Category Archives: Fly Fishing Reports

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?
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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.
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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

Fly Fishing Queenstown early season

New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions

Fly Fishing Queenstown and local area over the last month has not been the easiest in regard to the weather. The typical spring weather has been bringing thru plenty of fronts delivering wind and rain making the rivers rivers go up and down like yo yos. The good news is on the 1st Nov the back country water opened and now we have our full array of fly fishing Queenstown water to hit.

Even tho the weather has not been easy the fishing has been good…..getting geared up to beat the cold stormy days and choosing the right water to fish and then hitting the good stuff in the breaks in between has certainly got us in to some good fish.

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Early season trophy rainbow

The small waters have been fishing well too on those shitty days.

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Small water fish


Almost with out exception the fish have been in great nick

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Great condition early season brown

Most of the time we have been getting down deep with big heavy stuff and running a small dropper rig which has been doing the real damage…….but only when we have been at depth. Making sure you can deliver the casting goods is crucial to success … here are the basic 5 essentials.

Last week I was out guiding and 3 out of the 5 days the weather was exceptional and my client had a ball with learning some new techniques and getting some cracking fish. Not only some big boys but plenty,  a conservative count would have been around 50 for the week. Amongst these was a brown trout that went 2 ounces under the magic 10lbs ….. oh so close and a big bow that went 11lbs to finish an outstanding week of fly fishing.

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Almost the magic 10lbs … not quite!

I made a mistake one day …… should have been in the waders…….freezing southerly wind and snow showers coming thru the bush line. Spent most of the day running on the spot and doing burpees to stay warm!

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Cold showers days still produce

Love the back country when you stumble across a good size brown …. this fish had a brief look at a nymph and then wouldn’t eat anything until ……… well the pic says it all.

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Dead drift streamer … big fish love em!

During this day I managed to break some ribs…..big boulder rolled and I was keen to get my legs out of crush zone and threw my body sideways in the air but being no gymnast I came down heavily side on into a small but friggin hard boulder straight into the the side of my chest……..3 hours walk out in some tough terrain to get to my supply of pain killers! This did not stop me guiding the next 2 days although we changed plans and fished some easier water with great results.

Fly Fishing Queenstown

Bar of Silver

The week finished with this bad boy ……… well done MG …….. see you again soon!

Fly Fishing Queenstown

11lbs of bow

So all up a great week of Queenstown fly fishing …… if you want some of this be sure to book your trip now!


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