Queenstown is well known for its fish-rich waters, and fly fishing the lakes and rivers is a popular pastime. When visiting the Queenstown area, there are many wonderful out-of-the-way fishing areas that are accessible by rental car, and these cars are ideal for transporting all of your equipment wherever you need to go.
Fly fishing is big business in Queenstown, and you will find a number of tours and charters ready to take you out to the lakes and rivers. These tours will take you trekking to their favourite fishing locations, and there are even unique experiences, such as heli-fishing. You also might want to charter a boat for fishing on the local lakes.
Those who come to the Queenstown area for fishing are spoilt for choice, as there are numerous fishing opportunities amongst the stunning landscape. This area is stocked with rainbow trout, brown trout and salmon, and you will find these fish in the lakes and rivers that you will encounter along the way.
Many of these lakes and rivers are fed by glaciers, and the mountainous landscape surrounding these waterways is stunning, making it easy to get lost in the moment. Queenstown sits on the northern shore of Lake Wakatipu, for instance, which is one of the most bountiful fishing locations in the area, even when fly fishing from the shore.
Trout is the most common fish caught with flies, but salmon are also found in areas as they move throughout the system of rivers in order to prepare for spawning. Brown trout are often found along the edges of local lakes, and the best areas for fly fishing are those where small streams or rivers meet a larger lake. One example of this is known as Wye Creek, and it is located just a short 20 km drive from Queenstown towards Kingston.
This spot is perfect for morning fishing, and anglers also have good results when fishing at Wye Creek later in the evening. This area is also good for casting flies towards the shore from a boat. To pull in rainbow trout, you might have to consider trolling, as they usually stick to deep water. However, there are times of the year, such as late winter, when rainbows swim into the mouth of the rivers, and then move upstream to begin the spawn.
Visitors to New Zealand should know that you will require a fishing license to fly fish. These are available online from Fish & Game NZ. You can also purchase a fishing license in person from many gear suppliers around Queenstown. You can certainly head out and fish on your own once you obtain this license, but there are also a number of fishing guides for hire. These guides have exceptional local knowledge of the best areas to fish based on conditions, time of year and past results.
Public access to lakes and rivers are commonly found, but it is not available in all areas. Visitors to the area should take note of the marked areas where anglers are permitted to access. Signs are conspicuously posted in these areas.
Also, keep in mind that some of these rivers and lakes are located on private lands, and angler access comes at the discretion of the owners of the land. Some of these landowners work and live on the land, and if fish stock is disturbed, it may cause issues in some cases. Most landowners are happy to allow access to their land, and in many areas, owner permission is necessary before these areas can be accessed. The only exception to this is if local practice to access these areas or there is a defined legal access in existence.
if you are new to fly fishing, or if you are interested in the best experience with someone who knows the area well, you might consider hiring a guide. There are many guides in the Queenstown area who run their own fishing charter. Many of these guides offer fly fishing as well as other types of fishing, including boating excursions and heli-fishing.
Fishing is big-business in this area, and those who come to the area can expect to pay premium prices to hire a guide. However, the market is saturated with guides, so you might be able to negotiate a lower rate. Keep in mind, however, that the quote you get for most of these trips is for two people, include all gear, and the excursion lasts for at least five hours for a half day, and 8-10 hours for a full day. You also should remember that most of these guides have been fishing these waters for the majority of their lives, and they can almost guarantee a bounty of fish with each trip out onto the water.
Heli-fishing is also available in this area, and for those who have the budget, there are a number of opportunities to reach remote fishing areas, which are virtually untouched by humans.
If you hire a guide, expect them to provide everything that you will require for fishing, short of a fishing license, which, again, is required. Some guides and tours have multi-day options available, too, which include overnights.
For those who are new to the world of fly fishing, many guides and tour groups offer lessons, too, and they will offer courses to teach the basics of fly fishing, and in some cases, these lessons can take place over several days. These lessons also often include all gear including waders, rods and all necessary equipment.
It doesn’t matter where you are coming from, if you are in the area of Queenstown and want to experience some local fly fishing, you have ample opportunities to experience it. The fishing in this area is some of the finest in the country, and you will be hard pressed to find a landscape for fishing that is more stunning than the one here. All of the major fly fishing locations are easily accessible from Queenstown with your hire car, and you should have no trouble finding the perfect location.
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