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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Mataura Nymphing Advice for April

Posted by chrisdore on April 1, 2017 at 5:00 PM

* tie small: 16 & 18. Match the size of the naturals.


* if you must for weight, tie size 14's, however I just load some nymphs with lead and others with two 2mm tungsten beads


* throw in some colour... orange, pink, green beads etc all get noticed and yes, brown trout will eat them. In lieu of a bead try a coloured thread collar, coloured wing case, or a strand or two of flash as the tail. Gold beads work. Accents work better...


* bring it to life! Cdc hackle, or other soft Hackle, tied sparse on your nymph will make it move and you WILL catch more fish.


* drop the weight. For fishing subsurface you want an unweighted nymph tied on a light wire hook to drift high in the water column.


* add a touch of weight... tying the same unweighted pattern on a heavy wire nymph hook will get a little deeper, perfect for those Gucci ankle deep riffles where autumn trout feed.


* fish slow. Identify the BEST water in the riffle and spend most of your time there... work multiple presentations through the same drift to make sure the fish sees them. If it looks like it should hold fish, it will. Plug away with the right flies, and get the right drift...


Dress warm.


Secure that box!

Posted by chrisdore on March 10, 2017 at 11:30 PM

So there have been a lot of lost flyboxes around the traps this season so far yet it doesnt have to be so. The average fly box can hold over $400 worth of flies, a real kicker if it goes astray.


Heres what you can do...


1: create a ritual of immediatly placing your box back into your pocket once a fly is selected. Make this a habit and problem solved.


However we all get excited when theres a fish in front of us and second to placing our flybox on the ground and forgetting about it, in our haste we forget to zip up our pocket only to lose our box soon after.


2: velcro dots.

Attach one or two velcro dots to your fly box, and the other side to the inside of your vest / pack pocket. Your boxes are now secured for the most part even if you fail to 'zip her up'. Especially handy for smaller 'slip into the shorts / jacket pocket' type containers such as Loons Hot Box.


3: dont put all your eggs....

Simply split your flies across a couple of boxes. If you lose one, bummer but at least you still have enough flies in your second box to keep going.


Bonus tip: simply write your name and number on your flybox in permanent marker. Most of the time, it will be returned.


Bonus Bonus tip: put a large cross, or strips of bright coloured masking tape across the outer of your box. Choose a colour that will stand out easily amongst the grass


You're welcome.

Tip from Chris - Fluff less to catch more fish

Posted by chrisdore on February 21, 2017 at 11:20 PM

Top anglers catch more fish, across a wider range of situations... They get into position, and get their fly out there in front of fish quick and without hassle. This is one of the reasons why they simply catch more fish.



Now Johnny Punter, upon being shown a feeding fish will saunter into position, after painstakingly dropping his pack and adjusting his waders, wiping his glasses clean and then proceeds to wrap his fly around his rod tip several times, while still flailing away false casting, while peeling 10 inches of line from the reel every false cast…. in case you’re wondering, he did not catch that fish…




Create a pre-cast routine… it’s that simple.


Advanced Archery Bowhunting guru, Simon Bullivant once advised me to create a ‘shot sequence’ when preparing to fire at a target. “Practise it often, cover the essentials and make it instinctive, then you’ll hit more targets.”


My shot sequence now consists of nocking the arrow, checking it’s tight, tweaking the peep site, securing the release and drawing back smooth, ensuring the knuckle of my thumb lightly touches the lobe of my ear. Inhale…exhale…pause and squeeze.


I bark a lot of directions on the river as any of my guiding clients will tell you. However one of the most important ‘orders’ is the series of actions from the approach to the trout to the cast. Here’s a sampler:


– Take a prominent marker so you know where the fish is from your casting position — usually a different position from where we initially see him… “two rod lengths out and half a rod length below that lowest willow branch,” or “half a rod out from that boulder.” (My 30′ will differ from your 30′ often greatly, so if we talk in rod lengths then you can create a visual…;)


– Get down there ASAP and begin your approach. If the fish is out there, I don’t want you up here.


– As you’re moving into position, free your fly, get it on the water and ensure there’s enough flyline outside of the rod tip so as not have the leader ride back up through the guides.


– Strip the line from your reel BEFORE you begin your cast… (a pet hate is seeing people strip line from their reel every false cast… apart from adding 15 false casts they often pull their rod hand/tip off track and look very gumby along the way… the more time the line is in the air, the higher chance of fluffing things up).


– Check and reposition any hanging line between the reel and the first guide: if it’s wrapped around your feet, or caught on a rock then you won’t get far.


– Pick a target where you want your fly to land, focus on it, and trust yourself to pick up the line, and place it on your target


– Finally catch that line beneath your trigger finger ASAP, and strip any slack line as it develops…


The rest is up to the fish.

Big Streamers and Missed Takes

Posted by chrisdore on February 5, 2017 at 3:30 AM

With this (ahem..) delightful summer weather of late there have been more than a few times we have reached for our streamer box with great success.


Cast, strip-strip-strip "BANG", and "oh bugger" as the fish doesn't stick. This is the point where most anglers turn and complain to their mate and whilst doing this, aren't catching fish...


Many feel it's a lost cause, that the fish was just attacking and not really eating, however Its not always a 'smack and come back' scenario to wound their prey. In huge shoals such as whitebait then maybe this is the case, where causing injury to many and then returning may yield a bigger feast.


However for a singular morsal, such as a bully / small fish its often just because they missed the first time. Now their mouths are large enough to engulf a big streamer easily, so often its dropped simply because the line is too tight and they cant take it in.


What YOU can do...


Maybe try elevating the rod a touch to allow a little slack, or slip a small amount of line on the hit. These tricks seems to have converted more hits for me anyway.


Try strip striking rather than ripping that rod tip back and pulling the fly from the water. If a fish wants your streamer, most times they will hook themselves, a stripstrike helps ensure that. Another bonus of the strip strike is that if you miss, the fly is still out there and that sudden surge of the streamer may invoke a second hit.


If you miss him, and rip that fly from the water there's a very short window to drop that streamer straight back at him before he knows what's up (this is also the period where most anglers are throwing tantys and feeling sorry for themselves and thus don't get that second shot).


Stinger style flies such as the Kellers Nightmare and Galloups Sex Dungeon offer that smaller hook out back which sticks to those tightline takes, whilst the larger hook up front nails most fish as they attack the head.


So stay sharp, stay ready and get your fly back in the zone, and fish on!

Safety and Preperation for the NZ Outdoors

Posted by chrisdore on January 20, 2017 at 9:35 PM

Above. Not far from the truck, but without phone coverage, a long way from help.

Safety in the outdoors is something to take super seriously.


Accordingly I carry multiple first aid kits so that we are never without. There is a comprehensive travel kit in my pack, and a basic kit in my vest, with another comprehensive kit back in the truck.


As emergencies can happen anywhere, not just in the backcountry I carry a PLB on me at all times. If someone goes down, I will set it off wether its the Mataura or Wilderness river X. No messing about trying to help a north island phone operator understand where Tautarau reserve is on the Mataura - one press of the button and help is dispatched.


In the case of cell phone black spots I carry a Sattelite phone to ensure non urgent help can be reached when required, or maybe the AA in the case of a vehicle breakdown, or a weather check on multi day backcountry excursions.


And finally, emergency blankets, a fire starter and a couple of OSM bars are always in my pack for unplanned stopovers, and on backcountry missions a bothy bag 3 man emergency shelter is added, to ensure if we have to wait it out, we are as comfortable as can be.


My daily intentions are logged so that someone knows where we are, when we will be back and what to do if we are not.


Weather should be checked daily as it can change on a whim, and severe weather watches and warnings observed and planned for. I personally use and find them as accurate as you can be for NZ’s changeable weather.


Plan for unplanned events... NZ can be a harsh bitch sometimes...


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!