Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The Glenorchy Region

The Glenorchy Region offers what we feel as some of the best fly fishing in all of New Zealand. Boasting everything from good food and drink & hospitality in the remote south west coast of the South Island. We made our home in the Glenorchy Hotel & Backpackers, as this provided the most central base for us to operate from. Leaving us only a 30 minute drive at the best of times to access the major Rivers, this location made it ideal to get around without spending a vast sum of money.

The Glenorchy hotel and backpackers accommodates some of the best food and wine available. Both their pub menu and restaurant menu has some great choices that come from the local area and just reading through the menu makes your mouth water.  Most evenings can be spent enjoying the bar entertainment and sharing fishing stories with locals and other visiting Fly Anglers visiting the area. But the one thing that stands out above all for me is the warmth and informal approach we received from the Landlord Tim. Everyone that comes to this region of New Zealand NEEDS to come and visit Tim & The Glenorchy Hotel & Backpackers as this can ensure some of the best, if the not the best fishing they will experience here in New Zealand. It certainly paid off for us, as we found ourselves over 2 weeks worth of top quality river and lake fishing with ease. And man we caught a lot of fish.

Tim welcomed us with open arms and was happy to share valuable and up to date information, with regard to the local area and the fishing it had to offer without having to flee out of the region. And get this, they even had flies that they sold from their shop that were all carefully selected for the Rivers and lakes of the area (thats dedication towards helping the fly fishers. 
This is the only point of our adventure in NZ where we actually made base for longer than 4 days. I mean this in a positive way, as it allowed us to slow down on tearing around the country folking out money for food & fuel every 5 minutes. 

Throughout our stay at the Hotel, Tim made the effort every day to come see how we were getting on fishing each venue and offered advice on where would be our best bet to fish the next day, depending on the weather conditions. Tim just seemed to be this file-a-fact of knowledge which all worked in our favour. The best bit I loved about the hospitality we received was the fact that all the staff were so friendly and always happy to have a conversation and seemed never too busy to have a chat even when run off their feet made this a memory that will never be forgotten. 

One night in particular, Steve had headed off to bed for an early one. It was a friday night and I decided to head to the bar for a few pints. As I walked in the bar there was a great atmosphere with the locals and residents talking away or watching the football on the live sports channel (which us Brits cant live without for too long). I could see Tim at the far end of the bar chatting with some customers and drinking a glass of wine. Tim kindly invited me over and introduced meet to some of the local guys, who were also keen fisherman. We drank quite a few pints that night and had a laugh or two and even shared fishermans tales long into the night. In my eyes a perfect way to spend an evening. 

During our stay in Glenorchy we visited 5 rivers of Tim's recommendation and everyone was true to Tims word. From numbers and size of fish and also rivers we should avoid for various reasons such as, Angling pressure, Floods or weather. Making the experiences hassle free and a joy because everything ran smoothly.

Towards the end of our stay, we experienced some pretty unstable weather, which can be a nightmare as it can mean hard fishing and can even ruin existing plans due to river flooding. But Tim ensured us that even though we were keen River Fisherman, the lakes within the region were not to be missed and would still perform during the low pressure we were stuck in.

With this information, we decided to go hit up a couple of lakes close by. Once again we were amazed at how accurate Tim's advice was. Catching stacks of fish that were easily sightable even in rough overcast conditions. The pictures that follow speak for themselves.

The Accommodation.

During our stay we made home in the backpackers accomodation as this allowed us the freedom to stay up late and just kick back and relax. It also allowed us to use the facilities such as the washing machine & drier available, to get all our dirty stuff washed. With a tv and self service cooking area it allowed us to have a quiet one on days where we were feeling a bit tired and just fancied a relaxed evening before getting to sleep.

By staying in Glenorchy and under the care of Tim we had an unforgettable & definitely memorable experience that gave us the best heads up on places fishing well and to also get straight to the point. (Catching fish and enjoying the fantastic scenery that New Zealand has to offer.)

In my own words, "Go to Glenorchy book a couple of days in the Glenorchy Hotel and Backpackers and enjoy the amazing experience and service that we received for yourselves as you won't be disappointed". 

The perfect way to spend a holiday whether traveling, tramping, shooting or fishing or even just sight seeing in one of New Zealands most beautiful regions. This destination and its accomodation will provide you with the ultimate experience. 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

The Charm of New Zealand.

The Charm of New Zealand.

There are not many countries around the world, where we can truly say that have set such an impression as New Zealand. 
Fly Fishing has taken us to some pretty cool places. But none come close to the hospitality and friendliness of the Kiwi's. 
People seem to go out of their way to help you and make you feel at home. Whether it be asking for information on how 
to get somewhere or permission to access their land for fishing, these guys just seem more than happy to help and always 
give you a smile. 

This isn't something I have really thought about much before as I have always had my head focused 100% on the fishing, 
but these last few weeks have just proved that New Zealand has the whole package. Not only does it undoubtedly have
The Best Trout Fishing and Sea Fishing in the world and some of the most breath taking scenery but the people just seem
to be pleasant 24/7 which is almost unheard of now a days. This has just added to the overall experience of the trip and is
without a doubt rated as The Trout Trackers No.1 Fishing Destination in the world.

So thanks to all you Kiwi's for making our experience every bit better.


We had heard through the grapevine about a River in the North Island where people had been catching good numbers of trout averaging between 4-7lbs both rainbows & Browns. 

It was said that on a good day it was possible to catch 20+ fish in a session, depending on if the river had received high levels of fishing pressure or not.

We arrived at a car parking area close to bridge that crossed over the river and had a quick glance. The river was clear, fast with some deep pools, but full of promise. There wasn't any visible entry point where we could climb down to access the river as the bridge stood below a small gauge. So Steve and I decided to take a 10 minute walk down a narrow forest pathway created by conservation workers.

Pushing and fighting our way through the undergrowth we emerged out onto a glass surfaced pool. We could tell that the pool had to be at least 20 feet deep and as we were here to stalk the fish we decided to turn a blind eye to the pool and head further upstream. We approached a section of bouldery water where large stones had created a series of back-eddies in the water, that looked very fishy. 

Sneaking up along the bank edge I spotted a large brown trout moving side to side taking small nymph's just under the surface. I pointed the fish out to Steve and he prepared his flies ready to take that all important first cast. With an accurate presentation, Steve's fly landed in a seam to the left of the trout where the fish had favoured his attention. With this the fish lifted up in the water and sipped down the cicada imitation. 

With a nicely timed strike, the fish rocketed into the fast water and stripped all the flyline off the reel as Steve tried to follow him down river. After a hard 10 minute scrap, the fish found its way into the pan of the net and boy what a fish. An immaculate conditioned Brown Trout.

After covering a few hundred meters and Steve was constantly telling Lewis to slow down due to the 4 trout he had managed to spook by racing up the river (A sense of over enthusiasm). They slowed down the pace and stubbled across A large flash mid river. It was a Rainbow trout feeding frantically. The Rainbow had a bright pink translucent stripe down its latteral line making it clearly visible. It was moving all over the place taking anything in its path.

Lewis dropped back downstream in order to not grab the fishes attention and made his way out into the river to get in line with the fish. He cast up into the seam where the fish was feeding with no response. He tried a few more casts incase the trout had not seen the flies drifting pass it, but still nothing. 

Steve mentioned to me that it could be worth changing the flies as the trout may not like what he had seen and also to not educate the trout by seeing the same flies come past him so many times. With this Lewis said, "Just on more cast". This cast must have just landed in a spot where it caught the fishes eye, because the Rainbow shot up to the surface and nailed the large cicada imitation clean off the top. 

To this Lewis shouted with joy and battled with the fine trout. Once netted I took the fish out the net for a quick picture and man did this trout look amazing. The colours on this fish looked like something out of a painting. It was one of those Rainbow that we had only seen from watching 'New Zealand - The Source' DVD that we had spent early 2011 fantasizing over. But this was now the real deal.

Even though we only caught a few more fish after this, it had been every bit worth visiting this river as the fish we caught were insane. Good fishing... 

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Valley of Dreams.

As the fishing had been relatively difficult so far. Lewis suggested that it could be an idea to go and target a firm favourite river that he had fished in 2008 with good friend Alex Jardine (One of the founders of The Trout Trackers Project). This river was special and a place that the boys held close to there hearts as this river provided some of the best fishing that Alex and Lewis had ever experienced.

The river flowed through wide tussock farm land until breaking away from civilisation where it made its way deep in to the New Zealand Back Country. It was accessed by taking a 3 hours drive through a small dirt track that winded its way up high through a huge forest in Mauri territory. The kind of place that reminded you of films such as, 'The Wrong Turn or 'The Hills Have Eyes'. We found ourselves constantly telling each other' "Please don't breakdown".

Coming out the other end of the forest, there was a huge shy of relief. from there the road return to a tarmac surface and we followed the valley down to the small farming village
 where we parked up for the night to sleep before the big day ahead.

The next day we woke up early and things felt good. Driving a few kilometers down to a fishing access point we parked up and got ready to tackle up. Steve had suffered quite badly from lack of food and sleep and not to mention still dealing with jet lag. With that he decided to get a few more hours sleep.

Lewis carried on and went off upstream in search of a trout. A few hours went by and Lewis had managed to hook a fish or two but was unfortunate to loose both fish. It became apparent that even in the Gin-Clear water, the amount of glare on the surface of the water made fish spotting hard and having a friend to help spot and direct you on to your quarry was a key player in the success of catching fish.

By noon, Steve had managed to arise from his 5 star accommodation that Toyota had kindly provided and joined Lewis. Now having to sets of eyes made sighting a whole lot easier. Having the spotter viewing the fish from a height point such as the high banks up by the road side. It didn't take long before Lewis Guided steve onto a cruising Brown trout looking up in search of terrestrials (Land born insects blown on to the water from off the trees and scrubs in windy conditions). After a few rises from the fish Steve carefully presented the dry flies in sight of the trout and as sure as the fish took the naturals the trout slowly cruised over to the artificial and scooped it down.

                                              The Result Of A Carefully Presented Dry Fly.

                                      A Typical New Zealand Brown Trout In Pristine Condition.

                  Celebrating after a run around chasing an athletic New Zealand Rainbow Trout.

                                      Not A Huge Fish, But Certainly One Of The Fittest Fish.

                                       Surrounded by Green Hills and Stunning Surroundings.

From here the fishing just got better and better. Boosting the numbers, Lewis & Steve were now on a role catching many of the fish they sighted and getting a free work out from these hard fighting Trout that had us running up and down the river frantically, making 50-60 meter runs in one go, Boulder hopping from rock to rock trying to keep up with the fish so that they couldn't get their heads under a snag and break free. (pound for pound these fish were probably some of the hardest fighting trout we will ever come across).

This river had lived up to every word Lewis had hyped about it. And this is where the trip really began. But could this have set the bar to high for other rivers to live up to its reputation???

Day 2 New Zealand 2012 Tour

We had heard about a neighbouring Creek that was only 1km away from where we camping out that was similar to the stream we had fished the day before and again produced larger than average trout. The only difference to this small river being that it was spring fed making sight fishing much easier.

Unfortunately this river system had been affected by high levels of what was known as 'Blue-Green algue' so the fish appeared to be sitting hard to the bottom of the riverbed and unresponsive to any natural insect life floating past them and refusing any offering we presented over them.

As the day started to come to come to an end and the light began to fade we spotted the first sign of an active trout. It was a brownie around about 7-8lb, Sipping small emerging Mayflies from the surface film. Steve positioned himself 30 yards below the fish and carefully but slowly waded his way upstream inline of the feeding trout.

With a well precisioned cast, that landed 4ft above the fish, The trout slowly started to make it's assend up to the surface. With a sluggish lift of it's mouth, it broke the surface and sucked down the 'Deer Hair Emerger that Steve had tied. With a lift of the rod tip, the rod began to flex and to that, the fish responded with a big shake of the head and shot off upstream shrugging it's head back and forth.

After about 5 minutes of Steve running up and down the pool and a scoop of the net success was achieved with followed by a big grin as Steve's and my face lit up.

                               Success At Last. Steve With A 7lb Wild New Zealand Brown Trout.
Smiles all round as we capture the glory of catching the first trout of the trip.

As the day drew to a close, the boys felt happy with a sense of achievement and talked about the moment all the way back to the car. Good fishing, with good friends. After all thats the reason we go fishing.

Trout Tracker 2012 New Zealand Tour

After a long 2011 of saving and fantasizing about fly fishing in crystal clear water for large Brown Trout. The time has finally come. Lewis & Steve packed their bags to the Max and headed out on a long plane journey to the other end of the world.

Arriving in Auckland International airport 18th January at 3pm New Zealand time, Jet lagged but hungry to go in search of a nearby river to fish, the guys started to ask around for local knowledge.
But as much as fishing sounded like a great plan. We had to be practical and realistic. So it was over to one of the local car hire centers to find the cheapest reliable run around to set sail on our journey's. (Not that 'Cheap' and 'Reliable' are two words that can be used lightly when associated with vehicles now a days).

After a careful look we compromised with the dealer and drove off in our luxury 1997 Toyota Corolla sports car.

Leaving Auckland pretty much immediately and heading down to the more remote areas towards Lake Rotorua. Lewis knew of a small stream where it was possible to see and catch what every Freshwater fly fishermen dream of, A 'Wild Trophy Trout'. The stream was a narrow, over grown,  tea stained river that meandered its way through the township out in to woodland pastoral land, but was well known to the locals as a hot spot to catch double figured trout, both brown trout and rainbow trout. With a ratio of 70% Browns and 30% rainbows this highly regarded stream seemed like the perfect opportunity to seek out a trophy to start the trip off with a bang.

Wading our way up through the thick undergrowth trying to spot our quarry, we stumbled across a feeding brownie that was sat just below a fallen down tree trunk. Just as we had expected these fish weren't stupid. Making life as safe as possible for themselves by positioning themselves close to a nearby bolt hole or snag to make a quick escape from any predators or the enthusiastic Fly angler. Lewis suggested to Steve that he should try for this fish as this was Steve's first time in New Zealand so it would be a great high if he could hook a large brown as the first fish.

But Steve refused as he could see that the only point of entry was to lower himself into the deep pit below him, and as he was wearing chesty's this could be a problem if the water was to exceed the height of his waders. Whereby Lewis refused to believe that the water was that deep. So Lewis went for it. Lowing himself down off the bank, it was to his surprise when he dropped into the pit and his head was just about bobbing on the surface. Steve just laughed and said 'I told you' as Lewis was gasping at the coldness of the water as he tough wet wading would be a clever idea. But then again the surprises and the unknown are what makes fishing such a great thing.

And to top it off Lewis only went and hooked the smallest fish in the river (unseen to us) barely making half a pound the little rainbow swam irraticly around the pool and spook the brown trout he had originally intended on hooking. Great start :-D

After a few hours of spooking countless numbers of big trout that had been hiding under the banks and unhooking small rainbows that seemed to be the only fish willing to communicate with us we called it a day. But even though we didn't catch the fish we were intending to catch, it was still enjoyable and nice to see such a good head of big fish.

Thursday, 17 February 2011


The Trout Trackers Project was created in 2009 by a group of passionate Fly Fishers.
Inspired by wanting to help ours and wanting to share our own fishing experiences, TTP materialized into a group of some of the finest fly-fishers across the globe.