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Stan Wright 12-05-2008 03:00 PM

New Zealand
When friends found out I would be visiting New Zealand, everyone ask if I was going fishing . On checking the itrinary of the tour I discovered a "free day" in Queenstown. I called Simon Wilkinson Guiding and ask if there was any possibility of a guided trip the next day. He told me to be in the hotel lobby at 7:00 AM
The South Island of NZ is amazingly beautiful in the spring. Snow capped mountains and lovely green hills with clear streams running through the sheep filled meadows.
We took a gravel road off the main highway that followed a small river, parked the 4-wheel drive and grabbed the rods.
The way it's done is.... you follow the river trying to spot the trout in the clear shallow water.
Then using a 9 foot 6wt flyrod with a super long leader ( I think it was 14 to 15 foot) and two tiny nymph flys.... you cast to a feeding fish.
The trick is to put the fly ahead of the fish and let it drift down into the "feeding window". Sounds easy.... it's not.... LOL .... You have to be right on the money. If your fly is to far to the left or right, or too shallow, the fish ignores you. Just a few inches off target won't cut it.
Sometimes I couldn't see the fish from my casting position. Simon would be up on the bank "spotting" for me and directing my casts. "Just a little to the left, and about 2 feet longer, Stan." "Good, now 6 inches more to the right. Needless to say, if your going to NZ.... first practice your casting using a long leader. It will make your trip much more productive and enjoyable.
We spotted, well mostly Simon spotted, some 30 or 40 fish that day. This river held only brown trout. Not many fish per mile, but big ones. A 6 pound fish was on the "small" side.
About 3 feet above the fly there was a "strike indicator". A small bright tuft of fluff tied to the line. It works like a floater. Gives you an idea of where your fly is and indicates when you get a strike. If the indicator stops... you strike. That also sounds easy doesn't it? (grin)
We walked several miles along the river spotting fish and casting to them. Some fish ignored my presentation and after 30 or so casts we moved on to find another more cooperative trout. Other times I missed my mark and spooked the fish on the first cast. Simon was very patient with me. Always offering encouragement and advice.
Just after a relaxing picnic lunch, I hooked into a big brown that wasn't able to throw the fly on it's first jump. On my 3rd cast the indicator stopped, Simon yelled "Strike" and the fight was on.
The river at that spot was only about 2 feet deep, but swift. The trout moved up current into a deeper pool with me running along the gravel bar, rod held high, and wondering if a 6 pound test leader was really strong enough to land this thing. All the while, Simon was shouting encouragement and taking pictures. Finally I eased the huge brown trout (it was huge to me) into the shallow water and grabbed it by the tail.
The small fly was quickly removed, more pictures taken, and with a splash of it's tail the fish disappeared into the stream.
Wow. My first brown trout.
Fishing for brown trout in New Zealand was different from any fishing I had ever done. Lots of walking, the need for accurate casts with a long leader, and "stalking feeding fish". On Simons web site there are pictures of mountain streams filled with browns and rainbows with snow capped mountains in the background. Places reached only by helicopter. ( )
If the picnic lunch was great (loved those home made cookies), imagine a home cooked meal in his mountain cabin by the river after a day of fishing. Something to dream about and look forward to. It was an adventure in a beautiful land, with good company, a trip I will never forget.

Frank Whiton 12-05-2008 03:43 PM

Re: New Zealand
Hi Stan,

Thanks for the great report. It was a shame you went that far and only got one day to fish. :icon_cry: A six pound trout is big to any one.


Stan Wright 12-05-2008 04:07 PM

Re: New Zealand
It was a tour, not really a fishing trip. If I was traveling that far to go fishing I would have done a lot more homework. Like finding out that they use super long leaders.... and practiced casting them. LOL

Researching when the "prime time" and weather is also a good idea.

And yes, spend a lot more time fishing.

mcnerney 12-05-2008 10:49 PM

Re: New Zealand

Thanks for the great story and wonderful pictures.
That description of fishing for brown trout reminds me of Landon Mayer (he is a guide out of Colorado Springs, CO) and has a book out called "How to catch the Biggest Trout of Your Life". His stragey for fishing for brown trout is exactly like you describe (sight fishing while walking the stream bank and using a buddy system to help the caster).


Lambster 12-08-2008 07:04 PM

Re: New Zealand
Nice Brown Trout! Dang lets get a trip up and go to New Zealand............. I've been reading a book on New Zealand,maybe one of these years we'll make it their!:icon_ques I think John Denver holds the record Brown Trout in New Zealand...:icon_roll I've got it on VHS tape somewhere! The South Island has so many streams that half of them have no names....... I'd sure like to visit!


mcnerney 12-08-2008 08:51 PM

Re: New Zealand

I'd sure like to make a trip to do some New Zealand fishing! I hate the thought of that long flight over though.


Stan Wright 12-09-2008 12:04 AM

Re: New Zealand
We flew on Air New Zealand... Great.... The meals on the flight were outstanding (along with the service) Each seat has it's own TV with a wide choice of movies and TV shows. It went a lot quicker than I expected. The flight was one of the best we've been on.

mcnerney 12-10-2008 08:45 AM

Re: New Zealand

Thanks for the feedback.

We have a guy here at work that went to Australia, he had a wonderful time but the flight back was a 24 hour ordeal on the aircraft.


Lambster 12-11-2008 04:23 PM

Re: New Zealand
Larry if I hit the biggin' we are going my brother!:biggrin: I'll have to send the book to you on New Zealand when I finish it...... alot of places to fish, water is crystal clear and large Browns. Simon Dicky I think was John Denvers Guide when he was out their! John Barrett Production of Flyfishing the World had it on the TV awhile back...... Gotta Run!!!! Tight lines all!

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