Our principal guiding territory is the northern half of the South Island, although we guide much further South on extended roadtrips. Our primary river catchments are Motueka, Takaka, Aorere, Pelorus, Wairau, Buller, Karamea, Mohikinui, Grey, Waiau, and Hurunui. We have helicopter-fished the full length of the South Island, including Fiordland. We also fish the Turangi / Taupo region of the North Island and offer hosted trips to remote northern Queensland, Australia with Far North Sports Fishing.
Sport Fish & Licences
We have year-round fishing opportunities but most waters are open during the general fishing season between October – April inclusive. A full season non-resident licence costs @NZ$160.00
Buy licences on line @ www.fishandgame.org.nz
In the South Island, Brown Trout (Salmo trutta
) are King. They range in size from small to large depending on river, lake, or area. An average trout might be 3-4lb and really large specimens may reach as much as 15lb.
Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss
) are available in the northern South Island in the Pelorus, Wairau and Cobb catchments. South of Christchurch, rainbow trout are much more prevalent, especially in the big lake systems of the South. Rainbows on average tend to be smaller (2-4lb) but can reach double figures (10lb) too.
King Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
) ascend many eastern and western rivers over summer and autumn to spawn and die. River systems such as Wairau, Clarence, Waiau, Hurunui, Waimakariri, Rakaia, Rangitata, Waitaki to the east, with Taramakau and Hokitika to the west, are well known for salmon.
Fishing Methods & Strategies
Sight Fishing & Stalking Trout:
Our No.1 method and what our anglers come for. South Island trout fishing is famed for the classic stalking and sight fishing available. Te Waikoropupu Springs and Blue Lake are the purest water in Tasman District with recorded underwater visibility in excess of 60 metres. Headwater fisheries have the clearest water and the largest trout. We are experts at all aspects of sight fishing.
We have some great dry fly fishing to sighted trout, feeding both to hatches or opportunistically. New Zealand has mayflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, dobsonflies and chironomids. As trout become increasingly sophisticated in popular waters, newer patterns such as parachutes, thorax style, no-hackle, emerger, spent spinner, and CDC patterns can be code breakers.
Seasonal Insect Hatches:
Mayflies hatch throughout the year, but can be particularly good late season in March & April. Caddis are an evening phenomenon, with residual insects around all day.
An important summer and autumn food source, the most famous NZ terrestrial is the often cicada (#10 - #4). Cicada seasons vary but January – March is the main seasonal band. Spiders, crickets, wetas, are all regionally important as can be ants, bush insects, blowflies, and bluebottles. Beetles are also common, particularly the green Manuka beetles, and the lowland brown beetle. Other important terrestrial insects from mid-summer are willow grubs, and our favourite, passion-vine hoppers.
Always a great way to catch big trout, both sight fished and blind upstream with an indicator using 2-6x tippet. We fish small and large (#20 - #2) depending on what is being imitated and when. Many nymphs are weighted with stout hooks, lead wire, and/or tungsten beads. Nymphs imitate mayflies, stoneflies, caddis, dobsonfly creepers, dragonflies, damselflies, midges, trout eggs, earthworms.
Big trout like big flies. Fishing in high flows or at change of light can be successful with woolly buggers, marabou muddlers, and zonkers. Silvery-style lures work best on sea-run brown trout. For brave souls, deerhair mice and foam rodent imitations can be deadly fished after dark.
Everyone fishes blind to targeted locations at some point in a fishing day or trip. Mostly with dry fly or upstream nymph. Works particularly well in fisheries with high fish numbers, for rainbows in fast water, cicada season, in bad light where sight fishing is unviable, or in low flow where fishing pressure has pushed big trout in difficult to access lies.
Catch & Release:
Trout are a special resource and we subscribe to the Lee Wulff credo that “gamefish are too valuable to be only caught once”.
General Fishing Methods:
We are expert fly anglers, guides, and fly fishing coaches. But we know our limits. When our anglers struggle with high wind, turbid river flows, boulder-walking, or drought conditions we always have another plan available. We are highly experienced in traditional fishing methods such as jigging, soft plastics, rapala fishing, poppers, and trolling, if need be.
Fly Fishing Waters
A vast array of water types exist from riffle, boulder, and cobble freestone rivers, to spring creeks, vast alluvial rivers, natural tailwaters, river deltas, meadow streams, to small overgrown bush streams. We fish them all and always have an option available whatever the weather, river flows, wind direction or circumstances.
Increasingly popular as anglers discover the quality fishing available. Sight fish to trout cruising the shoreline with our boat MNZ134307 using electric positioning motor, oars, and poling. With increasingly volatile weather and flooding, lake fisheries are very environmentally stable and have held up well. Some big catches are available with few other anglers utilising the resource. River deltas and tributary fishing access is best by boat. Like the rivers, we fish both East & West Coasts of the South Island. We do South Island road trips too, towing the boat, new lakes every day, fishing shorelines, deltas, spring creeks, and river tributaries for up to 2 weeks in duration.
Saltwater Fly Fishing:
Flats-style fishing for Yellowtail Kingfish on local beaches in Tasman and Golden Bay has really taken off in the last year or so thanks to Facebook and Youtube. With warming coastal waters, this fishery is only going to get better as we understand it more. Our commercial boat MNZ134307 is excellent for accessing remote flats, and for sight-fishing from with the guide poling over shallow golden sand flats.
Fly Fishing Access
Helicopter Fishing Access:
Getting to the best remote water fast is always a desirable fish catching strategy. If you’ve got the budget, you can access fantasy-land every day, and escape the madding crowd.
4WD Vehicle Access:
We know a massive number of remote access ways to special fisheries but you’ll still have to walk. New Zealand is characterised by covering large distances of water in pursuit of often sparse numbers of large trout.
We’ve very experienced at wilderness campouts and have all the quality equipment required for our customers. Get two or more days of wilderness fishing for the same helicopter rate, and save days of lumping heavy packs over harsh terrain.
Fly Fishing Road Trips:
Our specialty over the past three decades. Get to the best water and get there first. By travelling and staying near to iconic locations, you can avoid long drives, get more fishing, and catch more trout. Plus you’ll experience remote small towns, classic pubs, and meet real New Zealand locals along the way. More cost effective than Lodge-type accommodations, you’ll get to cherry-pick the best of the fisheries and have the experience of a lifetime, all at the same time. We have a waterproof totally lockable shuttle trailer for road trips if required. Increasingly we are taking our boat MNZ134307 on extended road trips, for which we have a waterproof rain & road cover.
We use water taxis, jetboats, and rafting companies for access at times, but we own and operate our own commercially registered boat MNZ134307. Boat access saves huge walks, gives access to water others can’t get to, and we can go early and stay late. Fish lake shorelines, lagoons, river deltas and river tributaries with ease.