New Zealand – Bespoke Safari Fishing Trips
There are three cornerstones to a successful Trout fishing trip in New Zealand:
Guided Trout Fishing Safaris
Local knowledge and the ability to spot fish are key qualities for any guide working from a reputable fishing lodge. A fixed base does however mitigate the ability to sneak around the variable weather patterns and the effects this will have on the rivers you fish. For those who are prepared to sacrifice the creature comforts of a fixed lodge then a guided safari can unlock the very best that New Zealand has to offer.
The Safari provides anglers with a super flexible and very mobile, exploration style trip through areas of the South Island of New Zealand that few people get to see. It is generally suited to the angler who does not mind getting his hands dirty and helping out. The dividend for this is paid in access to the best fishing available. Where you go is never pre-determined, but worked out to suit the conditions we encounter so we can maximize your time and chances of being in some of the most awe inspiring fly-fishing terrain on the planet and the chance to hook into truly stunning NZ trout.
"I've been back for two trips to New Zealand with Simon, whose enthusiasm and knowledge of the South Island is unparelled. Flexibility and a willingness to work with the weather seems to be key down there, and he has the means and the contacts to get you into the best fishing for any conditions. Don't miss the opportunity to fly into Fjordlands if you get the chance - imagine crystal clear azure blue rivers running through temperate rain forests, with snow capped peaks all around you - surreal - and the likelihood is no one’s been there for months. Simon has put me in front of several feeding 10lb+ fish - just my incompetence proving the problem........."
James Chataway – Dec 07
The Area & Rivers
The Safari incorporates a very large potential area to fish. On any given trip we may range into the Central South Island, Mackenzie Country, Central Otago, Eastern Otago, South Westland Fiordland and Southland – basically the lower half of the South Island, although pushing further north is never out of the question! There is a wide variety of water to fish, large alluvial riverbeds, grass and tussock lined streams, mountain rivers that cascade through sub-temperate rain forests, freestone streams, crystal clear spring creeks, small tarns and large lakes, all holding large New Zealand Trout.
All of these waters have large wily Brown Trout and some have a mix of Rainbow Trout as well. A few of our southern rivers have runs of Sea Trout after Xmas and also some small runs of Chinook Salmon in Feb and March. The average size of fish we catch is around the 20” mark (around 3 - 5lbs) and many well over that size. The opportunities for true New Zealand trophy Trout are always possible with 10lb+ fish being landed each year by lucky anglers.
During the trip, day or overnight helicopter outings can be arranged quite easily. All the necessary equipment is taken as you travel and can be arranged at relatively short notice. This allows unparalleled access to the wildest and most remote of streams, some of which may never have been fished by another angler all season. These add-on trips will incur an additional expense.
Boat Access Trips
Some areas are not accessible by helicopter and the only way to access them is by boat. These areas do not see much in the way of other humans and can offer some of the best wilderness fishing in NZ. This can involve over-nighting in huts on the edges of lakes and of it is mouse season-Wow! These add-on trips will incur an additional expense.
Your Guide & Fishing Equipment
If flexibility is the third cornerstone of a trip to NZ, the first and second rests in the hands of your guide. For this we have got one of the best in the business, Simon Wilkinson. A member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides association he has Department of Conservation concessions to access and guide in National Park land throughout NZ. He is also a licensed commercial vehicle operator, has a helicopter loading certificate and first aid qualifications not to mention a magic set of fish spotting eyes. With a vast knowledge for the area he guides in, a strong passion for what he does and a full array of good modern equipment you will be in safe and very competent hands.
The base of operation for these trips is the famous "OZ tent" which in experienced hands takes no more than a couple of minutes to assemble. This system is fully integrated with the 4WD vehicle allowing the camp to be moved quickly or setup late with a gorgeous river on your doorstep and the best of home cooked camp food.
There is a large gas burner for cooking on, solar shower for getting clean occasionally, large cool bin for food and refreshments, chemical toilet, fish smoker, inflatable mattresses, bivvy bags for quick and light overnight missions away from base camp, sleeping bags, radios, emergency locator beacon, sat phone (when required), pots, pans, plates and utensils and a good sense of humour amongst a few other things.
In certain areas visited you may stay in backcountry huts. Sometimes over an extended trip of this nature, a stop into a motel for a night or two maybe required due to adverse weather conditions or just to have a chance to re-kit and re-organize before moving on again – rest assured the fishing will still be amazing no matter where you overnight.
Homestead Fixed Accommodation Option
If the idea of to much ‘roughing’ it puts you off you can opt to base your trip from Simon’s base in Lumsden. You will be staying in his home a former 1930’s railway house. Comfortable and warm with a rustic feel it is a great base for fly fishing trips with genuine southern NZ hospitality. Best of all you will be fed and looked after by Simon’s wife, an accomplished foodie. Expect Kiwi-style cooked breakfasts, hearty and tasty lunches backed by 2 course dinners with pre-dinner snacks and drinks. Please note that he only caters for a maximum of two anglers at a time and you will be sharing his home and its facilities with you.
Best Times to Go
The season starts on 1st October and typically the rivers will be high from snowmelt dropping as the month’s progress. The fish will be well rested, as they will not have seen an angler for five months. Dec-February is the prime season with surface insect life at it’s peak and 80% of fish caught will be on a dry fly. The big, bad and bold fish may take a little extra encouragement and a tungsten-beaded nymph fished under a dry can often be the recipe for success. March & April sees the start of more changeable conditions with a good chance of Mayfly activity on some waters. Dry fly, terrestrial and nymphs are all used depending on the conditions.
International travelers should fly into Christchurch, Auckland or Wellington and from there take a connection to Queenstown. Simon will meet you at the airport.
Availability and Pricing
If you would like to know more about a fly-fishing trip with Simon Wilkinson Guiding in New Zealand please contact us and we will provide you with more details. For availabilities, prices, pre trip information, booking form etc. please contact:
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If you would prefer to speak to us directly regarding a trip to New Zealand, please contact us at the following:
United Kingdom Office:
United States Office:
Or alternatively email us via our Booking Enquiries Form to request more information.
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