Archive for the ‘River fishing’ Category

Two names in New Zealand fly fishing that hold a lot of history, knowledge and experience are Peter Carty & Tony Entwistle of the Murchison and Nelson areas.

I have know Pete for a couple of years now, meeting him at Trout Cottage in Lumsden, being a huge fan of his fly tying, I was a little star struck with the thought of meeting him. Like many people I hold high regard for in NZ fly fishing, the legends are usually honest down to earth types, that is certainly true for Pete, Tony was just the same!

I won a prize for a days guided fishing with Tony Entwistle, the opportunity to meet another Legend! After plans for the end of April were washed out, we made a new plan for labour weekend instead, I had asked to fish with Tony rather than be guided a full day. I contacted Pete to say I was coming through so after back and forth contact between the three of us dates were booked and a plan hatched.

Good mate Quentin was coming along for the road trip to Murchison where we would stay at Pete’s and meet Tony for a couple of days on the rivers. 750 km to and 750 km back seems like a long drive for a couple of days fishing but after driving through the Lewis pass, it seemed every river we crossed was in the backcountry and begging to be fished… the drive was worth it! We stayed in Murchison at Pete’s place, the stories and banter in the evenings is part of what makes a trip a great one!

We meet up with Tony the next morning, admittedly a little start struck once more… hand shakes and introductions over, it didn’t take long to realise, just like Pete, he’s just another one of the genuine good blokes! Just driving to the river is a great experience, hearing details of different rivers you cross and stories of their experiences through the years. Time on the river was no different, the light hearted joking and banter with a touch of a competitive edge thrown in made for a sensational day on the river.

Our first day was the best of the expected weather, a beautiful river valley to walk and fish in the first pool, what more could you want. We split into pairs to take a bank each, generously both Pete and Tony gave us first shots as guests and took some convincing to line their rods up eventually. Quentin and Pete got first on the board with a fish on his first cast, they certainly made sure we knew all about it. The competitive pressure was on and spooking my first fish and getting a gentle reminder by Tony slapping the peak of my cap made me even more nervous! Fortunately there were more fish lined up the edge of the pool… careful stalking and good presentation soon had a solid hook up.



One seriously fit fish made the net and the trip was made, it didn’t matter what happened after that… it was all a bonus from then on! It’s was great spending time with Tony on the river, seeing another anglers approach to a fishery he know’s so well, we chatted about his thought process in his approach… changing flies in colour, size and weight to achieve the results. This trip was the first time I have really used big green stonefly nymphs and one of my highlights was using one of Pete’s green stoneflies he tied to catch a fish with him on the river.

The trip had so many highlights it’s hard to write them in this blog, I could write a dozen pages and it would probably just be babble to everyone else and parts would only make sense if you where on the river with us. I have to thank both Pete and Tony for such a sensational time on and off the water, I plan a return trip next time in summer I think. The foam lines of those bush clad rivers are screaming terrestrials! The part of the trip that stands out the most was watching and listening to two such experienced guides, gathering as many tips for guiding as I could, I can only hope to gather as much experience as them in the years to come.


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With some bad weather hitting Murchison / Nelson area at the end of April, I made the decision to postpone my trip until October. Gutted to miss out but it gives me something to look forward to to get through the winter. Instead I headed south to Trout Cottage for a few nights to see out the season. I have since been in contact with Pete and Tony both said it was the right choice!

This was to be the first real outing for my Epic olive 476, a lot of fun to fish this rod and a great feeling having built it first! As you can see I got to put a good bend in it a few times, I must admit… I did think the 5 would have been a better choice once or twice but I have one of those in the shed waiting to be built so next season…

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On a final note, I did think the Simms G4Z waders were an overkill… I’m a changed man! I love the zip… in some pretty foul weather (in the midst of a hail storm) I was able to turn my back to the weather and alleviate myself whilst keeping the jacket on, just Brilliant!!! The Simms G3 boots were also very comfortable and surprisingly light? I have an old pair of the guide model boots from about 4 seasons back, they still have wear in them but too heavy for a long days walk. The G3’s were very comfy for a day on the river and with the addition of a few studs, good grip on the slippery rocks along the edges of the Mataura river!


Autumn colours...

Autumn colours…

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This season I have done a little guiding, it is so different to take someone out to show them your water and techniques for fly fishing than say a day on your own or with a mate. The pressure to fulfill someones dream trip or meet expectations brings some stress but the confidence and belief that I know my water and can find the fish means it’s back on them to make the cast count. This NZ season has seemed a little flat with the expected hatches not really coming on but it’s so easy to remember the red ribbon days, I think we sometimes forget how many average days we really have. Everytime I hit the water, the great days come flooding to my thoughts so expectations are always high… when some huge hatch fails to come off, you can leave feeling a little flat, even after landing a handful of fit fish.

My last couple of days out have been fun days in good weather, low water making for some technical challenges but good company to share the time with. Good numbers of chances at fish and good numbers caught making for an easy day on the water. It also makes me realise what I take for granted, the opportunity to stalk and sight fish for wild browns, to test all the skills learnt over time to catch our quarry. Seeing how excited overseas anglers are to have the chance to do what I consider to be an everyday fishing experience. It can be a very gratifying to be part of making the whole thing happen for someone.

Sharing the passion and hopefully making dreams happen…





And getting email comments like this is what makes it all worth while…



“My day on the river with you Mike was the highlight of my trip to New Zealand. Nothing else compared with stalking New Zealand trout with you as my guide. Best fly fishing experience ever! Thanks Mike.”
Randy Reid


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Weekend of Contrast!

I managed to get away south for a couple of days on my favorite river, two days with a stark contrast… Saturday was sunny and fine, the wind picked up a little but nestled in the lee of a few willows dealt to that. I headed from home sharp to get my preferred beat, I made it first and geared up with a smile on face whilst hearing a nearby slurp from the river. Slipping down to the bottom of the pool I was greeted by a couple of rising fish by the willows. The first pool had several fish feeding but moving about making it hard to get a track on them, spooked a couple before finally putting it all together at the head of the pool.


I spent an enjoyable hour on the river fishing slowly up each pool and run… landed a couple more and missed a few too, it’s usually the one you is a ‘sitter’ that never comes off. The river is low and clear so a few extra fish were about but this just seems to make them edgy being in each others personal space.


All was going well until I rounded the corner to see a truck parked by the river??? I thought I might have missed seeing it when I pulled in until I noticed an angler at the pool just at the truck. I was fuming by now but chose to calmly walk up for a chat… i wanted to grab a rock and smash the windscreen! I asked how long they had been there and had they seen my vehicle when they palled in? 20 mins and yes they saw the truck was not the answer I wanted to hear… the river is busy was the next thing said, go figure??? It turned out to be an American guy and his mate from Nelson on an extended trip… I explained they were in the wrong and explained the etiquette of river access to them. I was feeling grumpy by now and even after they said I was welcome to go above them, I decided to bail and head down river to another access, a little more out of the breeze that was building.


After parking at another one of my favorite accesses I was pleased to see fish on the feed straight away, I spent a great day in the sun sheltered from the wind and discovered a new backwater. This backwater had a spring flowing in the top and was a good 100m… oh yeah it had a good dozen fish milling about too! A good choice to avoid the confrontation and make the most of my time out on the river. It was a bit tough at first exposed on the high bank, I spooked a couple in close before I was able to lay out a cast to one cursing the far bank. It was a great hour spent working up the backwater, it even made a great lunch spot to eat in the sun watching a couple of fish patrolling their domain.



The next day was such a contrast, the sun was out early morning but a southerly front was approaching, I meet up with a mate deciding to go out all the same. The rain started just as we hit the river and geared up… it was a tough day to spot fish but there were mayflies on the water mid morning with the odd fish swirling we converted a few to the bank. Every now and then the sun broke through in the afternoon and we could spot a few fish so we made the most of what we had. With the blustery wind and driven rain it wasn’t a pleasant day but a good laugh with a mate and a bent rod helped to ease the pain.




All these pics are from the saturday… flat battery on sunday meant no pics.

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Time has gone by at a hyperbolic rate, days turning to weeks turning to months… I intended to post at the seasons opening in October, now it’s Febuary! With the ease of Face Book for throwing up random photos and a quick message or two to share the events of life with mates, it has been so easy to leave the blog in hibernation.  A good few events and outings have gone by, too many to write about here, I may get around to blogging more on a couple of memorable trips but for now just a pic or two will suffice.


The balance of my fishing and family time have collided in the greatest of ways this season… time on the water fishing with the Kids or with Mates brings a calming balance to a hectic life that would otherwise spiral to dark places! I have no set plan to post ever day but still enjoy a place to jot my thoughts to look back on from time to time… Tight Lines!

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Well it’s been a few weeks since my last post, I did my end of season trip to southland and planned to post a few pics… my little point and shoot is on it’s last legs. Not so waterproof it seems now, out of 50 odd quick pics, there was nothing I consider useful! I have stolen a couple of pictures from other’s on the trip and will put them up below.

My title has a duel meaning, the regular season is over here in New Zealand… I still plan to get out  a couple of times over the winter to fish a river mouth or two but generally I tend to tuck up warm at the vise. The other is this is my last post for a while on my blog! Due to family pressures/ commitments and the general busyness of life, I have chosen to stop posting for now. I will keep the blog up incase I choose to pick it back up in the future… but for now don’t expect anything new! I have enjoyed keeping a blog and looking back once in awhile over what I have done is a great memory like a live photo album/ diary.

Better late than never, my end of April wrap up…

I booked my time off to get 5 days on the water, expecting mad Mayfly hatches on the Matuara River hanging with mates for a great time… two out of three ain’t bad! Weather patterns seemed to have delayed the heavy hatches we hoped for, with small light hatches only lasting a half hour or so about all we got. My brother and I did stick it out a couple of evenings until just before 6 to see if an evening hatch would occur… we were rewarded with a brief half hour hatch that drew fish to the rise for a little dry fly action.

Fishing at the end of the season is more about my fishing mates than the fish for me, I look forward to catching up at the cottage with everyone in the evenings and sharing some time on the water. Normal Autumn rains blew out a few streams, making the preferred plans a little hard to stick too. Adaptation and cellphone contact saved a few days on the river, finding a feeder stream to be a major contributor to the dirty water flow meant fishing the upper section kept us in clean water all week.

As I mentioned earlier, I got no decent photos with camera problems so the following pictures I stole from Jeff Forsee and My brother James Wilkinson…


A nice panorama by Jeff Forsee


Jeff Forsee getting a good picture of the fantastic colours of an Autumn Brown…


Stalking up on a Riser by James Wilkinson…


Success to the Net by James Wilkinson…


Walking the River by James Wilkinson…


Gearing up by James Wilkinson…

James got some better shots which he’s forwarding me soon, so I may just pop a couple of them up when I get them??

I told him I would give him credit for his photo’s but he will probably be annoyed I didn’t wait for the good ones before posting this :0) He is taking some awesome photos, I’m highly jealous… I was thinking with the P&S on it’s way out a DSLR may be on the books… then I will need to get James to teach me how to use it!

Anyway that’s it from me… Evolution of a Flyfisher signing off!

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When summer fishing is on, the days are long and hot and with a longer hot summer than usual, it’s easy to forget that we are in Autumn now. All the signs are about with the leaves changing and falling, crisp morning temps and thought of good hatches about but my mentality of summer to get up early and beat other’s to my favorite beat still remains. The only difference is that the sun has forgotten what time it needs to rise!

The one game I hate to play with fishing is the “anticipation game”, the game where you have to anticipate what time you expect other anglers to start fishing a certain spot. Some special places that are popular require an angler to get up at a ridculous hour of the day and reach the water at fist light in high summer to have a chance to fish your favorite beat. Other less popular waters mean you can have a lazy breakfast and arrive mid morning to get your spot. It’s all a matter of experience, the problem is that after a couple of bad experiences, everyone starts to try arriving 15 mins earlier next time because they missed out. Soon you are there so early with no spotting light to speak of and end up walking over the beat before the sun is high enough to see properly.

Anyway, I have found myself arriving a little early the last couple of outings, mis-judging my travel time to co-inside with the height of the sun. It’s not a bad thing, it has meant I got my preferred beat each time but spotting fish early in the low glare is not an easy thing to do. It is quite late in the day before the sun affords any real assistance, just another sign that the season end draws nearer.





Looking forward to my week off at the end of the month!

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