Tag Archives: Fiordland
It’s mid April and there are only 2 weeks to go until the low country rivers close for the season but the high country water stays open until the end of May down this way so there is still plenty of fly fishing left near Queenstown.
It’s a great time to be out on the water right now with some good late season mayfly hatches occurring with the brown trout really wanting to fatten up prior to spawning. I find the best time to be out on the waters to get the hatch is anytime between 11oo and 1600 when the trout are feeding on hatching mayfly. Working the riffle water with a medium weighted nymph trailed by a emerging nymph is also producing good results prior to the hatch actually beginning.
We have still been catching trout in some of the back country water on terrestrial patterns but again there is certainly mayfly around there too. In some of these systems runs of browns have been moving thru on spawning runs and the fish are starting to pair up. Just recently we fished a small stream where normally you are finding individual fish but this time there were many cases of 2 or more fish dancing around a pool in a most definite pairing up mode. Sometimes offering these fish a standard nymph or dry just won’t cut it – giving them a steamer to chase and chomp often does the trick.
I have some more guided trips over the next 2 weeks and then in early May I am off for a boys fishing trip deep into some rugged jungle country in Fiordland with a good mate and excellent angler so that should be a lot of fun.
The days are certainly cooling as winter is approaching but it really is a great time to be on New Zealands stunning waters hooking into big fat trout and enjoying the peace and tranquility that the sound of running water flowing past spectacular scenery can and does offer.
If you cant make it now for some great fly fishing make sure to start the process of organizing your trip for next season……don’t be disappointed………book in now to secure your time for next summer!
In my last post I recommended up-skilling your fly casting ability before coming on your fly fishing trip to New Zealand.
Carl McNeil has a great clip below that shows some of these casts that will really up your chances of catching more fish while in NZ (or anywhere).
Carl is also one of the makers of the fly fishing film “Once in a Blue Moon” which is filmed in Fiordland and Southland, New Zealand where I do a great deal of my guiding. This is a great film and one certainly worth purchasing.
Make sure you check out the guided fly fishing trips and expeditions that I offer and be sure to get your time booked by making your inquiry now.
Some anglers want to catch lots of fish, others want to catch big fish and others just want to be in remote locations that rarely see anglers and have an opportunity to cast to one fish that hasn’t seen an fisherman all season and there are quite a few other scenarios too.
My last client, a regular who fishes with me once a season for a for a 5 day period falls into the category of the remote location angler and who has most if not all the skills required to catch some bloody good trout.
Over the trip JC had quite a few chances on some big (10lbs +) trout and unfortunately each time we hooked in we got absolutely smoked. The biggest fish we got a hook in would have been around 15lbs, maybe more and the battle only lasted about 1 minute before the leviathan blew us to bits – just having the chance to get a crack at a trout like this is extraordinary yet alone actually hooking it – after that well it all has to be a combination of some serious luck and skill to beach such big trout.
Sometimes getting to remote locations involves some serious hiking and some locations you just can not hike into at all – an airborne chariot is required!
A remote location somewhere deep in Western Fiordland where no anglers had been that season (we think) we found some trout but the interesting thing is in these super remote places the trout can be far more spooky than in places that see regular pressure. All of a sudden having something in a trouts presence that has not been there before seems to up the anti hugely on stealth and perfect presentation.
The last morning of JC’s stay on the way back from the middle of nowhere there was just enough time before the flight out of Queenstown New Zealand to have a last quick nudge at a fish. A few casts, a quick change to add some more weight and a lovely last minute brown to the bank.
See you next season JC – some more remote locations and some big trout await you!
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.
I have just got back from a multi day guided fly fishing trip south of Queenstown. We were based in my homestay and fished Southland for 5 days. My fishing clients went away happy after their first trip to the Southland area. We mainly fished brown trout waters and on one day managed to hook and land a 10lb brown trout in great nick.
Our successful fly choice was usually para adams or my emerger pattern with the odd brownie taking a blow fly off the surface or a heavy tungsten mayfly nymph down deep.
Most of the the other brown trout we landed ranged from 5 – 7 lbs and were also in great condition which continues to show how well the spring has been allowing the trout to put on condition not being knocked around by the typical flooding we usually get. It certainly looks as though there will be some amazing conditioned fish by mid summer!
We hit one day on a mostly rainbow fishery on the edge of Fiordland and had an exceptional day hooking over 20 rainbow trout and landing about 16 of them and also missed a few chances with missed strikes. These rainbows were all in fantastic nick and were not fussy – in fact you could throw anything at them and it was good – about 50% took terrestrial and 50% subsurface.
I also noticed several mice hopping around the bank in this area and judging by the condition of the rainbows and coloration it certainly looks as tho that has been part of the recent diet for these trout.
All the rivers are low but not too low as the snow continues to melt off the mountains but this week looks like we may start to see some good precip with some wetter looking storms building up.
May fly are still hatching in place mid afternoon. Caddis are too be found on the rocks and the terrestrial action will continue to build especially as the weather starts to warm up over the next 3 months.
The brown beetle are out in force in the evenings so if you get a chance to be on a river a dusk that will be a good choice to go to.
The wind has still been the main issue to beat but all the rivers have been fishing very well in the Southland and Otago region with low to normal flows for this time of year. Brown beetle are out and about as well as the green beetles. Good mayfly hatches in the mid afternoon. Its all good and its all go. We have been spotting and catching good trout feeding on emergers in riffle waters and my clients have been having a ball regardless of the wind – see some tips in my previous posts.
I am back to Queenstown 2 moro for 2 days before my next clients arrive and will have a chance to catch up with my family before my next multi day trip based from Lunsden, Southland. The weather is looking terrific next week with a big high ridging in over the lower South Island, the first in quite a while. We will get to target some big New Zealand trout and will look to get into a Fiordland fishery for a day or maybe even an overnight mission. May a chance to have a crack at fishing a mouse pattern after dark for the big brown and rainbow trout cruising the shoreline whacking mice as they swim.
Secure your guided fly fishing trip with me book a fly fishing trip now
Another week of moderate to strong westerly winds in Southland ended yesterday with a front coming thru and giving Fiordland a good dousing of rain but only a small amount of precip got east of the divide. As the front went thru the wind dropped away for the first time in a week and yesterday, Saturday afternoon saw some good light wind conditions for fly fishing. Sunday (today) has dawned a nice day with light NW winds and high upper level cloud around but I am sure the weekend warrior will be enjoying the calm ish conditions to hit the rivers as they are all generally running low and clear still. The forecast for the next week looks fairly similar to last week with more wind around to play havoc with the fly anglers.
Many fly anglers get quite annoyed with wind and understandably, it seems to be the bane of most fisherman with a fly rod in hand. There are some things you can do to counter it and give you some good fly fishing. Learn how to double haul effectively and make sure your back cast angle is very high – shorten your stroke to help this. Another type of cast is the side cast keeping every thing super low and staying underneath the worst of the wind – 3 to 4 feet above the water – ever notice there is less wind at ground level – same thing over water. Use a stiff fast action rod like the new Scott S4. Use leaders and flies that you can still turn over. Find areas that are off the main wind angle or even better work with the wind. Approach things a bit differently – if the wind is really ripping the surface of the water it can be so disturbed it may be possible to get upstream of a fish or likely area – make your cast across the wind or downstream into the lane you need the flies to be, then trying to be as stealthy as possible walk down stream (if necessary) mending as required to keep your flies and line where you want them to be. This will often result in hook ups on gale force days.
Earlier this week on one of the extremely windy days I popped down to the river local river (I am still in Southland but will be going back and forth between Queenstown, Otago and Lumsden, Southland next week) for a wee look and a test of my skills in these conditions. I soon found a nice bit of water with fish feeding happily. I had found a place where some willow trees were blocking some of the gale (but not much) and rigged up with a double rig – heavy tungsten beaded top fly and my special home tie emerger pattern as the dropper. 1st hook up resulted in a brown trout on a torpedo run straight into willows – I dug in hard but bang he broke me off. Oh well – up to the next fish more in the open and this time I had to really work to lay the line and flies out using the double haul – bang a good 4.5 lbs brown trout to the bank. Next fish, I went for a different approach and decided to stand up stream and cast across and down laying some mends in and letting the flies drift thru the fishes lie — bang the emerger pattern again and a nice 5lb brown trout. I took the same approach for the next fish, again the emerger and this time a bigger brown trout of around 7lbs fought hard was landed and released to fight hard again another day.
In approximately 1 hr I had hooked 4 and landed 3 good fish on a day that had wind clocked around 70kph and gusting higher still by using the top 6 inches to employ the right tactics!
I have a friend who I fish with on occasion. Those occasions are usually when it’s blowing it arse off, he will ring me up and say “lets go, no other bastard will be out there” and he’s always right and we always have some good fun!
Book a guided expedition with me and I will show you what is possible to catch some good trout even in adverse wind conditions although I will always try to get us out of the wind if at all possible.
It’s not often I actually kill a trout but yesterday we had an opportunity to show a nice 4.5 lb jack fish the priest. After filleting (amazing color red, orange flesh) the trout I had a poke around in the stomach and found a good amount of the usual caddis and mayfly nymphs, a number of blow flies and best of all green beetles. These will be around now thru until Xmas and the trout love them. There are some reasonable mayfly hatches occurring in the afternoons.
The rivers are all running at low levels for this time of year in most of Southland and are very clean. It’s certainly quite unusual for this time of year for them to be so low. The snow is holding well in the mountains still so when we do end up getting some warmer, wet weather we will get some good flushes – its just a matter of when.
The fishing has been excellent with very good condition brown trout being caught and in the rainbow waters still finding trout that have yet to spawn.
I am based down in Lumsden, Southland at present and ducking and diving around the wind to get some excellent fishing and have a couple of trips coming up that might see us nudging into Fiordland.
Stay tuned in for more info coming and remember to book your fly fishing expedition so you can make sure you have your time and guide secured.
Half day fly fishing trips can be great fun for clients to get a wee taste of what fly fishing is all about near Queenstown and offers a chance for fly fishing anglers to pick up a few tips they can take with them on their travels in the South Island of New Zealand.
My last days guiding was just like this – showing a client some great water and improving his general casting technique and also some of the fine arts of successful nymph fishing tactics as this was not something he had done much of.
Get down to where the fish are feeding – it’s no point having the nymphs above where the trout are feeding in the water column. Sometimes they will lift and take it but more often than not they won’t.
To add quick weight to get that nymph deeper I often use a tungsten bead head that is threaded onto the tippet and then slides along the tippet and down to the hook eye – free running. This is especially good when you do not want to use a double nymph rig for certain reasons.
Sometimes the area you are in has other attributes than just the fishing and this trip was one of those as we had a close encounter with a NZ Falcon. I spotted a nesting Falcon and warned my client that a dive bomb run was likely and if or when it occurred to keep the rods raised above our heads in a vertical manner. Sure enough the New Zealand Falcon buzzed us twice but stayed clear due to the rods. At this point I decided to see if I could do something to film an attack and promptly gave my rod to the client and asked him to stay put. I got the cam running and walked ahead about 10 meters and sure enough in came Mr Falcon – he swooped past and rolled up behind me lining me up and came straight at my head on his attack run with no fear of the rod in its way – whack he got me – bloody brilliant. My instinct to trust the sturdiness of my fishing hat was right but don’t try this at home!
Here is the footage – enjoy.
All the rivers around the Southern Lakes, Queenstown, Southland and Otago are fishing well at present although the usual Spring weather is making life interesting with some big winds around. and some rivers getting snow melt in the afternoons.
I had some friends hit a Fiordland stream that I gave the direction on how best to approach and they had a very successful trip landing some nice rainbows and browns all in super fat nick – the boys thought there might have been some mouse action going on to create these super fat hogs although they never kept one to find out for sure – but if so bodes well for some big fish over the summer.