Fly Fishing with Chris Dore

Your FFF Certified Fly Casting Professional


A collection of random thoughts, experiences, trip reports and links to cool stuff.

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Tech Session - Fixing pinhole leaks in waders

Posted by chrisdore on May 22, 2017 at 7:30 PM

So it's winter and chances are by now, your waders have been given a hammering over the past season. While goretex is the most breathable, 'durably waterproof' wader material on the market, it's time to give your Simms a health check.

First, clean them... this will unclog the pores and improve breathability. Not to mention, dissappear the funk.

How to clean goretex waders...

* Machine wash on a delicate cycle. Pop the shoulder straps inside of the wader pocket so they dont tangle on moving parts.

* Use powdered detergent, without fabric softener.

* Hang dry both inside then out away from direct sunshine

Now to check them for leaks...

1 - turn waders inside out

2 - spray them with isopropyl alcohol, available from your pharmacy

3 - Any pinhole leaks will show as little black spots. While visible, circle the more problematic holes lightly with biro, so when the alcohol dries you know where the leaks are

Fact: many pinhole leaks remain unnoticed as the whicking properties of the goretex remove moisture before its noticed.

4 - Apply a small blob of aquaseal on your finger tip and simply smear it over the hole. That's all folks!

5. Have fun removing aquaseal fron your finger ??!!

For those wanting a more in depth, visual instruction check out Brian here from Simms...

Getting eggy for winter

Posted by chrisdore on May 15, 2017 at 4:55 PM

It’s that time of the year when the browns are on the move and winter edges closer to the front of everyone’s mind. Flies get heavier as fish move less to feed and louder in design to catch the eye and egg patterns begin to get more attention.

Imitating the roe of spawning fish, or an 'emerging trout', for the purist, egg patterns can be fished in a number of ways, in moving or stillwater with success:


• Solo, or in teams on a sinking line

• Tied on a short trace behind a streamer and stripped, or swung on either single, or two hand rigs


• Tied behind a nymph and fished upstream beneath an indicator

CHRIS’ TIP: as many egg patterns are tied from yarn type materials - the same stuff often used as indicator material they tend to be rather buoyant. If fishing an egg behind a nymph you should choose a heavier pattern to pull it down. Iron Maidens, Hooligans and Simons Uglies are my pick.

You can also play on this in stillwater and fish them on a longer trace. Every draw of the line will pull them deeper and forwards and an extended pause will see them rise so slightly, especially if a foam style eye, or booby pattern is employed.

Dealing with Late Season Glare

Posted by chrisdore on May 8, 2017 at 2:00 AM

While the main freshwater season here in the S.I. has ended many of our top backcountry lake tributaries remain open for another month, offering often great opportunities to nab a large, migrating brown or fighting fit rainbow. However with shorter days and a very low sun angle, not to mention the incoming winter weather, glare / poor visibility will most days be an issue.

Here's a fast 5 to help beat that glare:

1/ Fish dry flies you can see. Big & bright, sure, you may put off a couple of fish, but you'll connect with other takes you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

2/ Position yourself to better see the fly, whether that means from below, out from the bank casting back in, casting away from the edge at 45 degrees or side on. You need to know where your fly is.

3/ Have a spotter to watch your fly. Two anglers working as a team is often the best way to fish.

4/ Keep in contact with your fly. You may feel the take if you don’t see it, and a bit of movement on the nymph isn’t always a bad thing.

5/ Keep your line short. You will see your fly much better if it’s close to you, and not 60' + away.

2017 / 18 Guide Bookings - Come Fish with Chris

Posted by chrisdore on April 29, 2017 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, IFFF Certified Casting Instruction (IFFFCCI)
  • 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. A battle-tested 12 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

Targeting 'Oncers'

Posted by chrisdore on April 28, 2017 at 4:50 PM

The other day on the river we experienced a common occurrence on the Mataura, and something I’ve seen many anglers mentioning / lamenting in their posts of late... The hatch is on, however the fish aren’t really locked into the surface, occasionally rising and moving position thereafter, making it hard to nail them down for a dry fly presentation. While this behaviour is most common on the wider, flatter pools lacking defined feed lanes it can occur anyplace food isn't concentrated.

Here's a tip: though they may rise once or twice every few minutes, they are still feeding avidly below in between...

Persisting with dries will hit the occasional fish but if you want to be one of the few anglers totally killing it in such situations consider fishing subsurface... but how do you hit 'oncers?'


*A Pair of sparse soft hackles

*Long, light tippet to allow energy to dissipate and drop softly. A 10' or 14' Trouthunter leader topped with 5' of 4x nylon is my go to depending on conditions.

*Loon Snake River Mud to dull down and submerge your tippet.


Read the rise: where did the fish come from? Did he feed across to his left or right? Was it a 'tipover' head / tail rise as he turned straight back down to the bottom? Was it the relaxed kiss of a fish positioned at the film or a swirl as he chased it downstream? Work this out, nail down his general position and we are ready to attack...


*Cast at an angle upstream and across of the rise.

*Keep in touch through short, rapid strips as required.

*Employ one long draw as the flies approach the zone. Draw the flies using the rod tip, raising and pulling it back...strike with a sharp downward pull of the line hand.


What we are doing is overcasting above and beyond the trouts position and drawing a pair of soft hackled wets back across its zone. This covers a much broader area than an upstream dry presentation and is a more accurate way of covering a specific position than casting and judging the accuracy of a swing from above. We still have a few days left of the freshwater season throughout the South. Get amongst!

Autumn Tip 5... Go Big

Posted by chrisdore on April 22, 2017 at 8:25 PM

By now we will all have noticed subtle changes in brown trout behaviour as autumn gets on - new fish in the upper reaches, territorial / aggressive behaviour or fish just sitting there, dormant, impervious to our offerings. Some throw a cast or two and move on when the fish fails to react. Some understand how to key in on, and take advantage of this behaviour.

There's more to streamer fishing than just chucking and retrieving. To be consistently successful there are a number of nuances the thinking angler employs to control every inch of the swing, or retrieve, however here is an overview of three basic tactics to help put more fish in your net this Autumn...


1: The swing: The most often employed tactic. Cast across / on an angle downstream and simply swing your streamer across the current below, either leading or following with the rod tip to slow, or speed up the swing. Begin to strip as the swing slows / fly approaches the bank to excite any lazy followers. Swinging is suited to a variety of water, especially slow, deep pools so as not to spook fish by casting over them and to cover maximum water slowly on bigger rivers. Floating line, sink tip or full sink lines can be used depending on depth and speed, and the new Airflo Scout single hand Skagit head is perfect for this.

2: Cast upstream: strip it back down. Very active style of fishing where you identify a hole, lip, drop off or seam and cast upstream above it from a downstream position, and strip your fly back down into the likely lie. With larger, articulated flies with loads of built in material I simply strip to maintain contact as the fly tumbles downstream, whereas with Matuka style patterns I strip faster and more aggressively to add life / movement. You are pulling your fly right into the trout’s territory, challenging them, and so be prepared for an often violent, aggressive hit.

3: Bang the bank: A tactic for days when the fish just aren't out and a quick way to cover the best of the water. Fish will generally engage within the first few metres of the chase and so this tactic takes advantage of this. I like to cast across stream, or angled down and land a big streamer a metre or two from the bank, then strip fast... very fast to imitate prey escaping. Strip 3 or 4 times, then pick up and recast to the next Likely lie. I find fish will usually engage within the first couple of strips if they want it, and you can’t strip faster than a fish can charge it down. Target drop offs, undercut banks, fallen clods and log jams: places big 'ole browns and angry rainbows like to sit when they’re not on the chomp.

If they're not going to eat, make them attack!

Bonus tip from Chris: Consider your presentation. Can a reach mend, or reach curve present your fly at a different angle (i.e. broadside) to excite the fish and maybe hasten, or slow your swing or give your fly a more intriguing path as its stripped through the water? Better than the boring straight line presentation and straight line retrieve. Would a loop knot give your streamer more action, or a riffle hitch present a longer, broadside offering to the fish? Play around and see what works for your situation.

Autumn Tip 4: Go Unweighted

Posted by chrisdore on April 19, 2017 at 8:30 PM

As the waters cool and the mayfly activity increases, fish will often move up higher into the riffles than usual. That ankle - calf deep water right up the head, or along the very edge of the riffly water now becomes my target area and anyone who fishes the famous, Mataura river knows: it's the shallowest of the rocky riffles that offer the best nymphing.

Now looking through many anglers fly boxes the majority of their flies sport tungsten beads, however in the best of the autumn riffles, even a 2mm tungsten bead can be too heavy.

Lower Mataura stalwart, David Murray-Orr is a big fan of brass beads for autumn nymphing water, their slightly lesser weight compared to tungsten making them more fishable through the shallows. In addition myself, I’m a big fan of plastic beads of gold, red, and clear coloration, offering very little weight however retaining the suggestion of air / colour / dynamics and all the other benefits of a bead.

However it's the unweighted nymph patterns which feature largely in my late season nymph box, the turbulence and disturbance of the shallow, riffle water often being enough to pull your flies down beneath the surface. I always fish nymphs in tandem / teams and alternate patterns slightly to grab attention and have options.

And don’t think those foam line sippers / swirlers are always feeding on top: often they are keyed in on emergers just beneath the surface... what you see breaking the surface is their follow through. A small, unweighted nymph is just the key here...

Chris' Tip: The key on the Mataura is to keep things small. Sure, there are a few size 14 represented nymphs to be found, but there are a heck of a lot more size 16 and 18's, and so that's what the trout relax in on, and I fill my box with. And never fear - trout will easily see such small flies even in the most turbulent of water and lowest of light... their eyesight and reactions are much better than ours.

Additional Tips from Chris:

• Keep your indicator close when nymphing shallow riffles: trout will eat, and drop your nymph quick smart, so two feet between a small, hi-vis Indicator and my top fly is the norm.

• Try short line tactics. Raise that rod and lead your nymphs through their drift on a short line for better control, and contact with your flies.

• Grease your leader with floatant when fishing softer edges to keep your flies nearer the surface. This also makes your tippet more visible to you and helps detect those subtle takes that little bit quicker.

Autumn Tip 3: Fishing the film

Posted by chrisdore on April 16, 2017 at 8:15 PM

As the days grow short and temperatures drop, the trout begin to lift to the plethora of mayflies hatching out while conditions are optimal. A glance at most anglers fly patches usually reveals a preference towards hackled dry flies, those which sit on top of the surface. They are easily seen, and will catch a few fish but there are flies which will catch a lot more.

Up until several years ago, emerger patterns were rarely found in the shops or anglers boxes. Many of our iconic writings never mentioned this most important phase, with more focus on our traditional Kakahi Queens, Blue Duns, Adams and Dads Favourites and maybe that’s why, despite an increase in popularity film flies still don't seem to feature heavily in the everyday anglers arsenal as much as they should.

However when trout can be seen unhurriedly bulging, and not actually breaking the surface with their rise the emerger is the first pattern you should be reaching for.

Not quite a nymph, not yet a dun, the emerger represents the phase in the mayfly lifecycle where the nymph has risen to just beneath the surface, the nymphal shuck splits and the adult emerges within the meniscus.

This is a stage where messy patterns excel as wings are unfolding, legs are scrambling, exoskeletons are shed and the emerger can take on a number of appearances, there is one golden rule however - keep your imitation sparse, and sitting IN, and not ON the surface.

If trout are feeding on duns, they will still happily accept an emerger pattern, however the reverse is not so. If they are locked onto emergers then you'd better have your fly sitting within the surface, where the fish are focussing, and here at Manic we have a few battle tested film flies that April sippers just love.

Autumn Tip 2: Understanding the spinnerfall

Posted by chrisdore on April 12, 2017 at 8:05 PM

Autumn's kicking it up a gear and lately we have experienced some cracking spinner falls here in the South, but many struggle to identify the difference between a rise to a spinner, and a rise to a dun, which is essential for success. Quickest advice is to wade out and see what’s drifting in the film and take note of the hurriedness, and type of rise. Is it a full nose rise, more leisurely, or a classic head / tail rise?

Now that we know what they're feeding on lets drop some knowledge to better understand this phase, and help you approach the spinner fall like a pro.

The mayfly lifecycle - in under 100 words...

Eggs hatch out into aquatic nymphs. When the nymph matures it rises to the surface where it sheds its exoskeleton and the dun climbs out (the all-important emerger phase), crawls through the film and flies away to stream side vegetation. Within 24 hours the dun again sheds its skin, transforms into the adult spinner, mates, lays its eggs and dies spent on the water. Trout love this phase as they can position themselves accordingly and feast at leisure on a banquet that can’t escape.


Chris' tips for fishing the spinner fall…

1: Keep ‘em in the film. When spinners fall upon the water after laying their eggs they are dead. Dead things don't stand, so your spent spinner imitation must lay flat within the surface film... the trout are judging!

2: Flush floating film patterns are often hard to see, especially when surrounded by numerous naturals. A small indicator, smear of Biostrike putty or a high viz parachute sighter a foot or two back from your fly will have you looking in the right ballpark. Set on anything which surfaces within a foot of your sighter.

3: When fishing spinner falls presentation is everything, particularly when fish are feeding in the pools or glassy glides. The Reach mend becomes my staple nearly every single cast to keep both tippet and line away from the fish. Even better - Start at the top of the pool and fish downstream to visible rises, using reach, pile or parachute casts to attain a drag free, 'fly first' drift... these fish are looking for tiny insects 2 inches in front of their nose - they won't see you.

4: Use a Longer, level tippet to generate optimum slack down at the fly, and to keep leader knots away from the fish where they can show up surface disturbance in the glassy glides and flats. Loons Snake River Mud is invaluable here to both dull down, and hide your tippet.

5: Carry multiple spinner patterns to cater for glassy, riffly or glary water conditions, but keep them small, size 16's and 18's dominate through April.

Thoughts on imitation...

The key to a good spinner pattern is that it should be tied sparse, or appear sparse when in the surface. Once you have that sorted, then it must be designed to ride in the film, not on it. Then it must be presented drag free to often choosy fish... that part is up to you!

Another benefit of a CDC wing pattern is that the wing can be wetted if required and your spinner pattern sunk. In the later stages of, and immediately following a spinner fall trout can often be found gorging themselves on drowned / sunken spinners around the back eddies, backwaters, and slack water edges, as well as the base of riffles. This a phase that stumps many anglers as they can see fish feeding subsurface and fire away unsuccessfully with their usual hare fur, or pheasant style nymphs. Bet most y'all didn't know that!

Autumn Tips

Posted by chrisdore on April 7, 2017 at 7:55 PM

So autumn’s upon us and change is in the air. So too must you consider a change in your approach. Your favourite February sight fishing water may now be awash with glare, or lighter on fish numbers as they migrate upstream and into the tributaries. Here are a few tips to keep you amongst them this autumn.

Consider the light: low angle light will create longer shadows which can spook fish from further off. Consider your approach, stay low and employ that longer cast I've been telling you to practise all year to help stay further back, and less detectable. Look also to longer leaders to keep the shadow of your fly line further from the fish (Trouthunter 14' Harrop leaders in 4x and 5x are perfect for this incidentally), and consider Snake River Mud from Loon to remove shine, and keep your nylon in the surface.

Smaller flies. With optimal water temperatures over the past couple of months, invertebrate will mature quicker which means at a smaller size than the rest of the season. My autumn selection now comprises largely of #16's and 18's rather than the 12's and 14's I often fish in October.

Consider the fish: Browns are nearing spawning mode and will behave a lot more aggressively. This opens them up to a variety of methods which will often outperform the stock standard dead drift approach. Streamers, bright beads, hotspots and absurd, rubber legged patterns can all hit amazing results in the autumn and don't be afraid to move your nymphs... a strip here or a 'rod tip raise' there could be the difference between a so-so, and epic day out...

Think about water temperature: Forget early morning starts... chances are you will be flailing away blind for very few fish and be exhausted and casting crap by the time they come on the chew... Mid-morning - mid arvo are the prime times in autumn, when water temps rise enough to promote insect activity... As I often tell clients, if the food is there, the trout will be there. If not, then prepare to work hard...

Whereas only a month ago fish would become lethargic in the heat of the hot midday sun, it is now the morning and evening hours where the water is still at its coolest, but now too cool and stream life just isn't on the move. That midday peak is where you need to be.

Twitch it. When willow leaves litter the surface and trout have to work harder to identify their food, try something with a little eye catching movement. A Mirf’s BLT dry with rubber legs, twitched just once may stand out from all the movement and confusion of leaf debris on top, much better than your standard parachute pattern. Fishing a soft Hackle just beneath will add another dimension to your drift and twitching one of these in the vicinity of a roving trout is a w for a sore arm!

So change up your mind set to the conditions ahead and enjoy what many consider the best of the seasons!