Tag Archives: rainbow trout
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!
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 weather has continued to be unseasonably warm and the rivers have all been quite low but in excellent condition and producing some very good fishing. Fishing a dry fly has certainly been great on a number of days, especially on the rainbow rivers where they have been lifting to take all manner of terrestrial patterns. The usual go to dries have all been working.
Brown beetle are out and about. It won’t be long until the green arrive. Cicadas are arriving early too. Driving back from yesterdays outing where we fished a remote Otago back country stream using the odd combo of one rod fishing dry upstream and the other rod spey style, skagit on a switch rod hitting the water the dry could not cover (both produced about the same amount of fish) the cabbage trees were in full bloom. In fact I can’t remember seeing them blooming so much. A big bloom of flowers on the cabbage tree suggests a long hot and dry summer ahead. Given it was 31 dec C in the shade where we were yesterday and of course much hotter out on the river stones I would agree. In a month we will probably be praying for rain!
Here’s a quick clip from some fishing last week:
It looks like we are going to get a quick skiff of rain tonite and tomorrow morning and then it’s back to hot sunny weather right thru until the weekend, maybe longer!
It’s time to start considering longer leaders and finer tippets as the rivers get lower and clearer. Smaller flies may also be a good option. Yesterday we got a refusal from a fish (it swung and looked 3 times on the same drift) so we promptly put a smaller, very similar pattern on and nailed him on the next cast.
Since my last post the weather has been stunning, the rivers in great nick and the trout have been there for the taking. With all the water open down our way the is plenty of choice of where to fish on any given day and we have seen plenty of rainbows and browns to the bank. Even some on the dry fly.
The fish of the week was this great 11.25 lbs rainbow trout which my new Scott S4 6wt dealt to with ease.
The fish was released by the way.
Happy clients have finished the day with some great tales to tell about the largest trout they have ever caught. Although fairly average by NZ standards it reminds me that many foreign anglers are used to catching much smaller fish than our average 3 – 5 lbs trout here in NZ.
As it gets closer to the time you are coming out to NZ be sure to get in some decent practice session with the fly rod, as we get deeper into our season here it becomes more and more important to make sure you can be accurate with that first cast, you might not get a second chance which is especially the case on our big browns. The rainbows being a bit more aggressive may give you more opportunities but still a good first up presentation will take you a long way.
People practice for golf and skiing and most of the other sports they enjoy so why not get some practice in with the fly rod before your big trip to New Zealand (or anywhere). A few sessions on the grass and casting into the wind (we do a lot of that here) will benefit you. Doing a casting clinic suited to your level of experience is a great way to get the right technique down but you still have to practice after it.
The weather looks like we are going to see a bit of a change over the weekend with some precipitation and the next week looks like a slightly disturbed westerly flow will bring the odd bit of rain and wind but there will be some little gaps in there for those who can’t cast into the wind!
Book an expedition with me and make the most of your time here.
October has been and gone with some awesome fishing. Yesterday was the opening of the NZ back country rivers with the odd exception in the Central South Island region which don’t open until early December. The weather was amazing with a blue bird day and light southerly winds (on your tail) and I am sure anybody who got into the back country waters had a great time.
I certainly did even though I arrived late and there were several other parties of anglers ahead of me on the water, not that I saw any of them. I fished slowly for about 4hrs using both blind and sight fishing techniques and managed 15 to net with a few long line releases, nothing big all ranged between about 2lbs and 7lbs with a nice mix of rainbows trout and brown trout.
The weather continues to be fabulous although it looks like some rain on Thursday but should clear quite quickly and another large high is ridging in. The warm weather has been producing some snow melt and keeping the flows quite high and some rivers are seeing slight discoloration as the day goes on.
Tip – get deep fast – make sure your choice of fly is in the fishes feeding zone.
I have been putting my Scott S4 6wt rod thru its paces and it’s a bloody great rod. Makes light work of head winds, can carry really heavy gear yet remains delicate for presenting small dry’s and fights fish almost like bamboo with a deep flex thru the rod. If you are in the market for what I suggest is possibly the best rod for NZ conditions get yourself the Scott S4.
Anybody wanting to get some fishing in during November be sure to get in touch as it will be awesome fishing and I have some space available.
The last week near Queenstown New Zealand has seen some great fly fishing even though the weather has not been easy with fronts coming thru every day or so carrying cold rain and snow to quite low levels.
Using some local knowledge of how to work the weather and what the fish are doing has paid dividends with some very happy clients catching some bloody awesome trout. Both brown and rainbow trout have been par for the course. Getting down fast and deep has been the winner for us with the odd exception coming to the dry fly.
Here’s a couple of shots of some of the pearlers over the last week.
And to cap it all of a great 13lb New Zealand trophy trout
The weather patterns have changed and spring is on us. Now is a good time to be sorting out your fly fishing gear so it’s all ready to go come the opening of the new fishing season in 3 weeks time. Fix the busted bits, clean the dirty, tie or buy those flies you really need to re-stock the fly box and get some casting practice in on the new rod or the old faithful stick. Whatever you need to do if you haven’t done it — do it. Remember to get your New Zealand fishing license sorted!
The West Coast whitebaiting season is now underway and and there will be sea run trout and kawhai to hit in the estuary’s and mouths over the next while, a perfect time to get some of those streamers in action. Word has it the upper Clutha is fishing very well with rainbows being the sport. Time to leave the skiing in Queenstown for a couple of days and head over to South Westland via a session or two on the Clutha. A good time to get some kaimoana!
Make sure to hit my bookings page to secure your New Zealand fly fishing expedition for this coming season.
I have a 15% discount (GST free) on my guided Southland Homstay fly fishing trips during October 2010.
Taking your pack off, removing wet boots from tired feet at the end of a long days fly fishing in a remote New Zealand back country river valley then sitting around the hut fire as dinner is simmering away while you chat about the fabulous highlights of a days fishing is an awesome and inspiring thing, especially when you know that you have another day of of amazing fishing ahead of you.
Our recent guided expedition saw us hooking into trout after trout, both rainbows and browns. Many of the brown trout were well into spawning mode and at times were hard to hook as they were interested in other things but using a streamer fished up stream and ripped back past them got some good responses as well as my special pattern X. Many of these fish were holding in very small, shallow areas of the river and you could find groups of 10 fish together looking at pairing up.
The rainbow trout were generally holding in deep long rocky runs and employing Czech nymphing tactics worked well – get deep fast and stay in contact – wham, bam, thank you mam.
It just goes to show that May is an awesome time to fly fish near Queenstown, New Zealand. Most NZ anglers have switched to other recreational pursuits and the foreign anglers just really are not here and there is tons of very good fly fishing to be had if you are prepared to do the yards to get to these incredible back country waters. Yes, the days are shorter and colder, dry fly isn’t so much a part of the game but getting to fish as my last client said for trout that average over 22 inches and many going into the 24 – 26 inch range (or as we kiwis like to measure our trout not in length but pounds 4 – 8 lbs) and with shots at fish well into double digits (lbs) it blows all other trout fisheries in the world out of the water. Add to that, over the two days he fished with me he landed about 20 fish, lost another 10 (including one trophy) and blew good chances on another 20 or so.
My last guiding trip went well hiking into a remote valley south of Queenstown New Zealand for 3 days fly fishing and 2 nights camp out using cocoon bivvy’s.
The weather was about as good as it gets although bloody cold at night with frost developing on the bivvy’s by 19:30 which is just on dark at present. The fishing was pretty damn good too with plenty of both rainbow trout and brown trout to the bank, a few spooked and some that just spanked us – no slowing them down once hooked and firing under rocks in this majestic little mountain stream.
Carrying a heavy pack for a mission like this into a boulder strewn back country stream and catching fish with it on is no easy task and certainly by the end of the trip we were both a little footsore and tired but very happy.
I even had the chance to cast for a fish or two and enjoyed the success of a well presented special pattern x – the Wilkie Wonder.
These sort of trips hiking into the back country and doing the hard yards to fly fish for trout are not for everyone but those that are willing to carry a heavy pack and sleep out certainly get to enjoy the spoils of fly fishing for trout that often have seen no pressure (or at least not much) and puts you into places that helicopters can’t legally land and are simply superb for the peace and solitude they provide in New Zealand’s stunning wilderness landscapes.
I’m at home for a few days now, enjoying family life before my next guided trip starts next week, a mixture of the Southland Homestay fly fishing trip and Safari trip and we might throw a heli fish in for good measure depending on how the weather pans out.
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.