Tag Archives: Queenstown
Spotting NZ trout is a bit of an art form in a funny way and some anglers become very adept at it, others do not. I often get asked how on earth did you spot that fish? You know sometimes I don’t even know! Many years of walking rivers and looking at water is a big chunk of it. If you don’t do it on a regular basis it is probably a wee bit more tricky.
Here are some of my tell tale signs for spotting NZ trout:
1. It’s an add on to the river….. I am looking first and foremost for something that is not quite right, a touch out of place. A bit like Sesame Street … this one’s not like the other one! I am never looking for a fish.
2. Movement ….. does it move? Yes, well then it’s a fish (unless it’s a bit of weed – this had me going a few weeks back thinking I had been spotting NZ trout). No, watch a minute or two and see if it does move. Still unsure, make a cast.
3. Shape ….. does it lie the right way? If it’s lying across the current flow it’s is not likely to be a fish although on the odd occasion I have seen large trout lying deep and appear to be sideways to the flow although where they were actually lying they are directly into the current at that depth i.e. an eddie pool.
4. Colour and flash ….. Not much really but rainbows especially can give themselves away with the red stripe but it pays not to use this as you will miss many that are not coloured up but it may help it some cases. Often fish can appear as a grey smudge in the water and you might see a flash as it turns to one side to feed.
5. Shadow…… A fish will cast a shadow from it to the bottom, using sunlight (if you have any) correctly helps.
6. Go slow, slower than you think ….. no slower still! Many anglers miss spotting opportunities just by walking too quickly.
7. Look into the water not at it …… good Polaroid glasses are key. I use Maui Jim
8. When necessary choose to have back drop. Great on cloudy grey days. Spot where you can and blind where you need too.
9. Know where to look …… Pool eyes are where most people see fish easily. Other likely spots include: lips and drop offs. Seams and bubble lines = food = fish. Structure …… rocks just behind or just in front, logs too. The outside of mild bends just on the seam and especially if the bank has little bays. The tail of pools just before the next rapid starts. Generally where the water is knee deep and has one or more of the above.
10. Shitty places to get to because of foliage or river structure ….. as the season goes on this can really be important.
These tips will get you seeing more trout and if you can see them you can catch more of them!
Summer is on the way so make sure to book your fly fishing expedition with me now!
Queenstown fly fishing can be particularly good when all the water opens at the beginning of November and you have the full array of water to choose from. A lot of the water which opens up for Queenstown fly fishing in November is rainbow trout dominated waters and sometimes they can produce some spectacular trout.
This fish was caught using a interesting set up. My father had passed me a message from an old family friend saying hi which reminded me that I had not yet this season got out the classic Pezon et Michel bamboo rod he had given me. So the old bamboo rod with a spanking new reel, the Lamson Konic. Yes it does sound a strange set up but hey if it can catch fish like this…….? The Konic was great during battle with this hog as it has a fantastic smooth powerful drag system and even with my bamboo being bent like it has never been bent before this fish succumbed after about 10 mins to my strange set up for the day. Needless to say the old friend wants his rod back now with the fish of course.
The other thing is that many anglers rush to these newly open fisheries and leave the water that has been open since the beginning of October alone for a bit and this offers some great opportunities for some exciting brown trout fishing.
The last few days has reminded me about how important it is to watch the fish (if it’s possible) and ignore what may be going on with your indicator. In fact if you can see the fish take the indicator off. Unless your cast is so perfectly accurate the fish will need to move to take your offering. Maybe this is only a few inches or maybe a few feet. As soon as the fish stops the sideways move …… hit it. Chances are he has chomped and if you don’t do anything the fish will spit it out. Many times I have seen fish chomp and indicators not move at all, I have been calling strike but the angler has been convinced that as the indicator hasn’t moved there is no possible way the fish has taken……wrong! Removing the indicator also has the advantage of reducing the chance of spooking the fish. If the wind is blowing it can also help reduce windage on the line. Recently I saw a fish come up to an indicator and engulf it, I was patient and did not strike, the fish spat it out turned and promptly took my nymph …. dumb rainbow (not the one above)! Yet another reason not to use an indicator if you can get away with it.
Queenstown fly fishing book now but remember one day is good but it’s really just a tease, book a multi day trip to really get amongst it!
Southland Fly Fishing is set right amongst the roaring forties and we were seriously reminded of this a few days ago. A powerful storm blew in recording gusts in Stewart Island of 180 kph and in Queenstown and Southland of 130kph.
A friend of mine had been on one of the iconic Southland fly fishing waters in excellent streamer fishing conditions and nailing a few until they got blown off the water around 1400. Now for this bloke to be blown off the water is something pretty remarkable as he will fish in pretty much anything barring lightening but this mighty force of air rushing over the Southern Alps in advance of the storm front sure did and it was probably just as well.
The damage throughout Southland and Otago was quite extensive with many large trees smashed to pieces, trees hitting cars and power lines and causing quite wide spread power loss, roofs being lifted off houses and trampolines hurled across backyards. The onslaught of wind was followed by another big downpour which then lifted already full rivers and streams more and of course made almost all in the region very discoloured.
I had to head all the way through Southland to board a ferry the next day to Stewart Island the next day and was amazed at the widespread damage. The Roaring Forties had certainly lived up to it’s fame. I was running late for my crossing so instead of pushing to make it I decided to relax and get a later ferry. This gave me an opportunity to do some Southland Fly Fishing. I drove up into the head of a catchment and found one of the small tribs to be cleanish to about mid shin deep…..dirty deeper than that. Well with 2 hours to kill I went for a wee wander with the 5wt and low and behold by using a fly specially designed for such conditions hey presto 2 nice fish to the bank. Both around 5.5lbs and really fat.
It was time to get across to Rakiura (Stewart Island) to do what needed to be done and done it was with me returning to Southland with a couple of nice bags of fresh blue cod and a bit of whitetail deer. Ahh, Southland fly fishing ….. what a place.
On a brighter note during my return drive through Southland Fly Fishing country back to Queentown some of the rivers were more of a dirty green color, a sure sign that they are getting close to fishable again. Go high, go small, go streamers but most certainly go the results with just a small amount of use from the top 6 inches may surprise!
Make sure to book your time Southland fly fishing expedition now.
Southland fly fishing has been a mixed bag since the opening of the season. I spend a great deal of my time guiding and fly fishing Southland. Sometimes staying for periods of time in our Lumsden fishing crib (house) and sometimes traveling to and from Queenstown for just day fly fishing trips. The first 2 weeks of the Southland fly fishing season had pretty bloody good weather and low river conditions with some nice mayfly hatches on many of the streams and rivers. Southland fly fishing can change pretty quickly. Especially as you live and work in the middle of the roaring forties and it’s spring time. Suddenly we were bombarded with heinous weather. 72 hrs of solid rain at low levels and heavy spring snow in the high country. This was followed by a rapid warming trend for 2 days before the next warm ish storm came thru delivering a bunch more water to the already full and discolored water ways. These 2 storms came from different directions so most water ended up getting hit pretty good. Especially with the extra snow melt most rivers and streams had very high flood levels rip thru them.
Southland fly fishing offers a huge amount of different water to fish but most had been blown out (it was pretty much the same up the whole of the eastern side of the South Island) and to get to something clean ish and fish-able meant driving a bit further than normal, finding those elusive spring creeks, using educated guesswork on what might be clearing and spending a great deal of time studying the flow gauges and rainfall stations and employing some different fishing techniques. It’s times like this when I lose sleep worrying about getting my clients to good water and giving them chances on big NZ trout. Some good judgement and maybe a little luck allowed it all to pan out with some good fish to the bank and happy fishermen over the last week. The photo below was taken on a day where most rivers around the region were running full and chocolate.
Come and do a Southland Homestay fly fishing expedition and catch fish like this!
The Queenstown Fly fishing season is underway with great conditions both weather and water wise since the opening on the 1st of October.
I managed to get out for a couple of days fishing with a good friend and look around and have a bit of an explore. I always try to look at a new bit of water come the opening of the Queenstown Fly fishing season. It always amazes me that after many seasons of fishing and guiding you can still find some little gems to excite you. The one we hit on day two was one of those streams I have been saying I have to fish that and just not got around to it but this season after a nice tiki tour around Southland we did hit it and we had a very relaxing day with approximately 30 fish hooked, landed or lost.
The company was pleasant and the walking very easy which was just what the doc ordered after our first day which had involved a long walk to inspect a little fished piece of water that gave us some good results on big fish. In fact I lost a hog that may have gone near 10lbs and a landed a fantastic small 3.5lb silver fish (amongst a few others) in superb condition, possibly a fresh run fish into the system full of whitebait.
Speaking of which, the whitebait season has been one of the best in many years down this way and there are very good reports coming in form all over New Zealand and I expect to see this translate into some very well conditioned trout moving up the rivers after they have finished gorging themselves on this NZ delicacy.
The Queenstown Fly Fishing rivers are clear and full ish with some getting snow melt in the afternoon, the mayfly have been out on each of the different streams I fished or guided on over the last week and generally speaking the fishing has been productive on both nymphs and dries. The predominate method we have been using has been sight fishing but blinding in the right areas has also produced good results. Getting down deep in the right water and being in tight control of your line seems to help.
Early season tip: Relax, enjoy the environment, appreciate the company, slow down, the fish are bonus but will come if you get the basic stuff right.
Don’t forget that until November the back country waters remain closed but when they do open on the 1st Nov they provide some amazing options. Read the regulations and make sure you know what has changed since last season.
Book your Queenstown Fly Fishing Expedition now and remember that early season can be some of the best fishing during the whole year with hungry trout that haven’t seen a much pressure from anglers.
Fly Fishing Queenstown has one month to go before the 2011-2012 new season opens. Ye haa!
Like fishing anywhere to be successful fly fishing Queenstown it pays to get your gear ready prior to the start of the season.
I find it is a good idea to check through all your fly fishing equipment in the month or two before the fishing season starts.
There’s nothing worse than turning up for your first day’s fly fishing to find that something is missing, the floating line is sinking, the flies are mixed up or the wrong size, the reel has jammed up and x number of other things that make you look and feel like a complete muppet!
I am sure these and many more problems have happened to us all at some time or another so let’s see what we can do to make to our fly fishing Queenstown and other waters go smoothly throughout the coming year.
- Check guides and be sure there’s no damage.
- Check reel seat.
- Clean your rod.
- Get rod repairs done
- Clean the cage and remove any grit or dirt
- Check the mechanisms and oil only as advised by the manufacturer
- Check springs and pawls
- Wind the lines and backing off the reel onto a line winder.
- Once you have the line and the backing, you can re-wind, checking the backing for rot or damage as you go.
- Now check the connection to the line. If in doubt re-do the connection.
- Before you start to wind the line onto the reel clean the line; a soft cloth, soap and water is all you need. Use ordinary soap! Do not use detergents like washing up liquid as these tend to damage the line. Run the line through the soft, soapy cloth to the end and rinse through the cloth in clean water by winding it back again.
- Treat your floating line with silicone to improve its performance.
- Check the braided leader loop for wear (if you use one) and check that the line has not cracked where it joins it. If in doubt, replace the loop.
- Check your shooting head lines for wear where it joins the running line.
- Replace all the leaders with new ones. I like to use tapered leaders and add tippets to suit the length I want to fish.
- Check out your leader wallet and re- stock with new leaders.
- Tidy flies
- Remove used and rusty flies
- Tie up flies or buy in replacements
- Empty out and check tools, priest, temperature gauge, scales, de-barb pliers and any other bits and pieces you take with you.
- Empty all pockets and remove dross
- Check: zingers, nippers, scissors and knot tying tools if you have them
- Replace flies in fly boxes
- Check sunglasses for damage and clean
- Check for holes and repair or replace
- Check the net release if you use one
WADERS & BOOTS
- Check for waders for leaks and repair or replace as necessary
- Clean waders
- Check boot soles and heels are not loose – replace if necessary
- Clean boots
WET WEATHER GEAR
- Make sure it is waterproof and check for holes or tears – repair or replace if necessary.
- Check the lanyard attachment and the rubber shoe at the base.
- Fly Fishing Queenstown and any fresh water in New Zealand requires a fishing license. These can be purchased online. F&G NZ have made it easier than ever before (apparently) to do this see this excerpt from a recent email from them:
“We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to beat the rush and renew your Fishing licence online through the Fish & Game online ordering system. We are confident you will find this a simple and convenient way to purchase your 2011/2012 Fishing licence.
Step 1- Follow the link below
Step 2- Accept the terms and conditions when you arrive at the online ordering site.
Step 3- Enter your 2010/2011 licence number and your date of birth into ‘Previous Customer Details’. This will bring up your details for renewing your licence. Licences purchased online will be supplied as an attractive, durable plastic card. Plastic licences will be mailed within 5 working days of being ordered. Best of luck for the Fishing season ahead – you can order your licence now at: https://fishandgame.eyede.com/public/get_page.php”
This should give you something to do over the next month before the Queenstown fly fishing season opens and you are fly fishing Queenstown waters for trout that have not seen an angler for 5 months or so!
Check out the Fly Fishing Queenstown Expeditions I offer and get in touch if you want to customize anything to make your fishing vacation even more memorable
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.
Fly fishing Queenstown New Zealand in May the temps have dropped. All the lowland streams are closed for spawning but we still have our high country water open until the end of the month. The fly fishing is pretty bloody good! Make sure you come and get some before the season closes!
Here’s a wee video from a recent trip:
It look s much better in HD which you can see by going to my You Tube Channel and then selecting 720p HD
A quick tip. Wise choices can get you away from fishing at those tricky browns that are in spawning mode at this late stage of the season. A recent foray saw us go past a tributary that sees quite high numbers of browns. Getting high up on the main stem where the resident rainbows were all go, chomping on anything we threw at them.
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!
Just back from a weeks guiding south of Queenstown with a couple of fly fisherman from the USA. The weather did not make things too easy for us with 2 really nice days out of 7 and the rest were a combo of hurricane like winds, heavy rain, chubby rain (sleet) and generally below average weather for March. We did get on to plenty of fish and even managed to fool a fair few of them. One of my clients got to realize a 50 year dream of hooking and landing a true New Zealand Trophy brown trout.
Hooking this fish took quite a lot of perseverance as it was spending about half of its time chasing two other pretty large fish out of its feeding area before making the big boiling rise of a fish zoned into a certain food source. Each time the other fish were chased off it would chomp of the surface hard out for a couple of minutes and then the other fish would reappear and compete for the food source before again being chased off.
Finally this awesome 12lb fish was in just the right place, the fly was drifting thru the feeding zone and with absolutely no hesitation it charged up like a ballistic submarine engulfing our cicada pattern before a doggard fight eventually saw it to the bank. The area it was caught in favored the angler during battle as there was nowhere for the hog to run for cover (and it knew it), it just used it size and weight component until the angler finally got it to the net.
The fish was carefully weighed at 12lbs with a length of 27 inches and a girth of 16.5 inches. These measurements along with some photos will be given to a good taxidermist and the mounted replica will take its place of pride on the mantle piece along with the fly that caught it while the fish gets to live on to provide sport for another lucky angler down the line.
Some other bloody good fish were also landed including two of 8lbs which certainly went along way to make up for a rough week of weather and some fairly tough fishing.
So cicadas are still on the menu but things are changing and there are mayfly nymphs developing nicely in many streams and as we near the beginning of April these will come to the forefront of the trouts dietary patterns. The trout below was caught using an emerging mayfly pattern.
Another flood occurred a couple of days ago with most of Southland seeing muddy water and rising rivers but they are dropping and clearing again fast now. As we move further into autumn we should start to see more stable weather patterns although the temps are dropping quite a bit overnight but on the fine days the daytime temps are warming up nicely. Although 2 days ago I was forced to wear waders, damn glad I did because guiding in chubby rain and very cold southerly winds would have been unpleasant…….just goes to show you need to be prepared for all sorts of weather down here.