 rods for the day. The rainbows were willing to move many meters to slam cicada imitaions. Other areas areas are just starting to see cicada action but the next 6 weeks should be pretty good for terrestrial fishing.
I just went online to Fish and Game’s web site and see that the have finally updated it …. well worth checking out.
I just love it when you get a shot in a remote fly fishing location of the airborne trout …. it’s alwasy hard to catch the moment just right!
The photo above is from my fishing buddy and good bastard Si Chu from a great days outing together……thanks Chuey.
Maximising your fly fishing oportunities is whats it’s all about and instead of re-inventing the wheel my good freind and guiding colleague Chris has some great tips here.
Remember there is great fly fishing from now all the way thru to the end of the season with March seeing (generally) the end of the terresrtrial fly fishing action but with April and the mayfly kicking in and the backcountry rivers staying open until the end of May as the big browns migrate up the systems there is plenty for anybody’s fly fishing taste. Book now to secure your mid to end of season fly fishing expedition.
Just back from a weeks guiding south of Queenstown with a couple of fly fisherman from the USA. The weather did not make things too easy for us with 2 really nice days out of 7 and the rest were a combo of hurricane like winds, heavy rain, chubby rain (sleet) and generally below average weather for March. We did get on to plenty of fish and even managed to fool a fair few of them. One of my clients got to realize a 50 year dream of hooking and landing a true New Zealand Trophy brown trout.
Hooking this fish took quite a lot of perseverance as it was spending about half of its time chasing two other pretty large fish out of its feeding area before making the big boiling rise of a fish zoned into a certain food source. Each time the other fish were chased off it would chomp of the surface hard out for a couple of minutes and then the other fish would reappear and compete for the food source before again being chased off.
Finally this awesome 12lb fish was in just the right place, the fly was drifting thru the feeding zone and with absolutely no hesitation it charged up like a ballistic submarine engulfing our cicada pattern before a doggard fight eventually saw it to the bank. The area it was caught in favored the angler during battle as there was nowhere for the hog to run for cover (and it knew it), it just used it size and weight component until the angler finally got it to the net.
The fish was carefully weighed at 12lbs with a length of 27 inches and a girth of 16.5 inches. These measurements along with some photos will be given to a good taxidermist and the mounted replica will take its place of pride on the mantle piece along with the fly that caught it while the fish gets to live on to provide sport for another lucky angler down the line.
Some other bloody good fish were also landed including two of 8lbs which certainly went along way to make up for a rough week of weather and some fairly tough fishing.
So cicadas are still on the menu but things are changing and there are mayfly nymphs developing nicely in many streams and as we near the beginning of April these will come to the forefront of the trouts dietary patterns. The trout below was caught using an emerging mayfly pattern.
Another flood occurred a couple of days ago with most of Southland seeing muddy water and rising rivers but they are dropping and clearing again fast now. As we move further into autumn we should start to see more stable weather patterns although the temps are dropping quite a bit overnight but on the fine days the daytime temps are warming up nicely. Although 2 days ago I was forced to wear waders, damn glad I did because guiding in chubby rain and very cold southerly winds would have been unpleasant…….just goes to show you need to be prepared for all sorts of weather down here.
Fishing Queenstown and the surrounding areas sometimes you just have to do something different to get a fish to hit. It’s the time of year when trout are really zoned into chomping cicada’s but sometimes you have to thrown something bigger and uglier. On my last Safari trip guiding a father/son combo we stayed on a high country station (ranch) for 3 nights to access some of the back country rivers nearby. We did get to present cicadas to plenty fish with some good results but on one particular occasion I put the young fella on to a trout feeding happily on the surface to cicadas. Due to the nature of the position we could not get a decent drag free drift and the fish went deep but continued to feed. I shortened the leader up and put on a big black double bunny and got the angler to lob it upstream like a nymph, letting it sink on the way back downstream before stripping to swing it past the trouts nose. On the 3rd swing the double bunny was in the right place and the fish could not resist – man trout fight hard with a big arse streamer hanging out their mouths.
This technique really comes into its own at certain times and recognizing these can give opportunities that many anglers would probably give up on. In this case it was a nice 3.5lb rainbow but the big brown trout love to chomp on a big juicy morsel too. A few days later the wind was blowing into our faces making life fairly tough to turn a dry over. I had found a big brown feeding right on the seam edge and again chose to offer a streamer this time fished as a dead drift – bingo first cast and the result was a great 8lb brown trout to the bank about 10mins later.
Needless to say Dad is very proud but did mention that I had now ruined his son for life —- better than crack tho!
We did get quite a few fish on the cicada and here is Dad with a great rainbow, again on the first cast. Make those first casts count and your hook up rate will be higher.
We ate very well on Safari each night— roast pork, beef, lamb with vege’s from our garden, what a great option to refuel the body after some serious back country fishing and hiking.
I think a teenage boy really appreciated the big kai, they seem to have appetites of horses.
I have a busy few weeks guiding ahead thru until the end of March so keep reading the blog for updates as I get the chance.
Anyone still looking for some great fly fishing should seriously think about booking in for April and May – it is one of the best times to go fishing Queenstown and the surrounding regions, the browns are putting on plenty of weight in preparation for spawning runs, there is some great mayfly match the hatch fishing, the rainbows are beefing up too and the back country rivers really fire up over the last 2 months of the season.
Since the big Xmas floods the weather has been quite indifferent with a new front every other day bring wind then rain hard on it’s heels. When we have had fine weather its been great but the fine weather holes have been quite small before the next front has slid in. This has meant picking where to be on any given day to be a very important part of providing a successful days outing. Some of the rivers in areas that got hit hard by those big xmas floods are still recovering with trout numbers a little low – but rest assured they are be moving back up the systems slowly but surely.
Cicadas are about all over the shop at the moment and on the hot windy days plenty are ending up in the water for hungry trout to engulf.
Speaking of engulfing food my new camp cooker has proved to be worth every cent. Enjoying Greek spiced roast leg of lamb, pork roast, amazing beef fillet (even some wild Hare loin), fabulous breads and perfectly cooked vege’s from our garden has been a great add to the Multi day Safari expeditions. Of course when we move away overnight from the vehicle we are back to a bit more basic food. Overall I think I have been putting weight on - need to walk faster – yeah right!
The weather looks looks like it will remain very changeable over the next week although we might see a good high for Friday, Sat and Sun ridge in – great for the weekend warriors. The patterns look like it will stay this way for the next couple of weeks so plan well and have a couple of backstops up your sleeve and make those first cast count!
The last week or so has seen some unbelievable weather. Some of the biggest and wettest storms for a fair while. Many rivers have been up and dirty and the lakes are rather full in fact close to flood levels with Lake Wakatipu on its first flood alert. More heavy rain is expected over the next 24hrs so it will bring things very close to the tipping point for the Lakes.
I have been out guiding a regular client over the last 7 days who fishes with me for a week each year. This year was his tenth visit and was highlighted by catching his 6th New Zealand trophy trout with me. We had to put in some yards for this fish and they certainly paid off. We only got two chances for the day, both on large browns. Unfortunately on the fist chance the hog lifted off the bottom and sucked in the dry fly of choice but my client underestimated the size of the fish and slowness of the take and went a bit early pulling the fly right out of the trouts still wide open mouth. This fish was big, bigger than the one we did hook and land, again on the dry fly.
During the week my client Aki got to fish a great deal of new water because many of his favorite spots were blown out with either wind or rain or both. He managed to catch some great fish in all these amazing places and lost a few too but nothing could get close to trumping the fish above.
After this next storm it looks like we are in for a good period of hot stable weather as a couple of large highs are lining up. This should see some hot weather and I am expecting to hear the cicada about as soon as it happens. It will be nice to see summer conditions back again.
Happy New Year and may the fishing be good to you.
The weather has continued to be unseasonably warm and the rivers have all been quite low but in excellent condition and producing some very good fishing. Fishing a dry fly has certainly been great on a number of days, especially on the rainbow rivers where they have been lifting to take all manner of terrestrial patterns. The usual go to dries have all been working.
Brown beetle are out and about. It won’t be long until the green arrive. Cicadas are arriving early too. Driving back from yesterdays outing where we fished a remote Otago back country stream using the odd combo of one rod fishing dry upstream and the other rod spey style, skagit on a switch rod hitting the water the dry could not cover (both produced about the same amount of fish) the cabbage trees were in full bloom. In fact I can’t remember seeing them blooming so much. A big bloom of flowers on the cabbage tree suggests a long hot and dry summer ahead. Given it was 31 dec C in the shade where we were yesterday and of course much hotter out on the river stones I would agree. In a month we will probably be praying for rain!
Here’s a quick clip from some fishing last week:
It looks like we are going to get a quick skiff of rain tonite and tomorrow morning and then it’s back to hot sunny weather right thru until the weekend, maybe longer!
It’s time to start considering longer leaders and finer tippets as the rivers get lower and clearer. Smaller flies may also be a good option. Yesterday we got a refusal from a fish (it swung and looked 3 times on the same drift) so we promptly put a smaller, very similar pattern on and nailed him on the next cast.
Autumn can be a great time to fish for trout near Queenstown New Zealand for many reasons and one of them can be the last of the cicadas left in the back country. They have darkened right off to almost black and on a nice hot afternoon if you hear the odd one still chirping away it can be a great option to run past a trout as they are still zoned into that as a food source and being such a big morsel of food a trout may find it hard to resist.
Fishing a small beaded streamer as a nymph can also induce strikes from fish that are not responsive to anything else. Try not using a indicator and watch the fish, strike went it finishes the sideways movement or if you feel a knock or tug, tug back.
Wow – the finish of daylight seems to make such a difference down here to the light. It seems so much softer during the day.
The last week saw a very wet storm front stall over the Fiordland and South Westland which dropped around 400 – 500ml of rain. This stuffed my plans to helicopter into a remote west coast river to do an overnight guided expedition with a client so when wisely changed plans and headed east away from the rain and had some good fishing in quite low water conditions and still got trout to lift and take cicadas and blowflies.
Another big rain came thru and hit Southland and many of the rivers that way saw the biggest floods of the season with the Oreti going to near 500 cumecs. It’s dropping and clearing now but in some of the mid sections has radically changed the lay of the river as much river bed has moved. It will certainly be a matter of finding old channels with good rocky structure and there you will find the fish.
I had a day in the backcountry yesterday and although the Southerly wind was cold the sun was out and the cicadas were singing happily and we got stuck into some nice fishing in an extremely beautiful little mountain stream with some good success.
This afternoon I pick up a client and we are heading out for another mission into the wilds with one night in a remote hut and then one night in the bivvy cocoons further up the system before we finish back in Queenstown late Friday night. Hopefully we will track down some big trout that were eating mice early in the season and are super chunky and haven’t seen a fisherman in a while. The weather is looking conducive so it should be a great trip regardless.