Tag Archives: streamers
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!
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 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.
Autumn can be a great time to fish for trout near Queenstown New Zealand for many reasons and one of them can be the last of the cicadas left in the back country. They have darkened right off to almost black and on a nice hot afternoon if you hear the odd one still chirping away it can be a great option to run past a trout as they are still zoned into that as a food source and being such a big morsel of food a trout may find it hard to resist.
Fishing a small beaded streamer as a nymph can also induce strikes from fish that are not responsive to anything else. Try not using a indicator and watch the fish, strike went it finishes the sideways movement or if you feel a knock or tug, tug back.
The last week in Southern New Zealand has seen quite a change in the rivers with the arrival of some wet storms instead of the dry windy ones we have seen over the last 2 months. The rivers have pretty much all come back up to much more normal spring size with the additional flows of water coming from the mountains. The fist series of storms were warm to high elevations and created some good size spates. The next lot of storms to come through were colder at elevation – in fact it snowed up high and the spates were not so big but keep the river volume high.
Many of the rivers have felt the impact with discoloration especially lower on the systems. The upper parts of most system have remained sight fishable but it has been much harder work finding the trout due to the extra volume of water. Generally the trout have been sitting in the same places but now that means they are down much deeper and really heavy nymphing gear is needed to get to them. We have been swinging streamers with some success with some big brown trout hammering the woolly bugger like a freight trains and putting up tremendous fights.
The weather looks like we will see another fairly disgruntled week with some wet storms again towards the end of the week. Lake Wakatipu has gone from being unusually low for the time of the year to just below the first flood warning criteria – watch this space over the next few weeks!
I think its a great thing that we have finally seen some good run off and it will freshen everything up and certainly give the fish some respite going into the busy Xmas and New Year period.
Certain isolated areas down here have mice populations going nuts and the result is the fish in these areas is to be seen to be believed. Most fish even in the areas where there are no mice are in very healthy order due to the easy spring we have had and the lack of big water knocking the trout around and will provide some excellent quarry over the next few months.
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!