Dear Dale and Charles,
I know it was a tough decision not to come to New Zealand this year. Life throws curveballs and we have to adjust. But… if it makes you feel any better this year has been a “once in every 40 years – cold ass summer”.
Our “summer” season has been plagued with constant cold fronts bringing more wind and rain than anyone can remember. Rivers have been high, cold and “unfishable” much of the season. Cicadas have been chirping for a month now but only during the occasional periods of heat.
We’ve had a few magical days, as you well know the South Island will give you that. West Coast Rivers on the drop with reasonable weather can be fantastic. But these have been minuscule gaps in an overall nasty onslaught of wet, cold and windy weather.
I have been hesitant to report (complain) on the season here at Cedar Lodge as I know the Pacific Northwest has been smashed with snow and ice. Hopefully you are able to catch some Winter Steelhead behind the fronts on the Oregon Coast.
What does a lodge owner do when the weather is constantly limiting your options for fishing and flying you ask?
Drive to fishing, yes we certainly do this, but again when it’s blowing 45-knots and pelting down rain on a swollen river are we having much fun?
Fortunately we are about one hour from Central Otago wine region. The 45th parallel south is right up there with the Willamette Valley and Burgundy France in terms of noted Pinot Noir. I have been a wine tour guide more than I would like this season. On a positive note we have found some real gems to serve at the lodge. We stop at a couple of wineries, lunch, fruit stand, real fruit ice cream and home. Not fishing, but a New Zealand day out for sure. Additionally I have done a day of Horse Trekking, a day at the track (Highlands Motorsport Park is pretty cool) a day in town, and even a day at the movies. Yep not ideal but not sitting at the lodge playing cards either.
I haven’t give up on the season but I have to admit the conditions do wear on you. The long term forecast is for things to get better late February and March, one can hope!