Posts Tagged ‘Omarama’

Omarama in September…

September 11th, 2015 No comments

Another weekend has landed. I live for my time on the water. In Ireland it rarely bothered me too much if I missed a weekend on the water, I guess with my friends and lifestyle over there things were just different. Here in NZ I can’t miss weekends fishing. I need 2 days a week on the water minimum, winter or summer..

Last weekend Iza and I went to Omarama. The forecast was for snow and the road-signs were saying that snow-chains were essential to get over the Lindis. Thankfully there was little snow on the Lindis Pass and the weather for the weekend was mostly sunny but cold.  We stayed in Buscot Station Backpackers as usual. It’s our home away from home and the perfect base for an angler.

We fished Benmore in two different areas over the two days. Each place had plenty of fish. There were lots cruising the edges so these took up most of our time. When sight fishing is available it’s hard not to take it! On a few occasions blind fishing the bugger was called for which also worked. I didn’t fish dries but there were a few fish taking off the top too.

If you’re at a loose end this weekend, Benmore is fishing well, it always does! I might go back actually..

Tight Lines!


PS, I’m in the process of setting up a guiding business! So I’ll be trying to put this NZ trout fishing experience to good use. I hope to be up and running this October 1st. Please feel free to contact me at for bookings and information.

A Great Season Ends With Exciting Prospects..

May 18th, 2015 No comments

Another river season has come to an end. Many rivers are still open in May but I find myself looking toward other options -  lakes, river mouths, the canals or possibly the West Coast. Prior to a recent mission to the canals I did a little research on surrounding lakes, tarns and rivers to see if any remained open in May. As it turned out, all were closed since April 30th but it gave me lots of new ideas for next season. I’m actually pretty excited about it. There are some spring creeks, tarns and rivers that I’ve never fished, new territory to explore and some of it is not too far away. That’s one of the amazing things about this country; waterways in abundance and always something new to check out if you make the time to explore. Try something new instead of the tried and trusted.

Mark Adamson, Robbie Mcphee and myself finished off the brown trout season with a 3 day mission on a river we all enjoy. The fish were difficult, not really looking at our offerings at all but we all managed a few fish. We had a fantastic hut to stay in and the craic between the 3 of us in the evenings was as good as the fishing. I had a bad cold to deal with and deal with it I did with a few hot whiskeys. Mark had a couple too just because they’re a great drink to warm up the bones after a cold day on the river. The story of our trip is told in the photos below.

The lakes in central are fishing well! Iza and I had a great trip there 2 weeks ago. We had plenty cruising rainbows to fish for in certain spots and browns in others. I got my fathers buzzers working on Benmore too which is always a pleasure. It’s a very underrated, or more to the point, unknown way to catch trout here in NZ. When they work, they really work!

Finally, Trevor Bourne, a long time sexylooper has just moved to Wanaka from the UK to build Epic fly rods for Carl Mcneil. you’ll be seeing more of him up here. An all round good bugger and great angler. Welcome Trevor! And Happy Birthday..

Tight lines.. Winter is not closed season, its just the winter season!


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Still waters run deep…

March 10th, 2015 1 comment

In high summer in NZ it pays not to depend completely on flowing water as the source of your fishing. Rivers get low, fish numbers tend to decrease as a result. River and stream options get fewer between December and the end of March. This is certainly true here in Central Otago. I’d say it’s also true to some extent in most districts. Luckily for me I don’t discriminate at all between bodies of water I like to fish. Recently I went to mine and Kevins secret dams. The top dam was great! Very low with plenty healthy cruisers about. There is a small stream flowing out of the top dam and into the bottom dam about a kilometre away. I went for a look.. On arrival about 1000 geese, swans and ducks got off the main part of the dam. This dam is in 2 parts; a small containment of water in the vicinity of the stream mouth makes the first part, the second is a much larger body of water (where the birds were) connected by a gap in an earth bank. Usually the part near the stream mouth does not hold many fish but on this day it did. On approach to the dam via the stream I saw about 10 fish feeding in the extremely dirty, murky water. Most fish were in the 4lb- 6lb class with some bigger. I took my time and worked on them one at a time. They were not easy. With all the weeds,  feathers and stuff on the surface and the lack of clarity in the water, just getting them to see the fly was the greatest challenge. When I believed that they did see it they did not always respond to it. I landed 3 in the couple of absorbing hours between 4 and 6lbs. These were all incredible fish. Fat, beautifully coloured and marked and very strong. I got one on a spider which I put in the path of a cruiser, one on a small damsel; I made him chase it, and one on a bright orange fly; bright to be seen in the murk. I changed fly often to suit every individual trout. Before I left to go home I had a look in the main body of the dam. It was pea green with virtually no viz. The heat of the summer and the shit of 1000 game birds had caused an algal bloom. I guess this is why the fish favoured the relative clarity and cleanliness of the water near the stream mouth.

I described the water to Guy and he said he had no interest in that kind of fishing. I get it. The water is dirty! If a splash got into your mouth you’d be wise to spit it out quickly. I don’t care though. In fact, I love it. It’s a million miles from stereotypical NZ water but to me it has something great to offer. The fish are fantastic, they feed on or near the top quite a lot, the fishing is challenging and absorbing; so much so that it removes me from the shit, weed and slime!

I’ve had a look at many more still waters recently, they don’t generally suffer low water summer conditions like rivers do. I’ve been having a ball on them. If I was a wealthy angler coming to NZ, I’d be chatting to my guide about a still water option and that’s for sure.

Feel free to contact me with any questions through the comments section or via email at

Tight Lines!


Surfing Browns, Huckleberry Finn & 30 Blank Free Days for Joe Creane…

December 16th, 2011 No comments

After 5 internet free weeks travelling around the South Island with my Dad, I’m back.. Dad flies out today after 30 blank free days on river and lake. The fishing was great because we worked hard for it. New Zealand fishing rewards an angler for effort as much as having the fundamentals correct. Our day’s together were simple. We got up at 7 or 8 and had a quick breakfast. One of us (usually Dad) would make us a sandwich each for lunch. After 8-10 hours on the water we would return to our accommodation and one of us (usually Dad, but this was less one sided than the sandwich making!) would cook dinner. A few beers and then bed.

We changed the format of this trip a little. In the past we would spend a lot of time driving to many different waters. This time we tried to find good locations within easy striking distance of good water and stay put for a while. Mossburn for example, A great location but the holiday park was pretty average at best. I like basic but the cold concrete floor, uncomfortable old school chairs,tiny flickering  tv and a door that sounded worse that a cat being stepped on every time it was opened and closed eventually broke me down. The fishing was great though. Dad had his personal best brown not too far away. He was almost 8lbs. We had about 50 big browns that week.

Another place we spent some time was at Buscot Station Backpackers 9ks North of Omarama. This is one of the best Backpackers I have stayed in anywhere. Tony owns the place and Kev helps out. After a long day on one of many nearby rivers or lakes we would come “home” to Buscot. Dinner was never a problem in the well equipped kitchen. Steak, veg and roast potatoes every night, usually with a bottle of wine and, if we were lucky, Tony playing the Piano. The beds were comfortable and the rooms spotless. We had freshly laid eggs for breakfast every day. Take my advise and stay here! You will not want to leave..

Back to fishing talk.. Still water fishing has been teaching me lots lately. I have been successfully using many methods and developing new ones. Let me elaborate! All the usual methods have been working so I wont bore you with those but one of the new things for me is fishing at close quarters to the fish using spiders. Suddenly for no apparent reason I knew spiders would be deadly even though i never really used them before. I fished them around lake edges instead of my usual #16 unweighted nymph suspended under a dry. Now I had no dry as an indicator so I was watching the fish more closely than ever, sometimes striking only because the fish was in roughly the right place, or it changed direction and slowed down, or stopped, or something obvious like i could see it’s mouth open and close. Then I started to notice mannerisms like one kick of the tail to approach the fly usually ended in a take, Slow constant swimming movements were less sure and sometimes ended in a refusal. This close quarter fishing was fascinating and I wanted to get closer and thus the “Huckleberry Finn” method was born. In my head Huckleberry Finn is an adventurer with rough clothes and a cloth tied at 4 corners draped over a stick to carry his belongings. Sometimes he sits beside a lake under a tree with a bit of string tied to the stick trying to catch a fish. That’s what I found myself doing to get closer than ever to the fish! I used the willows which line many lake edges as cover. This heavy cover makes casting Impossible but it makes it easy to get very close to the fish. Once in position unhitch the fly, reel in until 2 or 3 foot of tippet is under the rod tip and then put the fly right in front of the fish or in his beat and wait for fireworks. The direction of the strike has be considered before the take to avoid smashing your rod off a willow limb. I learned lots from this method and on one great morning I had 11 on the HF while dad also had 11 while blind wolley buggering!

That same day another type of close quarter fishing presented itself to us. With 11 fish each and the wind getting up to about a force 6 we decided to go somewhere more sheltered. I was just about to put the rod in the car when I noticed a fish feeding in the swash of a breaking wave right beside me. I unhitched the fly and slammed it down beside him and he nailed it.. We walked on and realised this was not a once off. There were lots of fish doing this and we started catching them. We finished up with 18 each for the day on 3 completely different methods!

I have seen these “surfers” before but never to this extent, Partly because I didn’t look no doubt. I needed more and luckily this wind got up from the same direction every afternoon and the fish were there on cue. A lot of the fish were on the thin side and very opportunist but there were plenty cracking fish to keep us interested. On the days when the waves were not too big, dries provided great sport. Nymphs and spiders worked equally well but were not as much fun. On one insanely intense afternoon when the wind turned into a gale and one could dam near bodyboard on the swells breaking ashore, the fish were still there being pounded by the waves feeding away. No skinny fish though, All good ones with occasional Rainbows coming in from the back from time to time. It was unreal to see where the browns were effortlessly feeding. We could only see them every so often through the white water breaking onto shingle and large rocks. The fish were hard to spook and casts were short and aggressive into the gale with large weighted flies. The fish just needed to be able to get the fly into its mouth before the wave whipped it away.

I have never heard anybody talk about my Huckleberry Finn method or Surfing Browns so I’m learning those methods from scratch. I reckon the HF would be lethal for willow grubbers!

If you get a chance fish with your Father, Son, Mother, daughter whatever.. It’s Important!

Stuntman Ronan..

By the way, I filmed the HF method in action but my piece of shit laptop can barely play it let alone edit it. If there is a philanthropist flyfisherman among you please sponsor me a mac. It’s never easy being self sponsored!