Tag Archives: guiding
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.
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.
If you haven’t read Preparing for a New Zealand Fly Fishing Expedition Part 1 – do it now. If you have keep reading.
The gear to bring with you should be right at the top of the list now.
If you are into a bit of comfort with a roof overhead, hot running water, a real bed etc during your fly fishing trip follow this link for some good ideas of what to bring, make sure to scroll to the gear lists.
If you are looking at the more adventurous options of camp out style fly fishing or multi day hiking fly fishing try this on for size for some good ideas.
One thing about gear however is that especially when it comes down using the rod I see many an angler that can have a very frustrating time fishing in New Zealand and this usually stems from poor presentation in adverse conditions. We fish into a lot of wind particularly in the South Island. If you want to maximize your chances make sure you get some serious practice in before you come. Learn how to cast accurately into the wind, make sure you have a good variety of different casts up your sleeve. Roll casts, reach casts, the wiggle cast, curve casts, double hauling can all be very handy. These will allow you to maximize your chances and get more NZ trout to the bank. When you are out on the water fishing and particularly in an environment such as New Zealand it is not really the time to be practicing these things. Get out on the grass and do the hard yards before you come fishing in New Zealand (or anywhere for that matter).
Choosing a guide can also be a very important aspect for many when coming fly fishing in New Zealand. A top notch guide will be able to help you with many aspects of your trip to NZ prior to your arrival into the country. Guides often specialize in different things so be sure that you ask them the right questions to solicit whether or not they will be the most suitable guide for you.
For example I specialize more with multi day fly fishing trips with either homestay or camp out options into the remote back country of New Zealand. I have a sports teaching background as a internationally recognized ski instructor which offers a good transfer of skills when it comes to fly fishing casting tips and instruction but there are other guides who have actual fly fishing teaching certification and really specialize in the teaching arena and there are many other types of guide who offer a variety of different skills in different locations.
Make sure to ask if your prospective guide is a member of the New Zealand Professional Guides Association,the first place to go when choosing a guide in New Zealand.
Check out the guides testimonials page and ask to get in contact with one of the people who have written the testimonials – it shouldn’t be a problem.
You and the guide will be working as a team on the water and good communication right from the outset should be expected and enjoyed.
Check out this post for some handy gear to get for your trip or when you get to NZ, comfort is key.
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Fly Fishing can certainly be a sport (or art) that requires a fair bit of decent equipment. As a New Zealand fly fishing guide I get to use and test many bits of kit, some of which cuts the mustard and some that doesn’t. Over time you refine what you use, when you use it and where you use it. I can tell you if it lasts a season with me and comes out unscathed it’s a bloody good bit of kit!
When you do a hundred plus days guiding fly fishers in New Zealand, a great deal of time is spent walking over bouldery terrain, fighting with horrendously spiky native plants, dealing with amazing extremes of weather and climate all the while trying to find fish for your client to hook into, not to mention the time spent in quite precarious positions with your hands and knees bearing the brunt of the load – torn knees and ripped hands can be the norm. Guiding fly fishing in the back country of NZ is not for pussies!
A few bits of clothing that work very well for me and have been well tested are Salomon hiking boots, Cactus climbing pants and hiking packs, Ice breaker thermals, Stony Creek hunting jacket, Black Diamond hiking pole, William Joseph Exodus vest/pack system, Black Wolf Bivvy Tents.
The reason for this is as follows:
Salomon Hiking Boots – Very comfortable, super light and don’t need to broken in. Can cover any ground day in day out no problem and great used in conjunction with hiking pole. Beat any wading boots I have tried so far.
Black Diamond Hiking Poles – lighter than a wading stick (tip – take off the basket and take one only), great telescoping system, awesome for getting up or down banks and wading across rivers full of slippery stones, you can lend it to a client (friend) for the same, makes for a great pointing device (see the fish), handing out beatings when it all goes pear shaped (just kidding) and as a excellent splint should the proverbial hit the fan.
Cactus Climbing Pants - semi water proof, prickle proof for forays into that nasty Matagouri or Gorse patch, very hard wearing, easy cleaning and bloody comfortable.
Ice Breaker Thermals – very comfortable, doesn’t get really smelly for over a week, super warm (I go for the 260 grain) hard wearing especially if you use in conjunction with Cactus pants and feels great against the skin.
Stony Creek Hunting Jacket – really water proof, doesn’t rustle (great for sneaking up on 10lbs+ trout), camouflaged so even if they do hear you they wont see you, heaps of good pockets, very hard wearing and fits like a glove.
Cactus hiking packs - well thought out packs for multi day missions, hard wearing, super comfy, makes light work of big trips in tough NZ terrain.
William Joesph Exodus pack – great one day mission vest pack system, well thought out design, hard wearing, can remove vest from pack easily and use pack or vest separately, hydration pocket, blends in well with other a fore mentioned garments and is generally something that I hate going without.
Black Wolf Bivvy Tents – spacious for a bivvy, keeps bag off you and minimizes condensation, light weight, very water proof, easy to set up (even I can do it with out referring to the destructions).
Everybody who spends serious time in the outdoors has their way of doing it but that is some of the kit I really couldn’t do with out. If you are looking back at your season of fishing and thinking what could I do to have more enjoyment in my pursuit of big elusive NZ trout in hard core terrain, have a really good look at this stuff. Sometimes a pair of stubbies worn over some polyprops and a really old shower proof (if you are lucky) jacket, a pair of boots that really have seen better days while a carrying a serious load in an f*#king poorly fitted pack really does not make life much fun.
TTWWADI – That’s the way we’ve always done it. Bollocks – there are countless ways to improve your fishing experiences . By no means just gearing up in certain areas is the be all and end all but it is worth consideration.
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.
We had a good day out on the opening of the New Zealand back country rivers although I chose to guide my clients lowland and not to get messed up in the frenetic rush.
We chose to hit the Oreti in the morning and had some good hook ups but all resulted in lost fish for one reason or another – have to remember to let them run when they really want to! It was a grey day and the wind came up so we decided to find some shelter for a couple of hours and ended up on the upper Mataura and out of the wind.
Once again a few hook ups but this time we managed to hang on to one and get it to the bank – a lovely 4lbs brown trout and a happy happy client!
Oreti has been in excellent nick with fish mostly feeding freely on mayfly nymphs and taking well presented flies.
Upper Mataura is slightly high and has a bit of snow melt but still has great sight fishing – plenty of mayfly and caddis on the rocks – we used emerger patterns to trout feeding high up in the water column and ran heavy nymphs thru deeper runs and over drop offs, both to great effect.
We had the Airflo Airlite Rod 6wt out and I have to say it is a great rod and handled the conditions well and when I had a crack demonstrating how to cast into the teeth of the Oreti Nor’ wester using a double haul with a short stroke and making sure my backcast was high it just ripped the Airflo Ridge Tactical out and laid down perfect presentations with ease!
Reports in from the high country rivers were good with most anglers doing well and catching some fine rainbows and browns – definitely some rainbows are still spawning so if you can get into the ones that haven’t yet – they are in great nick. The rivers are holding good water flows and some are seeing some melt arrive in the afternoon but spotting is still good.
I’m off guiding again from Queenstown over the next couple of days and might hit some of the high country rivers for a wee look.
Expedition space is filling up well over Feb and March so make sure to book now so you can reserve your guided fly fishing expedition with me – its looking like its going to be an excellent season for fly fishing here in the South Island of New Zealand.
New Zealand high country streams open 2moro being the 1st of November. It’s a Sunday too, so every man and his dog will be heading into the hills today or making an early start for their spot in the morning chasing the pristine waters flowing from the Southern Alps of NZ and the large trout that inhabit them. A front is on it’s way in so that will deliver some wind and a bit of rain later in the day – spring fishing in the roaring 40′s, bring it on!
I am out guiding 2moro but will avoid the mountain streams and will head from Queenstown to stick to the lowland streams which should be relatively vacant of fisherman as most anglers make the mad rush to the high country and will be a much better option for my clients than being in the opening day gaggle of super hyped up anglers hitting the mountain rivers. Let the keen Kiwi fisherman get their fill and then I will get into the high country next week.
Although it’s not a legal thing New Zealand Professional Guides have a unwritten rule and will stay away from heli guiding these waters over the first week to let the kiwi anglers get a good crack at it. There will still be plenty of untouched high country water after it all blows over.
Check out the vids below with some early season action from down in Southland