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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Posted by chrisdore on August 17, 2017 at 7:10 PM

It's that time folks when summertime energy levels have gone and the mid winter chills creep in. For many that means the dreaded Man-Flu. We are a sympathetic bunch and understand what you may be going through, so here's a fast three to get you up and fishing again in no time...

  • Wrap up in your Simms Waderwick thermal base layers, Tightlines gloves and Chunky beanie, jump into bed and get it sorted
  • Put on season one of Pure Fly NZ
  • Pour a dram or two of whisky from your Simms flask. Add a squeeze of lemon, a tblsp of manuka honey, top it up with hot water and repeat until symptoms subside, or you feel like dancing

Youre welcome!

DIY Sink Tips. The Low-down

Posted by chrisdore on August 11, 2017 at 3:35 PM

When it comes to sink tips for two hand fly fishing we really are spoilt for choice. Flo tips and Salmon / steelhead weight polyleaders cover a wide range of angling conditions and are designed to be very angler friendly, however it is the nature of fly fishermen to tinker and customise our rig to better suit our style, the water, and situation at hand.

Airflo have long been the benchmark for sink tips in design, innovation and quality, and due to the unique qualities of polyurethane coating, continue to make the strongest, slimmest loops on the market, and provide a couple of easily customisable options for building your own.

18' T tips. These 18' lengths of T material come looped on one end, with a handy coloured sleeve indicating weight. T tips are available from T-7 at the lighter end of the range through to T 18 designed to sink like a stone

20' Custom Cut tips looped at both ends, these 20' lengths come in both 200gr ( T-10 ) and 330gr ( T-16 )

Customising your tip - the low down…

Grain weight:

Spey lines and sink tips are measured in grains ( 1 grain = 0.065 grams.) To keep things simple, T-10 = 10 grains per foot, T-14 = 14 grains per foot etc, and so a 12' T-10 tip will weigh 120gr, and a 12' T-14 tip will weigh 168gr. The above sink tips are tungsten impregnated and so designed to sink, fast.

Sink rate:

The T designation denotes the density of your material: how quick it will sink to depth. T-7 sinks at 7 inches per second, T-10 at 8ips, T-14 at 9.5ips and T-18 at 11.5ips.


The length of the tip determines how long your fly will stay at depth throughout the swing. A shorter tip will raise the fly quicker / earlier in the swing whereas a longer tip will keep your fly at depth throughout. A tip thats too short may kick about and become troublesome to anchor whereas a tip that is too long, or heavy may overload the rod, or prove difficult to turnover.

Let's chat:

Employing a longer tip means your fly will remain at depth for a greater portion of the swing, great for wider, more uniform flows. In faster, shallower rocky reaches or for fishing a deeper gut adjacent to a shelf, or gravel bar a shorter tip may prove beneficial so as you don't foul up in the shallows as your fly swings to shore.

In general, I find most anglers I guide are comfortable handling tips of around 10' - 12', and these cover most situations.

Remember, Longer tip = longer stroke whereas shorter tips require a more compact casting stroke. If you're starting out and just getting the hang of spey casting, keep your tips at a uniform length as suggested above for ease of casting.


What you need:

T Material


Tape measure

Airflo braided loops / 15lb nylon

Loon Uv knot sense + UV torch

Flytying bobbin and a few different colours of thread

How to:

Butt end.

Measure and cut material to length with sharp scissors

Slide the braided loop over butt end

Whip a Bind over the braid with tying thread

Secure the bind with UV knot sense and cure

Tippet end.

Repeat the process with a second braided loop. (Tip: colour this loop with black permanent marker to prevent the bright white of the braid whizzing past the fish's nose)

Alternatively, and my personal preference is to tie an Albright knot to a short length of 15lb nylon. Create a perfection loop in the end for an easy loop-to-loop connection to your tippet

Handy tip:

Use a coloured thread binding on the rear loop to indicate weight. I.e.: yellow for T-7 Green for T-14 etc. For quick identification of length you may choose to use 1 bind for 10' tips, 2 separate binds for 14' etc. Formulate a system that works for you.

Dores 2 cents:

Personally I favour 10' - 12' sink tips, the extra length allowing my fly to stay at depth for longer throughout the swing. Shorter come in handy for swinging in across shallower drop offs / bars, and where I don't want my fly too deep in the latter part of its swing. This is also where factory Flo tips come in handy, offering 7.5" of T material with 2.5' of intermediate transition to smooth out the cast. However I also asked my friend, and Oregon Steelhead guru Matt Klara for his thoughts on sink tip length...

Klara speaks:

"Hey Chris. I find a 12ft tip to both fish and cast better in virtually every circumstance in skagit casting. The perfect point in the length continuum of castability and fishability. I remember when I learned I could cut back Rio 15' tips to 12'. That was a breakthrough for me. I feel like you get fewer blown anchors and a less abrupt, slappy turnover, regardless of fly size compared to shorter tips. A longer tip also allows for a deeper BROADSIDE presentation in wide runs. A 15' tip is often too much anchor and runs to deep at the end of the swing to get a good presentation into the hang. Rivers I fish include Deschutes, Klickitat, Sandy, Clackamas, John Day, OR coast, Grand Ronde, Snake, Clearwater, North Umpqua for steelhead. Missouri, Yellowstone, and Madison for trout here in MT, where I also prefer 12' tip, but slower sinking.

I actually almost never go for an 8' tip honestly. I’d rather fish a slower 12' tip. That said, if fish are in slow bouldery flow I will sometimes sacrifice castability and go to a short 8' tip to "hang it' between the boulders. This is typically on inside seams, so casting distance and cleanliness isn’t a priority.

Broadside is a big deal to me especially for summer steelhead and brown trout."

Now go swing!

Need Boots?

Posted by chrisdore on June 22, 2017 at 7:50 PM

Looking to replace your boots after a hardcore season? Check out my advice here...

Spey Tip - Easy Loops in Airflo Miracle Braid

Posted by chrisdore on June 2, 2017 at 2:10 AM

We've been selling a lot of Airflo Miracle Braid of late as the local spey scene look for an easy to use, super long shooting running line for lighter / shorter heads. A question we often get asked is 'how do we loop this to our backing & head?'

Splices are often fidgety and nail knots aren't the smoothest movers through the rings of your rod. Luckily the guys at Confluence Fly shop have a solution for easy, smooth, easy-through-the-guides and most importantly, durable loops." target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Click here for the Video

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.

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.