New Zealand

Trout fishing has always been about the hunt and fooling wary fish. That scenario reaches its highest level in New Zealand where stealthy, oft-camouflaged anglers cast delicate dries and fast-sinking nymphs to brown and rainbow trout that typically weigh more than five pounds. It’s a locate and stalk game that takes place in solitude, angler versus fish in crystal clear sapphire waters and emerald forests. Spot. Stalk. Cast. Hold your breath. Pray. You may or may not land your trout of a lifetime here, but if you do you may release that fish, look around at your magical surroundings and say, “Did that just really happen?” New Zealand is special and is often ranked as the world’s premier destination for the traveling angler.

And why wouldn’t it be? Thousands of remote and wild rivers dot the landscape and host enormous rainbow and brown trout, fish that go upwards of 15 pounds.

New Zealand’s South Island is considered to be the best brown trout destination in the world. It offers rugged, remote backcountry fishing in some of the most beautiful settings imaginable. While catching fish in the 4-to 6-pound range can be expected for most anglers, landing double-digit “shovelhead” browns is a real possibility, too. These fish will test your skills, rewarding those who’ve earned their stripes while leaving less experienced anglers wanting to even the score.

New Zealand’s North Island is an outdoor sportsman’s paradise. It provides easy access to a number of activities including fantastic rainbow trout fishing, hunting, and saltwater fishing. While not widely advertised, certain guides are dialed in on small-stream trophy brown trout fishing that most anglers only experience in their dreams.

An underrated element that makes New Zealand stand out amongst other prime destinations is the quality of its guides. Nowhere in the world are guides so in-tune with their quarry, and top-shelf Kiwi guides are just that. New Zealand is also one of few places where even the most experienced trout anglers can count on coming home having learned an array of new tactics and techniques.

With so many rivers and lakes to fish in pristine backcountry, solitude is the order of the day here. It is rare to come across another angler in a day’s backcountry sight-fishing.

North Island

The North Island is an incredible say-and-play destination due to its abundance of opportunities for high-quality fly fishing, and other outdoor adventures. In addition to fly fishing, your stay will be action packed with options to hike, shoot, paddle, and mountain bike. From Mount Maunganui, alone, you can access more than 23 rivers and spring creeks, along with 16 lakes offering phenomenal sight-fishing for monster wild rainbow trout.

The North Island’s brown trout fishing has flown under the radar, with locals preferring to keep hush about monster trophy browns inhabiting small, clear streams near the appropriately named Bay of Plenty. While not many rivers hold these beasts, they definitely exist, and our network of lodges and guides can take you there.

Take a day off trout fishing and chase mighty marlin and tuna, or walk the endless New Zealand flats for world-record size yellowtail kingfish. Cousins of the giant trevally, these guys make bonefish look like puppy dogs, and are best targeted with poppers. If you also hunt, you could pursue red stag and fallow buck, or spend some time wing-shooting.

We work with a wide variety of operations around the North Island, including remote fly-fishing lodges, hotels, and resorts. Independent guides are also available and can you can join them to explore the island’s hidden secrets. Whether you are looking to book a family vacation, a day trip with a fantastic guide, or a full lodge experience while hunting for trophy trout, adventure opportunities on the North Island are limitless.

South Island

New Zealand’s South Island offers the best sight-casting opportunities for brown trout that you could imagine. The name of the game here is sight, stalk, and cast. Accuracy and presentation are key—if these fish see you, or you make a bad cast, it’s game over!! This visual style of fly fishing is exhilarating, and the chance to catch a pristine South Island brown trout weighing more than 10 pounds is a deeply rewarding experience.

While the average fish here weighs between 4-6 pounds, double-digit encounters are common. However, hooking and ultimately landing one of these behemoths puts all of your angling skills to the test. You’ll have to demonstrate ninja-like stealth when approaching these fish and make accurate casts using long leaders.

On an island packed with great fly-fishing options and quality guides the Nelson-Marlborough region stands out as a South Island gem. This area experiences less rain, more sun, and the most consistent weather on the island. In addition, this part of the island is dominated by beach forests, which produce seeds approximately every seven years. This phenomena fuels a plague of mice, which results in some of the most insane fishing you can imagine. Casting mouse patterns to these giant trout is something every angler should experience at least once.

On the southern end of the island, the Otago and Southland areas offer the most beautiful alpine scenery in the country. This region has a well deserved reputation for rugged backcountry streams with gin-clear waters. Trout here be gigantic as they face less pressure than those found to the north.

Careful trip planning is important here as the weather can be unpredictable and certain rivers can be un-fishable after heavy rainfall. Accommodations and fishing options on the South Island include fishing lodges, heli-fishing camps, hotels, and independent guides. Keep in mind, accessing the best backcountry fishing areas in the south requires multi-day hikes and/or helicopter.

Get in touch today to start planning your next fly fishing adventure!

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