We last visited Owen River Lodge in April, as the leaves on the trees were starting to wear their autumn colours and the days were cooling. It’s a good time to go to Owen River Lodge, with less people around and a relaxed feel as the end of the fishing season looms.
October is also a great time to visit. It’s the first month of the New Zealand fly fishing season in the South Island so the fish are innocently unaware of being fished – to a degree. And although Owen River Lodge is a small boutique lodge with just 6 cottage suites, it is very busy throughout the summer, so these shoulder months offer an excellent time to stay and fish. The lodge has a great team of local guides, including one of New Zealand’s few professional female guides.
Owen River Lodge is just 90 minutes’ drive south of Nelson city, near Murchison, in the greater area known as the Top of the South (Island). The Murchison region offers fabulous fishing for brown trout in unbelievably beautiful surroundings. With around 2 metres (80 inches) of rain a year there’s an extraordinary number of rivers (approx 30) to fish in. Most are reachable by 4WD, with another 12 or so within reach by helicopter.
The clarity of the water (crystal most days) means that sighted fishing is the norm, so bring your landscape-friendly outdoor gear – quiet greens and browns – so you’re not so visible from a fishy point of view. This visibility also makes your technique very important – stealth and presentation are the key. These fish are wild and wily, averaging 1 – 2 kgs (3 – 5 pounds) and you’ll generally hook 3 – 4 well-earned fish a day. Fishing is catch and release.
Owen River Lodge has won, or been nominated for, several big awards in the last few years, recognising the huge effort owner, Felix Borenstein, has made to get where they are today. It is now one of the most sought-after fishing stays in New Zealand.
In addition to the great fishing, nice touches include
- very comfortable accommodation in cottage suites in the garden
- great local cuisine
- suites overlook the mountains and escarpments of the Kahurangi National Park
- lounging deck down by the river where you can literally cast from your armchair
- large range of Simms fishing gear and tackle – no need to bring your own
- spa pool (jacuzzi) overlooking the river, with an accompanying massage room
- large organic picking garden for herbs, flowers and vegetables
- their own sparkling mineral water produced on site
- a very friendly lodge dog
- an abundance of birds drawn by the extensive plantings of native plants and trees – flax, kowhai, tussocks and grasses
Find out more about Owen River Lodge here
Owen River Lodge offers a Stay for 5 Pay for 4 night deal throughout October.
And there’s a 6 night-5 day women-only fishing retreat coming up in April 2020.