Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Catlins

After an insanely busy NZ winter work wise, I couldn't wait for October 1 and the start of the new trout season.  Opening day was literally a blow out, with gale force winds and dust storms putting a damper on the day, even though a few decent trout made it to the net. When the skate/snowboard shop I run closed for a few weeks for renovations, I packed the car and hit the road, not really knowing where I was going but knowing that I needed to get the hell out of Queenstown for a bit to put life back into perspective..

After a few Glenmorangies around the campfire the first night out of town I decided to head down to the Catlins, the south-eastern most part of the South Island.  It was an area I had wanted to visit since reading Derek Grzelewski's description in The Trout Diaries last year and now seemed like the perfect time to do some exploring.

My tin shack home for the week. Luxury compared to being out in the rain/hail storms that came in like clockwork every afternoon.

I found a campground right on the banks of the upper stretch of the Catlins river right in the middle of a Beech forest and while on my first firewood mission found a rough tin shack half dug into the hillside, complete with fireplace and only a few metres away from the river that served as a perfect home away from home during my week away.  After setting up camp I couldn't wait to hit the river.  As I walked upstream from camp I couldn't believe what I was seeing, every pool and run was perfect.

A typical stretch of the upper river.
The water was tannin stained from the surrounding forest, so sight fishing was out for the most part but consistent mayfly hatches during the afternoon and evening  made for awesome fishing.  The trout were small by kiwi standards, with most fish under a lb., but they didn't hesitate to take a well presented dry or nymph.

I fished the same river for almost a week and never saw a single person.  I had originally wanted to do a lot more exploring but with such an awesome spot literally at my front door it made it hard to move on.  It was the perfect way to unwind after the winter and kick off the new season.  I'll be back.

Trout lived in every stretch of good looking water.

Massive Stoneflies everywhere!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great story on Fly Fishing in the Catlins.