Two Amazing Days in New Zealand

Written by: Dave Jensen, Fly Fish Alberta


Dave Jensen with a gorgeous backcountry New Zealand brown, one of many he and his wife,
Amelia, caught in an epic two-day stretch on a pair of remote streams.

photo by Amelia Jensen

[Editor’s Note: Each winter, Dave and Amelia Jensen, owners of Fly Fish Alberta, escape the harsh Canadian climate by traveling to New Zealand for a few months of chasing big brown trout. Here’s a recent update from Dave.]

When we run into people in New Zealand, we always tend to listen a great deal more than we talk. We simply mention that we’re Canadian fly fishers looking for beautiful waters to fish, not necessarily having the biggest or most fish, just to have a neat experience. Those beautiful moments can happen in a 10-foot-wide spring creek, breaking the scene down to one ponga fern and a fantail chirping over our shoulder as we cast to a four-pound brown, or that beauty can be as in-your-face on the large scale as a dramatic gorge on a sunny west coast afternoon. When we ran into an outgoing European couple, Robin and Liz, he was more than happy to share a few places he thought were beautiful to fly-fish. We had a chance to poke around a couple of streams he mentioned about two weeks later, and over two days, Amelia and I experienced an out-of-this-world fly fishing experience.

Pretty? Stunning. Good fishing? Depends on your definition. Not a lot of fish, but when they average over eight pounds and you work 12 to 15 fish a day and take them all, you wind up with those magical Tourism New Zealand days, the kind that everyone wants to sell you in magazines but that actually happen just once or twice in a three-month trip. It just so happens we timed the weather and water conditions “just so.”

A great big shout-out “Thank you” to Robin and Liz who put us on the two small waters where the following shots took place over two days. We haven’t been back since, as they are small waters with a finite number of fish, but maybe we’ll get back before we head home end of February. For as great a fishing result we had, the scenery and setting was simply stunning on these waters. Casting in the depths of the gorge on one stream was magical, the freely flowing line set against heavy contrasts of beech, rata, and pongas. To have big browns simply gorging on anything resembling a cicada the size of your thumb was a bonus. Amelia had an amazing run of fish as you’ll see below.

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