Winter time in the Pacific Northwest is great for Winter steelheading but let’s not forget about planning and dreaming about your next destination fly fishing trip. This week I thought I would share some ideas for the coming year. We start with New Zealand, closest to our hearts Cedar Lodge.
Cedar Lodge’s season starts around the 15th of November. High country rivers in Mt. Aspiring National Park open the first Saturday of November. We get going roughly the week after the opening week push. Spring is variable in terms of water and weather conditions, but fish are hungry and often we see better numbers of fish during the Nov-Dec period.
One of the most common questions we get is “when is the best time to come?” The easy answer is “anytime” you can make it, but here are a few thoughts. In a perfect world everyday in February (high summer) would be blue bird weather and Cicada’s would be singing, banging into you, and struggling on the water. Big browns would be free rising and water levels ideal. But we are set at roughly the 45th parallel and the weather varies. We just had 2 feet of rain in 3 days! 3500 lightening strikes hit central Otago during that period. One night the thunder was so loud it resembled 50 trains barreling down the valley, with the odd one crashing into our house. Back to the best time of year, January and February are considered high summer and we do book these weeks roughly a year in advance. Here is my sleeper pick for the best time of year. The two weeks prior to Christmas have been the transition between spring and summer the past 3 seasons. We have seen excellent Manuka Beetle activity and the weather has been largely settled and general fishing and tourism traffic is considerably less in New Zealand. December 10-22 is a fantastic window.
The fishing at Cedar Lodge: The two truly unique aspects of Cedar Lodge are location and inclusive helicopter transport to and from the rivers we fish. We are positioned at the edge of Mt. Aspiring Park and fish numerous rivers east and west of New Zealand’s southern divide. The fact that we own our helicopter makes heli transport inclusive rather than an additional charge at retail rates. We fish with five and six weight rods, use primarily dry flies with the occasional nymph dropper. Fish generally range in size from 2-8lbs, browns and rainbows are available depending upon the days local.
What to bring: We have quite a few guests arrive without rods, reels, boots, waders, flies etc. That’s fine! We have everything you might need here at the lodge. If you do want to bring your own gear we suggest rubber soled wading shoes, wading socks, five and six weight rods, 9-12ft 4x leaders, 3-5x tippet and an assortment of flies depending upon the season. Because the weather does vary we suggest you focus on layering and are prepared for all conditions. It can be 80 degrees one day and snow the next. A fishing license with “back country endorsement”, sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, buff, day pack and good polarized sunglasses are all necessities.
Meals and Accommodations: We have really “ramped” up the garden the past few seasons and along with famous New Zealand lamb, venison, and seafood our mains include freshly picked organic fruits and veggies. Hardy breakfasts get you started each morning and stream-side lunches are served with a cup of tea or coffee. The lodge has only 4 rooms, our maximum capacity is 8 guests. Each room has an every changing view of the Mountains of Mt. Aspiring national park.
Why come to Cedar Lodge New Zealand? I will make this easy. Sight fishing in crystal clear rivers for big trout in water you can drink out of!
You will find much more info at: http://cedarlodge.net/index.html