New Zealand’s south island is often the place traveling anglers come to for its summertime fishing, working well against the alternating hemispheres of the globe. Very few anglers get to see or experience what the depths of a New Zealand winter can offer a fly angler.
A vast majority of water is closed to all fishing restricting anglers to a small range of lakes and a few of the bigger rivers, mainly areas where trout spawning is limited. You also have to deal with cold winter conditions, dirty rivers are more frequent and fish are more interested in reproducing than eating a fly…
So on the back end of a snowstorm we went fishing into one of the harder to reach lakes in the Canterbury high country, a couple of hours drive north of Christchurch. The road was completely buried under snowdrifts, making the drive in a little sketchy and the hike a little more demanding than usual. Once at the location I headed to an area of flooded tussock and starting throwing a variety of streamers in around the grasses.
King salmon spawn in the lakes feeder streams so there is a large number of salmon smolt kicking around the margins to add it being winter, insect activity (Caddis, Mayfly) is down compared to the summer so a streamer was the fly of choice. 10 minutes later my fly was DEMOLISHED by a nice 5 1/2lb brown, stoked!
Throughout the day I continued wading around the shoreline stripping flies over stream mouths and weed beds having my fly engulfed by more epic browns in the 3-5lb range! Sick day!
NZ winter is tough but put the effort in, fish hard, pick your flies accordingly and you will get the results.
Matt Jones is a Flylords Content Creator. He is our “Go To” guy out in New Zealand. Make sure to give him a follow on Instagram!