Tag Archives: expeditions
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.
Here’s a little tease for the upcoming New Zealand fly fishing season. I hope you enjoy!
Here is a great new App for watching the weather for that big New Zealand fly fishing trip. Check out my Netvibes Page for some other good NZ Fly Fishing weather/river info along with plenty of other goodies!
If you want to enjoy some New Zealand fly fishing like this over the upcoming season make sure you book your NZ fly fishing expedition now.
The good fishing is still on around the Southern Lakes and Queenstown with the fine weather continuing. The weather has been hot and the rivers around Queenstown and the Southern lakes are low and the fish are fairly spooky due to this and the increased angler pressure so being a master of the fly fishing game up your chances along with thinking outside the box a bit.
Time of day…. mix it up …. fish get used to seeing anglers at certain times. Recently I fished a section of water behind another group who had set off at about 0800, we started on it at 1500 and found fish out and feeding happily and we hooked and landed fish easily.
A client yesterday saw benefit from fishing a large Queenstown still water with 6 fish in 1hr ….. sometime rivers are not the be all end all ….. all the fish hit bully imitations.
Don’t piss (more on this later) around, get your fly on the water with limited or no false casts. Flies only catch fish when they are on/in the water and have good presentation ….. the so called “trick” casts work …. learn how to use the right one at the right time.
Find areas where cool streams of water enter the main (warmer river) here you will find fish eager to feed.
Make the most out of your opportunities ….. even if you semi spook a fish be patient and change gear (try a streamer swung in front of it’s nose once you have let things settle for 5 mins).
If you are hooked up on a big fish watch what is happening to the fish and where it’s heading. It will tend to take care of the slack line with out the need for you to get onto the reel immediately. A big fish went begging the other day after we had fooled it, the angler took their eye off the fish to get all the slack line sorted and the fish almost new and proceeded to go down the wrong side of a big rock and into no mans land never to emerge again …. ahh bugger!
Go hard early, know where the limit is of your gear and knots and get that fish sorted out!
Sighted fish on the nymph …. get rid of the indicator ….. watch the fish.
Refusal on the dry? Drag maybe but whatever change that bloody fly and put a similar possibly smaller pattern on and cast again and with no drag occurring.
Be nice to your fellow anglers …. a good way to satrt with this is to leave a note on your vehicle as to wether you went upstream or downstream (or how far you intend on fishing) and the time you started.
My friend and guiding colleague Chris Dore has written a blog recently with some good info that ties into this check it out here.
So here is a quick story from New Years day. After a few drinks the evening before with my client to see the new year in we were on a scenic big fish river river and I was wandering along being ever so stealthy looking for trout to put my guy onto. The mix of the evening before drinks and several morning cups of java and possibly a bit of age creaping in I decided to have my 3hundreth piss of the day. My client was on the other side of the river and a bit downstream so I just did what I needed to right there and then. The wind was the blessed southerly so I sent my stream with the wind and into the grass a touch upsteam of where I was standing. Great, job done time to get back to spotting trout. Two more steps, shit there’s a bug fush and I promptly throw myself to the ground and right into my own piss. The only good news is we caught him! It’s amazing what a guide will do to get you into fish. Happy New Year!
Southland fly fishing has been a mixed bag since the opening of the season. I spend a great deal of my time guiding and fly fishing Southland. Sometimes staying for periods of time in our Lumsden fishing crib (house) and sometimes traveling to and from Queenstown for just day fly fishing trips. The first 2 weeks of the Southland fly fishing season had pretty bloody good weather and low river conditions with some nice mayfly hatches on many of the streams and rivers. Southland fly fishing can change pretty quickly. Especially as you live and work in the middle of the roaring forties and it’s spring time. Suddenly we were bombarded with heinous weather. 72 hrs of solid rain at low levels and heavy spring snow in the high country. This was followed by a rapid warming trend for 2 days before the next warm ish storm came thru delivering a bunch more water to the already full and discolored water ways. These 2 storms came from different directions so most water ended up getting hit pretty good. Especially with the extra snow melt most rivers and streams had very high flood levels rip thru them.
Southland fly fishing offers a huge amount of different water to fish but most had been blown out (it was pretty much the same up the whole of the eastern side of the South Island) and to get to something clean ish and fish-able meant driving a bit further than normal, finding those elusive spring creeks, using educated guesswork on what might be clearing and spending a great deal of time studying the flow gauges and rainfall stations and employing some different fishing techniques. It’s times like this when I lose sleep worrying about getting my clients to good water and giving them chances on big NZ trout. Some good judgement and maybe a little luck allowed it all to pan out with some good fish to the bank and happy fishermen over the last week. The photo below was taken on a day where most rivers around the region were running full and chocolate.
Come and do a Southland Homestay fly fishing expedition and catch fish like this!
Fly Fishing Queenstown has one month to go before the 2011-2012 new season opens. Ye haa!
Like fishing anywhere to be successful fly fishing Queenstown it pays to get your gear ready prior to the start of the season.
I find it is a good idea to check through all your fly fishing equipment in the month or two before the fishing season starts.
There’s nothing worse than turning up for your first day’s fly fishing to find that something is missing, the floating line is sinking, the flies are mixed up or the wrong size, the reel has jammed up and x number of other things that make you look and feel like a complete muppet!
I am sure these and many more problems have happened to us all at some time or another so let’s see what we can do to make to our fly fishing Queenstown and other waters go smoothly throughout the coming year.
- Check guides and be sure there’s no damage.
- Check reel seat.
- Clean your rod.
- Get rod repairs done
- Clean the cage and remove any grit or dirt
- Check the mechanisms and oil only as advised by the manufacturer
- Check springs and pawls
- Wind the lines and backing off the reel onto a line winder.
- Once you have the line and the backing, you can re-wind, checking the backing for rot or damage as you go.
- Now check the connection to the line. If in doubt re-do the connection.
- Before you start to wind the line onto the reel clean the line; a soft cloth, soap and water is all you need. Use ordinary soap! Do not use detergents like washing up liquid as these tend to damage the line. Run the line through the soft, soapy cloth to the end and rinse through the cloth in clean water by winding it back again.
- Treat your floating line with silicone to improve its performance.
- Check the braided leader loop for wear (if you use one) and check that the line has not cracked where it joins it. If in doubt, replace the loop.
- Check your shooting head lines for wear where it joins the running line.
- Replace all the leaders with new ones. I like to use tapered leaders and add tippets to suit the length I want to fish.
- Check out your leader wallet and re- stock with new leaders.
- Tidy flies
- Remove used and rusty flies
- Tie up flies or buy in replacements
- Empty out and check tools, priest, temperature gauge, scales, de-barb pliers and any other bits and pieces you take with you.
- Empty all pockets and remove dross
- Check: zingers, nippers, scissors and knot tying tools if you have them
- Replace flies in fly boxes
- Check sunglasses for damage and clean
- Check for holes and repair or replace
- Check the net release if you use one
WADERS & BOOTS
- Check for waders for leaks and repair or replace as necessary
- Clean waders
- Check boot soles and heels are not loose – replace if necessary
- Clean boots
WET WEATHER GEAR
- Make sure it is waterproof and check for holes or tears – repair or replace if necessary.
- Check the lanyard attachment and the rubber shoe at the base.
- Fly Fishing Queenstown and any fresh water in New Zealand requires a fishing license. These can be purchased online. F&G NZ have made it easier than ever before (apparently) to do this see this excerpt from a recent email from them:
“We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to beat the rush and renew your Fishing licence online through the Fish & Game online ordering system. We are confident you will find this a simple and convenient way to purchase your 2011/2012 Fishing licence.
Step 1- Follow the link below
Step 2- Accept the terms and conditions when you arrive at the online ordering site.
Step 3- Enter your 2010/2011 licence number and your date of birth into ‘Previous Customer Details’. This will bring up your details for renewing your licence. Licences purchased online will be supplied as an attractive, durable plastic card. Plastic licences will be mailed within 5 working days of being ordered. Best of luck for the Fishing season ahead – you can order your licence now at: https://fishandgame.eyede.com/public/get_page.php”
This should give you something to do over the next month before the Queenstown fly fishing season opens and you are fly fishing Queenstown waters for trout that have not seen an angler for 5 months or so!
Check out the Fly Fishing Queenstown Expeditions I offer and get in touch if you want to customize anything to make your fishing vacation even more memorable
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!
Since my last post the weather has been stunning, the rivers in great nick and the trout have been there for the taking. With all the water open down our way the is plenty of choice of where to fish on any given day and we have seen plenty of rainbows and browns to the bank. Even some on the dry fly.
The fish of the week was this great 11.25 lbs rainbow trout which my new Scott S4 6wt dealt to with ease.
The fish was released by the way.
Happy clients have finished the day with some great tales to tell about the largest trout they have ever caught. Although fairly average by NZ standards it reminds me that many foreign anglers are used to catching much smaller fish than our average 3 – 5 lbs trout here in NZ.
As it gets closer to the time you are coming out to NZ be sure to get in some decent practice session with the fly rod, as we get deeper into our season here it becomes more and more important to make sure you can be accurate with that first cast, you might not get a second chance which is especially the case on our big browns. The rainbows being a bit more aggressive may give you more opportunities but still a good first up presentation will take you a long way.
People practice for golf and skiing and most of the other sports they enjoy so why not get some practice in with the fly rod before your big trip to New Zealand (or anywhere). A few sessions on the grass and casting into the wind (we do a lot of that here) will benefit you. Doing a casting clinic suited to your level of experience is a great way to get the right technique down but you still have to practice after it.
The weather looks like we are going to see a bit of a change over the weekend with some precipitation and the next week looks like a slightly disturbed westerly flow will bring the odd bit of rain and wind but there will be some little gaps in there for those who can’t cast into the wind!
Book an expedition with me and make the most of your time here.
Fly Fishing Queenstown, New Zealand and the surrounding regions is a fly fishers paradise. There’s always some good water to fish no matter what the weather is doing. You can travel to all 4 points of the compass to go fly fishing from Queenstown maximizing the weather on any given day. Serious anglers should be prepared for early starts and to drive for a good couple of hours to get the best opportunities at catching truly fine New Zealand trout often in quite surreal surrounds. Full day or multi day expeditions are the best ways to really see decent fishing opportunities. To see how stunning fly fishing Queenstown really can be, a helicopter fly fishing trip can open up fisheries that would normally take days to get into by foot and some that going by foot is not an option!
It’s rare to have big tallies of fish to the bank but the size of the trout makes up for this along with the gorgeous scenery. It’s rarely easy fishing and having a high skill level before you arrive will certainly help, the learning curve once you hit the water here is steep enough as it is. Many of the people I guide are here for the challenging nature and the big trout that fly fishing Queenstown South Island of New Zealand offers, something to really test skills against or to learn some new skills to make the fishing even more enjoyable.
I am always reminded at the beginning of each season how bloody great that fly fishing Queenstown is by some of my early season regulars and my own visits to the the fantastic fishing opportunities that abound around Queenstown.