Lake Wanaka is New Zealand's 4th largest lake, it lies in a North-South direction and like other surrounding lakes occupies an old glaciated valley carved out in the last ice age. Lake Wanaka is 42km long, 10km at its widest point and has a maximum depth of around 300m.
Gold was discovered in the mid 1800s and many folk moved to the region in hope of making their fortunes ! Once the gold rush had died down high country farming became the next big thing in the area , these days Wanaka is more of a tourist destination for outdoor enthusiasts, people come to ski Treble Cone and Cardrona in the winter months and in the summers rock climb , para-glide , hike , hunt and of course fly fish !
Lake Wanaka is fed mainly by 2 main tributaries, one being the Makarora river and the other the Matukituki river. It is droained at its southern end by the mighty Clutha river. The lake holds a large number of trout both brown and rainbow as well as a good stock of quinnat salmon. A couple of my favourite spots to fish from the shore are around the Glendhu Bay area, Paddock Bay area and also over the other side at Burdons Beach in West Wanaka all of the above offer some fantastic sight fishing when conditions are favorable , I have spent countless hours stalking the edges over the summer months casting both dries, lightly weighted nymphs and small bully imitations to fish cruising the shallows and drop offs. A couple of my favorite lake edge nymph patterns are Black and Peacock snail imitations, midge pupa, damsel flies all of which are very effective on on cruising fish that are feeding subsurface. As for dry fly choices Blow-fly patterns in several different coloured under bellies (as fish mainly see blue and become shy of them as the summer rolls on), cicada patterns is several different sizes and colour, brown beetle imitations ,Black Gnats and also small darker bodied para style dries in sizes #12-16 I find work well.
During the cooler months of the year and after spawning the browns cruise the shallower lake edges feeding on bullies and dragon fly nymphs. Flies such as Olive/Black Wooly Buggers, Monsum's bullies , Hamills killers , Mrs Simpsons and magnum bunny style flies all work very well, I fish these styles of flies on an intermediate clear sinking line as usually the winter days are calm and the surface very smooth so the slow sinking intermediate line works well in these conditions. The deltas of the Matukituki and Makarora rivers offer fantastic fly fishing opportunities with varying degrees of sinking lines and the above streamer style flies, but you must be very careful on these deltas as they contain very unstable-soft silt especially as you get closer to the drop offs ! We are very lucky here in the Southern Lakes region that we have so many options for fishing all year round
If your looking for a guided day day or two of fly fishing in the coming season I still have some great dates available.
Feel free to contact me at any stage with any questions you may have regarding the fishing in the Wanaka/Queenstown area.