A very popular reason for travelling to the Queenstown region is for it’s world-class fly fishing. And we’re talking fantastic wild brown and rainbow trout in the rivers and a few salmon in the lakes. With a Queenstown rental car on hand you can head out to some of these beautiful spots, or stay in one of the local luxury fishing lodges to indulge your passion.
New Zealand’s brown trout fishing is known to be the best in the world. Crystal clear waters, especially in the back country streams and rivers, allow for great ‘sight and stalk fishing’. This is where the angler can actually see the fish he is hoping to catch and casts his line straight for it – none of this hopeful casting into murky water for a fish that may not be there. The tricky bit about ‘sight and stalk fishing’ is that the fish can usually see you just as easily, so the art is really in the stalking – how to sneak up on this elusive wild trout and cast a line to him without him seeing you. There lies the sport!
There are several luxury fishing lodges in the area, the most well known being Blanket Bay, at the head of Lake Wakatipu. This grand place looks over the lake and out to the Humboldt Range. It is close to the excellent fishing around the Greenstone and Caples Valleys, the Dart Valley and Lake Moke.
Fiordland Lodge, overlooking Lake Te Anau is also a well-loved fishing lodge, giving easy access to the fishing in Southland and Fiordland. Southland has legendary rivers like the Mataura, which draws anglers from around the world. Heli-fishing from both these lodges can get you into some seriously beautiful back country.
There are vast tracts of country in behind these areas laced with trout-rich rivers and streams. Wanaka and the Aspiring region are a bit further away but well worth the drive. Each has good accommodation. Local writer and passionate fisherman, Derek Grzelewski, has written the Trout Diaries, a very successful book laden with stories of fly fishing in New Zealand.
To fly fish in the area you will need to hire a guide for a day or two unless you have some previous local knowledge. He will also supply all the gear you need.