fly fish 4 brown trout

Brown Trout Fishing


Greg Gardiner

brown trout

Naturally New Zealand

So you want to catch large Brown Trout. You also want to do that while surrounded by some of the most spectacular unspoilt scenery in the world. Well you are definitely on the right track. New Zealand's Upper South Island has a well earned reputation for having the best Brown Trout fishing anywhere in the world. We are also very proud of our unspoilt naturally beautiful countryside. Brown Trout fishing in New Zealand is never just about the fishing. It's the whole experience of being out there and enjoying nature at it best. It's the smell of centuries old Native Beach forests, the gin clear water that you can just scoop up in your hand when you are feeling a little parched. The fluttering of a native fantail as he follows you along the river waiting for you to disturb a rotting tree limb full of insects.

First and foremost though it's that tinge of anticipation when Greg points out the large Brown Trout delicately feeding on nymphs and also the odd surface insect just upstream in front of the large granite boulder. It's that moment of pure exhilaration when he sucks down your well-presented dry fly and you feel that solid connection upon stricking. You can't help but let out a whoop of joy as the large Brown streaks off down stream. Then it's that moment of triumph when he slides gently into the net. Finally there's that special feeling of admiration that completes the experience when you hold the big Brown on the edge of the river as he regains his strength and gently eases out of your hands back to the safety of his little piece of New Zealand.

Typical Fishing options
Greg prefers to do a multi day tour starting in Christchurch and working up through to Nelson taking in different rivers on the way. He is also quite happy to work the other way i.e. picking up in Nelson and working down to Christchurch. He believes this method gives greater flexibility as well as a good variety of different environments in which to fish. It also keeps you away from the more heavily fished rivers that are situated near the fishing lodges. This option gives you a good look at the countryside of the top half of the south island. If you decide that this option suits you can then implement any of the following types of day trips listed below into your itinerary depending on your goals, your fitness level and of course budget. Don't feel like fishing for multiple days in a row? Greg is happy to act as tour guide to show you some of the local areas of interest. If you are limited to only fish one or two days then any of the following options are available as a stand alone trip which can be undertaken in the Nelson and/or Murchison areas.

Drive in/Drive out
A typical drive in/drive out trip would involve Greg and yourself leaving the accommodation in the morning around 8am then driving either between to 1 hours to a suitable river where you fish right from where the vehicle is parked. Choice of rivers will depend on your expectations, prevailing weather conditions and your time constraints etc. November through February are the best times to fish as far as weather conditions are concerned, these being our spring and summer months. After fishing upstream for a few hours you can take a well-earned break for a bit of lunch (included in the guiding fee). Then you have the best part of the day ahead of you. Once the sun gets high in the sky the trout are easier to spot and generally become more active as they warm themselves in the afternoon sun.

You can fish for as long or short a time as you like in that afternoon stretch, although Greg does like to make sure you get to your accommodation at a reasonable hour (so you can recharge your batteries for the next day!).

Walk in
This option is for the angler who wants to get to some of the more remote locations away from the more regularly fished rivers. This requires an earlier start in order to ensure maximum fishing time on the river (Although this is always flexible). There's a bit of a hike to get to your starting point usually through some of our Native Beach Forests. Again you'll stop on the river for a bit of lunch and a break from the action. The afternoon session again will probably be the most productive part of the day. Finally there will be a hike back to the vehicle so a moderate level of fitness is required for this option.

This is the option if you want to target trophy Brown trout and really get away to the remote corners of New Zealand's Upper South Island. After leaving your accommodation it is a short drive to the pre-arranged pickup point to meet the chopper. The flight into your fishing destination will be quite breathtaking and over before you know it. After watching the helicopter depart it's gear set up time and straight into the fishing. Around midday we stop for a bite to eat then it's off again after those trophy Browns. Greg ensures you meet the helicopter at the pre-arranged pick up point later in the day. The chopper flight back to the vehicle gives you a chance to reflect on the days fishing or you can just enjoy the beauty of New Zealands natural unspoiled native forests and alpine grasses. Often while flying wild game such as Red Deer, pigs and chamois will be seen from the chopper in their natural environment. (Cost of the helicopter is additional to the daily guiding fee)

Overnight Options

Maruia Farmstay
Greg and his family own a piece of farmland in murchison (1 hours from Nelson) which is right on the bank of the Maruia river (the Maruia is a well known trout river in the top of the south island with plenty of 3-5lb Brown Trout). They have a modest 3 bedroom farmhouse on the property, which means you can stay close to the action. Once your gear has been dropped at the farmhouse it's a 10 15 min ride on the quad bike to the end of the property. Next there's a short hike through some native Beach forest before you come out onto the bank of the river. Fishing your way upriver through the beach forest has to be one of the more enjoyable options Greg has to offer. Once back at the farmhouse Greg will prepare you a typical kiwi meal. After dark it's off for a taste of a popular New Zealand pastime, possum shooting with either a .22 calibre rifle or 12ga. Shotgun. Possums are a major threat to New Zealands Native forests so you will be encouraged to shoot as many as you like. Then it's back to the farmhouse for a peaceful nights sleep far away from the noisy hustle and bustle of civilization. The next morning it's back to the river for some more world class trout fishing. (Cost of the farmstay is additional to the daily guiding fee).

This option involves either flying or hiking into a river catchment, fishing for a day then either camping in a tent or Department of Conservation hut on the river. The next day you fish further up the same river getting you into more undisturbed country. Depending on weather you decide to fly or hike out determines how much fishing time you get on the second day. The fly out option obviously gives the longer time on the river but is of course the more expensive option. Greg does all meal preparation. (Cost of the overnight campout is additional, as is any helicopter fees. This campout fee does include all food).

If you have a more unusual option you would like to pursue, Greg will do his best to arrange the trip for you. Nothing is a problem when it comes to tailoring a trip that better suits your requirements.


New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association

Member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association