Fly Fishing New Zealand’s South Island at Cedar Lodge

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

We waded across to carefully look for him. I’d seen the dark colored alligator brown trout in the run just leaving the gorge on another day, but had never had him to the net. The fish was crafty and sitting in a brutal spot for a natural drift of any length. After I confirmed his position I called to the guests, “who’s up?”.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

Cammie started to come over and I quickly waded over to grab her hand to lead her across the waist deep slot of medium fast current.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

I showed her the fish and we discussed our attack. During our brief strategy session he gave himself away a bit. He slid out from behind the massive boulder and swam downstream in quick water about 12 feet to grab a small banana floating speedily away from him. The banana was either a massive cicada or a yellowing beach leaf but either way he engulfed the object and easily slid back into the eddy behind the rock.

After three casts that fell short enough not to spook him, she shot the line across the emerald green glide and the fish went for broke! Chasing her cicada pattern downstream just as he had the yellow leaf. To her credit she waited long enough for him to eat the fly and begin swimming back to home.

The alligator instantly went deep behind a boulder, rubbing the leader on a submerged rock. Cammie had both hands on the rod and reel and I needed her to move towards the fish. She is very light and wading on the slippery rocks in waist high water wasn’t easy for her, she just couldn’t move fast enough towards the fish!

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

I grabbed her under her arms and pushed her out toward the fish. We are both in deep water now and it’s not a place to be for long. We coax the fish upstream and away from the submerged hazard and I continue to help/lift her towards “safer” footing.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

Down she goes and out my feet go from under me. Rod and reel remain fixed in her hands, reeling and adjusting for the fish just enough. I get my feet and lift her to better footing. The fish has been battling a bit now, but we have more rocks, a down log, and a rapid below to deal with.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

I go for a premature net job thinking it’s my best shot before the fish leaves the glide or wraps us on a log or rock. Downstream it’s faster and deeper, and while I love my net it’s not lightening fast scooping fish when your more than waist deep in fast flowing water. After my first failed attempt I finally get a break when the alligator comes towards the surface enough to be gobbled up by the “purse seiner”.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

Success! A serious circus show but managed in the end.

New Zealand Fly Fishing Cedar Lodge

The second half of our Cedar Lodge season is well under way and fishing has been very good. Despite two tough days of weather in the late teens of January fish have been pretty dialed to large cicada patterns. It’s hard to beat the upstream dry fly take of a 4-5lbs brown or rainbow trout. Fish are so convinced that your cicada imitation is the real thing that they engulf your imitation entirely with wide-open jaws pushing through the surface. Fish move “miles”, 6-12 feet to take these easy to see ridiculously large patterns.

Heli Fishing New Zealand

Heli Fishing New Zealand

Casting practice on the lawn.

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Dropped off and getting ready to go.

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Post fishing nibbles.

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Giant Dragon Fly

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Heli Fishing New Zealand

Heli Fishing New Zealand

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

Fly Fishing New Zealand at Cedar Lodge

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One Response to Fly Fishing New Zealand’s South Island at Cedar Lodge

  1. Curtis Heyman says:

    I love the story and its always better when it includes a few slips and falls before netting a mammoth. I saw Mike Patten yesterday who works with my Dad. Sounds like he’s headed to Cuba with you this summer. One of these days i’ll be joining you…til then I’ll have to live through your blog!

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