Lakes Wanaka,Wakatipu,Hawea and Dunstan are open all year round and provide some fantastic lake edge and river mouth fly fishing oppurtunities. For those anglers brave enough to don all the necessary warm layers the rewards can be well worth it ! The areas to fish over the winter months (June-August)are the inflowing rivers mouths ,fish congregate around these areas waiting for the right conditions to head upstream to begin spawning.
Flies and Line choices for the Winter months
Techniques for fly fishing New Zealand over the winter months are quite different from what we use for the rest of the season as fish are sitting deeper along the lips and drop offs so fast sinking lines are needed to get our flies down and into the "bingo zone" .I like the Airflo Sixth Sense Di5 or Di7 (the numbers relate to how fast the line sinks per second)for this type of fishing , the lines are fantastic in that they sink smoothly tip first and the non-stretch core means you feel absolutely every little bump or subtle take. These are the perfect lines for deep stillwater nymph and streamer work as you want a line that allows you to feel what is going on! As for flies I tie and use with great sucess a Magnum Hot Head Bunny stream ,the magnum bunny strip gives the fly plenty of fishy movement and the Hot spot head triggers the fish,this fly has taken dozens of fish each season and has become my "go to"winter streamer.I dont put any weight in the fly as I want it to stay just off the bottom avoiding weed and snags aswell as giving it plenty of fishy action.I use a level piece of approximately 5ft -10lb mono for tippet when fishing streamers over the winter months as some of the takes can be savage...New Zealand trout fishing at it's best !
Other good flies for winter river mouth fishing are as follows ,glo bugs and eggy patterns,coloured boobie flies,rabbit patterns,Mrs Simpsons and all the usual nymphs such as Hair and Coppers,PTs these work well fished as a team in the still water just of the faster flow fished under an indicator using a long leader.
Retrieving your flies....
The retrieve is a very important part of fly fishing on still waters. The most important part of the retrieve is to make your fly or flies behave like the natural so that a trout will be convinced that what they see is the real deal.Although the retrieve has a number of purposes, the main one is to make your fly behave like the real thing. Other important purposes include keeping in contact with your fly, or flies, all the time and arranging your line so that you are in a good position to cast again when you have retrieved all the line and dont have a tangled mess at your feet spending the next half an hour undoing knots ! There are many retrieval styles from the static non-retrieve(casting and leaving your flies watching for any slight movement of your indicator) right through to high speed stripping techniques for larger streamers.By varying the speed and style of retrieve you can change the action or movement of your fly/flies as well as change and adjust the depth at which they fish,just recently I fished a small stream mouth and was consistently fishing deep just off the bottom with no luck so decided to retrieve my fly a little faster and not so deep,I hooked 3 fish in a dozen cast's just fishing the water column at a different level turned my day around.
Most of the river mouths around Wanaka have a sandy delta extending for some distance out into the lake The outer edge of the delta, where the edge of sand fan drops into the deeper water of the lake is called the 'lip' or drop off.On some of the smaller rivers and streams this lip or drop-off may be only less than one metre, but on some rivers the lip/drop off may be 50+metres.Most of our local rivers it is possible to wade out in less than knee to waist deep water to the very edge of the drop off.But on some of our river mouths like the Matukituki or Makarora for example this can be dangerous because as you near the edge of the drop-off the sand becomes soft, and all of a sudden the sand can slip away under your feet, and before you know it you under water !It always pays to wear a wading belt as this will prevent your waders filling with water should you go under.Below is a classic small inflowing stream with a deep drop off.
Feel free to contact me to start planning your 2015/16 fly fishing New Zealand adventure !