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New Zealand Rapport



Hal Gordon sin rapport fra New Zealand.Den er skrevet på Engelsk

February 21, 2003

I took a trip with our International Fly Fishing
Association (IFFA) to New Zealand. We had 10 IFFA
members from Australia, Maryland, Montana, New
Zealand, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Singapore. I caught
a flight from Portland, Oregon, at 6 PM and arrived in
Christchurch, New Zealand, 14 hours and 6,500 miles
later, at noon. The flight was bearable with six
in-flight movies, a full dinner and breakfast, a CD
player and a good book. I rented a car in
Christchurch with Wendell F. for the rest of the week.
It was disorienting driving on the left side of the
road at first, but we got used to it. The exchange
rate was $.55US to $1NZ, very affordable.
Christchurch is very "British", we walked around town
Sunday visiting the Arts Center, the Cathedral and
walking along the River Avon, in Hagley Park, looking
for trout. Late that evening we met two other members
of our group, Tom and Wendell, and had a nice visit.

February 24, 2003

Monday we had an early breakfast of sausage and eggs
and drove to Twizel. We took the scenic route south
through the Rakaia Gorge with the snow capped Southern
Alps to the west. Mostly land was grazed with a few
orchards, vineyards and row crops. Pastures were
lined with neatly trimmed hedgerows and were stocked
with sheep. We also saw farmed Red Deer and Rocky
Mountain Elk. Australian possum were everywhere,
flattened on the road. The central South Island is 45
degrees south of the equator, with a climate similar
to eastern Oregon. We visited the "Church of the Good
Shepherd" at Lake Tekapo and saw several salmon farms
on the hydro canals below Lake Pukaki. We arrived in
Twizel mid after noon and checked into our room at the
MacKenzie Country Inn. I was amazed when the lady at
the reception desk did not run our credit cards and
said the key was in our room door! We could not wait
to hit the water so we grabbed our gear and a map and
headed to the Twizel River south of town. After
taking a few wrong turns and 5 miles of rough gravel
road, we made it to the river. Within minutes we had
caught our first New Zealand trout, small rainbows 6
to 10 inches! They readily took #14 Royal Wulffs on
the surface. I spooked a large trout in a riffle by
almost stepping on it. By the time the sun went down
we had fished a mile of water and were having a great
time. We drove by the endangered Black Stilt bird
refuge. There are less than 50 Black Stilts surviving
in the wild, the stilt is the rarest wading bird in
the world. We saw one Black Stilt feeding on the edge
of a small pond. Later that night, we met the rest of
our group at the Inn and planned the next days
fishing. Everyone was having a good time, except for
Bob K. who had a bad head cold.

February 25, 2003

Tuesday Wendell F. and I fished the Tekapo River,
several miles above Lake Benmore. We followed the
hydro canal below Lake Tekapo until we reach the
Tekapo River and followed the river south 30
kilometers until a small river crossed the road. The
road was rough on our small rental car, we didn't want
to take any chances fording the creek so we parked the
car in the shade. We hiked another 2-3 miles along
the road before beginning to fish back to the car.
From the road above the river, we spotted several
trout in the 5-10 pound range! We fished hard and
picked up a few small rainbows. We sight cast to
several large browns but could not put a hook into
them. One fish was typical, I crept upon a large
brown trout in a small, flat side channel. The water
was about three feet deep and crystal clear. The
trout was nymphing to rising mayflies in the middle of
the pool. I watched him for several minutes and tied
on a #14 NZ Blow Fly and cast a 14-foot leader on my
5-weight rod. He rose to the fly, followed it for 2
feet and then went back to his holding pattern. I
immediately changed flys and tied on a #16 Adams.
Again he followed the fly for several seconds and
ignored it. The third cast was a #14 Foam Beetle.
The trout saw the fly splat heavily on the water and
charged the fly. Before he could reach the fly, a
small trout darted in front of the large brown and
took the fly! The brown chased the small trout around
the pool, with my line attached, until I pulled the
small trout from the water. By then the brown was
spooked and headed down stream. On to the next hole.
At the end of the day we had a rough hike out, pushing
through about a half mile to thorny gorse, wild rose
and acacia. No big fish today, but we learned a lot
and will be ready tomorrow.

February 26, 2003

Wednesday I met up with George L, Nick V, and Wayne
(our guide) and fished the Ahuriri River where it
empties into Lake Benmore. We drove east of Omarama
and took a small jet boat across the lake. George
fished the morning in the boat with Wayne to casting
to cruising trout in the shallow flats and moss beds.
They picked up several nice rainbows. Nick and I
fished the lake "delta" sight casting to large
rainbows. Nick picked up a few nice fish on heavily
weighted small nymphs, casting 50 to 70 feet. After a
lunch of kiwi fruit and chicken & beetroot sandwiches
we headed up stream to fish the river. Wayne showed
me a new casting technique, the "short line, only
leader over the fish" cast. I tied on a heavily
weighted #10 Gold Bead Copper & Hare with a heavily
weighted #16 Caddis Nymph point fly, and cast directly
up stream. The heavily weighted flys immediately sank
to the bottom and bounced along the gravel. A yarn
indicator signaled any movement. When the fly drifts
the length of the leader (about 15 feet), lift and
recast your line upstream again. Keep the line tight
by slowly lifting the rod and pulling line in with
your left hand as the fly drifts back toward you.
After 2 or 3 casts walk upstream and repeat the
process. The key was a short cast, not running your
fly line over the fish and keeping the line tight.
After a ten minute lesson I was into my fist large New
Zealand Rainbow! He hit hard, jumped three feet into
the air, stripped 30 yards off my reel and fought for
five minutes until landed in the net. He was only 3
pounds but what a thrill! A few minutes later another
rainbow (I like this). Convinced I had the technique,
Wayne and Nick headed upstream to chase a ten-pound
brown they spotted. The next hole I fished was
fantastic. A long run with riffles and a small ledge
running diagonal across the pool. The fast water was
on the far side and shallow water directly in front of
me. After two casts, bouncing my nymph rig across the
ledge into deeper water, bamb. 5-pound rainbow! He
jumped four feet into the air almost hitting the
branches of a willow tree over hanging the far bank.
Next, he made a strong run toward the root wad of a
fallen tree at the tailout of the pool, turning just
before fouling the line in the debris. For the next
ten minutes he hunkered down, weaving among the
boulders at the bottom of the pool. I could see him
in the crystal clear water. Finally, I brought him to
the net, took a photo and released him. That's what
we came here for! Over the next hour I caught four
more rainbows and one nice brown out of that run. The
fish were all over four pounds with the largest less
than six pounds. Not trophy fish for New Zealand, but
what fun. We left when the wind started to pick up in
the late afternoon. We had "white caps" on the lake
as we loaded the boat on the trailer. That evening I
had lamb for dinner and our group had the "rod
drawing", where we drew for gifts donated by IFFA
members. I won a nice book written by a member of our
group. I met Sean, Alan and their families from

February 27, 2003

Thursday I fished with Wendell, Camo and George (our
NZ host) on the Ahuriri River, west of Omarama, with
the permission of the landowner. The river ran
through a very wide flood plain, all cobble stone and
very little topsoil and vegetation. The best fish
holding water was near the steep, cut banks of gravel,
the pocket water and riffles. Deep holes were few and
far apart. I began casting a #12 NZ Blow Fly in
pocket water close to the bank and picked up a three
pound brown on the third cast! He took off into fast
water, tired in a few minutes and I beached him in a
back eddy. Nice colored fish. We caught many small
rainbows throughout the morning on dry flys, most
rainbows were under a pound but great sport. It was a
hot, clear sunny day. After lunch I watched Camo
catch a large rainbow in a deep pool. As he was
leaving he jokingly said to me across the river "I've
caught all the fish in this pool". I could see
another trout at the head of the pool, made a quick
cast and I was into a nice two-pound rainbow! I
received mild scolding from Camo about catching a
trout that was not there! We walked three miles back
to the car in the late afternoon, scattering hares and
Australian possum as we hiked. I did not see a blade
of grass taller than three inches! Rabbit pellets
everywhere, over population problem. That evening
George and I hiked around one of the small reservoirs
just south of Twizel. We only cast to one fish, but
had a good talk. That night I had a nice meal of fish
and chips and we met with the local Fish and Wildlife
Commissioner, Gramme, who spoke to our group about his
"game warden" experiences. He was very entertaining.

February 28, 2003

Friday, Wendell F, Wayne (guide) and myself fished the
Waitaki River. We put into the river below an old
bridge downstream from Lake Aviemore. Wayne
maneuvered his jet boat, through the gravel bars and
willows to several backwaters to sight fish large
cruising trout. Wendell had the fist large fish, he
cast an #18 soft-hackle emerger several feet in front
of a nymphing rainbow. Wayne said "he's moving away,
cast again. no, he's coming back, he's going to take
it. he took it, set the hook, set the hook!" Wendell
fought the 4-pound rainbow around snags, aquatic weeds
and rocks in the clear shallow water until he brought
it to the net. Very nice fish. Wayne took me to a
secluded backwater to "visit Mr. Brown", he said,
"some of these fish have addresses". He was right, an
eight-pound brown was right below where a small creek
entered the river. We carefully moved closer and I
tied on an #18 Pheasant Tail Nymph, 14-foot leader and
sixty feet of line and cast . short three feet. I
slowly drew my line in and cast again. behind the
trout a foot. The third cast I hit him right on the
nose and spooked him. He turned to look at us and
slowly swam away. I swear he smiled and laughed at
us! We're not going to put a hook in him today. I
later caught a 5-pound brown on a #14 Bead Head Caddis
Nymph in fast water next to a long riffle. He wore
out easily in the fast water. Wendell hooked another
nice fish in the "big water" that took him into his
backing and got hung-up on a snag. Down river, in the
mainstream, I caught five rainbows over three pounds
in the same hole. The fast, deep water came around a
bend and dropped over a small gravel bar, where fish
were holding on the downstream lip of the bar. A
heavily weighted #10 and #14 Bead Head Copper & Hare
did the trick, bumping along the gravel bottom with a
yarn indicator. After each fish was landed and
released, I waded waste-deep back into the river and
cast upstream again, searching the entire gravel bar.
These fish were powerful and took off downstream
stripping my line into backing every time! The deep
cold water felt good in the hot afternoon. In the
evening we found a large backwater that was almost
like a small pond. We crept up the willow-lined bank
and saw several large trout picking up rising nymphs.
We cast to these fish for the next two hours with no
luck. We cast several feet in front of a cruising
fish, which turned to inspect our fly and reject our
offering. Frustrating and exciting at the same time!
We had a harrowing jet boat ride up-stream as the sun
was going down. We had Chinese food with the rest of
the IFFA group that evening and shared experiences.
Tom W. and Wendell M. got a nine-pound brown today,
the largest of the group. so far.

March 1, 2003

Early Saturday morning, Wendell F. and I visited the
Twizel Fly Shop. There were a dozen hare and possum
skins drying on the laundry line between the owner's
home and the shop in the back of the garage. They
appeared to be "road kill" but could have been shot
(we've heard shooting all week in the foothills). The
shop smelled of mothballs, had a nice collection of
trophy fish photos, dozens of fishing club pins (from
around the world) stuck on the wall and a small
inventory of flys and gear. We purchased some
dubbing, a few flys, picked up a business card and
chatted with the owner. We then drove south to fish
the Ahuriri River again. We did not have access to a
boat so we hiked 2 miles along a wet meadow, at the
north end of Lake Benmore, to the river. I fished the
same hole we caught several fish in last Wednesday, no
luck. I picked up a nice rainbow in a small, very
deep hole under a large willow tree. I could see him
darting around the smooth gravel bottom. I cast a
small nymph into the middle of the pool. Misjudging
the depth of the pool, my nymph never reached the
trout but settled in the shallow gravel near the bank.
I was about to retrieve my line when the trout slowly
swam up toward my fly, inhaled it, turned and wham!
Big fish, small pool, big fight. I turned him before
he made it to the root wad of the willow tree and
again from the shallow tail of the pool. Finally, we
brought him to the net, a nice fat 3-pound rainbow.
Beautiful colors, bright red sides and green back. We
caught another half-dozen 2-pound rainbows in riffle
water in the early afternoon. Wendell F. spent an
hour stocking a dozen 3-pound browns that were
circling in a large calm backwater. They were rising
to hatching mayflys. You could see the fish 30 yards
away. It was a hot, clear, calm, day and we could not
bring a fish to our fly. I hiked upstream and climbed
a cliff 30 feet above a large hole. At the bottom of
the clear, off-green colored water I saw a 15-pound
brown and several other large trout. After watching
them, and eating the remainder of my lunch, I cast a
large heavily weighted nymph at the head of the hole.
All the fish scattered. I let the nymph drift through
the deep, calm water into the foam in a back eddy, and
retrieved my fly. I felt a bump, and set the hook.
nothing except a large fish scale stuck on my fly
hook. Won't do that again. A few minutes later the
fish returned to the center of the pool, time to move
on to the next hole. My last fish was a nice rainbow
I saw feeding in a clear, slow run. He was easy to
see in the lightly colored quartz gravel. I cast,
watching the gold bead head nymph drift through the
gravel. The trout did not hesitate and directly took
the fly and made a strong run downstream, taking all
my fly line and fifty feet of backing. He was using
the current to gain the advantage. I let him run, not
in a hurry to land him. I thought this would be my
last trout of the trip and wanted to enjoy every
minute. Finally, I admired him in my hand and slowly
released the 2-pound rainbow. I went to find
Wendell, it was time to hike out.

March 2, 2003

Sunday I caught a ride to Christchurch with George L.,
who was on his way back to Australia. We had a nice
ride and saw some new country. I spent the afternoon
wandering around Christchurch. I visited the Maori
cultural art center, where I was invited by a bone
carver to watch the last hours of the America's Cup.
Switzerland won first place and New Zealand's ship won
second place. Later I watched "cricket" on TV at the
motel, I still don't understand the rules of the game.
I had a late dinner of fresh bread and local cheese
from a sidewalk vender.

March 3, 2003

Monday morning the motel owner lined me up with a taxi
driver who gave me a short tour through the fancy part
of Christchurch visiting the "territorial homes". We
also visited a bird sanctuary, where we saw the New
Zealand Fantail. The next stop was at Fisherman's
Loft, the fly shop who had donated fly boxes to our
IFFA group. I purchased several fishing caps and
thanked them for their support. Next, the taxi driver
dropped me off at the International Antarctic Center,
next to the airport. I toured the center and took a
ride on the eight-wheeled snow machine. I caught my
flight to Auckland at 2 PM and arrived in Portland,
Oregon, the next day at 4 PM. The total cost of the
trip was: $2,000 ($1,200 plane ticket, $100 motel (2
days), $125 lodge (6 days, shared), $250 Guide (2
days, shared), $150 Food, $175 Miscellaneous).

Hal Gordon