Tag Archives: nymph
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!
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.
Sorry I haven’t got back to you since I was over in December. Just a follow up to thank you for the two great guided days we had. It was a highlight of my New Zealand trip. Also give a big thanks to your dad for coming over to the motel in Lumsden in the pouring rain to pass your message onto me about the river conditions the next day.
I’ll give you a report on what happened to next day. Well it poured all night and I headed up to the XXXX lakes. I did not quite make it, but stopped on the XXXX river downstream from the lakes. The sun had come out with no wind and the river was clear and running really hard. As you know the river is full and fast. I fished upstream for quite a while struggling to find any fish holding water. I was going to turn around when I spotted a suspect shape in the eye of a pool. I had covered the area blind fishing but it make a huge difference to be able to target you cast to a specific shape. Second cast a lively 4.5 lbs rainbow trout took off downstream with me stumbling along behind. After landing the fish I remember you telling me that rainbows will often be in pairs. Sure enough another fish soon followed. This was a better fish and looked real deep. A few spectacular leaps and the hook pulled.
With a new zip in my step I headed off upstream again I went quite a way until I came to a large pool. To fish it I had to cross the wide tail. A small stream flowed strongly into eye of the pool. The stream emerged from dense native forest and fed straight into the top of the pool. The true left bank was covered in thick native vegitation. I spotted one fish on the sandy slow water below the eye which I caught fist cast. I then worked my way up the pool with a two nymph rig and indicator. There was a deep slot just down from where the creek joined. The indicator was ripped away as soon as it passed. Expecting the river bed, I struck. It felt like a bolder until a solid series of head shakes told otherwise. A few stressfull minutes passed and an very fat rainbow trout rolled into my net. It was about 6lb and in great condition. It had that red arse that mice feeders have. Second cast in the same spot produced another bigger fish and again after that. I had stumbled upon the holly grail of big rainbow trout hole. I caught and released 6 or 7 in a row from 5lbs up to a rotund 8.5lbs. I left with I’m sure more fish to be caught and headed home very satisfied. It shows that if you keep on trying you never know what might happen.
Also on another note I caught a 8.5lb brown trout on the XXXX a few days later. After trying all my normal flys for no reaction at all I remembered the big XXXX fly that I tried on the XXXX. Sure enough first cast the fish bolted upstream to engulf the fly. Unfortunately I lost the only copy of the fly a few minutes later.
Anyhow I hope you have a great year and hopefully I will see you again next year.
Drove bloody miles today in the search for some good fly fishable water from Queenstown New Zealand today after the last week of foul weather that has made many rivers in the region very full and dirty. The only clean water for the last couple of days has been inundated with tribes of anglers so it was time to really hit the road and have a good search around. Most of the rivers I drove past today were high and still discolored but should be well fishable but still full over the next 24 hrs to 48 hrs as a good high ridges in.
It payed dividends doing the miles as we did find some good clean-ish water, well clean enough that I could do a fair amount of spotting and mix it up with some blind fishing. As the water was high and still slightly discolored I choose to rig up with a very special pattern that gets fished like a nymph – it proved deadly and soon I had a happy client with a fish to the bank. By the end of the day (still fishing special rig x) we had 4 to the bank and dropped 2, one of which was a very solid fish that went upstream like a freight train about 150m and took us well into the backing before steaming under a bank with no intention of coming out and thats the way it stayed bemused looking angler and one big fish gone! We missed about 4 or so to boot so all in all considering the water conditions a pretty bloody good day out.
Sometimes it pays to get up early and be prepared to drive f#@king miles.
Looks like we should be in for some settled weather over the next few days to a week and I am a wee bit excited as I have heard the odd bit of Cicada action in the 2 five minute periods when it has warmed up – all it needs now is a couple of hot days and they should be under way.
I am about to start a series of multi day safari fly fishing trips so will be all over the shop around the lower 1/3 of New Zealand’s South Island. No doubt we will find some good weather, rainbow trout smashing cicadas, mouse eating big brown trout and who knows what else to pit our skills against.
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.
When I first started to fly fish, streamer flies were it for me as they are relatively easy to fly fish with and on some of the rivers I started fly fishing on were an excellent option to use and produced good results particularly early season before the weed starts to build up in the river system of Hawkes Bay. Of course I also used to flog them in the stream mouths of the Western Bays, Lake Taupo and other areas too with great success.
As time went by and my skill level became higher I moved away from fishing streamers and used a lot more nymph and dry fly technique which I tend to enjoy the more on our crystal clear rivers down in the South Island and the streamers went by the wayside and until a few years ago this remained the case.
On one particular day I was guiding a longtime client of mine who had already landed 2 fish just over 10lbs in size on a standard nymph approach and had lost another couple of large trout. We came across another hog sitting in a small eye of a wee pool weaving from side to side occasional taking something. I had a chat to my client who is an excellent caster and has many other very good fishing skills about our approach on this fish. I set him up with a nymph rig and told him where and how to present it but asked him to wait until I moved into a well concealed spotting position (he couldn’t see the trout from his casting position). All was set and the client put cast after cast in the right spot but no take came from the hog. I changed fly, added some weight and we started again. Same result, fish still there and undisturbed. We continued for the next hour with a similar pattern of me changing thru all my nymph boxes and most of my dry fly boxes (even tossing a mouse imitation at it) and no joy.
My levels of frustration at not getting at take were becoming rather high and how the trout had not been spooked thru out the proceedings was quite amazing. I poked around in my jacket and found the biggest and ugliest looking streamer fly (a dark green woolly bugger on a size 2 hook with a gold tungsten bead) I had with my mind going well this is just going to spook the fish and at least we can move on to a fish that we have a chance on.
My client had a funny look on his face as I tied this monster streamer on to the end of a 14 ft leader (I think he knew that I was reaching at strings). He says to me “how do I fish this bloody thing on this leader”? My reply was “just like those hundred or so different nymphs and dries we just threw at it”. He looked very confused so I repeated that I wanted him to cast upstream from the same place where he had been standing and drop it about 3 ft in front of the fish and then fish it like a nymph and to remember that if I yelled strike to lift hard.
Still looking quizzical (and thinking I was half mad) he let me move back into my spotting posi before ripping out a beautiful cast, dropping that big streamer exactly where I had asked, the fish charged it as soon as it hit the water, smashing the fly, the guide yelled strike and about 50 minutes later we landed the 3rd fish over 10lbs for the day.
My status went from zero to hero in about the time you can say it and needless to say after one more fish about an hour later that weighed about 9lbs we went home and got a little sozzled. Well, if you catch 4 trout and the combined weight is over 40lbs you need a drink or two!
I certainly learnt a thing or two that day and I am never shy to go to a big ugly streamer fly on big trout that are proving difficult on a more standard approach – it sometimes pays huge dividends as I have found on numerous occasions since that day.
There is a time and place for everything, knowing when to use it is the trick!
It’s done and dusted for another year and all us southern fish heads are down to tying flies for the winter, looking at maps so we can be ready to explore some new waters next season or if we get desperate we can head down and fish the stream mouths or the very few rivers that remain open year round (which can produce some very good fishing at times). Or we get on a plane and head north the hit the steel head runs heading out of the North Island lakes and up the rivers for spawning.
I got a fish in on the last week end of the season so was a happy man and also managed to shoot a bunny on the way home which is dinner tonight, BBQ rabbit yum! The fishing was pretty good with plentiful browns (nothing huge) up the system I choose for the last fling and had a enjoyable day. The brown trout are in spawning mode of course and occasionally proved tricky on standard style nymphs but a small very light green glow bug worked a charm on these sexed up fish. Gentle handling was the name of the game so they colud get back to what was really important – producing another generation of NZ brown trout for us to enjoy catching.
Over the next little while I wil pop in the odd report, tip and trick and maybe even some fly tying.
I am just about to start my winter ski instruction and guiding as well so no rest for the wicked.
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.