If you teach a man to fish….

There is an old saying.  If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day.  If you teach a man to fish, he’s gone for the weekend.

I was gone for the weekend.


For those of you who don’t fish much, this is a brown trout.  It weighed in at about 5 1/2 lbs, and back in California if you caught this you would have had to bring not two, but several extra pairs of shorts.  Here in Nz, you get a, ‘nice fish’.   Now don’t get me wrong, the fish here don’t jump in your net…the fishing is really pretty difficult, and for all of Saturday, this was pretty much the only fish landed.  But still….

What’s different about trout fishing in Nz is it is primarily sighted fish that you’re after.  By that I mean you look for fish, then specifically try to catch that particular fish.  That means you have to find the fish first, and despite all these great pictures, there are many less fish in the rivers and lakes here than back in California.  But the fish here are much, much bigger.  On Saturday, we fished one lake (where this monster was caught) and one river (where nothing was caught).  By we, I mean myself and Ian Cole.  Ian was the guide I hired to teach me about Nz fishing.  Ian is from the UK, but has lived here for a long time.  He is a super nice guy (and that’s really an understatement; he’s a prince of a guy), who is easy going and just a delight to be with.  And quite importantly, he is a superb angler and guide, and I can safely say without his instruction the only thing I would have caught this weekend would have been tree branches.

But with his instruction, I caught this:


We fished this lake really hard on Sunday (easily four hours and walking several kms), and this is a 3lb brown trout, the only real fish I caught in the lake all day.  That’s what I mean about the fishing…there were not many fish around, but if you catch one, hold on.

Now, the great thing (one of the great things, I mean) about trout fishing is trout only live in pristine locations.  So, if you’re catching trout like the brownie above, it’s likely to be in a place like this:


The area around Wanaka, where we did most of the fishing, is breath-taking.  In fact, the area is so pretty, I didn’t want to include most of scenic shots on this post, because I felt it would detract from the majesty of the fish pictures.  So, tomorrow, I’ll post the scenic pictures.

After we had lunch at the lake on Sunday, we then went and fished a small stream which empties into the Clutha (a huge river).  There were mostly rainbows in this stream, and again you would walk along the stream until you saw a fish and then fish for that specific fish.  I should be honest and say we would walk until Ian saw a fish, because I could only see them when he pointed them out to me.  And, in all honesty, the first few times I just took his word for it when he pointed to the ‘fish’, which to me looked like a rock on the bottom.   (Though, by the end of Sunday I was getting better at spotting them).  Here are a couple of rainbows from the stream:



You definitely work hard for these fish.  But as I look at the pictures, I do seem to be smiling in all of them….Hmmmm.  Beautiful surroundings, gin clear stream and lake water, and big trout.  I was indeed, gone for the weekend (arriving home at 9pm Sunday night).   You might be saying, Dave, tell me what lake and what streams!  It’s not that I want to keep them a secret, or that I didn’t hear the names of them, I just couldn’t pronounce any of them when I heard Ian tell me the name…and of course I had no chance of remembering a lake that sounded like “Pomb Bar A Brew”.

Tomorrow, I’ll show more of the area around Wanaka, or at least the part I saw when I wasn’t looking at the bottom of a stream, trying to figure out if it that shadow was a rock or a fish.

Published by dave clarke

I am different things to different people. Husband, father, doctor, teacher, friend, or if you're a fish, a fly fisherman. But really, I'm just a guy trying to learn about life, and if I'm lucky, maybe teach a little bit along the way. If I were a golfer (I'm not) I would be on the back nine of my life, or if I were a book, there would be more pages turned than not. Any yet, I'm far from finished creating chapters of my life. The goal of Next Chapters is inspiration, and I'm hopeful the traffic goes in both directions.

10 thoughts on “If you teach a man to fish….

    1. All catch and release. Most guides are pretty passionate about that, and me too, when I don’t have to eat them. No photoshop needed for these…. cheers, dave

  1. And were you fly fishing or spinning, which lures did you use, and wading or in a boat? You have to give more details in a fishing report

    1. All fly fishing, nymphs, and no boat- just wading and walking, walking and wading.
      Still won’t tell you the names of the streams, though, Rich.

  2. ha, i figured richard would be asking the fishing style questions. those big fish are rare because there is no stocking i presume like in the california lakes and streams.
    we need to drop a few of your big catches in the mt. lakes and freshen up the stock. great views and reporting your doing. randy

    1. They do stock here (Trout are not native to Nz), but the trout here have a longer growing season, and good bugs to eat. Can you imagine pulling a 5lb trout out of the those mountain lakes? I’ll fall off the raft…

  3. David,
    Shhh. Deb thinks you are doing medicine down there. Don’t worry; I won’t tell her.
    Enjoy the fishing,

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