Zealand South Island

Once upon a time, in the search for the Stone of Wisdom, the members of the Maori tribe found a land of rare beauty. They called it Aotearoa – the land of long white clouds. Tame wilderness of the New Zealand forests and mountain tops of the Southern Alps on the waves of the Tasman Sea. That is the West Coast of New Zealand, the brown trout heaven on Earth. New Zealand is inhabited by some 4 million people. The population inhabits two islands the size of Great Britain. The islands are situated in the far south of the Pacific Ocean, 2000 kilometers southeast of Australia. The South Island is a symbol of wild and untouched regions, whose exciting and magnificent beauty leaves everyone breathless. The mountain range of the so called Southern Alps divides the Island into a Western and Eastern coast. The climate is dry and warm in the East, while the vegetation in the West is much more exuberant owing to the abundant rains. The nature here is astonishingly magnificent. It has provided numerous national parks classified as regions of immeasurable value to the mankind.

The West Coast is narrow part of the land, between the mountains and the Tasman Sea, stretches along 600 kilometers, from Karamea in the north to the Cascade river to the south. The locals call the West Coast of New Zealand– “wet coast” in their jargon, because of the profuse rains during the year.The fly-fishing for brown trout is one of the most attractive sports in the Westland. Numerous hidden rivers, deep in the rain forests, abound in large specimens and going to fish for famous New Zealand’s brown trout is a great event.

Brown Trout Heaven The Arahura river is one of the largest mountain rivers in the West Coast . Wild, emerald clear and powerful. It can rise in the summer months after big rains. At such times it carries everything before it.The brown trout from Arahura is famous for its size and fighting spirit. There are not many in the river, but they are all big and powerful. Using short bypasses, by a helicopter along the river, it can be jumped over the inaccessible areas and move further toward some secret places, holding really big browns. However, something else was more mportant to me than catching fish. That's the feeling that each step made on the banks of Arahura is the first, the right, the pioneer one. The intact nature of the New Zealand jungle seems to take me back in centuries. The thing that adorns New Zealand and its inhabitants is a sincere feeling of welcome and desire to help others. The local population, even in these remote mountain areas, is cordial, always ready to give well intended advice. Each word and suggestions is worth its value in gold, because I have covered a long way and do not wish to leave anything to chance. Many spring creeks in the West Coast pass through private farms. Reporting to the host is a must, it is the thing one does. In return, one gets precious advice where the best fishing spots are located. My guide, Gevin Pigley, insists that we test the lowland creeks. I had to check his claim that small waters hide big fish.

After a quiet long walk, guide and me finally arrived. Eye to eye with a marvelous and completely wild specimen of enormous brown trout. The hunting instincts that dwell deep within each one of us, here, in the total wilderness, come to their full expression. But, finding trout under the conditions of poor visibility (during overcast and cloudy weather) is not easy task. The brown trout is a master of cover and very often adapts its color to the environment. The New Zealand guides has an infallible sense for finding the wild and timid trout. That's the key to the whole story. Over 90% of flyfishing made in New Zealand is sight fishing – fish what you see. There is some blind fishing too, but sight fishing is much more attractive.When you go off to fish in heavy rain, the rest of the date is almost always accompanied by sunshine. The rain simply falls out, and our appetites grow with the clear sky. The reason for this is that the trout are much easily discerned in the sun, accordingly our chances for a catch. In such areas of crystal clear waters, quiet approach is a direly needed solution which often pays off. Noise, racket and clumsiness are not forgiven. The New Zealand browns are an extremely careful and shy fish. Adequate choice of flies is a separate story. The best results are usually achieved on small creeks with very small imitation of may flies on the surface. Small tungsten bead head pheasant tails and hare’s ears (#18) are popular too. The ancillary kit in the form of a thin and long leader and soft tippet is a must. The flycasts must be gentle, refined, and above all, precise. Patience and perseverance always pay in the end and the award comes in the form of a several kilos heavy trout. A trophy to be remembered the entire life! A well known New Zealand travel writer wrote: "I've seen many wonderful places in the world, but I know one thing for sure: New Zealand is a little of the best of all other countries I've seen".

A. Ivanovic

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