Since the late 1940's New Zealand has steadily climbed to the top of the world's list of classic destinations for sight fishing to brown trout of unusual size. One of the things that generally goes along with that reputation though, are the stories of helicopters being necessary for access to the rivers. Owen River Lodge is the exception to this rule, situated in the midst of over thirty different waters all of which are accessible by road, and then augmenting that catalog with another dozen or so that are fly outs, thus presenting our anglers with an exceptional catalog of waters from which to choose .
Average fish sizes are in the range of three to six pounds, but browns of over ten pounds are commonly caught from our gin clear local waters. Essentially all of the fishing from Owen River Lodge is to sighted fish, not necessarily requiring much in the way of distance casting, but generally somewhat demanding in terms of accuracy and delicacy of presentation. Dull colored flylines and long leaders with fine tippets are the order of the day here, and generally there is never any need for rods outside the five or six weight range; a truly classic set up for dedicated sight fishing purists.
The fishing season in New Zealand runs from October 1st to April 30th, and is generally thought of as being divided into three distinct periods:
Early Season (October and November):
The first part of the season has its disadvantages, but also its advantages, and these can be considerable. For all that our fish see very few anglers throughout the year in general, they do have strong memories, and so when they haven't seen an artificial fly in many months they are often much more eager to rise to the ones that we present to them. Some of our rivers may be high (although still quite clear and fishable) in the early season, but this same elevated water level is an enormous advantage when it comes to fishing the smaller streams. Generally during this time of year we fish both dry flies and nymphs, and half of the time on the water is devoted to each technique. So for anglers who are interested in nymphing, or who are particularly fond of smaller waters, early season can be just the ticket to exactly what they are looking to experience.
Mid-Season (Dec, Jan, Feb, and March):
Summer is our busiest time of year, although busy in terms of fishing pressure doesn't mean too much in this area of New Zealand. River levels have dropped to their normal flow rates, bugs are hatching, and it is classic dry fly fishing weather almost every day. Cicadas are our main go-to during this time of the year, along with blowflies, and Adams patterns, but there is a wide variety of dry fly approaches that will bring these fish to the surface. Stealth, accuracy, and delicacy of presentation are the orders of the day during summer, but the results are usually nothing short of spectacular.
Late Season (April):
April is autumn in the southern hemisphere, and autumn is when brown trout begin to pack on the pounds for winter, and also to begin thinking about the spawn, which tends to make them very, very aggressive. Mayfly activity actually increases in autumn here, allowing for a great deal of fun casting parachute Adams and small nymph droppers. Weather patterns are less stable in April for sure, but there are also fewer anglers on the river than at any other time throughout the season.
Our superb team of local guides all have over ten years of experience on the rivers we fish, (most have over 20 years experience) and are members of the NZPFGA – New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association. And they are all patient, excellent teachers eager to show you the best of what fly fishing in New Zealand is all about.
Owen River Lodge is one of only two lodges in the world selected by Sage as a fully authorized dealer, and a very well stocked fly shop on the property serves guests who wish to make purchases. That having been said, all the best equipment is available for loan throughout your stay, and packages include the use of any fishing gear you may need including Simms G3 Gore-Tex waders (ladies’ and men’s sizes available), Simms Gore-Tex wading jackets, Simms Guide and G3 wading boots - size 5 up to size 14, and a large range of current model Sage rods (One, Method, Accel & VXP) and reels. Most clients do bring their own gear, but rest assured that it is not necessary, and anything forgotten can be easily acquired.