South Island New Zealand Fly Fishing Report

cedar lodge morning

Last years Birthday trip to New Zealand was a blast but we did encounter some of the worst Summer weather anyone could remember. (See Report Here) We had such a great time at Cedar Lodge despite the weather that we vowed to come back.

fly fishing the makarora valley

This year is was Shauna’s birthday bash, nice to have your wife want to go fishing for her birthday! We arrived in Aukland on the 23rd of February and stayed in a very decent hotel literally across the street from the international terminal arrivals, Hotel Novotel. Early the next morning we flew to Queenstown picked up our car and drove to Wanaka to set the kids and “grammy” up in town while we fished for the next five days.

new zealand fly fishing for trout at cedar lodge

new zealand fly fishing for trout at cedar lodge

We’d been keeping an eye on the weather and getting fishing reports from Cedar and of course this Summer has been one of the nicest in years. Fishing had been superb. Now that’s great if you got in early and hammered away at willing Rainbows and Browns on a “mouse year” ( beech tree’s over-seed and mice over-populate thus trout eat them) but we were coming as late as we’d ever been to the South Island. I began to worry that the fishing would be tough with educated fish and low water.

new zealand brown trout

flying in to back country fishing new zealand

rainbow release

brown trout new zealand

Every once in a while things line up perfect for you. Turns out that early in the week of our arrival much of the South Island received a good dousing of rain, 90mm in some areas. This rain was perfect it raised the rivers, dirtied them a bit, but our timing would be perfect as they would receive a good rest, and be clear and dropping during our stay. As uncle Jeff says the rivers would have a “re-shuffled deck”.

brown trout release

rainbow release

new zealand fly fishing for trout at cedar lodge

new zealand fly fishing for trout at cedar lodge

We had great weather for 4 of 5 of our days and even the last day which was cloudy and cool turned out to be an eventful fishing day.

new zealand rainbow trout

mouse eating rainbow new zealand

mouse eating rainbow new zealand

mouse eating rainbow new zealand

What makes Cedar Lodge such a unique operation is that is combines all that you would want in a top end fishing destination, great fishing, excellent guides and gourmet meals. Owner Dick Fraser has been flying and fishing New Zealand back-country rivers for over 50 years. Dick’s vast knowledge of the area allows him to spread his small group of anglers (usually 6 ) into numerous rivers via helicopter. Dick’s intention is to give each angler the best opportunity to sight fish to Rainbow and Brown Trout on remote, scenic, and “anglerless” rivers. Most of the fishing is done upstream with large dry flies. Presentation and positioning to make the cast is critical and Dick’s experienced staff of guides makes sure each angler has his or her best shot at each run, riffle or pool.

mouse eating rainbow new zealand

double rainbow cedar lodge

Rainbow trout South island new zealand

fighting fish in new Zealand

good morning brown trout

tristan flying in the raven

Gear that worked awesome on this trip included the new Sage One 9ft 5wt Rod, Nautilus N/V 5/6, Rio Gold and SA Textured 5 wt Lines. Rio 9ft 3x and 4x leaders with 3x and 4x Flouroflex Plus Tippet. Flies varied greatly, everything Royal Wulff’s to Madam X.

pools for trout in new zealand

new zealand brown trout

stalking fish in new zealands clear waters

new zealand brown trout

We are planning our trip for next year already if you have interest please contact Chris Daughters at:

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9 Responses to South Island New Zealand Fly Fishing Report

  1. Bob Baggarley says:

    It’s official.
    I am jealous as heck.
    Awesome photos!

  2. Michael Beech says:

    Amazing fishing. The days look warm, the water’s so clear, and the fish are brilliant. You may have to move down to the southern end of the world. Michael

  3. David Jensen says:

    Those fatties had to be using the same stuff as Barry Bonds. Some probably needed a winch instead of a net to get them out of the water.

  4. Rob R says:

    Happy Birthday–thanks for the pics!

  5. Jeff L says:

    They tell me that it is a tough job but somebody has to do it. Nobody has earned it more than you two.

  6. Chris says:

    Wonderfull photos ! Trust you enjoyed a few Speights while you were there.

  7. Paul w says:

    Looks amazing, who is that handsome guide!!

  8. Jason K says:

    Small world. Noticed your Watermaster pics — I had my Watermaster on that same river a few weeks ago. Good way to get around down here, particularly since so few people are doing it. Shhh.

    Paul W’s a friend down here, lives down the street.

  9. Dale K says:

    WE got the rain you missed. Had great time though with no shakeys thank goodness. Those rafts look great!! Already making plans for next year. Great documentation

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