New Zealand is far and away the coolest place that I’ve ever traveled too and I’m looking forward to our 2012 hosted trips already! A trip of this type requires a ton of advanced planning in order to secure the accommodations, transportation, and the guides. For many anglers, a fly fishing trip to New Zealand is a once in a lifetime trip. This will be my 7th trip to the South Island and I’ve come up with a couple of itineraries to offer more flexibility in terms of length of stay and budget.
These trips are hosted by Toby Swank, the owner and outfitter of Fins & Feathers in Bozeman. All guided fishing is provided by New Zealand professional guides that Toby has fished with on several occasions. There is an extensive amount of information available on fishing in New Zealand so I encourage you to do some research online or at your local bookstore as well as read this article on our website to help give yourself an idea of just what NZ trout fishing is all about.
The groups I host are small and intimate, providing a great opportunity to make life long friends while enjoying some of the most rewarding trout fishing on the planet. Please contact Toby directly for more details and to discuss the logistics in detail. These trips typically fill up by early June and space is limited to 5 anglers on each of the itineraries. Give me a call at the shop at 877-790-5303 to learn more and to let me know of your interest in joining one of the groups.
Twizel Trip – One Week Option
If you’re on a limited schedule, but have always wanted to experience New Zealand fly fishing – this is a great option. Tentative dates are Feb 13 – Feb 20, 2012. The plan is to fly into Christchurch and meet up with me sometime in the afternoon of Feb 12 and we’ll plan on heading up to Twizel later that day (it’s a 2 ½ hour drive and we will be taking a shuttle). The trip officially will end the following Saturday, Feb 18 in Christchurch. So the hosted trip is for 8 nights and 5 days of guided fishing, with one open day during the week.
Cost for the trip is dependent on the exchange rate near the end of 2011. At current rates of .73 NZD: 1USD, the cost is $2400 per person for this trip. Price includes 5 days guided fishing (shared), dinners, meals, and ground transport once you get to NZ. Lodging includes 7 nights in Twizel and the final night is scheduled to be in Christchurch – prices are based on shared rooms. Additional costs will include personal expenses, incidentals, alcohol, and gratuities for the guides.
The area around Twizel is dotted with streams ranging from large braided freestones to tiny spring creeks. In addition to the rivers and streams, this particular area has a lot of stillwater options which is unique in that most of the fishing in these lakes is sight fishing with large dry flies. We wade fish these rivers and streams but the hiking is not too strenuous in this area as the rivers are generally in the bottoms of some huge valleys very similar to Montana.
This is the time of year when the trout generally start to look for Cicadas so sight fishing with big dries is the primary objective. Most of the fishing is done to spotted fish and this - along with local knowledge – is where the guides are invaluable. There is a mix of Rainbows and Browns in this part of the South Island with most being in the 3-5 pound range; everyone should expect to have a few chances at fish in the 7-10 pound range during the week, but these fish are difficult to hook and even harder to land. Someone on most of our trips has gotten a fish in this range with just about everyone catching fish up to 6.5 pounds. I’ll be happy to go over the fishing here in more detail over the phone and be sure to check this article out for more details as to the fishing in New Zealand.
We will be staying at a house in the town of Twizel that comfortably sleeps 8 so some folks will have shared rooms while some will have a room to themselves (bad snorers). We will dine out in local restaurants most nights and usually cook on our own a couple nights at the house. Breakfasts are continental and lunches are provided by the guides on guided days. The house is relatively new, very clean and perfect for a group of this size.
It’s a pretty simple itinerary that is meant to make for some easy planning on everyone’s part. Guests pretty much just need to arrange airfare to and from Christchurch on their own and I’ll take care of everything else. Give me a call at the shop or send me an e-mail to discuss the trip in more detail!
South Island Tour – 2 Week Option
This trip has been in the works for years now and it’s finally time to “pull the trigger” and chase the ultimate dream NZ fly fishing trip. We are going on a whirlwind two-week tour of the central and northern portions of the South Island. Along the way, we will fish out of the way and rarely fished streams that are a ways off the beaten path!
The plan is to meet up in Christchurch around Feb 20 and head to Twizel for a little acclimation and a few days on the water. After that…we’re just going to follow the weather’s lead and work our way up the west coast, back down through the Lewis Pass area, ending up back in Christchurch 2 weeks later.
This trip is not for the novice or first time New Zealand angler. It’s not for the folks that are looking for laid back evenings and the same bed every night either. This trip is really for the adventurous and hearty angler that is up for just about anything. We might be eating whitebait patties from a roadside grill one night and sipping on Pinot Noir alongside a rack of lamb the following night. The focus of this trip is solely on fishing a lot of different water that does not get fished too often.
I’ve got 2 guides booked for this leg of the 2012 trip and the plan is for 4 anglers to fish with guides everyday while the other 2 go exploring without a guide. I usually get to be one of the anglers without a guide, - so chances are that someone will be fishing with a guide or me most days. Again, I don’t guide in NZ – I just take care of the details and act as the “host” for the group. This is important as these NZ trips are my vacation too and everyone should be aware that I am there to fish just as much as everyone else!
We plan on covering a lot of ground and being on the move every couple of days. Most of the fishing will be accessible by 4WD, but I have budgeted for 2 helicopter trips for everyone along the way. The areas we are planning on taking helicopters into are way “off the grid” - even by New Zealand backcountry standards.
Accommodations will be a mix of places ranging from vacation homes to pub motels. We will really be on the move a lot so most of the meals will be at restaurants, pubs, and convenience stores along the way. Flexibility and a sense of adventure are very important if this trip sounds good to you.
If you’ve never fished New Zealand before, this itinerary is really not what you’re looking for. I say that after travelling the country extensively with a couple dozen anglers over the years and there is too much uncertainty and variability on this trip for you to get the most out of your time in NZ. I’d really recommend joining up with me for the Twizel-based trip if this is your first trip to NZ. Be sure to read up on fishing in NZ and check out this article to get a “feel” for the intricacies of fishing in NZ.
Like the Twizel Trip, everything is pretty much included in the price with the exception of alcohol, fishing licenses, gratuities for the guides, and personal incidentals. All you have to is get your airfare to and from Christchurch and I’ll take care of everything in between. The tentative dates for this trip are Feb 20 – Mar 5, give or take a day on either side.
Cost for the two weeks is $5950 and includes 9 days guided fishing (shared and 2 of which are helicopter trips) meals, lodging, and ground transportation in country. The cost is based on current exchange rates, with the final price being dependent on exchange rates near the end of 2011 – so the price could vary a little either way per the changes in this rate. Space is limited to 5 anglers on this trip as well and you will want to call me directly at the shop (877-790-5303) to discuss all the details.