New Zealand Part II

I just got back from a three week trip to New Zealand's South Island. I had never been before and was really blown away with the people, landscape, and especially the trout water. Immediately after stepping out of the Auckland airport I was greeted with the electrified cacophony of cicadas. Hundreds and hundreds of them. 

My trip spanned from Garston (about a one hour drive south of Queenstown) all the way up to Nelson which is the on the northern coast of the South Island. I spent the first 10 days fishing and driving from small town to small town on the left hand side of the road with my dad. It was a great opportunity to spend a lot of time together. We met some great people along the way, some of whom are pictured below, and discovered meat pies. It's kinda hard to resist a meat pie for any meal...

The second part of my trip was hosting 5 anglers at River Haven Lodge in Murchison for 7 days. As I discovered, the rivers near Murchison were spectacular and diverse. While often challenging due to wind or the length of a cast or marching kilometer after kilometer on river rocks, the overall experience was the most phenomenal trout fishing I've ever had.

Scott Murray, the co-owner and head guide at River Haven, made calls daily to other local guides figuring amongst themselves where they'd like to go and where they had all been, essentially making it much easier to get on a piece of water that had not been fished in at least 3 days. This alone was worth its weight in gold.

Scott and the other two guides including renowned fly tyer Peter Carty, tied all of the flies we used over the course of the week. On the sunny days we relied on sight fishing and on the cloudier or rain days Scott taught me the fine art of blind casting which he eloquently argues is much more difficult than sight casting. His passion for not just fishing but blind fishing made it even more enjoyable. His sense of humor made the whole experience even better...

A few of the best one liners I heard all week came from guide Pete Carty at the breakfast table prior to heading out. "I shot a pig with my head in a cave and now I have a cicada in my ear." I actually thought he was kidding when he said this. When I asked about a fisherman Peter had fished with many years before, Peter's response was, "He cast like a dyslexic spider."

Kiwi guide Pete Carty hiking up a track on an extraordinarily rainy day.

Scott Murray getting the best angle he can.

Inangahua Valley

Guide Scott Murray let me have a few casts. He even took my camera from my shoulder and got a few images including this one of an 11.2 lb Brown.

Scott Murray and a great South Island Brown.

It was an incredible experience being guided by Scott Murray for an entire week. As a full time guide myself, I learned that in addition to many other things, hiring a great guide taught me more than I ever could have imagined.

Below is a slideshow:

Lake Hawea Panorama