Southland 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 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 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 Explorer Now