I was reminded last week whilst guiding Wolfgang and his daughter Zoe on their multi day fly fishing adventure of the need to be flexible due to weather and river conditions on these types of trips. The morning I picked them up from their Queenstown accommodation saw us heading South driving into gale force winds, heavy rain and hail on occasions ! The first river we arrived at was completely blown out and still on the rise , so we continued further south, right into the heart of Southland and headed for a high country lake that would offer us some shelter from the wind and some clear fish-able water. We arrived after and hour or so of driving to clearing skies and some gusty wind so decided to fish a small section of river that flowed between the 2 lakes. The wind was up slightly by now making the casts and spotting tough , we managed to find a couple of fish but getting the fly out in front of them was proving to be a problem.
We awoke on the second day to a cold start , snow had fallen in the night down to around 600m ! After a quick coffee stop we headed back to the previous days location . We arrived to a winter wonderland with snow completely covering the ground and the first metre of lake edge frozen solid.
As we were putting on our waders and boots we noticed a couple of rise forms just off a small point of a bay just down from our parking spot. We tied on a dark bodied size #16 para style dry fly with a #16 Pheasant Tail suspended about 20cm below it. After missing the first 2 takes through striking to soon Wolfgang managed to land a nice 4.5lb brown followed by another couple of rainbows over the next few hours. Fish continued to rise right through out the day except for when the wind came up on occasions making the surface ripple up putting an end to things fairly abruptly. By the end of the day we had 5 fish to the net 4 of which were taken on dries , an amazing day considering the conditions !
We sat round the fire that evening enjoying a couple of nice glasses of red reliving the days events and discussed the need to be flexible whilst fly fishing here in New Zealand due to weather and river conditions. We are lucky here in New Zealand with the many still water options we have, from our larger Southern lakes such as Lake Wakatipu , Lake Te Anau and Lake Wanaka through to much smaller high country ones all offering some great fly fishing opportunities when rivers are in flood.