Fly Fishing with Chris Dore

Your FFF Certified Fly Casting Professional, and Member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association


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2018 / 19 Guide Bookings - Come Fish with Chris

Posted by chrisdore on May 21, 2018 at 6:10 PM

Its booking up strong so if you want to tick one off your bucket list, and fish with Chris, contact him now!

  • Guided Fly Fishing (NZPFGA)
  • Qualified, Fly Fishers International ( formerly FFF ) Certified Casting Instruction (FFICCI)
  • Wilderness Heli Fishing
  • Queenstown Day Trips
  • Multi Day Road Trips
  • Backcountry Campouts
  • Single, or Two Handed (Spey) Options Available

Chris Dore is one of New Zealands most recognised, and referenced fly fishing personalities and offers guided fly fishing excursions througout the lower South Island of New Zealand. Day trips depart ex Queenstown area and multi day bases may include Lumsden, Te Anau (Fiordland), Twizel and Haast to get you onto the very best  water for the conditions.

In 2006 Chris became one of the first New Zealanders to sit, and successfully pass the International Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Casting Instructor Examination and is a member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association. He is the Marketing and Promotions Ambassador for Manic Tackle Project, Australasias largest fly tackle distributer and conducts talks, presentations, casting tutorials and educational fly fishing events throughout NZ. A battle-tested 14 year guide, Chris operates under an audited Health and Safety plan, holds all mandatory insurances and is concessioned by the New Zealand Department of Conservation to legally guide within our National Parks and river reserves. Chris believes that "Life's too short to not catch fish" and takes a fun filled, and highly instructional approach to fly fishing and guiding.

"So feel free to browse this site, my blog and my Fly Fishing with Chris Dore and Friends facebook page to get a feel for what I'm all about. Feel free to touch base with any questions and enquiries to put in motion YOUR lifetime trip to my neck of the woods."

Chris Dore

The Age Old Question...

Posted by chrisdore on May 17, 2018 at 6:30 PM

Fluoro or co-polymer? Its a question I get often and it really all depends on the water you are fishing, and the way you fish IMO. Here Matt poses the question.

On 12/07/2017, at 2:52 AM, Matt wrote:

Hi Chris,

Hope you are well.

One / a few questions if you don’t mind but what are your thoughts on copolymer and fluorocarbon for dry fly fishing, I know fluorocarbon is meant to sink and copolymer is meant to float but it sinks so slowly that does it really matter? And what are your thoughts about tippet rings and if you don’t use them how do go about prolonging the life of your leaders.

Thanks in advance.



Chris Replies:

"Well Matt, I'm not using fluorocarbon as much as I used to as an everyday material on the waters I fish, as a high end copolymer such as Trout Hunter is pretty abrasion resistant these days, while being that much more supple to allow my dry, or nymph to do its thing more naturally. I'm primarily fishing the rivers of southland however, where I'm constantly switching from small dries to tiny nymphs, often multiple times on each pool.

When fishing the boulder and log jam strewn waters of fiordland, or the west coast and some headwaters I would certainly carry a few spools of quality fluoro. When fishing subsurface on stillwaters, yes. And certainly if throwing big double tungsten, stoneflies or streamers. Fluoro can simply take more of a beating than co-polymer.

With dries, especially with the film flies I most often employ you will find they will follow the sunken path of the fluoro tippet upon pickup, submerge, water log and most often cause that loud, disturbing splash as they're pulled back through the surface, even when employing a dynamic lift. Most trout wont tolerate that.

Notice I use the word quality: you're better off with a good quality co-polymer than a cheap fluoro of the same price.

With modern day, high tech leader materials you also need to pay more attention to your rigging to make knots stick. Once you get this right, surprising knot strength and performance is worth the extra moment ensuring all is solid.

Tippet rings? I just use a blood knot. I find tippet rings make anglers lazy and the knot from the ring to the leader rarely gets changed... knots weaken fast with time, often over a few hours, and with encounters with snags, or fish. It only will end in tears.

Again, a good quality leader will outlast a cheaper one, remain stronger, cleaner, and will be more abrasion resistant with less memory for longer"


Posted by chrisdore on May 17, 2018 at 6:25 PM

Some nights on the water, movement just isn't enough, for one reason or another, be it picky fish, an abundance of food or maybe floating debris following a fresh, the fish just aren't noticing / eating your fly.

Now you can go bigger, look to inbuilt movement from Marabou and hackles etc or give them something they simply cant miss...

Personally I find fish shy away from lumos on the calmer, stiller nights or in high moon situations, however a bit of wave action, incoming weather or on darker nights a having a lumo as your point fly, or ahead on a dropper can make for an exciting night.

Charging lumo's is easy; simply cup them in your hand and shine your headlamp on them. Better still, a camera flash or Loon UV lamp will fully charge your lumo in no time.

Tip: Beware of shining your light around on darker nights where it may get noticed by fish. I find it can disturb them.

Sliding a lumo bead onto your tippet can give a more subtle glow if needed, but when you need to be seen, full lumo doll flies, mega marabous and other full lomo bodies are my pick.

Top 3 Manic Flies for Winter 2018

Posted by chrisdore on May 17, 2018 at 6:15 PM

Winter fishing getting you down? With very low and clear conditions for the majority of winter thus far, your usual winter fly box might be a little too much. Big, flashy streamers, size 8 glo bugs are putting fish down and why employ that big double tungsten bomb if the river is at half it's normal winter flow?

There are still a number of anglers out there killing it, and a peep inside their fly boxes is likely to reveal why. Here are my three top winter patterns so far, fished to the conditions this cold season...

Ishiwatas Snitch

Slim, easy casting and oozes movement. My go to for swinging in low, clear rivers with the smaller stinger hook converting the most subtle of takes

The Yoshi Bugger

Always a favourite in still water or swung, the orange bead is always a winner and makes this fly stand out a little. It could also promote the subtle suggestion of an egg. Plus, anything Yoshi fishes is a winner, isn't it?

PT Soft Hackle

Twitched to sighted lake edge fish, fished on the hang behind a streamer or as a dropper behind a bigger nymph. Fish haven't really keyed in on eggs yet with their usual gusto, so fishing a small natural pattern in these clear conditions, sporting soft hackle movement nails it. These little observations are often the difference between a two fish, and several fish day.

Waders - It's G4Z for Me!

Posted by chrisdore on May 17, 2018 at 6:05 PM

I'm often asked by both anglers and guides the difference between zippered, and non-zippered waders and whether they’re worth it. The Simms G3 Guide Goretex wader is a champion: Guide tested, tough and the stalwart of the wader world. However sometimes you deserve a little more love so why not treat yourself? Let’s run the pros and cons of the Simms G4Z Goretex, zippered wader as I see it.


• The extended, front zipper makes for easy on and off, handy when rugged up in cooler conditions.

• Extended YKK quality, Aquaseal waterproof zippers will NOT give up the ghost, unlike most cheaper zippers found on the market.\

• The most comfortable stretch air mesh suspender system for all day comfort.

• They can be unzipped for ventilation on long, hot walks back

• Bunching up of winter fleece tops as you pull up your waders is a pisser, however with a zipped wader, this can be avoided.

• And of course, the obvious ease of riverside relief without losing your shoulder straps down the back of your vest.


• You'll be changed quicker and more effortlessly than your mates so it'll be your job to get the coffee brewing / shout the first round.

• Ummmmm...That's about it!

Check out the Simms Freestone Zip waders made from high tech Toray fabric, or if you feel like treating yourself to the very best, the Simms G4Z Pro Shell Goretex waders... You probably deserve it.

Layer up and fish better this winter

Posted by chrisdore on May 17, 2018 at 5:50 PM

Winter's about to hit and even the hardiest of anglers put away their wet wading kit in favour of a good pair of waders, and never is it so important to consider your clothing system to remain warm and dry on the water. Your waders are only as breathable as what you wear beneath them, and your entire layering system works together to keep you comfortable and dry.

Even the most breathable of Gore-Tex wont keep you dry for long on top of your favourite Levi's but don't fear, Simms has your base layers covered.

Waderwick Core Bottom


On some rivers wading is cake. On others—where pushy water, punishing currents, and glacial temps are the norm—it’s a skill-set aided by layering options that keep you fishing longer. Simms’ Waderwick Core Bottoms are built to dive into icy depths all day, with a Baselayerfit that contours to the body, keeping you warmer when and where it counts. Two-way stretch knit fabric delivers appreciated breathability and mobility, while PET Dry fabric and COR3 tech help zap odors and dump unwanted moisture.


New Simms Baselayerfit is contoured to the body to keep you warmer & on the water longer

2-way stretch knit fabric offers excellent breathability & mobility

PET Dry fabric & COR3 technology is anti-odor & wicks moisture

Simms branded plush elastic waistband for added comfort

Fabric Tech: 100% Polyester with COR3 Technology

Approx Weight: 5 oz.

Sizes: S/20, M/30, L/40, XL/50, XXL/60

Sizes: S–XXL

Waderwick Thermal Bottom


This minimalist thermal baselayer is the ticket for long hours in frightening cold waters thanks to microfiber fleece that holds body warmth for effective, convective heat. Whether contending with a mid-afternoon rain blast or dodging paint stripping winds, layer Waderwick™ Thermals under Simms’ award-winning waders for optimized breathability and wicking performance. Pant features include an adjustable drawcord waistband for a fully customizable fit and an anti-pill finish that stays durable and smooth through the seasons.


New Microfiber fleece with excellent thermal & wicking properties

Adjustable drawcord waistband

Anti-pill finish

Fabric Tech: 100% Polyester Microfiber fleece

Approx Weight: 11 oz./155 g/m2

Sizes: S/20, M/30, L/40, XL/50, XXL/60

Sizes: S–XXL


No layering system is complete without a great pair of socks, the comfort, and wicking properties of which can often determine your overall confort on a cold winters day. Check out our thoughts here on our Simms range of socks.

It's also worth mentioning that Simms has you covered as far as tops go too, so if you're looking to get maximum comfort from your your breathable jacket, it all starts with layering. Stay warm, dry, comfortable and most importantly - stay fishing!

Your Guide to Shooting Heads and How to Handle Them

Posted by chrisdore on May 14, 2018 at 10:30 PM

It’s that time again when the larger rivers, stillwaters, rivermouths and esturaries beckon as winter kicks in. Often, covering maximum water is the key to success in such places and your typical 30' cast won't get you too far at all.

Long belly fly lines offer fantastic control and distance, however require great technique to carry and turnover. For many, shooting head systems offer a more practical solution for banging out the easy yards in every day fishing situations.

A Shooting What?

A shooting head is simply a short, dense section of fly line attached to a very thin running (shooting) line offering minimal resistance, and drag on the head in flight. Simply get the head outside the rod tip, send the cast and the heavier head pulls the thinner running line through the guides, similar to a weight forward head but more extreme.

There are many benefits of a shooting head system:


  • Quick loading, requiring minimal false casting.
  • Effective in confined spaces or when back cast room is limited.
  • They punch well through the wind.
  • Shorter, heavier heads provide more mass, handling heavier or larger flies with ease.
  • Great for covering water in estuaries or larger still waters.
  • Basically a shooting head allows you to cast further, with less effort.
  • You can loop on heads of different densities quickly, without changing over spools / reels.

As well as disadvantages:

  • By design they lack the finesse and presentation of a longer belly line.
  • They require a minimum length of line outside of the rod tip to work, so are less effective at shorter range.
  • Mending line is all but impossible, the thin running line lacking the mass to move the heavier head.
  • The often extreme transition between head and running line can be difficult to control.
  • You must strip the running line right in to make another cast (line management).

Luckily Airflo have a modern solution in their forty plus range of integrated shooting head lines which makes life a lot easier for all, and creates more advantages than disadvantages.

Airflo Forty Plus Lines

The Forty Plus is an integrated shooting head, a balanced head system optimised for distance attached to a running line, conveniently delivered as a one piece package. This combines the benefits of a weight forward line with the casting performance of a shooting head. With its easy loading 35' head and low diameter running line the Forty Plus is designed to give you a balanced, tangle free solution for distance, the extra head length promoting a longer unrolling loop and more flight time than shorter heads.

A ridged running line provides a low friction, durable option for smoother cleaner shooting, with SuperDri technology on floating lines, and an intermediate ridge running line on all sinking models.

Another benefit of an integrated shooting head is that Airflo have eliminated the hinging effect common when attaching a thicker, denser head directly to a thin running line. Maintaining head weight, a longer rear taper solves this issue and also smooths out the cast. This also makes the connection much more durable over time.

The Forty Plus also doubles as an excellent Switch casting line in confined spaces for the two hand, and single hand spey enthusiasts.

I carry a range of Forty Plus lines from Intermediate right through to the DI7 depth charger to cover all scenarios. The intermediate running line allows your head to get deep, beyond the drop off or into the channel, without snagging up in the shallows. The Forty plus is my personal go-to when fishing the estuaries or larger southern lakes, and helps my clients make the distance.

Casting Shooting Heads

Unlike WF lines where there are often numerous carry points, with shooting head style lines you are more limited due to short or non-existent rear tapers and thin running line unable to support the heavier head in the air.

There is little need to excessively false cast with shooting head systems: you won't gain anymore distance and the haul will build all the line speed you need. Simply straighten your head, pick it up, and shoot.


The amount of running line outside of the rod tip is referred to as the overhang, and this needs to be considered and controlled. The thin running line lacks the mass to turn over the heavier head: too much overhang and your cast will fail as energy lacks. Too little and this affects the shoot.

There is often a sweet spot for most anglers at around 2-3 feet, allowing for a double haul without running the head up into the rod tip. This also leaves minimal running line outside of the rod tip, which as mentioned, will improve the overall control of the cast.

The Setup

Work your head outside of the rod tip by sweeping the rod side to side on the water, or maybe roll cast to get the head / shooting line connection clear.

The Cast

I employ a smooth roll cast pickup to straighten out the head, pull back into a singular backcast to load the rod, and send it on its way. I always employ a double haul to both reduce the workload of the rod hand, and generate line speed to increase distance.


  • Stop your forward cast high to form a good loop and allow for distance.

  • Elevate the rod butt on the shoot to promote less friction between running line and rod guides.

  • Timing is everything on the release. Think stop / shoot. Release the line immediately following the stop.

  • Clean your line regularly and keep it free from scum to ensure a smoother, longer shoot. Warm soapy water and Whizz Lube... it's as easy as that!

  • Learn to coil your line or employ a line tray to manage your running line. Surface tension gripping your running line, or a submerged intermediate line will greatly impair your shoot.

  • Experiment with your overhang and dial in the right length for your stroke, your rod and head system.

So check out the Airflo Forty Plus range of integrated shooting heads this spring for longer, easier distance and the opportunity to cover more fish.

Chasing Late Season Browns

Posted by chrisdore on May 14, 2018 at 10:20 PM

So there are a couple of weeks to go to go on our Southern Lakes backcountry tributaries and with temperatures cooling the browns are on the move. However many anglers are struggling to entice these recent additions to our rivers as they hold tight on the bottom of the pools and runs showing little interest in conventional tactics.

Never fear, I've got you covered...

Common sense:

  • Don't walk onto spawning redds. Redds generally are those areas of gravel brushed clean by the activity of spawning trout. Wading through these areas can dislodge and damage damage eggs.
  • Don't fish to actively spawning browns. Show both respect and restraint and let spawning pairs get down to important business undisturbed, no matter how large they may be.
  • Its freakin cold out there. Dress sensibly in suitable thermal layers and waders, and simply dont die of hypothermia. Despite blue skies, sunlight often misses many of our mountainous valleys at this time of year, and you may spend much of the day in permafrost.

Now to the fishing:

  • Get deep: these fish are often holding tight to the bottom and moving little, and so your fly must pass right across their nose, time and time again. This means serious tungsten but often you need a little bit more. Longer leaders and longer, level tippet will allow a deeper drift and Loon Deep Soft Weight is an easy-to-use tungsten putty for that little more oomph.
  • Strike Patterns: Use flies that will be seen, and carry colours to generate a reaction. OTB Hare and Coppers, Fresh Princes, Batman nymphs, Bloodworms, Renes Candy Caddis , Pink nosebleeds and Simons uglies all carry eye catching colour, and those with the addition of rubber legs can work dynamite when twitched at the crucial moment.
  • Fish Sensible Streamers: Dores Mr Glisters, Yoshi Buggers and Angelis Foxy Swingers are my go - to streamers for this time of year wether swing, or pulled. Here's a tip for the facebook streamer frothers out there... Big isnt always good. When the water is low and clear, and finicky browns have just moved into the river you need to calm things down. You will find more than not that the above mentioned, streamlined patterns will spook less fish, and pull more than your huge, fluffy, articulated beasts. I'll usually start off natural, but move to brighter colours when needed to piss off a lunker. Dead drift's get right in their face, and I let the built in movement of the materials do the work for me. If this doesn't get a reaction, drift 'em deep, and strip!

Enjoy the final weeks before winter '18 begins. Fish hard and fish safe.

Stream Mouth Intel

Posted by chrisdore on August 17, 2017 at 7:20 PM

Picture your typical lake stream mouth. These can fish well at this time of year but are not as easy to fish as some think. On a clear day you may hit one or two fish, but they will be finicky and few and far between as clear, bright conditions leave them rather exposed. Youre better off hunting out a weedbed. If starting at the creek mouth I would probe the drop off with an Airflo Clear Camo intermediate fly line and a smaller, more natural streamer or pair of wets retrieved slow but it's in the deep where most fish will be found on days like this, the domain of Airflo Di7 Forty Plus integrated shooting head and a trained cast.

Now throw in a night of rain. The creek is now pumping and discolouring the shallows... This is the time when these areas fire. A fast inter through to Di5 line depending on depth, a Yoshi Bugger, Dores Mr Glister, Rabbit or similar sporting lots of movement, fished in teams and stripped fast to grab a reaction can be killer. Fish feel less exposed in foul weather, choppy or coloured water and good numbers will move right up onto the flats in, and adjacent to the creek mouth.

If the action slows then fish your way along the lake shore as winter shoals will often roam, and by staying mobile, covering water and working it you will no doubt locate them again.

August is a great month for rainbows, and some rather large fish too. Wrap up and get out there!

August river mouth tips from Dore

  • Attach your fly with a loop, and what better knot than a Leftys loop. The extra movement this allows, especially on clear days will pay off on finicky fish, and can even bring less articulate flies to life.
  • Fish your feet first. Think it looks too shallow? It isn't...
  • Use fluorocarbon for abrasion resistance and check your tippet often. The transition between the depths and shallows on these lakes are usually strewn by masses of sharp rocks and debris, and your leaders will get a hammering.
  • Start off natural and light on clear days in the shallows as fish will be more wary, and go to something with a bit of flash and colour once you wade out to plug the deeper, open water.
  • Keep changing it up regardless if you're not getting hit. Make changes in size, colour / accents and shape / profile of your fly.
  • Important too is switching up your retrieve. Super slow crawling, long slow draws, short fast strips, stopping, hanging, fishing the drop...keep playing until something works.
  • The change of light is the prime time to hit fish massing at stream mouths, particularly immediately following a fresh.
  • Beware of unstable drop offs which may drop away beneath your feet - safety first!
  • Keep a couple of rods rigged up at the car. This makes for a quick change between a fast intermediate, Di5 and Di7 say.

Rug up and enjoy!

Stripping 101

Posted by chrisdore on August 17, 2017 at 7:15 PM

Yo! Let’s chat about a rather important aspect of swinging that most two hand tyros neglect...

Undoubtedly the sexiest part of your routine with compact head systems is seeing a tight, straight D or V loop being transitioned smoothly forward and sent off into the distance. Then comes the swing, slow and controlled working through some Gucci water. No fish, now strip, strip, strip that head back, anxious to do it all again.

However there are four key elements to the above cycle: The cast, the mend, the swing AND the retrieve... most anglers neglect the latter, (and the mend to a large degree, but that's another blog), and this costs them fish by retrieving line haphazardly without thought.

The way we conventionally fish streamers is to cast them out, and employ a variety of methods as we enticingly strip them back in right? So why aren’t we doing this here, as we strip back our running line? I mean, we are often pulling our lure back upstream through some pretty good looking pockets, seams, drop offs and most often, along those uber-fishy banks. Makes sense to me to fish them.

In our clear waters here in NZ fish will see your fly from quite some distance, and move on them accordingly. The next time you retrieve your running line in prep of your next cast, keep your rod low, line tight, and dance the rod tip, vary your retrieve, fast / slow / stop, manipulate your fly back upstream through the choicest of water and be prepared for the eat... you WILL catch more fish.