Tag Archives: streams
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!
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.
Well the big water we got over the Xmas/New Year period certainly has made the fishing much tougher over the last week or so. I have been thru many places in Otago, South Westland and Southland on a Fly Fishing Safari with a couple of anglers over the last 7 days and have seen debris in some places 7m above normal. A friend found a dead trout over 50m in land from normal water height in one river. Needless to say this should give an idea of the size of the floods.
We have been able to find trout in all the places we visited but numbers have been lower than normal so making sure when an opportunity presents itself has been of vital importance. The good news is we did get plenty of dry fly action in particular with cicada style imitations that saw hungry fish chomping on them.
In the rivers that have been hit hard finding more stable sections of the river is where we have found the trout. Many of the normal stable sections have been either silted up or the stones so thoroughly turned over they are extremely clean – no slipping and sliding around around while wading!
The rivers are all coming back and with some good weather ahead of us the fishing will come back to its more normal state. One thing is the fish will be hungry. We were fishing a small lowland tributary stream the other day and were onto a big fish that was not keen to look at anything much until we threw a big cicada – it moved 2m left and 2m down to suck it in with no hesitation at all. Funny thing is on this small stream we had not seen or heard a cicada all day but there you go, a big food source the fish could not refuse!
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.
I’ve been out guiding fly fishing again over the last few days and have been targeting the rocky riffles of Northern Southland streams. As the day goes on the fish having been moving into these lovely little spots and feeding on a emerging mayfly. The sport has been good if you can find the older and more established looking riffles that have not been turned over by floods or had clean gravel or sand build up in them.
The weather has continued in the usual spring like fashion with plenty of wind around and frontal flicks every couple of days delivering a bit of rain (and snow). The weather looks pretty good at the beginning of next week so the fly fishing should be good.
Here’s a quick clip from the opening weekend:
Make sure to book your guided fly fishing trip with me to maximise your time, fun and learning.
I just got back from 4 days looking around Southland over the opening of the 2010 – 2011 New Zealand fly fishing season. As expected the biggest storm in 50 yrs has had some effect on many of the rivers in Southland. Some big flood flows have moved channels around and in places covered good structure with fine gravel and turned over rocks. Snow melt is still coming off the mountains and many of the bigger rivers are still a wee bit on the clean green side but as the fine weather goes on this week they will continue to clear but remain on the full side.
Some of the smaller rain fed streams have seen some big flows as well and finding fish has not been easy although wherever there was good structure fish were found and most of them were in pretty good early season condition.
After two days of windy weather with high water flows and deciding to go exploring some new water with a mate from Colorado (and to be fair not finding much to get excited about) it was time to get into some fish so it was back to some tried and true old fav’s that even through the flooding looked as though they had remained in good nick. Sure enough they had and one river produced 8 nice browns to the bank followed the next day by 10 to bank using a bamboo rod (made by Pezon et Michel) just for kicks – I just love the way the ‘boo bends and you can feel every twitch of the fish during battle.
All the fish ranged around the 4 – 5lb mark and the vast majority were caught in rocky riffles using a double nymph rig with the dropper nymph being a size 16 mayfly emerger style nymph doing the damage.
It’s certainly been nice getting back out on to the waters I love and hooking up some early season brown trout. If you are looking for a guided fly fishing trip this summer make sure to get in touch with me and lets get you set up for a great session fly fishing on stunning New Zealand water.
Well it’s a little over month out from the 1st of Oct opening of the rivers (anything that flows directly from mountains or lakes to the sea) and is then followed a month later on the 1st of Nov by the rivers and streams that flow from the mountains to the lakes. Make sure to check the regulations out. The 2010/2011 licenses will be available online on Tuesday 31st August 2010.
Fly Fishing in the early season can be one of the best times of the season to hit the water. Trout haven’t seen an angler for 5 months and their general spookiness has diminished somewhat. They are hungry and other than the opening couple of days angler numbers are very low through Oct. The weather can be a bit unsettled but we can always find some great opportunities even in the worst conditions spring can throw at us.
Here’s a clip from last season opening.
My place in Lumsden is a great location to base from over a few days to maximize the early season trout fishing opportunities and this year I am offering 15% discount on my 3 night, four day, guided Southland homestay for the month of October.
If you are keen to make the most of this awesome opportunity to have a great early season fly fishing trip hit my bookings page and and fill out the form. Make sure you select the Southland Homestay option and make a comment in the comments box that you would like the 15% discount during Oct for this trip.
Here’s another clip from last season opening.
You may find cheaper options to fly into Invercargill airport rather than Queenstown airport but either is good for me to pick you up from. Within 45 mins (or less) from each airport we can be fishing. Make sure to fly in on the earliest flight possible and leave on the latest flight to maximize your time fishing or better still if your time and budget allows, fly in the day before and leave the day after your trip. I can pick you up at your accommodation.
I will look forward to chatting with you to make your early season fly fishing trip to NZ a fantastic experience!
Monday the 31st of May was the last day of the season for being able to fish the mountain rivers and streams that flow into the the lakes and they now stay closed until 1st November.
Some mates and I decided instead of chasing trout we would head down to the South Coast and doing some codding in the roughest and most dangerous strait in the world – Foveaux Strait to stock up the freezers. Lumpy South Easterly’s didn’t deter us from heading out in my friends very well equipped boat and we got a pretty good haul of cod for our efforts. We will be back periodically over the winter when the weather is good enough to replace the freezer stocks.
While the rivers are closed over the next 5 months until the re-opening of the lowland rivers and streams on the 1st of October there still are opportunities to get some good fishing for those who are keen to brave winter conditions near Queenstown. Where rivers meet the lakes are hot spots especially just during and after a rain, the big rivers and especially the Clutha which remain open over the winter can have some great fly fishing and there are options on the lakes themselves. If you are visiting over the winter and want to do some fishing, drop me a line and I will head you in the right direction and/or be able to hook you up with the appropriate guide or charter service to maximize your time if you require it. I am busy with my winter work in the mountains over the next 4 months or so and you can follow what I am up to by reading my ski blog. As time permits I will be updating this blog with bits and pieces of useful info to help you with the upcoming season starting in Oct.
Rain, rain and more rain. We have seen some of the biggest rain events in 10 years or more and many rivers in the Southland region blew out to epic proportions. Lake Wakatipu is flooding into Queenstown although thank goodness because of the lack of snow in the mountains the damage should not be to bad.
I snuck in a quick overnight guided helicopter fly fishing trip from Queenstown into a back country river as this storm system started.
Although it rained both days we had some amazing fishing with over 20 trout to the bank and about the same number busted off.
Maybe the trout were keen on feeding up hard to weather through the big storm and flood waters!
Today is the last day of fly fishing in the lowland streams as they are closed for spawning until October 1st. You would probably have better luck fishing in the paddocks at present! The high country streams stay open until the last day of May so this are some excellent opportunities to get in to some fish before the season is fully closed.
My attention is headed towards the opening of Duck Shooting 2moro and a few more days fishing before the end of the season.
I’m off to the North Island for a couple of weeks and will no doubt find something somewhere to catch along the way.
Tight lines and good shooting!