A good day to be a fish in New Zealand


After my success last weekend, I was sure the New Zealand trout were fearful to hear I had this Sunday off work and plans to fish.  In truth, I had the whole weekend off, but my ambitious Friday night dictated a slower pace on Saturday.  I also drank sufficient coffee Saturday morning that I would have had to stop (bathroom breaks) more often than a woman in her tenth month of pregnancy.  I know about stuff like that; I’m a doctor.   In retrospect,  Friday night was a really a trout conspiracy to keep me off the water an extra day…

I was ready today, though.


There’s my car, now nick-named the “Trout Monger” on the way to my first stop: Pigroot Creek.  I’m not kidding.  It was a fishy looking stream I drove by and had to stop.  Along many of the roads are rest stops, like where I stopped at Pigroot Creek.


It’s brilliant.  There is a picnic table and a barbeque along a creek.  How much better can it get?  So I donned my waders and took off down the creek.  I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this, but there are a lot of sheep in New Zealand.  A lot.  So, every pasture or even a piece of land that in some way resembles a pasture is surrounded by a barbed wire fence.  In order to fish here, you must be adept at climbing over barbed wires fences, and trust me, it’s an art.  Misjudge the distance, and you get poked you know where.  It’s a quick learning curve.


Here is Pigroot Creek.  See how fishy it looks?  I walked for about a km along this creek which was sure to have fish…but I saw none.  (I’m in NZ, so we sight fish here).  I didn’t see any fish on the way downstream or upstream.  I still tried a few places that looked like there ‘should’ have been fish there, but to no avail.  Well, it was a small stream; there is more down the road.  Off I go.


I was up in Central Otago (but East of where I was last weekend) with snow capped peaks to my right.  I found the Shag River.  Again, I’m not making this up.  The Shag River.  I expected a picture of Austin Powers next the the river, and sign saying, “Oh, Behave!”.  I also expected to see some trout, because it was a fishy looking river.  But I saw none.  I still fished a few pools which should have had trout in them (they didn’t).  Ok, then, no more small streams.  I decided to fish the Taeri River.  Only when I got there, the recent rains had stained the river; visibility was less than a foot.  I fished a few places and then found a tributary to the river that ran clear.  I walked about a km upstream, and found many, many places where there should have been fish.  There weren’t.  But I did find some interesting egss.


I think the blue egg is from a robin’s nest, and likely fell out of a tree, but the four eggs are clearly in a nest which was built on the ground.  Hmmm, not that safe.  Maybe scrambled eggs for dinner instead of trout?

Ok, then, the fresh water fish are safe today, but I wasn’t ready to admit defeat.  When I got home, I headed out to Port Chalmers for some salt water fishing.


Maybe I’ll catch one of those famous Dunedin Harbor salmon, or a blue cod.  It’s was a beautiful evening.  Calm (which is very rare), warm (19C); what a perfectly fishy evening. The smell of the sea air was invigorating.  Even though there were no sounds of humanity nearby, it was a noisy place.  Birds were everywhere, and at one point I listened for a few minutes and heard five distinct birds calls all at once.  The call of the seagulls I recognized (there was a whole colony of them about 400 meters off shore, and they never shut up the whole time I was there), but the other birds were a mystery to me.  A sea lion passed by, no doubt mocking my pedestrian attempts to catch dinner.  I think I saw him smile at me, likely because he just ate the salmon which was JUST about to take my bait.


As the sun began to dip behind the hills and I packed up my fishing gear I thought this was a good, safe, day to be fish in New Zealand.  In truth, they have little to fear from me (I’ll usually let ’em go anyway).  But it was also a good day to be me in New Zealand.  Every single one of these pictures was taken today.  Pretty amazing, isn’t it?


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.

6 thoughts on “A good day to be a fish in New Zealand

  1. Ha! Still an enjoyable day to explore and take great pictures! So, if you are caught in someone’s pasture, can they shoot you? You could not do that in Texas and survive!

    “The worst day fishing still beats the best day working!” Keep trying…………

  2. Great pictures! National Geographic would’ve been proud…what’s not fair is that you are going to have summer twice this year!

    1. Yes, life is not fair. Like I get to be here, which just doesn’t seem fair. It’s so much fun! I love my job and life here. More to follow this weekend!

  3. I am catching up on your blog, was lagging behind. Belated Happy birthday – wish you the very very best. Totally enjoying the virtual tour of NZ, and those are some great pictures you have been posting. Keep up the learning, writing and fishing. Cheers–jasmine.

    1. thanks Jamsmine.
      sure do miss you all. I hope all is well with you. I’m on call this weekend, which will allow me time to reflect and write; should be fun. cheers,

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