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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See Your Beetle

Posted by chrisdore on December 30, 2016 at 10:25 PM

So from the sounds of it, the green / manuka beetle are emerging in great numbers throughout the country, and they certainly are here in the south. Smaller than the brown beetle, the manuka beetle presents a high country smorgasbord and as always, the Manic Fly Collection has you covered...


One problem however exists... how DO you see these tiny size 16 film flies in often joggly, or just straight up heavy backcountry water? My best tip is to slow down your rotation and watch your loop unroll. Track it out to the drop of the fly and you're in... however sometimes you simply need to see your fly on the water so here are a few more tips...


Post it:

Quite simply, put a post on it. The Para Improved Green Humpy is a great pattern for high country beetle chompers and the bushy white post provides the vis in most conditions.

The Foam Manuka Beetle (above) has a more subtle sillouhette than the para improved humpy and a white, high viz post and is perfect for the softer edge waters where fish can often examine your fly a little closer.

The True Green beetle (above) comes into its own when the trout are examining everything, closely. The small, super realistic prey image and natural hard shell can dupe the most wily browns, yet in riffly water, many clients lose track of this petite, deadly fish catcher.




Switched on Queenstown guide, Simon Wilkinson ( ) has a very practical solution... fish your tiny beetle on a short dropper behind a high viz pattern. If you see a rise within a foot of your hi viz dry, strike. If your 'indicator dry' stops or pulls, strike. If your indicator dry gets eaten, mate - just strike... with the appropriate delay of course.

In smooth or subtle water a hi viz parachute pattern such as Mirfs BLT, Renes Killer Klink, or the Hi Viz Para Adams will get the job done and remain inconspicuous on the water.

In jogglier water a blowfly, wulff or Guide Chute Hares Ear will catch the eye more readily, while in heavier pocket water and faster runs, stimulators, hoppers and Simons personal favourite, the Swishers PMX Peacock not only allows you to track your tiny beetle behind, but provides a juicy alternative for the trout.


Bonus tip from Wilki: "heres a tip - I do the same with tiny willow grubs, and no see 'em spent spinners too. Shh. Don't tell everyone.

Line Trays for less mess

Posted by chrisdore on December 22, 2016 at 6:20 PM

Wading the stunning flats of the Golden Bay this week it suddenly all came together for me. A kingie finning at 60 odd feet. The pickup, the cast landing perfectly 20' in his path. The strip and the growing bow wave. BANG! It was all on! The fish bolted, and confidently I thought 'I got this', however the smiles were short lived as my running line fouled on debris from the recent storms. Line pulls tight and it is bye bye fish...

Why use a line tray?

There are many benefits of using a line tray in both fresh, and saltwater fishing whether wading or boating it. Here are a couple of the more obvious:

1/ Your line tray keeps any loose line under control, tangle free from debris and swirling currents.

2/ No 'line stick' from the water as you try and shoot out that quick fire cast.

Where YOU can benefit from a line tray

Fishing river mouths / surf where line tangles around feet, debris and washes around itself. Keeping your line organised inside your tray also allows you to move quick when you see that swirl along the beach.

From boats / SUP's Very few boats are set up specifically for fly fishing and are likely to have line grabbing gremlins throughout the hull. Employing a line tray will keep your line free of such obstructions.

Running line in moving water. Every skagit angler knows the frustration of their running line matting to the water, a much needed long presentation impeded by 'stick'. Coiling line neatly in your line tray avoids this and results in fewer tangles.

Controlling sinking lines. Once you set your sinking running line on the water at your feet it will sink, resulting in a series of comical, windmill-like arm movements to lift it again with each false cast to get it back into the fish zone. A line tray keeps your sinking line free from the water and ready to shoot.

Scrubby, overgrown riverbanks or lake shores. Keep your running line free of long grass / bushes / rocks.

Flats fishing where weed / debris from storms, and the pull of the tide can foul your line.... hmm... enough said...

Dealing with Dull Days

Posted by chrisdore on December 15, 2016 at 8:15 PM

On rainy, or cloudy days visibility wont be great on our wider riverbeds and on many waters in fact. With summer kicking in and fish populations dropping back to the larger waters, you really want to target your fish rather than pitching blind... Here's what you can do to keep on sighting when the weather closes in...


1: pick a river with a willow, bush or hillside backdrop to help break the glare. Often this is all you need.


2: wear good eyewear. I favour the lense quality of Maui Jim's to look after my eyes for long hours, day after day. The HCL Bronze colour is probably the most versitile lense for most conditions excelling in low light, bright skies and general NZ work. You may pay more for Mauis but you get what you pay for.


3: move slower. Find the absolute best of the water, position yourself so you get a good view, and then wait... let the fish reveal themselves.


Forget about the water you struggle to see into and just focus on the most likely spots. Because scanning a whole river in glarey conditions is just plain exhausting, and you dont want to miss the one off flicker of a tail after a tough day


Get some...


At The Bench - Green Caddis

Posted by chrisdore on November 29, 2016 at 11:35 PM

First step, grab a bloody good beer. Today its the Garagista IPA from Garage Project.


Now to the fly. The wee Green Caddis is always a top producer for me and handy when the fish have seen far too many mayfly patterns presented less than good enough.


Imitating the Hydropsyche, this is abundant in most rocky trout-streams from your lowland local to your secret wilderness gem. They are exceptionally resilient to floods and big enough and colourful enough for trout to love... best of all, this pattern takes 2 minutes to tie...


Hook: Kamisan B110 14 and 16

Head: Black tungsten bead

Collar: black Laser dub or similar

Body: Olive Seal fur

Note: add a thread hotspot if you want, either a few wraps behind the bead or at the butt.


Get in there!

Dealing with heavy flies

Posted by chrisdore on November 15, 2016 at 1:50 AM



I often spend time watching others on the river and observing their technique. Recently while in Turangi I saw a number anglers, both visiting and local struggling to cast some pretty heavy stuff overhead style... There are easier ways, and it doesn't have to be so hard.


When fly casting, we are usually told that line speed is king, and a tight loop is a good loop. However throw a Tongariro Bomb, or a couple of split shot into the mix and our requirements change... Fast.





If you throw a heavy fly back and forwards with speed then all sorts of mayhem occurs when your loop straightens: the fly will kick, bounce, tuck and in general cause nightmares for the angler. Heavy flies and tight loops are a recipe for tangles and broken rod tips so lets consider a few changes we can make to better handle these heavy flies.


1: Widen your casting arc. By widening casting arc you open up your loop, keeping those heavier flies away from both the rod tip, and rod leg (bottom leg) of the loop.


2. Slow down your casting stroke. By slowing down our stroke we can immediately reduce our line speed, diminishing the kick which occurs when a heavy fly turns over at speed, and concentrate on flexing our rod deeper to bring in the more powerful mid - butt section to handle our heavier rig... Try tip casting a bomb and see how you go...


3 Go up a line size. Quite simply it takes mass, to move mass. Slowing down your rod tip recovery by over lining isn't a big deal for as mentioned, we don't need breakneck line speed, and most modern fly rods can handle it. If you prefer, go up a rod size to match. A long belly line such as the Hero allows you to carry line, rather than shoot it, making it easier to control heavy flies at distance.


4. Eliminate slack line, and lift your fly to the surface before you begin. By simply beginning your cast with your rod tip low to the water, and taking in a few strips of line to remove any slack your entire cast will be more efficient: the moment you move your rod tip, you will be in contact with your fly.

Lifting a deep sunk fly from the water takes a lot of energy and can close your available casting arc significantly. To raise a sunk fly to the surface, simply raise your rod tip, slow and smooth so that the line / leader junction is free of the water. The mass of your line will now 'own' your fly, and lift it cleanly as you accelerate. A roll cast / roll cast pickup / C spey will also lift your fly to the surface in preparation of your cast.



5. Eliptical cast

Simply, this is a back cast, and forward cast performed under constant tension, on different planes. Imagine you are drawing an oval with the rod tip, beginning with a side arm backcast and moving smoothly into an overhead forward cast.

The benefit of this cast is that keeps the fly away from the body / rod tip and eliminates the kick of a heavy fly straightening on the backcast. This is THE way to handle heavier flies.




So dont let your technique dictate how deep you get. By utilizing the correct weight for the job, choosing your presentation, and delivering it with the right cast for the job you can own that pool.



Get amongst!


Intermediate Skagit... Here's Why

Posted by chrisdore on November 1, 2016 at 2:45 AM

It's pretty cool to see a surge in two hand fly fishing over the past couple of years, and with hardcore groups emerging from Queenstown, the Skagit Bombers in Christchurch and the die hard Turangi crew keeping it real it gives us a chance to play with a bit of new gear to suit the conditions.

In the deep South Ive been playing with a few different lines of recent, and the standout for me has been an Intermediate Compact Skagit from Airflo.


Quite simply it has me swinging down in the water column, avoiding the pull of all those pesky surface currents and gives a smoother, more controlled swing of my fly. Here are a few other things I rate about them:


•Tips get deeper simply by not being bouyed up by a high floating head. They sink more freely and are followed by the head.


•Slower swing than a line racing across currents on the surface, and slower swings are better for lethargic winter trout (keeps the fly in the zone, in front of their nose for longer)


•The currents even a few inches beneath are often slower than those on the surface, and so the intermediate gives you a controlled, more in-touch swing down below than you would get with a floating head.


• This line anchors amazingly. You will experience more 'stick' with your head being subsurface so you can chuck more line into your D and less into your anchor.


• You can fish a lighter tip as your line assists in getting your fly down


•The floating rear taper of the Airflo Intermediate Compact Skagit is coloured scandi blue so you can easily track your swing and know just where you are at all times.


Note: once this line sinks you can no longer mend so for all you 'serial menders' out there, its best to throw that mend in as soon as your line touches down. However with short 18' - 20 something foot heads, you don't really need to mend anyway if you pick your drifts.... Just leave it alone...


So consider adding an intermediate head to your arsenal and open up new ways to swing that fly, on both big, and smaller waters.




Tips from Chris - Springtime Sea Runners

Posted by chrisdore on October 25, 2016 at 2:25 AM

So it's October and the sea runners are really going right now around the esturies. Check out Chris's tips on Gink and Gasoline to help YOU get amongst more of them...

Early season solutions - keeping your indicators dry

Posted by chrisdore on October 10, 2016 at 3:15 AM

Early season often means fuller flows and colder temperatures and so aside from the occasional hatch event on smaller, rain fed waters nymphing is the mainstay. In cool, often wet conditions the issue is in keeping yarn indicators dry, floating and visible...

The key to keeping yarn style indicators dry is to simply not go fishing. Since that's not an option, here are a few others...

At home..

Loon Hydrostop.

This product dries completely oil free and can be used to pre treat indicators, and material or flies hot off the vice.

Soak your indicators for 5 minutes before drying for 24 hours in-between a paper towel.

Your indicators will be permanently waterproof and ready to fish each time you pull one out of your box.

On stream..

If you're like me, you aren't organised enough to pre treat your dries and indicator material, so rely on on-stream options.

Loon Lochsa

Lochsa is a premium all-around gel floatant that even works on CDC. It won’t mat dry flies made with CDC and is perfect for treating any type of feathers, hair, hackle, or yarn. Lochsa will provide maximum floatation without the slightest hindrance on appearance. It is silicone based, and won’t melt in the heat or harden when it’s cold.

Loon Top Ride

Known as “Shake and Bake” by world class guides, this desiccant (drying agent) and powder floatant is fast and easy to use. A fly or indicator (still attached to the leader) goes in wet, and a few shakes later comes out dry and coated with a powder floatant. A great way to dry and rejuvenate waterlogged, or trout slimed flies.

So dont get stuck retying flies or replacing indicator yarn while your mates are catching fish. Do what the thinking anglers do and carry the right products and maximise opportunities

The Drop on Drop-offs

Posted by chrisdore on September 25, 2016 at 6:50 PM

So the rivers are nearly open and for most, early season sees the nymph box getting a real workout. Riffles, edgewaters and backwaters all fish well but it is the drop offs where many of the better fish will be found...


My approach is to find a good one, and fish the heck out of it.


I always sight my way through first: if you can see the fish, then you know where to drift the fly, and if you have to drift it again... And again... If they're sitting deep / not visible I'll work through blind, covering the hotspots multiple times.


If they're sitting shallow / responding high in the column I'll often go to a dry / dropper, however this type of water is ripe, and produces best to short line / contact nymphing techniques. Indicators / dries will often drift at a different pace on top than what is required of the nymph below, and relying on an indicator will result in a lot of missed fish as they tend to take, and drop the fly very quick in these positions.


Get amongst!


Stalking September Cruisers - Bully Chasers of the South

Posted by chrisdore on September 15, 2016 at 2:35 AM

September is a time when our Southern Lakes come alive. Following winter spawning activity the browns have returned to the lake shores and are feeding avidly around the lake margin as springtime conditions bring everything to life.


This year, following a very warm, mild winter, these browns are present in big numbers, and are in cracking condition too... If you're not out there amongst them, you should be, and here are a few tips to get you started...


- Find the food: look for flats with a nearby drop off supporting lush weedbeds, rocky structure or chironomid filled sandflats. The closer to a rivermouth the better.


- Do nothing: these fish are cruising, so let them come to you. Spend time watching and locating fish. Wading around in search will spook more fish than you will catch. Remember that these browns are territorial so will usually repeat their beat - if you don't have a good shot, let him cruise by and be better prepared for his return.


- Fish when the sun's at its highest: watch the entire lakebed come alive. These fish arent always easy to see so put things in your favour. While they can be caught blind on overcast days, or when using a high backdrop to break the glare they're a little bit more tricky on a calm, blue topper so need to be targeted... Plus you cant beat the rush of clearly watching these guys accelerate towards your fly.


- Give 'em meat: Brown bullies play a huge part in these fish' diet, so Mrs Simpsons, Mr Glisters and Little Buggers are worth their inclusion in your flypatch. Damsels, snails and chironomids too are local favourites and if you're lucky you may even find them looking to the top.


- Don't overfish it: these fish are patrolling for food, and after winter spawning are pretty hungry. A single pull, lifting your fly from the lakebed will be more than enough for these fish to engage. Over enthusiastic stripping will often result in suspicious fish, follows and refusals.


Bonus tip: use the right gear. My favouite rod for these often short casts is a smooth, medium actioned, 5wt G2. (The new Airflo Creek Series rods would excel here also). Long casts and high line speed is not often needed here. This is close quarters combat... A sixth sense slow intermediate (0.5 ips sink rate), or clear camo fast inter (1.5 ips sinkrate) will anull line shadow and surface disturbance on the retrieve, or if you opt for a floating line, a long leader or 10' intermediate polyleader is a decided advantage.


Get amongst!