Tag Archives: dry fly
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.
Skues was a nymph man, then Halford went dry.
When we see the way the press and media go on about events in our lifetime, you have to shake your head. And think fly fishing is the best. Wet or dry. A kind of escapism with the best possible conclusion. A fish. Be it a brown coloured one or a rainbow coloured one or a funny coloured one. They all count be they small or big.
So, it’s refreshing to know that for some of us the only argument going on in life is the nymph and the dry argument. Things could be much worse.
The history of angling has come far. I think that’s why it’s called History.
Skues, whose full name was George Edward MacKenzie Skues, had a mouthful of a name and so stuck with just Skues. But despite the name he managed to write “Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle” in 1885. Whether our language has progressed since then is debatable. He also wrote “Minor tactics of the Chalk Stream” in 1910. More major tactics are required these days. Booking flights to NZ notwithstanding.
Both books make excellent bedtime reading though.
In those days they used the term “angle”. Which was all well-and-good when you had a mobile sundial and a good angle on things. Especially an angle that hooked you a fish for dinner in the days prior to Catch-and-Release.
He wasn’t a bad tier of the fly either.
Interim: A good song to have running through your head when the fish are Spooky or Spooked though is this. And if the music doesn’t tickle your fancy the images are a pretty good representation of the best films ever.
Rod technology has come a long way, too. From silly underwear with spears, to greenheart rods, to hexagonal bamboo, then impregnated hexagonal bamboo, to high-tech graphite, all in the space of a few decades or two on our human timescale. I’m just hoping that it will never come to wearing Kevlar vests and using bazookas.
Yet we find ourselves in not a dissimilar situation to our casting brothers from times gone by. And we still catch fish like they did. The bloke with the fish-stick is entirely responsible though, and what he can hook he can land under the right circumstances. Even with a horrible Nor’ Wester.
And if all else fails, there’s always the trout-tickling option, although I’ve never seen it done myself. My last experiment with the TT maneuver was most amusing, but sadly just had me lying in a prone horizontal position tickling algae-covered rocks all afternoon.
Now, obviously, I’m not fortunate enough to have lived through the generations of those that have been amongst us fisher-people who love to simply be by a river with a rod and await a hatch.
So, I’ll continue with the not-so-latter-day-take on recent fishing events.
To the Land of the New Zealand Land. The Land of the Beautiful Scenery, with the fish that care not a dot about Skues’ or Halford’s issues about dry vs wet.
At the end of the day, trout, whatever their colour, are much like ourselves:
They need to eat.
As humanoids we have decided to put this into a 3-part daily thing. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Trout however are far cleverer than us and just eat all day. They don’t pay for delivery and don’t worry if the food hasn’t arrived in 30 minutes as one of their brothers or sisters downstream will happily pick up what’s missed, clung to a small rolling stone or just floating by on the surface.
I’m not a statistician, but I reckon the chances of one of those bugs whizzing past with a hook attached to some furry or feathery size 20 and up hook is pretty remote. Yet we land the odd one sometimes.
The Nymph v The Dry
Nymphs run deep
I’t's their very nature
Dry flies float high
It’s there nature, too
But both get gobbled from under or above
By fishes that want a meal
And hence the Human invention of the hook
Funniest River Names
Nile. Should have been called Miles and Miles and Miles River. ‘Cos it is.
Wangapeka. Beautiful river to fish on even if you catch no fish. You can always have a giggle about Woodpeckers and Rivers.
Ribble (Lancashire, UK). Never ripples. Always in flood.
Upukerora. When I first heard the name I was baffled by the sound. Later on though I realised it meant, “If you pack her, you gotta wear her”.
And I’m lucky enough to have a wife who doesn’t mind a day out fishing.
Tight Lines to anyone who reads this. And slack lines to those that don’t.
Well the weather has been a bit unseasonable over the last week in the Queenstown region with some serious storms rolling in from the Southern ocean and bringing high winds, hail, snow and sunny breaks in between. Certainly made fly fishing a little harder but for those who persist with the right attitude comes success.
The interesting thing of note over the last few weeks has been the number of trout we have raised using cicada patterns. Getting the right presentation has lifted the fish to open it’s mouth and chomp the cicada. Many times however after the success of getting the right cast and presentation has resulted in no hook up due to the rod holder being to quick on the strike. It’s a hard thing to get right when you are not used to slow takes of big New Zealand trout and the urge to set the hook too early is strong in many anglers. Remember an appropriate pause is required to allow the fish to close its mouth before you set the hook. There are a few factors that influence when to set the hook.
Size of fish
Speed of water
Speed of take
Upstream or downstream take
My general rule of thumb is to say “God save the Queen” or “God save Dick Chaney” (he really needs it)! This gets altered slightly depending on the variables above to be either slightly faster or slower (slower usually being the case).
Now the above may not work for you – you need to find something that does work for you to create the appropriate pause before setting. It needs to be something that works for you and your personality.
I have had clients say various things such as “not now but now”, “ don’t set the hook”, ” set the hook now”, “what a hog and set”, ” got you you bastard”, “look at the hooters on that”, and my all time favourite ” it’s as big as a thigh wader”!
Ok, you get the point now go catch some big New Zealand trout on the dry fly.
Good trout are being caught near Queenstown New Zealand and the Cicada imitations and other large terrestrials are working well in the rivers. In the lowland streams willow grubs are a main food source for many trout at the moment but we have also been picking up some nice trout feeding in the runs and riffles on emerger patterns.
Well done HB on recent your PB.
Tip of the week – get cracking early to the water you want, the early bird gets the worms as such. If some one else is there already have a chat to them, stick to the arrangement you make. If you don’t know what the etiquette is on the rivers ask someone and what ever you do don’t jump other anglers – it’s a recipe for disaster for both parties.
Back from a overnight fly fishing trip based from Lumsden in Southland New Zealand with big smiles on both my face and my client’s. We left Queenstown with weather reports indicating 2 days of extremely strong winds followed by heavy rain on the afternoon of the 2nd day.
Wind the curse and bane of fly fishing. If you have good casting technique and can double haul well you can fish into some pretty strong wind and still turn over the fly but when the wind is 120kph and gusting to 160kph most anglers will choose to wait the weather out. Not having this luxury I decided small streams off the main wind direction were the way forward and both days proved very successful with some great sight fishing using both dry flies and nymphs.
Day one saw 7 healthy trout to the bank, the largest being 7lbs and we missed another 3 or 4 by pulling the dry fly out of the open mouth of the fish – a bit early on the set. Most of these were downstream takes and can be much harder due to the extra amount of time required to wait before setting the hook – you have to wait until the trout has turned back upstream!
Day two put us on a mountain stream with gale force winds knocking trees down in the next valley over and thunder pealing lower down the valley making us be very wary of becoming lightening conductors – luckily the lightening was far enough away we never saw any flashes and could continue fishing for the whole day. We had managed to get the winds on our back due to the way the river turns around a corner and later when the rain arrived the wind dropped right away and of course the sandflies appeared as if by magic.
It was one of those absoultely fantastic days where the fish seriously on. We lost count after we had 20 to the bank, mostly rainbows between 3 and 4 lbs but the highlight was catching 4 brown trout that were in amazing condition as they had been eating mice. Easy to tell when they are so chunky for their length and have the classic red arse – the trade mark of the mouse eating trout. The last trout of the day a brownie resisted all attempts with more regular nymph and dry fly patterns but when we presented it large worm fly pattern it shot upstream (I thought spooked) about 6 feet and down went the indicator and a great battle ensued to land a very fat 7lb trout. Just goes to show that as this fish had been eating mice small food morsels were not going to be enough but a big one did the trick. A woolly bugger fished as a nymph would have probably done the trick too.
The rainfall yesterday has seen another good fresh through all the rivers which are now dropping back and there will be some good fishing in the lead up to Xmas. There is another front lining up the bottom of the South Island but after it passes a high is ridging in early next week for a couple of days before the next fronts arrive later in the week. Looks like Xmas might be wet down here.
Well it’s the time of the year that I start looking around and seeing what’s happening around the usual waters ways I fish and guide on. I also earmark some new water to investigate and do some preliminary walks without the rod just to see whats there. It’s amazing that each year I always find some very new and exciting water to play with – some of which only fishes well for certain parts of our Southern season here in New Zealand.
A recent example of this was a expedition to a remote back country lake fed by a river I know quite well from summer time fishing but had not explored the winter potential . A serious 4wd trip to get there on a stunning day had me quite excited that I would hook into stacks of rainbows lying off the river delta ready to run for spawning.
I watched the the water surface at the mouth for a bit and didn’t see any activity so decided to rig up a fast sinking rocket head line and attached a yellow rabbit – after about 1 hour with only 2 hits I decided not much was going on and went for a wander down the lake edge. I had noticed while fishing that there was some very occasional surface movement from fish and vowed that I would have a crack on the surface on my way back past.
A change of gear to a floating line saw me targeting some cruising browns but lady luck was not working for me so well. The day was clear and extremely still and my presentation in the conditions using an 9 wt rod was not so hot. What I found though was a series of little bays where springs enter the lake that all had cruising trout – certainly a days fishing to be had here later in the year (with some different gear) and hopefully when the fish are looking more to the surface and dry flies.
On the way back I stopped at mouth again and threw the floating line over the lip for a quick 20 mins and had one hit and one hook up on a nice 3 lbs rainbow trout.
So what did I learn:
1. Where some nice still waters to attack cruising brown trout later in the year.
2. If the trout are not deep try the surface – I thought its a bit like the great white shark hunting seals, the trout seemed to be cruising at about 5 feet or so below the surface and seeing there prey (small fish) silhouette from below and the charging up to attack it.
3. The vast majority of the rainbows had already run up the river for spawning - need to be there early in the winter. However it means when the river opens for the season there should be some very good fishing for rainbows in the river and also brown trout that are always present.
Since my last post we had a few good expeditions to finish the New Zealand lowland river season and some nice mayfly hatches to boot. The mayfly were turning a darker shade and the trout were taking cleanly off the surface allowing for for some nice dry fly action. Still seeing the same old addage with “God save the Queen” being forgotten in moments of heat but all in all happy clients into trout.
The trout in these systems now have 5 months of peace and quiet for spawning before we can start attacking the again in October.
I managed a quick burst down to the South Coast to prospect for some of our sea/estuary sports salt water fish, the kawhai, and managed to hook into a few – so next time it will be a more seroius affair on Salt Water Fly gear.
Also a quick mission to the West Coast fishing from a boat proved to be fun against the Kawhai again and also opportunties on Albacore Tuna were available and proved to be great fun with some hooked and lost. We are going again soon with luck.
The duck hunting season has just started with opening weekend here being crystal clear fine weather and tye ducks flying high keeping our numbers low – it would have been better to go fishing! The weather is turning for the worse today so that will help and the next couple of evenings may prove to be much better.
The still open high country rivers (close end of May) usually produce some great fishing during May for big Fat Browns that have headed up system for spawning and also rainbows that get some feasting on the eggs although the days are much colder now and the amount of daylight much shorter as well making one really make the most of each opportunity.
Lots of Mayfly but no fish feeding on the surface? Try an Emerger pattern. The last 2 days expeditions with the cooler weather down here has seen me guiding on river “X”. Yesterday saw several missed chances – got to be super quick on the strike. I have been running a tungsten beaded PT with and emerger dropper ( a special home tie pattern) and have had great success. Yesterday saw two 9lbs brown trout to the bank (and several dropped trout). Today same river, much lower down on the system, same rig and 9 fish hooked with 3 lost – nothing so big but plenty in the 4 – 6lbs range
As I said in the last post the cold weather would make the difference and it certainly has. The mayfly is on but make sure you choose the right method of attack - surface has not been working but sub-surface with the emerger has. Tommorrow may be different but then again maybe not! Like fishing anywhere, fishing in New Zealand is partly about understanding what is happening and choosing the right rig and fly’s for the conditions to achieve a successful day. Come and fish with NZ Fly Fishing Expeditions and we will help you acheive success.
Well this last few days has seen some rough weather over much of the country. Down south we had a good rain on Sunday morning followed by a full day of rain on Monday and now the weather has turned cold with snow falling to quite low levels for this time of year.
Good news is the fresh that has put all the rivers running dirty has got brown trout moving on spawning runs up many of the systems. The hard cold snap producing the snow is dropping the river levels back to normal and they are clearing quickly again.
A colleague has said pods of trout are moving up one of our renowned sea runner systems but they are moving through fast however there has been some fun fishing.
I’ve got the next two days out guiding and will most likely be hitting the upper Mataura (which I normally by-pass until this stage of the season in the hope we will get into some productive riffles with the nymph and with some luck will get an afternoon mayfly hatch too and some dry fly action- here’s hoping.
Late breaking news – Oreti River at Lunsden still big and bewteen green and brown in colour – dropping.
Daylight saving time has changed back (thank goodness), the leaves are changing colour and there is one month left for the lowland rivers (the ones that run to the sea)these close on the last day of April and the high country rivers close at the end of May.
There is some great fishing from now until the end of the season with some good Mayfly action.
The Pommy had a very big and quite localised rain event about 2 weeks ago that created a very large flood event (it also hit the Waikaia but not as bad) which has seen debris left to very high levels up the banks and has certainly pushed fish back downstream and knocked them about. They will be moving up again.
The Oreti and Aparima have seen fresh fish moving up in last week and spawning runs are getting underway. It is no longer possible to target salmon in these systems due to the seasonal license restrictions in place from F&G. Even on poor light days blinding thru runs and riffles should produce a result or two – forget the aquarium pools unless you want to hit them after dark.
The Greenstone is now free slather (no booking system) again for all (if you have the correct licensing) until next season and is fishing well. The Caples is also fishing well and both are holding good numbers of Rainbow trout and more Brown trout are showing up in the systems. Even getting trout coming for cicadas still!
If you want to catch lots of fish, hitting the Mataura and working the riffles and waiting for the afternoon mayfly hatch is the way forward.
Quinnet salmon have been gathering at the heads of the lakes for their runs and the deltas have been productive.
Certainly now the days are shorter more gentlemanly fishing hours are available and there is some very productive fishing during the shorter light hours – particularly mid afternoon when the hatch is on!