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Freshwater fishing

Freshwater fishing methods

Other fishing


New Zealand Fly Fishing Methods

What is fly fishing

Fly fishing is fishing for sports fish, usually trout and salmon, with fly rod and fly reel and line and artificial fly. The flies are designed to represent insects that fish typically feed on. The fly carries minimal weight so the means of propulsion comes from the weighted fly line. So rather than the weight of the lure pulling the line from the reel, the line itself carries the weight and this allows for a gentle presentation of the fly onto the water.

New Zealand flyfishing methods

New Zealand fly fishing methods include:

  • Dry fly fishing
  • Wet fly fishing using streamers (lures) and wee wets
  • Nymphing

Dry fly fishing

Dry fly fishing refers to the method of fishing a floating artificial fly that either resembles an insect that has landed on the water or one that has just hatched and is preparing to fly away. Usually they are fished by casting upstream and letting the fly drift downstream towards the angler. The fish "rise" to take the fly. This method is particularly effective on warm still evenings when there is an abundance of insect life around.

See The New Zealand flyfishing fly box for examples of commonly used dry flies.


Nymphing is where a small fly that imitates an emerging or hatching insect is fished below the surface (usually near the bottom of the river). Any "takes" by a fish are recognised when the line moves in an irregular way. Often anglers use a small coloured marker or indicator on the end of the fly line so that any time a fish takes the nymph it is is more easily seen. Nymph fishing requires the use of a floating line that is cast upstream and is allowed to drift freely back with the current. When any indication of a fish taking the fly is observed, the angler needs to strike to set the hook.

See The New Zealand flyfishing fly box for examples of commonly used nymphs.

Czech nymphing

Czech nymphing traces it's origins to  competitive fly fishing in Europe and has emerged as a popular and very effective fishing method in New Zealand Those that are more traditional might look down on it as not "pure fly", as the actual flyline is much less important.

With czech nymphing long leaders are used and the angler flicks out a very heavy nymph upstream that has unweighted nymphs attched to it. The nymphs get down to the bottom fast and present a natural drift due to the lessening of drag by the absence of indicators and flyline.

Read more about this specialised technique

Wet fly fishing

Wet fly fishing is usually fished with a sinking line and requires the angler to maintain contact with the lure as it is retreived. Some flies are referred to as wee wets and these are as the name suggests small flies that usually resemble small hatching insects.

Sometimes wet fly fishing refers to the use of larger flies tied to imiatate small fish or other water based life such as crayfish (koura) or tadpoles. Both methods are fished by the same method usually by casting across the current and allowing the line to travel downstream and then retrieved back to the angler.

See The New Zealand flyfishing fly box for examples of commonly used wet flies.



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