Category Archives: Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing Season

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Wow, the winter has flown past and the Queenstown fly fishing season is only a few weeks out with the opening on Oct 1st. In fact the whole of New Zealand new fly fishing season starts but make sure you know the regulations.

Here is a wee vid of some Queenstown Fly Fishing action from last season to get you fired up:

Queenstown Fly Fishing – An Anglers Paradise

If you haven’t done so it’s time to get your house in order. Re-read a previous article I  posted about getting your fly fishing gear ready to go.

It’s far more than just your gear, you need to get your head in the right place to be effective on the water come opening day/week. Knowing that your gear is all ready to go and is well maintained for the new fly fishing season is a great start to getting the top six inches engaged for action.

fly fishing Season

When was the last time you picked up your rod. Practice…get on the grass and do some bloody practice casting. Knowing that you have your casting up to speed before you hit the water will make you feel a great deal more of real confidence to deliver the goods as opportunities offer themselves. Get a casting DVD such as the Manic Guide to Fly Casting or Cast that Catch Fish.


Spend some time chatting with friends who fish about your fly fishing expectations or goals for the season and different ways to achieve them. Yep, having a goal is a good thing …. exploring some new water, using a new  fly fishing technique,  catching a fish, catching more fish, catching a big fish, spending time with friends … whatever it is actually having a goal will help you get your head into a better space and get even more enjoyment of the Queenstown Fly Fishing mecca or wherever it is you are going to be hitting the water.

Fly Fishing Season

NZ Fly Fishing Expeditions – friends

Here is a good excerpt about what to expect during the different times of our New Zealand fly fishing season.

Stay posted as updates to the blog will be a little more regular from now thru the summer but make sure to keep a close eye on my Facebook page Fly Fish New Zealand as this will be updated as much as possible starting Oct 1st.


Look forward to seeing you on the water.

Tight Lines,



Clients and Guides equal Teamwork

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Fly fishing guiding has many components to making a successful day for both the client and the guide. At the end of the day it is teamwork. A good guide will work hard for the client but they can only do so much, the client has to be able to deliver the goods on the stick to achieve their fly fishing goals.


Fly Fishing New Zealand

Delivering the goods

Setting up the situation for a successful outcome is paramount. Whether you are the client or the guide here are some things to consider that will help to set you up for a successful guided fly fishing day in New Zealand (and probably anywhere).

  • Who – who are they/you? Beginner, novice, intermediate or expert. Have they/you fly fished in New Zealand before and your/this area in specific?
Fly Fishing Expeditions

Who am I?

  • What – What do they/you want to achieve? Is it realistic goal? There may need to be a moving of the posts to make it an achievable and successful outcome. This is something that may be negotiated between client and guide.
New Zealand  Fly Fishing Expeditions

Negotiate, what is realistic?


  • Why – Why do they/you want to achieve this? Clearly knowing why will help set the steps in place to bring the goal to fruition.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions - JTH (79)

  • Where – Where is the best water/weather to deliver this? When is the best time to do it?
Fly Fishing New Zealand

The best time?

  • How – How are you/they going to meet the goal/s?
Fly Fishing New Zealand

How are you going to do it?

When these questions have been worked through a good plan can be put in place to deliver the goods and make both client and guide happy.

There are many variables that can alter the outcome in fly fishing (I am sure I don’t need to list them). Clear communication about what is happening or has happened will often necessitate a change to the plan and an altering of the goal to make for a successful outcome. Being flexible and honest are both desirable and necessary.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Happy Times!


So as for the fly fishing since my last post and the big deluge it has been an interesting and mixed bag. The floods did a lot of damage and moved fish around, altered rivers and swept aquatic insect life clean. Luckily the fish have been keen to look at the surface eating all kinds of terrestrials, small nymphs down deep and big streamers in the right place.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Big Fish and Big Streamers

We have seen no rain now for 6 weeks and many rivers are getting very low and warm so looking for cold water has become important. The aquatic bug life is coming back and the latter part of season should fish well, particularly if we get some welcome freshes thru the system soon.

My good old fishing pack finally gave up the ghost so I decided to splash out a little and get a new Sitka Overnight 30 pack ….. absolutely brilliant piece of kit. If you are after something to use as either a day pack or a overnighter  this is the baby. Whether you fish, hunt or enjoy both.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Sitka Overnight 30 … a great pack!

Don’t forget that the end of season often produces the options for big fat fish and our late season mayfly action. Many anglers have done there dash and miss out on what I think is one of the two best times of the season to be on the water taking full advantage of the conditions and to have some stunning fly fishing days. Book your fly fishing expedition for the late season session now!


Queenstown Fly Fishing since Xmas ……. Weather!

Queenstown fly fishing since Xmas ……. one word WEATHER! After a December of dry weather and low flows mother nature has balanced itself! Rain and more rain with several rivers beating historical high flows the lakes are on the verge of flooding and the severe gale force winds just adding insult to injury.


Queenstown fly fishing

There’s One!

Luckily for me just prior to Xmas I decided purchase a Sitka Cloudburst jacket to make Queenstown fly fishing a more comfortable affair when the weather turns as even in the harshest of conditions I am still out there guiding. Thank goodness I did as I have almost lived in it since the 29th Dec bar a few days when the weather has pleasant. It’s a great bit of kit and one that I would now not ever be with out! I have stayed dry in even serious deluges and have enjoyed the wind resistant protection on cold days with snow to low winter levels and to top if off I seem to be able to get closer to my prey and certainly spook less (not that I spook that many anyway). It also rolls up into not much so is a great space saver compared to bigger, heavier jackets.

Queenstown Fly Fishing

Sitka Cloudburst Jacket

So needless to say the Queenstown fly fishing has not been the easiest but with a little thinking outside the box we have not resorted to lake edges (yet) but have been able to catch fish on moving water each day. From the hot days of xmas with 20ft leaders and fine presentations things certainly changed.  Cicadas (there has still been some heat in the weather too) willow grubs, streamers, czech nymping, mayfly hatches, you name it we have done it.

Queenstown Fly Fishing

Rainbows on Brown water

Windy days have made us shift to shorter leaders and single fly set ups …… turn it over and get it on the water upstream of the trout.


Queenstown Fly Fishing

Big wind = shorter leaders


Perseverance and patience along with guile and cunning and good skill level on the rod has paid off with having very limited amount of clean water to fish. A few times we have spent a whole day on only 100m of water but still had opportunities and hook ups. The old adage of don’t leave good water and trout to find some more (maybe) has paid off.

Queenstown Fly Fishing

Serious perseverance

Dead drifted (under an indicator along bank edges) or swung streamers have also proved deadly on big fish in dirty water with some very exciting days watching hogs chase our often wounded looking bait.


Queenstown Fly Fishing

Hooked up

To be fair tho its like throwing a dog on a chain trying to cast some of the things we are throwing …… stop soft!

Queenstown Fly Fishing


As I mentioned dries have been on the menu from time to time with some nice fish eating off the surface on a variety of morsels including cicadas.


Queenstown Fly Fishing

Early season Cicada

Rainbows love smashing cicadas at this time of year and we had a great day amongst the maelstrom of weather on a small stream enjoying just so!

Hooked up!

Hooked up!

You just had to watch closely and decide if they were eating it on the first smash or smashing it orca style before swing ing round to eat the stunned cicada.

Smashing Rainbows

Smashing Rainbows

Some days you just need to change your expectations and do the things you don’t normally do,  probably because you are not very good at them …… turn it into an opportunity to get better. Willow grubbing can often be one to shy away from but for many anglers proves very exciting fishing and usually is close quarters combat on very fit, healthy fish.

Willow grubbers

Willow grubbers

Speaking of expectations some days you need to be happy with smaller fish too. A 3lb trout out of water you can jump across is often as challenging and satisfying as a 8lb+ from medium/large water. The perspective of the angler needs to change to suit conditions ….. some are more successful at this  than others.

Small water trout often punch way above the size!

Small water trout often punch way above the size!

Prior to all this crap weather I had the pleasure to go fish with my father and my bro over the xmas period ….. this is something that hasn’t for a long time. One of the many things that stood out was a mid afternoon visit to a great bit of water …. walking 300m or so and putting bro onto a nice 7lb brown before being back to the truck and home with a Steam Brew beer in hand and home again in under 2 hrs to hang with our families.

Queenstown Brewers Steam Brew

Queenstown Brewers Steam Brew


Great fishing with you ……. lets do it again!

Queenstown Fly Fishing

7lb release


Now for my weird but true fish story those who follow my facebook page may be waiting for.

Fish! You see it? Yep right there. He’ll eat off the surface. Run this over him.

First cast is on the money and a bigger snout than expected comes up and eats it. Angler goes a bit early but has enough slack line and manages to hook up. Battle for about 1min and fly comes out.

Bugger! He was pretty big.

The bug fush slides in right next to where we are standing just off the edge of a deep drop off into a fast run.

Give me that rod (swap and give him the other I have already set up) and hurl this (big articulated streamer) upstream of him and dead drift it.

Watch the fish and hit him if he eats it!

Bullshit it’s never going to happen…lets roll on and find the next one. No give it  a shot ….sometimes funny shit happens!

First cast (a lob really) the artic comes beautifully thru the seam edge and bug fush turns and eats it. Angler is so surprised he doesn’t even strike.

F*$k me … he ate it!

Go on give it to him again and if he eats this time strike! No way it can happen again ….surely? Only one way to find out right!

2 casts later and bug fush eats it again and this time my guy strips strikes him and bang we are on and got a great 7lber to the bank! You may think that this was a rainbow but no a bloody hungry brown. Several hours later my guy can still not get over. It was just one of those crazy things that sometimes happens.

Queenstown Fly Fishing

Crazy Fish!


Right that’s me for 2 weeks …. I’m off with the family camping somewhere for 2 weeks and then back into guiding at the start of Feb. I suspect that with the rivers getting so well turned  over fish should be looking at the surface to eat as in many places the invertebrate life is back to square one!

Don’t forget to book your trip in Feb March or April and May …. I still have some space left and the weather will come right and the Queenstown fly fishing will be good

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