Tag Archives: Queenstown
Wow, the winter has flown past and the Queenstown fly fishing season is only a few weeks out with the opening on Oct 1st. In fact the whole of New Zealand new fly fishing season starts but make sure you know the regulations.
Here is a wee vid of some Queenstown Fly Fishing action from last season to get you fired up:
If you haven’t done so it’s time to get your house in order. Re-read a previous article I posted about getting your fly fishing gear ready to go.
It’s far more than just your gear, you need to get your head in the right place to be effective on the water come opening day/week. Knowing that your gear is all ready to go and is well maintained for the new fly fishing season is a great start to getting the top six inches engaged for action.
When was the last time you picked up your rod. Practice…get on the grass and do some bloody practice casting. Knowing that you have your casting up to speed before you hit the water will make you feel a great deal more of real confidence to deliver the goods as opportunities offer themselves. Get a casting DVD such as the Manic Guide to Fly Casting or Cast that Catch Fish.
Spend some time chatting with friends who fish about your fly fishing expectations or goals for the season and different ways to achieve them. Yep, having a goal is a good thing …. exploring some new water, using a new fly fishing technique, catching a fish, catching more fish, catching a big fish, spending time with friends … whatever it is actually having a goal will help you get your head into a better space and get even more enjoyment of the Queenstown Fly Fishing mecca or wherever it is you are going to be hitting the water.
Here is a good excerpt about what to expect during the different times of our New Zealand fly fishing season.
Stay posted as updates to the blog will be a little more regular from now thru the summer but make sure to keep a close eye on my Facebook page Fly Fish New Zealand as this will be updated as much as possible starting Oct 1st.
Look forward to seeing you on the water.
Queenstown fly fishing since Xmas ……. one word WEATHER! After a December of dry weather and low flows mother nature has balanced itself! Rain and more rain with several rivers beating historical high flows the lakes are on the verge of flooding and the severe gale force winds just adding insult to injury.
Luckily for me just prior to Xmas I decided purchase a Sitka Cloudburst jacket to make Queenstown fly fishing a more comfortable affair when the weather turns as even in the harshest of conditions I am still out there guiding. Thank goodness I did as I have almost lived in it since the 29th Dec bar a few days when the weather has pleasant. It’s a great bit of kit and one that I would now not ever be with out! I have stayed dry in even serious deluges and have enjoyed the wind resistant protection on cold days with snow to low winter levels and to top if off I seem to be able to get closer to my prey and certainly spook less (not that I spook that many anyway). It also rolls up into not much so is a great space saver compared to bigger, heavier jackets.
So needless to say the Queenstown fly fishing has not been the easiest but with a little thinking outside the box we have not resorted to lake edges (yet) but have been able to catch fish on moving water each day. From the hot days of xmas with 20ft leaders and fine presentations things certainly changed. Cicadas (there has still been some heat in the weather too) willow grubs, streamers, czech nymping, mayfly hatches, you name it we have done it.
Windy days have made us shift to shorter leaders and single fly set ups …… turn it over and get it on the water upstream of the trout.
Perseverance and patience along with guile and cunning and good skill level on the rod has paid off with having very limited amount of clean water to fish. A few times we have spent a whole day on only 100m of water but still had opportunities and hook ups. The old adage of don’t leave good water and trout to find some more (maybe) has paid off.
Dead drifted (under an indicator along bank edges) or swung streamers have also proved deadly on big fish in dirty water with some very exciting days watching hogs chase our often wounded looking bait.
To be fair tho its like throwing a dog on a chain trying to cast some of the things we are throwing …… stop soft!
As I mentioned dries have been on the menu from time to time with some nice fish eating off the surface on a variety of morsels including cicadas.
Rainbows love smashing cicadas at this time of year and we had a great day amongst the maelstrom of weather on a small stream enjoying just so!
You just had to watch closely and decide if they were eating it on the first smash or smashing it orca style before swing ing round to eat the stunned cicada.
Some days you just need to change your expectations and do the things you don’t normally do, probably because you are not very good at them …… turn it into an opportunity to get better. Willow grubbing can often be one to shy away from but for many anglers proves very exciting fishing and usually is close quarters combat on very fit, healthy fish.
Speaking of expectations some days you need to be happy with smaller fish too. A 3lb trout out of water you can jump across is often as challenging and satisfying as a 8lb+ from medium/large water. The perspective of the angler needs to change to suit conditions ….. some are more successful at this than others.
Prior to all this crap weather I had the pleasure to go fish with my father and my bro over the xmas period ….. this is something that hasn’t for a long time. One of the many things that stood out was a mid afternoon visit to a great bit of water …. walking 300m or so and putting bro onto a nice 7lb brown before being back to the truck and home with a Steam Brew beer in hand and home again in under 2 hrs to hang with our families.
Great fishing with you ……. lets do it again!
Now for my weird but true fish story those who follow my facebook page may be waiting for.
Fish! You see it? Yep right there. He’ll eat off the surface. Run this over him.
First cast is on the money and a bigger snout than expected comes up and eats it. Angler goes a bit early but has enough slack line and manages to hook up. Battle for about 1min and fly comes out.
Bugger! He was pretty big.
The bug fush slides in right next to where we are standing just off the edge of a deep drop off into a fast run.
Give me that rod (swap and give him the other I have already set up) and hurl this (big articulated streamer) upstream of him and dead drift it.
Watch the fish and hit him if he eats it!
Bullshit it’s never going to happen…lets roll on and find the next one. No give it a shot ….sometimes funny shit happens!
First cast (a lob really) the artic comes beautifully thru the seam edge and bug fush turns and eats it. Angler is so surprised he doesn’t even strike.
F*$k me … he ate it!
Go on give it to him again and if he eats this time strike! No way it can happen again ….surely? Only one way to find out right!
2 casts later and bug fush eats it again and this time my guy strips strikes him and bang we are on and got a great 7lber to the bank! You may think that this was a rainbow but no a bloody hungry brown. Several hours later my guy can still not get over. It was just one of those crazy things that sometimes happens.
Right that’s me for 2 weeks …. I’m off with the family camping somewhere for 2 weeks and then back into guiding at the start of Feb. I suspect that with the rivers getting so well turned over fish should be looking at the surface to eat as in many places the invertebrate life is back to square one!
Don’t forget to book your trip in Feb March or April and May …. I still have some space left and the weather will come right and the Queenstown fly fishing will be good
Queenstown fly fishing is good as Xmas is fast approaching. A wee fresh came thru and livened the rivers up again which was well needed as the water has been getting low. Nymphing has been the most productive still but the terrestrial action is starting with Manuka flowering and lots of blow flies appearing ….. the fish are starting to look at the surface again.
Make sure you check out my Facebook page Fly Fish New Zealand to keep up to date with the fishing as I am posting more regularly there than my blog.
Other news … a good friend of mine JDub has just gone into commercial beer making (ex-head wine maker for Chard Farm) with Queenstown Brewers “Steam Brew”. Very refreshing after a days Queenstown fly fishing. It available at the Queenstown New World supermarket and most of Queenstowns liquor stores.
Even in mid summer Queenstown fly fishing can throw some unpredictable weather at you so a Cloudburst Jacket from Sitka is a great option to keep the cold wind off you and keep you dry in the heaviest of downpours and keep you concealed from your elusive quarry with it’s amazing camo technology. Well worth getting some of this kit!
Check out Manic Tackle Projects new website and note they are now the Simms guys for New Zealand!
Tip – some situations a nymph or a dry fly just wont cut it. The shot below was one such fish in a tricky spot on the other side of a fallen tree with tons of over hanging branches. There was no easy way to get at it from below so we snuck around to the top of the fallen tree and delivered an accurate cast across the small channel and let it swing from the far bank towards the tree ….. the fish came skipping across the surface in hot pursuit and nailed it (it looked a lot like a skipjack tuna) …… the real fun started trying to negotiate the obstacles to land the fish!
Have a great Xmas and remember BOOK YOUR TRIP!
Fly Fishing Queenstown and local area over the last month has not been the easiest in regard to the weather. The typical spring weather has been bringing thru plenty of fronts delivering wind and rain making the rivers rivers go up and down like yo yos. The good news is on the 1st Nov the back country water opened and now we have our full array of fly fishing Queenstown water to hit.
Even tho the weather has not been easy the fishing has been good…..getting geared up to beat the cold stormy days and choosing the right water to fish and then hitting the good stuff in the breaks in between has certainly got us in to some good fish.
The small waters have been fishing well too on those shitty days.
Almost with out exception the fish have been in great nick
Most of the time we have been getting down deep with big heavy stuff and running a small dropper rig which has been doing the real damage…….but only when we have been at depth. Making sure you can deliver the casting goods is crucial to success … here are the basic 5 essentials.
Last week I was out guiding and 3 out of the 5 days the weather was exceptional and my client had a ball with learning some new techniques and getting some cracking fish. Not only some big boys but plenty, a conservative count would have been around 50 for the week. Amongst these was a brown trout that went 2 ounces under the magic 10lbs ….. oh so close and a big bow that went 11lbs to finish an outstanding week of fly fishing.
I made a mistake one day …… should have been in the waders…….freezing southerly wind and snow showers coming thru the bush line. Spent most of the day running on the spot and doing burpees to stay warm!
Love the back country when you stumble across a good size brown …. this fish had a brief look at a nymph and then wouldn’t eat anything until ……… well the pic says it all.
During this day I managed to break some ribs…..big boulder rolled and I was keen to get my legs out of crush zone and threw my body sideways in the air but being no gymnast I came down heavily side on into a small but friggin hard boulder straight into the the side of my chest……..3 hours walk out in some tough terrain to get to my supply of pain killers! This did not stop me guiding the next 2 days although we changed plans and fished some easier water with great results.
The week finished with this bad boy ……… well done MG …….. see you again soon!
So all up a great week of fly fishing Queenstown …… if you want some of this be sure to book your trip now!
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.
New Zealand Fly Fishing season starts soon……..are you ready? Read my post from the previous season on some things to prepare yourself for the New Zealand fly fishing season.
I have had a busy winter teaching skiing in Queenstown and have a few more weeks to go until I really turn my full attention to the pursuit of catching trout but have started going thru all the gear prep to make my New Zealand fly fishing season awesome, it takes a bit of time but is well worth working thru now so when it’s time to hit those rivers the rods gets well bent.
I finally got the chance to sit down and whip up a quick vid from last season late summer’s fly fishing and I am working on another, just a little tease to get you all fired up for the new fly fishing season. I hope you enjoy this little bit of New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions footage!
Tips to remember when filming New Zealand fly fishing action:
Stand still …….don’t walk and film!
Don’t worry about zooming in/out stay on wide.
Rinse aid on camera lens if filming underwater footage of trout!
Remember to get more out takes for editing.
My good friend and guiding buddy Chris has written a good piece on the opportunities that are around between now and the season opening. Like him, I will be getting amongst it over the next few weeks as time allows to chase those fish on the whitebait frenzy and trying to hit some of those rainbows before they run for spawning.
Make sure you book your New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions trip for the season early to ensure you can get the time period you want.
As the days are long and hot fly fishing Queenstown back country can be quite arduous on the body with many kilometers covered to get some of the best fly fishing in New Zealand (unless you take a helicopter). I had a day like this yesterday fly fishing Queenstown back country water with a young and fit client.
It’s always interesting to see how anglers approach a big day out fly fishing and also what happens to them during the course of the day as heat and fatique take its toll both mentally and physically. The angler who does not prepare well will get tired and miss easy opportunities that an equal ability angler who is well prepared takes all the opportunities and converts them with a high degree of success.
A lot about fly fishing Queenstown (or anywhere) successfully is about using the top 6 inches well. Here are some things that will help you maximise your fly fishing chances during the day and be at the top of your game.
1. Eat well the night before (not big necessarily but healthy and nourishing food) and don’t drink to much booze!
2. Get a good nights sleep, it’s hard to operate well on a big day if you only have had 4 hrs sleep. Go to bed a bit earlier ….. yes I know you are excited about your fly fishing Queenstown expedition but still …….. go to f#*king sleep!
3. Wake early enough to have a decent breakfast. Enjoy that coffee but maybe only have the one …. it does dehydrate you!
4. After the coffee drink some water ….. now drink some more …… yes you will piss a squillion times!
5. Make sure your hydrapak or drink bottle is full. I like using a hrdyapak as I can drink easily all day long as I fish and walk. Its easy to forget to take the water bottle out of your pack/vest to drink as often as you should. You should drink 2 litres minimum ….. yes you will piss more!
6. Take food that is easy and fast to eat or nibble on and is packed full of energy. Eat often through out the day.
7. Pop a pill once or twice during the day ….. sounds dodgy but I use Go Magnesium 800 which helps the body to rehydrate by replacing lost mineral salts. It also will stop/reduce the chance of muscle cramps and can also help with sleep if taken before going to bed. I usally take one the night before (see #2) and one during the day.
8. Take a bottle of a sports drink such as Powerade which is full of electroltes and drink it before you start your walk back to the car …. yes more pissing! Another good option is Nuun which is a tablet that dissolves in water and is full of the good stuff you need to stay hydrated.
9. Use a product like Gu (you can get these at any good sports store such as RR Sports) …. take 2 or 3 with you for the day and whack them back as neccessary …. big energy kick (oh they wont make you piss more).
10. When you get back to the car after that long hike out from your favourite back country fly fishing spotX, drink some more water before you have that well deserved cold beer/s. Yes guess what …. you will piss more!
11. When you get back from the end of your fly fishing Queenstown back counrty expedition eat well again and try not to hit the booze to hard as you tell the days stories to your wife/girlfriend who is of course listening attentatively to every word (as she tries to stiffle the yawns).
At first you might consider some of these things a bit of a hassle but over time they will just become part of what you do on those big days out fly fishing NZ. They will help you keep in tip top shape both physically and mentally through out your day and will play an integral part in helping you catch more big New Zealand fish.
The last week has seen some mixed results fly fishing near Queenstown New Zealand. I think the weather has had a lot to do with it as there has been humid, muggy conditions and afternoon heat showers and the fish have not been overly active. When the heat has come out lowland streams have been seeing some willow grub action and patience has paid off. Getting in under tight willows time after time can prove challening yet hugely rewarding when you get one to take.
Conversly a recent day out in the back country heli fishing from Queenstown proved to be very sucessful with many nice rainbows and browns brought to the net. We managed to get into an area where the sound of the cicada was strong and the browns were not hesitating to chomp off the surface at our cicada imitations. As always though a few were missed by too early a strike. Remember the fish actually has to close its mouth before you hit it!
Sitting around last week in the evening swapping fishing tales and different ideas we had a few laughs with some good buddies who also happen to be excellent anglers. One of the intriguing things was the use of no indicator and when to strike while nymphing. In the old days as nymphing was first being trialed the angler used to lift the rod about every 3 seconds and hope a fish was on. Things have changed a fair bit now as nymphing technique has changed dramtically and revolutionized fly fishing. Most of you who know me know when we fish no indicator and I see the fish move and as soon as that sideways move has stopped I yell “STRIKE” very loudly (some people jump out of there skins but at least they do something …. at least that’s the theory). Well after this conversation the other night I am considering changing my call to “Eaten It”. You know if I say He’s Eaten It, He’s Eaten It, He’s F@%king Eaten It, it’s probably all over chance missed! Watch the Fish!
I was also wondering yesterday about changing the old ” God save the Queen” to slow down the dry fly strike for simplicities sake to making the call of “He’s Eaten It” or for the downstream take “He’s F@%king Eaten It”. Maybe this is a sign of the changing times where New Zealand may need to look more seriously at become a republic but that’s a whole other discussion to be had one evening over some nice Queenstown vino.
Anyway I dropped my daughter off at her Queenstown school this morning and went down to the lake edge for a look and here’s what I saw:
Lots of little fish chomping ….. it was quite pleasurable just to sit and watch.
Remember Book your Queenstown Fly Fishing Trip Now, the season has plenty to go and the fish are just getting fatter and fatter!
The long hot dry spell seems to have dried up for now in the lower South Island but the Queenstown fly fishing has remained good and in fact has actually improved as there is more water in the rivers and the water temps have lowered a touch to much more favourable conditions for trout to feed. Over the hot summer months a good tip is to check out the river temps online before your trip …… 14deg C is optimium conditions for trout……if you are seeing 21deg C on that favourite river find somewhere else to fish as you will have a pretty hard day of it.
The Cicada’s are all go in some areas with areas recent fly fishing foray into backcountry river producing over 40 fish between 4 rods for the day. The rainbows were willing to move many meters to slam cicada imitaions. Other areas areas are just starting to see cicada action but the next 6 weeks should be pretty good for terrestrial fishing.
I just went online to Fish and Game’s web site and see that the have finally updated it …. well worth checking out.
I just love it when you get a shot in a remote fly fishing location of the airborne trout …. it’s alwasy hard to catch the moment just right!
The photo above is from my fishing buddy and good bastard Si Chu from a great days outing together……thanks Chuey.
Maximising your fly fishing oportunities is whats it’s all about and instead of re-inventing the wheel my good freind and guiding colleague Chris has some great tips here.
Remember there is great fly fishing from now all the way thru to the end of the season with March seeing (generally) the end of the terresrtrial fly fishing action but with April and the mayfly kicking in and the backcountry rivers staying open until the end of May as the big browns migrate up the systems there is plenty for anybody’s fly fishing taste. Book now to secure your mid to end of season fly fishing expedition.
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!