The fly fishing season in New Zealand is drawing to a golden autumnal close with the season on many rivers ending on April 30. That’s not to say there’s no fishing over winter as some of the North Island rivers have an open season. There’s always somewhere to fish.
But looking ahead to next season, which kicks into gear again on October 1, we are already getting good interest from near and far. What questions are people asking about their trip – especially if they haven’t travelled to New Zealand before, or not fished here if they have visited?
Here’s a few, with some answers – they might answer some of your queries as well
- which island is the best to fish in (there are two main islands, the North and the South Island)? Well, there’s no right or wrong answer to this. Both are great places to fish. But if you’re only planning to visit one island then consider what else you want to do while you’re in the country. If you want to spend time in the Auckland and Northland areas, check out a bit of Maori cultural tourism and visit Rotorua, then the awesome fishing in the central North Island will keep you very happy. If, on the other hand, you want to see the beautiful southern lakes, catch some hiking in the Nelson area or spend time in the wilds of the Southern Alps or Fiordland then the South Island will be a better choice. Or you can plan to visit both if you have the time – a week in each island is the minimum depending on how you plan to travel.
- Why come to New Zealand to fish? There are as many answers to this as there are fishermen – but basically, New Zealand has some of the best trout fishing in the world. Brown and rainbow trout are the predominant species, with salmon fishing in parts of the South Island as well. Catch and release fishing is encouraged, although not mandatory, and sight and stalk fishing is prevalent because of the extreme clarity of the rivers. Most fishing rivers have public access, with only a few places in the country tied up in private reserve.
- An annual fishing licence is only $NZ100, or you can get a daily licence for around $20 (this varies). And you can bring your own fishing gear (with the exception of felt-soled boots) into the country as long as it is clean and dry. It will be confiscated for cleaning by Customs if it is not. Most northern hemisphere flies work well in New Zealand.
- Which airlines fly to New Zealand – most of the world’s major airlines or their codeshare partners fly to New Zealand. Air New Zealand is the local expert and they fly in from Europe, Asia and America every day. They do a great job, provide excellent service and shamelessly promote the beauty and splendour of New Zealand at every opportunity. They also have great safety briefing videos
- What are the gateway cities – international airlines all fly in to Auckland, on the North Island. But if you’re arriving from Australia there are also flights in to Wellington on the southern end of the North Island, and Christchurch in the South Island. There are also a limited number of direct flights into Queenstown, in the deep south, from Australia, giving you access to the deep south without a big drive.
- how best to travel between the islands? If you’re planning to travel through both the North and South Islands you have several choices to make. Air New Zealand covers the country with a really good domestic air service to all the major towns and cities. So you could fly in to Auckland and drive to Taupo to fish the central North Island rivers, then fly from Taupo through to Nelson, in the South Island, and indulge in some of the excellent fishing in that area. If you’ve decided to hire a car and drive through the country you can leave your rental car in Wellington, take the Interisland ferry to the South Island, and pick up another rental in Picton. All the major car rental companies encourage this. You can do the same with a camper van
- how do we organise fishing guides and transport? All the lodges we work with have their own preferred guides and we will arrange your fishing and guides when you book. That way you can be assured that a guide will be ready and waiting on your chosen fishing days, with all the right gear, a sturdy vehicle or boat and a good hearty lunch
- is heli-fishing a good idea? although heli-fishing can be prohibitively expensive it’s a great idea if you can afford it. How else will you get into those wildly remote places that would take days to walk to, even presuming you had the time? New Zealand is a beautiful place with high mountains, steep ravines, wild rivers and large areas of untrod country. A helicopter will get you into memorable spots and provide you with unprecedented opportunities to fish. But heli-fishing is also very weather-dependent due to the unpredictable weather and rough terrain of the mountainous areas. It’s best to wait until you arrive at the lodge before finalising your heli-fishing trip. That way you can talk it through with the staff once you know the weather and river conditions.
We can help you with all the information, bookings and recommendations you will need to confidently come to New Zealand to fish.
(C) by Sue Farley 2013