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  • Writer's pictureTony Entwistle

A Fantastic Summer's Fishing

What a fantastic summer of fishing it has been ... and the good-times are not over yet.

Recent drift dives by Nelson-Marlborough Fish & Game, have confirmed what everyone knew in this part of the world ... that there are big numbers of well-conditioned trout throughout the Motueka-Wangapeka river system.

The summer programme of fishing schools has been successfully completed, and I would like to say a special thanks to everyone who signed up, and made it such a fun and busy season. On the St. Arnaud Trout Tactics course in February, we found some nice fish, but the fishing was challenging, with trout proving difficult to entice to take the fly, despite some of the best presentations. Fly-fishing doesn't always go according to plan, regardless of our skills and best efforts, but we still enjoyed some excellent company on the river and were provided with a good range of fly-fishing situations and challenges.

In contrast, the Murchison Trout Tactics course, saw a lot of fish take the fly, with a regular flow of fat trout coning to the net, over all three days, on both dry fly and nymph. It was once again interesting to find large stretches of water that had escaped the interest of other anglers, which was a bonus and made for some very happy fish. It is always too easy to believe that everything 'has been trashed' later in the season, but this is very often not the case. When some areas prove popular, other areas close-by can easily be overlooked ... which proves the point that we shouldn't just be like 'sheep' and head to all the 'popular spots'. By backing our skills and thinking outside the square, there are generally good options for productive fishing somewhere.

While there are no more River Skills or Trout Tactics courses now, until the next 2024-25 Season, I am still available to help work on your Fly Casting, and will have a few days available for Evolution mentoring in April ... So give me a call, if I can help.


SPECIAL EVENT - Women on the Fly

Don't miss this great opportunity to join a fun social event ... open to all women interested in fly-fishing ... whether you're a seasoned angler or a curious beginner.

Nelson/Marlborough Ladies!


Whether you already cast a line or are just intrigued by fly-fishing, we'd love for you to join us.

Spend a free, fun, social evening with Leigh Johnson, the heart behind Women on the Fly New Zealand (WoTF NZ), and connect with fellow enthusiasts.

Take this chance to connect with like-minded women who share an interest or passion for the outdoors and the joy of fly-fishing.

Please RSVP on this form:


Fly Casting Tuition

Before you can become a successful fly-angler, you need to learn how to 'get the ball in play'. I can help you learn the building blocks of efficient fly-casting.

- One-on-one: Cost $105.00

- Small group tuition: Cost $60.00 per person (max 3 people)

- Video analysis to see yourself in action.

- All gear supplied if necessary.

For those new to fly-fishing, you will learn all the steps needed to successfully cast a fly. For more experienced anglers we can work together and improve on your established skill-set.

Allow 1.5 hrs


What to Expect for the End of the Season

With shorter days and cooler nights, it is clear Autumn is here. The end of the regular season is not far away, but some of the best fishing is still on offer over the next 5-6 weeks. The trout, which have been in amazing condition for the whole season, will continue to improve, to be in their best possible condition prior to spawning.

Fishing life takes on a more measured pace at this stage of the season, as there is no longer any burning need to get to the river early. Water temperatures have cooled progressively over the last two weeks, pushing the start of feeding back to around 0930-1030. The sun will be well up by then, and spotting conditions on sunny days will be ideal from 1000 through to 1530.

Fantastic dry fly fishing can still be had over this time as trout pack on condition in normally stable water conditions, with great mayfly hatches occurring. Late-March and April can also see some of the best evening rise fishing of the season ... again because water temperatures are in the prime 12°C - 17°C range.

As we move further into April, anglers will notice more pre-spawning actvity amongst the trout, where they will at times seem unsettled and start chasing each other about. It is all part of the ritual of establishing spawning dominance and selecting a partner. There will be some days where the fish seem to have very little interest in feeding and the fishing might be a bit challenging. However, take heart ... it probably means the fishing the following day is going to be 'hot', as the trout can't take too much down-time from feeding .... they need to get re-focussed and feed to maintain condition for the rigours of spawning which lie ahead.

Autumn is my favourite tme of year to fish ... get out there and enjoy it.


Tony Entwistle


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