Tag Archives: nz fly fishing
The Queenstown fly fishing season has ended. Gear cleaned, tidied and packed away ready for next season ….. well almost but more about that in a while. Maybe a quick round up first.
Looking back to when the Queenstown fly fishing season opened back in Oct 2010 the weather was brilliant all the way thru to pretty much Xmas. Lots of blue bird days, little wind, lots of mayfly and then brown beetle and the fishing was hot. All the fish were in great condition and we manged to get some early season crackers to the bank, including the one pictured below which was the fish of the season ….13lbs of New Zealand trophy brown trout.
In fact the weather was so good that many rivers were starting to get to levels you would usually see in late March/Arpil. This was as good a spring as I can remember. The farmers were not happy with what appeared to be a bad drought about to slap them round the chops. I was worried too and actually ended up getting some Airflo Ridge Clear floaters to have more stealth on presenting to fish as the rivers continued to get lower and lower.
Then the heavens opened and the Queenstown fly fishing changed abruptly. Right around Xmas mother nature decided to make up for the lack of rain over the last 3 months and we got slapped by a series of big floods. A big chunk of the South Island got hammered and all of a sudden the fly fishing became a bit more tricky. Summer, what summer! Spring was our summer. We got some ok weather but most of the time it was a battle against the weather to get good fishing in and we had to be prepared to change tactics and fish a variety of techniques you would not regularly deploy over our mid summer terrestrial months. It worked, we continued to bank some seriously great fish.
One of the great things aside from the really big trout we caught this season was the food on expeditions. A new cooking device this year added to my arsenal allowing for roasts in the back country.
It’s pretty awesome to be able to catch fish like this and then sit down to a meal of roast pork (lamb, beef or chicken), wicked crackling with home grown corn, potatoes, carrots and beans in a back country hut or in a few cases right beside the river!
Autumn, is a time a lot of local anglers really look forward to. Big mayfly hatches and fat brown trout. It certainly seemed this years late season hatches were very hit and miss with not many days of really decent action on the dry fly. Maybe it was the floods over Xmas New Year that destroyed a great deal of the habitat where the mayfly lay the eggs. There was still some bloody good end of season fishing but again you needed to think a little outside the box to be successful.
I was lucky enough to get a late season trip in with a good buddy and very fine angler which was a great deal of fun. Actually getting to do some real fishing for myself … a rare thing these days it seems.
The fishing right up to the end of the season remained great particularly in some of the back country resident rainbow water.
The weather has continued to be most pleasant with temps about 3 deg above norm in May around New Zealand. I have tidied up most of my gear and have things ready for next season start (Oct 1st 2011), but not all of it has been put way by any means. There are some great winter options around the Southern Lakes. Queenstown fly fishing does not stop over the winter. Yes a great deal of our normal water is closed for spawning and the focus on most peoples minds is fun in the snow. For those like myself who seem to have a deep passion to fish, fish and fish ….. keep those rods handy and get amongst some of the many Queenstown fly fishing opportunities we have over the winter.
If winter fishing isn’t your thing, fair enough but make sure to book your expedition for next season early.
Another happy client heads home after snatching victory over a trophy New Zealand trout.
This proved very hard work over two days of gale force winds on the back of a storm front that dropped a load of rain and casting in these conditions is never easy.
Day one saw a bunch of hits from some big trout and included 4 busting off, one of which was a very large trout maybe somewhere around 12+lbs. At the end of the day nothing to the bank but we knew our technique to beat this crappy weather and try to land a big fish was on the money. An evening spent refining the rig saw us quite excited to hit the water the following day.
Day 2 dawned pretty much the same as the first day, strong cold winds and overcast conditions. The going proved harder with not so many chances at casting to sighted trout and a lot of blind work being done. Finally in a likely fast moving, deep rocky riffle we picked a shape (very much a maybe) and after battling the wind to get an accurate cast it all happened, the fish hit the bait, the client struck and the battle started. The fish tried to get airborne early and then settled down into the big fish waiting game using the fast deep water to exert pressure on the tippet. Everything held and over the next 10 – 15 minutes we managed to work the leviathan down to the tail of the pool and finally managed to net it in the shallows.
Well done HD!
Check out my latest video at: FlyFishNewZealand
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
Over the last week I have been back and forth and have noticed that most angler access points have not had cars there – which means the anglers aren’t either. Quite surprising in someways as the conditions have been great for early season fishing but in other ways not so surprising as many NZ anglers hit the opening and then seemingly forget about fishing for a while. Now is certainly a good time to get into trout that have not seen much pressure.
All the rivers in my local region have been in great early season nick but we have a bit of rain coming in now so we might see a bit of a spate.
One of the streams that opens on 1st Nov has only just started to have its annual runs of large rainbow trout. This is great for the angler in the know as most years the trout run earlier and the majority of big fish have dropped out by opening. This year for the first time in many it looks as though there will still be some true trophies left to target come the opening week or even two.
This water way can be prone to some flooding and discolors quite easily but when it’s on you certainly have the chance to catch potentially the biggest rainbow trout of your life. Over the last 15 years I have caught well over 15 trout that weighed over 10lbs and a few in the truly stupendous 20lbs +mark.
This unique fishery only has the large trout in it and available to catch for a very short period each year and if they run early they are not they are just not available as the river is under closed season. This season looks like the first in a few years to give this incredible opportunity.
If you really want to have a great chance to catch one of these truly large rainbow trout book a expedition with me from the in the first 10 days of November 2009. I would highly recommend a multi day fly fishing expedition as then we can target this particular stream under the most favorable conditions during your stay to give you the greatest chance of success in hooking one of these monster trout. Days when this river may be flooded out we have an abundance of other excellent choices to ensure you will be targeting fine New Zealand trout.
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.
Thursday as promised the storm had passed and snow was lying low in the mountains we shot down to the Upper M for the afternoon. The river was still up and slightly discoloured but clean enough to spot to about waist deep. We found some nice trout and managed to hook 2 – one to the bank which was about a 5.5 lb jack fish in excellent condition. Very light mayfly hatch around 3 o’clock but no real surface activity.
Easter Friday saw us in Central for the day on the M with excellent conditions, blue bird and no wind. My beginners managed 4 to the bank nothing big, nice 2-3 lbs fish. In the back ground the sound of distant gun fire was echoing thru the valley due to the great Easter bunny hunt – teams of 10 head out on to different farms to help clear the rabbits – each team expects over the 48 hour shoot to nail about 1000 bunnies. With 20 teams out there blasting away you can imagine the sound!
The big O has been producing some good mayfly hatches between 1 and 4 pm and resulting in some nice fresh run trout – still quite full.
Reports from friends driving past the rivers has been plenty of fisherman out enjoying the long Easter weekend with anglers vehicles parked up all over the shop.