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The last few months

Simon Wilkinson
April 4, 2010
Queenstown - Freshwater Fishing Report

The weather has been pretty rough over the last couple of weeks near Queenstown NZ with many storms fronts coming thru delivering plenty of wind, rain and snow. However the last few days have been pretty nice and brought plenty of welcome relief for fly fisherman to hit the water. Good thing is as we are near the end of season the waters are not seeing so much pressure. In fact there have been plenty of times I have not seen a vehicle at many of the popular access points and have been able to stand almost square to many a fish with out spooking them while they continue feeding oblivious to the fact they are about to get a rude awakening.

Targeting rocky riffles and runs with nymphs have been the name of our game and this has been producing great results with plenty of trout moving into these areas to feed like this 9.5lb beauty

March 29, 2010

Cicadas are still on the trout menu in the high country on a hot afternoon and can be quite a joyful experience for the fly fisherman but as Autumn is now sliding in and the days are getting shorter and temps are cooling down a bit the ciacada's will not be on the menu for much longer but the fish are becoming more active and feeding on mayfly nymphs. We have been targeting rocky riffles in some of the rivers and getting some great success with the nymph (no indicator when possible) and also in the afternoons using a Cicada and sometimes a dropper off it.

My special pattern X has also continued to solicit responses from difficult fish where all else has failed.

It's certainly getting closer now to when the mad mayfly hatches start that we all look forward to near the end of the season down here in the lower South Island streams and rivers. Remember all the lowland waters close the last day of April so make the most of it between now and then and the back country waters close on the last day of May.

March 20, 2010

Well the weather has been a bit unseasonable over the last week in the Queenstown region with some serious storms rolling in from the Southern ocean and bringing high winds, hail, snow and sunny breaks in between. Certainly made fly fishing a little harder but for those who persist with the right attitude comes success.
8.5lbs of New Zealand brown trout

The interesting thing of note over the last few weeks has been the number of trout we have raised using cicada patterns. Getting the right presentation has lifted the fish to open it's mouth and chomp the cicada. Many times however after the success of getting the right cast and presentation has resulted in no hook up due to the rod holder being to quick on the strike. It's a hard thing to get right when you are not used to slow takes of big New Zealand trout and the urge to set the hook too early is strong in many anglers. Remember an appropriate pause is required to allow the fish to close its mouth before you set the hook. There are a few factors that influence when to set the hook.

Size of fish

Speed of water

Speed of take

Upstream or downstream take

My general rule of thumb is to say "God save the Queen" or "God save Dick Chaney" (he really needs it)! This gets altered slightly depending on the variables above to be either slightly faster or slower (slower usually being the case).

Now the above may not work for you you need to find something that does work for you to create the appropriate pause before setting. It needs to be something that works for you and your personality.

I have had clients say various things such as "not now but now", " don't set the hook", " set the hook now", "what a hog and set", " got you you bastard", "look at the hooters on that", and my all time favourite " it's as big as a thigh wader"!

Ok, you get the point now go catch some big New Zealand trout on the dry fly.
bent rod on a hog

March 16, 2010

Sorry I haven't got back to you since I was over in December. Just a follow up to thank you for the two great guided days we had. It was a highlight of my New Zealand trip. Also give a big thanks to your dad for coming over to the motel in Lumsden in the pouring rain to pass your message onto me about the river conditions the next day.

I'll give you a report on what happened to next day. Well it poured all night and I headed up to the XXXX lakes. I did not quite make it, but stopped on the XXXX river downstream from the lakes. The sun had come out with no wind and the river was clear and running really hard. As you know the river is full and fast. I fished upstream for quite a while struggling to find any fish holding water. I was going to turn around when I spotted a suspect shape in the eye of a pool. I had covered the area blind fishing but it make a huge difference to be able to target you cast to a specific shape. Second cast a lively 4.5 lbs rainbow trout took off downstream with me stumbling along behind. After landing the fish I remember you telling me that rainbows will often be in pairs. Sure enough another fish soon followed. This was a better fish and looked real deep. A few spectacular leaps and the hook pulled.
With a new zip in my step I headed off upstream again I went quite a way until I came to a large pool. To fish it I had to cross the wide tail. A small stream flowed strongly into eye of the pool. The stream emerged from dense native forest and fed straight into the top of the pool. The true left bank was covered in thick native vegitation. I spotted one fish on the sandy slow water below the eye which I caught fist cast. I then worked my way up the pool with a two nymph rig and indicator. There was a deep slot just down from where the creek joined. The indicator was ripped away as soon as it passed. Expecting the river bed, I struck. It felt like a bolder until a solid series of head shakes told otherwise. A few stressfull minutes passed and an very fat rainbow trout rolled into my net. It was about 6lb and in great condition. It had that red arse that mice feeders have. Second cast in the same spot produced another bigger fish and again after that. I had stumbled upon the holly grail of big rainbow trout hole. I caught and released 6 or 7 in a row from 5lbs up to a rotund 8.5lbs. I left with I'm sure more fish to be caught and headed home very satisfied. It shows that if you keep on trying you never know what might happen.

Also on another note I caught a 8.5lb brown trout on the XXXX a few days later. After trying all my normal flys for no reaction at all I remembered the big XXXX fly that I tried on the XXXX. Sure enough first cast the fish bolted upstream to engulf the fly. Unfortunately I lost the only copy of the fly a few minutes later.

Anyhow I hope you have a great year and hopefully I will see you again next year.

March 12, 2010

Another happy client heads home after snatching victory over a trophy New Zealand trout.

This proved very hard work over two days of gale force winds on the back of a storm front that dropped a load of rain and casting in these conditions is never easy.

Day one saw a bunch of hits from some big trout and included 4 busting off, one of which was a very large trout maybe somewhere around 12+lbs. At the end of the day nothing to the bank but we knew our technique to beat this crappy weather and try to land a big fish was on the money. An evening spent refining the rig saw us quite excited to hit the water the following day.

Day 2 dawned pretty much the same as the first day, strong cold winds and overcast conditions. The going proved harder with not so many chances at casting to sighted trout and a lot of blind work being done. Finally in a likely fast moving, deep rocky riffle we picked a shape (very much a maybe) and after battling the wind to get an accurate cast it all happened, the fish hit the bait, the client struck and the battle started. The fish tried to get airborne early and then settled down into the big fish waiting game using the fast deep water to exert pressure on the tippet. Everything held and over the next 10 15 minutes we managed to work the leviathan down to the tail of the pool and finally managed to net it in the shallows.

March 5, 2010

Good trout are being caught near Queenstown New Zealand and the Cicada imitations and other large terrestrials are working well in the rivers. In the lowland streams willow grubs are a main food source for many trout at the moment but we have also been picking up some nice trout feeding in the runs and riffles on emerger patterns.

Tip of the week get cracking early to the water you want, the early bird gets the worms as such. If some one else is there already have a chat to them, stick to the arrangement you make. If you don't know what the etiquette is on the rivers ask someone and what ever you do don't jump other anglers it's a recipe for disaster for both parties.

March 4, 2010

2 Aussie guys and a a week of back country fly fishing and camping in remote regions near Queenstown New Zealand was fantastic and saw many fine trout landed including 2 large fish, one weighing 10lbs and one 10.25lbs.

The hard yards getting into (and back out of) these areas when the weather was right saw most fish caught on terrestrial patterns Cicada and Blowflies being the big winners along with one of my home tied flies we will just call the Wilkie Wonder!

Many of the fish that were caught was on the first cast. Making it count first time up makes life much easier in catching New Zealand South Island trout. Over the week we landed approximately 40 trout and lost another 15 20 fish what a week! It doesn't get much better.
New Zealand Fly Fishing Expeditions 10lb back country brown trout

These particular clients are some of my regulars who have fished with me on quite a few occasions now. They have been applying the tips and tricks I give them and better still before each trip with me they get some practice in ensuring when they get here they can do the business, after all the guy on the end of the stick has to do the job at the end of the day. The Scott rods were bent all week, the Airflo lines were making light work of the wind, my new C&F design fly patch worked great I didn't lose a single fly all week while crawling thru all sorts of spiky New Zealand river side foliage while trying to find unsuspecting trout.

These guys work really well as a team, both with each other and me as the guide. Between us we got some great video footage so keep an eye out for some new videos at my You Tube channel or/and Hook TV

I'm at home for about 36 hours before I head out on my next Safari trip so it's catch up time with my family and restock all the kit ready to hit the rivers in the lower 1/3rd of New Zealand's South Island for another blast of trying to fool big NZ trout.

February 20, 2010

Fly fishing in New Zealand is just like fishing in Scotland except the trout and landscape is on steroids my clients of the last 4 days exclaimed apart from the differences in actual fly fishing techniques.

4 days camping out in quite remote back country proved very successful for these visitors to New Zealand who landed some good fish each day and lost a few too. Most of the fish were caught on Cicadas or similar terrestrial patterns.

Once again apart from one fish it came down to making the first cast count. If we got it right first time, right line and right drag free presentation the fish were into it if not hey presto the magic disappearing trout. The only time this was not the case we worked a fish for 1 hr and had it swing over to the fly and look several times but refuse. Many, many fly changes later the fish finally took the fly and client forgot to say " God save the Queen", probably only got the G in God out before setting and nothing there but the fish stayed in its feeding position and kept feeding. About 20 minutes later a "random" fly choice got another response from the fish and this time all went to plan with a great 6.5 lb trout to the bank. This sort of scenario is quite rare but the client never made a bad cast and the perseverance paid off.

I'm off again tomorrow on another Safari trip for 8 days and will in search of some more majestic scenery and big trout watch for the next post.

Queenstown Fishing Forecast:

Looking Good

Target Species:

Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout

More Fishing Reports:


ly fishing expeditions to both the South Island and the North Island for freshwater and saltwater species. These expeditions are for serious fly fisherman want to get the best fly fishing that New Zealand can offer.

Contact Info:

NZ Fly Fishing Exepeditions
3 Kawarau Place
Queenstown, 9300
Phone: 03-4421950
Alt. Phone: 02-72163787
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