Nelson Marlborough: I’ve had some wonderful sea fishing adventures including jigging for blue cod and around the Outer Sounds and D'urville Island, floundering and snapper fishing in the inner sounds, and scallop dredging in Golden Bay. I’m keen to try with a fly in the boiling Buller River and experiencing the variety of conditions offered in the Clarence and Motueka Rivers. Beautiful rivers flow through pristine native bush, and some lakes have bush right down to the water’s edge.
West Coast: There are lots of rivers running from the Southern Alps to the Tasman Sea that are the playground to sea-run trout and salmon. The rivers are mostly accessible by vehicle and are lightly fished. While the scenery is excellent, the rivers can be moody due to the high rainfall so it’s best to prepare for all eventualities.
Southland and Fiordland: Fiordland is one of the grandest, most rugged spots in New Zealand. There will be blue cod fishing in the deep, cold sea waters for sure, but the trout waters (Eglinton, Cleddau and Hollyford Rivers) are bountiful and the fish are comparably untroubled by anglers. A good opportunity to try drift and spin fishing and harling, as well as fly.
Southland’s deep, glacial lakes, Wanaka, Wakatipu, Te Anau, and Manapouri, offer challenging salmon and trout fishing. It also has smaller, less accessible lakes like Mavora. Mataura River and its tributaries offer over 150km of easily accessed waters with brown trout and the occasional salmon. It’s a top dry fly river system.
Otago: Mataura, Clutha, and Taieri are rivers of my youth and I’m keen to get back for some more. Brown trout, rainbow trout, sea trout, chinook salmon and perch are at home here. These rivers offer a wide diversity of terrain and waters that make it suitable for all methods and skill levels.
Central South Island: I’ve fished the hydroelectric lakes, Ohau, Pukaki, Benmore and the remote Colleridge by trolling, but with more time on my hands, I’m keen to work the waters by the fly. I’ve spotted big trout in the clear snow-fed water of the Ahuriri River, and there is brown and rainbow trout, and chinook salmon in the mighty Hakataramea River. Some very big rivers (Rangitata is meandering, Waitaki is braided) flow into the Pacific Ocean and have good populations of Quinnat salmon, brown and rainbow trout. Smaller rivers like the Ashburton, Opihi and Waihao River offer blind fishing for sea-run brown trout in the lower reaches and sight fishing in the upper reaches.
North Canterbury: The larger braided and meandering rivers, and the smaller rivers and streams all offer excellent fly fishing. Rakaia and Waimakariri are known as excellent salmon rivers, and Hurunui and Ohau offer a variety of conditions with wily browns at the headwaters, and sea-run trout and feisty salmon in the lower reaches.