New Zealand rivers are legendary. Rivers that run "Gin clear" are the norm, so much so that appearances can be truly deceptive. What at first glance might appear to be a 5lb Trout resting in 12 inches of water can suddenly become the magical 10lb fish in 3 ft of water. Owen River Lodge, with its easy access to the Nelson, Marlborough, North Canterbury and West Coast fisheries at the top of the South Island, is perfectly positioned to put you at the centre of all the action.
Combining some of nature's most intoxicating surrounding, a lodge of 5-star comfort, with activities to suit non-fishers, and it makes Owen River is a fantastic fishing retreat as well as a couples destination.
Owen River Lodge is located near Murchison, in the Nelson Lakes area at the top end of South Island. While mountains and forests abound, the area enjoys a remarkably mild climate. The lodge has access to both the Nelson / Marlborough and West Coast fisheries with over 30 waters accessible by road, mostly within a 1-hour drive, and countless others by helicopter. This unique location places the Owen River lodge right in the middle of probably the best Brown Trout fishery in the world.
The region is renowned as a Brown Trout fishery, with the average Trout size ranging from 3-6lb, (there’s nothing average about that!). Many anglers have fulfilled the coveted accolade of landing a truly wild 10lb Brown Trout whilst staying at the Owen River Lodge. The rivers accessible from the lodge are too numerous to name. Both the Owen River and the Fyfe River provide fantastic fly fishing and are right on the lodge's doorstep and an excellent option should you want to fish without a guide.
The fishing involves walking and wading upstream and fishing for sighted brown trout. This means that for the majority of the rivers, you must see the fish before the fish sees you. Imagine stalking a 7lb or 8lb wild brown trout in water so clear that it looks 12 inches deep when in fact it’s up to your waist.
You should use a dull-coloured fly line, long leaders and fine tippet. Unlike lake fishing, the majority of the casting you will do will be medium to short distances—accuracy being much more important than the ability to cast the complete fly line. Generally, anglers use a 5 or 6 weight rod, 9 to 10 feet in length.
If you want to unlock some of the very best fishing in New Zealand, day outings by helicopter can be arranged. 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. It is also an exhilarating way to see some of the spectacular terrain along the way.
The lodge has been fortunate to secure the services of some of New Zealand’s most experienced, knowledgeable and friendly fly-fishing guides. Although one can use the lodge simply as a base to conduct your own fishing trips, the services of a guide are key to unlocking the potential of the rivers and maximising your fishing trip.
Guides will very happily provide flies whilst you are with them. Please not do not attempt to bring your own fly-tying kit into New Zealand. Customs will not take kindly to your import of feathers!
Owen River Lodge is a boutique contemporary styled, 5 star rated fishing lodge. It is situated on 16 acres of gardens and farmland, with almost one kilometre of river frontage to the Owen River, ideal for that quiet after-dinner cast during the evening rise. The views from the lodge and guest cottages are breathtaking, with sensational views of the river, valley and Mount Owen in the distance.
Guests are accommodated in six purpose-built guest cottages assuring complete privacy, each with a spacious veranda and stunning views onto the river and beyond. Two lounge areas in the main lodge are available for guests to relax in and those who are after a more personal wind down there is also a massage/therapy room and an outdoor Jacuzzi/spa.
The food at Owen River Lodge is in keeping with the extremely high standards of the lodge. The secret to this great cuisine is the use of only the very freshest ingredients. Herbs and vegetables come from the lodge garden whilst seafood is sourced locally from the thriving fishing industry at Nelson. Meals are a mixture of trademark NZ dishes such as roast lamb alongside a mix of Asian and European themes.
Owen River Lodge is one of only two fishing lodges in the world selected by Sage to be a fully-authorised dealer. We offer a friendly, professional service for both experienced and novice fly fishers.
However, the lodge also has a comprehensive stock of loan gear so there really is no need to bring anything should you prefer to travel light. Gear available is all of the highest quality from the world’s leading suppliers: Simms G3 Gore-Tex waders (ladies’ and men’s sizes available), Simms Gore-Tex wading jackets, Simms Guide and G3 wading boots. We stock from Ladies size 5 up to a mind-numbing Men’s size 16 in wading boots and from Small Ladies waders to Men’s XXL.
Additionally, the lodge has a huge range of current model Sage rods (X, One, Method, Accel & Foundation) and Sage Spectrum wide arbour reels. And you don’t need to worry if there will be enough loan gear; with over 50 pairs of Simms G3 waders and over 70 pairs of Simms G3 wading boots, there is more than enough to outfit everyone!
International travellers should fly into Christchurch, Auckland or Wellington and from there take connections to Nelson. Nelson is the easiest being a short 90 min journey whilst from Christchurch it will take 3 1/2 hrs. A good number of anglers choose to hire a car however private transfers can be arranged from Nelson without any problems.
-Fly into Nelson from Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch
-Self-drive or lodge private transfer to Owen River
- 6 Full days fishing
- Daily schedule will vary, fishing different rivers and locations as dictated by the conditions
- Three course meal each evening
- Depart Owen River
Owen River does not operate a fixed schedule, whether you want to fish for 2 days or 10, guided or unguided
Spring 1 Oct-14 Dec
Summer 15 Dec-14 Mar
Autumn 15 Mar -30 Apr
4 Night / 3 Day
Spring NZD 3,887
Summer NZD 4,570
Autumn NZD 3,690
Autumn USD $2,499
7 Night/6 Day
Spring NZD $7,120
Summer NZD $8,200
Autumn NZD $6,700
Expert guiding, Full board, shared accommodation, house wines and beers, use of all equipment, taxes
Price does not include gratuities or transfers, heli-fly-outs. Lodge capacity is 12 guests.
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 its 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.
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