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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Welcome to New Zealand's most instructional collection of thoughts, experiences, tutorials and links to some pretty cool stuff

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"It was one of the best days in my life" Avid Kiwi angler, Richelle reporting in...

Posted by Chris Dore on August 28, 2021 at 10:00 PM


 

“9th April 2021

Today is an important day in my fishing career.

Chris Dore, one of the best (not exaggerating to say he is the best) fishing guides in NZ, took me searching for lunkers in one of the most gorgeous river valleys in the South.


Zeus was on our side, it was a perfect day. A nice stroll to the riverbank across dancing tussocks, we stand in front of the river with a breath-taking mountain backdrop.


With Chris' 17 years of guiding experience and second to none knowledge of local rivers, I had a fish on after just 5 mins with 3 casts, a light-colored 6.5pounds hen, short and stubby. I was stoked, so was Chris, as we both can relax & enjoy the rest of the day knowing there is a fish in the bag. Soon after, another 6.5lb jack joined the party! He was gold, vibrant, and put up a good fight.




Just when we thought the day was going well with good momentum, it created obstacles to make our day extra memorable. We searched along the river banks, were presented with a few opportunities on super fussy fish, but my not-so-perfect casting skills throw them away. We then walked a while without seeing any fish, yet Chris remained positive: every rock, every shadow could easily become a fish.




Just as I was giving myself a positive self-talk on 'I will be happy with this trip having caught 2 of these great fish’, Chris said: "Richelle, I have got just the fish for you! He is yours!" I approached Chris as he pointed at 'my fish' in the river, a trophy size monster brown swinging left & right, feeding hard. I could feel Chris' excitement, he seemed different, more excited, even a tad nervous, but calm and encouraging.




He refreshed the whole rig with fresh tippet & flies, double checking the knots, and trimmed down the indicator while saying: "he is worth it". This fish is smart, it rested where 2 small currents meet so he could feed on both. He was also sitting right in front of a large patch of debris so every cast not eaten by him, they get caught by the weed. Light flies and good drifts on long tippet were the key here. The situation was tough and it really put my casting skills to the test.




After a good number of attempts and a couple of resets, both Chris and I were feeling fortunate that the fish is still there, undisturbed, happily looking for more food. Then something magical happened. I threw a perfect cast to make Chris say: "Are You Ready?!" We all know what that means…




Chris called strike, I lifted, the rod bent.

It was one of the best days in my life.”




Richelle


Quick stillwater tip - Winter stream mouths and adjacent beaches

Posted by Chris Dore on August 27, 2021 at 2:55 PM

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Quick (ish ) thouights on finding wintertime trout around stream mouths and associated beaches.

Quick stillwater tip - Shallow bays

Posted by Chris Dore on August 25, 2021 at 2:45 PM

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Quick thoughts on how to sneak away from the wind chop and approach a shallow bay in our larger, Southern Lakes.

Attention Kiwi Anglers - Invest In Yourself

Posted by Chris Dore on August 24, 2021 at 3:05 PM



"Having a multi day guided trip with Chris Dore turned out to be the best decision Ive ever made. In the four days, I learnt so much and it made me realise how many rivers require different approaches, strategies and techniques to be successful,  and what we as anglers need to do, to be successful on these exciting but tricky waters."

Shaun Bradley, Auckland


With the borders open to just selected countries for the forseeable future you are now presented with a unique opportunity to get out and explore your own backyard and all that comes with it, without the crowds. Make the most of this once in a lifetime opportunity by learning from Chris, one of New Zealands most referenced fly fishing guides and certified casting instructors. Explore new waters. Learn new techniques. Realize new experiences. Invest in yourself.



"Working with Chris, although we have all fished for many years, always lifts our knowledge to another level - what he does out of habit and instinct we do infrequently – so his knowledge working for us bridges the skill gap."

Clive Anderson, Canterbury



Sick of struggling in tougher conditions or watching as others always catch all the fish? To find out more, and what Chris can do to better your own enjoyment of the river visit https://www.chrisdore.com/2020opportunities




"Chris is a hard-working, organised person and very personable. He has a very clear plan for each the day - he is there for you and for you to have an amazing experience. My fishing has improved significantly since, especially my poresentations, how I approach the river and what I am looking for."

Mike Nansett, Wellington


What are you waiting for? Email Chris today to kickstart your experience.

Winter midging

Posted by Chris Dore on August 24, 2021 at 2:30 PM


As we move into winter proper you might be thinking that’s it’s all about eggs, heavy nymphs, and big streamers to fool fish that have something other than feeding on their minds.

 

Trout still need to eat over winter, and not all switch into spawning mode, so it’s important to still keep observing what type of food is on offer over this period when the insect larder, at first glance, appears to be somewhat empty.

 

The non-biting midge, or Chironomid is found in most waterways in New Zealand, particularly in ponds, backwaters, lakes, coastal inlets and slower river margins and is an important, year round food source for trout.

 

With little insect activity across the cooler months, the chironomid becomes a mainstay in my fly box, and fish can still be found rising to midge even in the midst of winter.

 

Many anglers are familiar with the larvae, commonly referred to as the bloodworm, a worm like stage which lives amongst the substrate, yet very few carry suitable imitations of the most active phase of the Chironomid life cycle, the pupae.

 

Often shorter and thicker than the larva, the emerging pupa features a curved, well segmented abdomen, a puffy thorax housing legs, gills and wing pad, and a noticeable bubble of trapped gasses giving off a reflective sheen.

 

Black, greens and browns are the most common colours for midge pupa patterns but do not be afraid to experiment. Flash is a must, and so a glass bead or Krystal flash features on most of my ties to imitate the eye catching flash of the natural.



While chironomids can be deadly fished static under a dry or deeper on an Airflo sink tip fly line, I prefer fishing them more actively on a varied retrieve. From a slow figure eight, to a draw and pause, to a steady series of short, jerky strips - the key is to mix it up.

 

I always fish them as a team of two or three off short droppers with a beaded pattern on point, and this allows you to not only create a more eye catching synchronised movement on the retrieve, but to vary the colour of each pattern and see which works best on the day.

 

My day may begin crawling larvae patterns slowly along the lake bed, while watching for cruising fish. As the day moves along or as increasing activity is noticed I will switch to a pupae imitation and fish them as a team as suggested above.

 

Focusing on the correct depth is a key to success, and you don’t want to be too deep. Fish targeting pupae will often be searching high in the water column and it also pays to have a few film flies for when the subtle sips begin. The takes will often be super soft, maybe just a tightening of the line, so be prepared to set on anything.

 

With winter coming into full swing here in the Southern Lakes I am looking forward to giving the midge box a good workout.


Quick Nymphing Tip

Posted by Chris Dore on August 20, 2021 at 7:30 PM


Consider each and every drift when nymphing. Pick two targets: where you think the fish will be, and where you need to land your nymph to get down to that target, without dragging through it. In pocket water this will mean a shorter drift so land your fly closer and use more weight as required to get immediately down. In smoother water you’ll want to cast further upstream and employ a longer drift with a fly which wont snag up or drag your indicator under too soon.

 

Regardless, using level tippet between the indicator and fly will allow lighter flies to sink with less resistance, and more direct contact to the indi without the progressively thicker taper of a leader to hold up in the column and bow.


All you need to know about Glo Bugs

Posted by Chris Dore on August 12, 2021 at 6:40 PM


 

There are many ways we can have our eggs and don’t we enjoy them all.

 

Scrambled with bacon, poached with bacon, fried with bacon, bacon eggs benedict, the list goes on! As much as our preferences change week by week, it’s the same as our approach to winter fishing each year and the variety of ways we fish and select our patterns improves each season with experience and as new materials come to light.

 

So this is far from just another glo bug article but a refresher and an overview of some of the many fly fishing tactics and techniques we employ using egg patterns to hopefully spark some of your latest and greatest ideas this winter.




What Are Glo Bugs?

 

Love them or loathe them, trout eat glo bugs. (or emerging trout imitations for those dry fly stalwarts struggling to justify their use).

 

Trout generally spawn across the winter months, when the water temps are cool and oxygen levels are high, essential requirements for eggs to develop. Exceptions to this could be in lake tributaries, offering cold water through the later months of summer, simulating the higher oxygen requirements of spawning.

 

When it comes time to spawn, female trout create redds in suitable gravels by scraping it out with their anal fins. This activity excites the males who fight for position and excitedly await the dropping of the eggs by the hen. As the eggs drop, Johnny On the Spot races in to fertilise them, and many milking eggs inadvertently end up drifting off downstream in the flow.

 

As trout are cannibals, and eggs are obviously an easy high protein meal, many become a target especially to larger rainbows that often follow the browns up earlier in the winter, or themselves as winter moves on. Needless to say, roe becomes a highly desirable winter staple for many fish.


When To Fish Egg Patterns


 

Whilst egg patterns can be effective at any time of the year, spawning season or otherwise, it is across the winter and early months of spring when they are most readily available and accepted as food. At other times they can provide colour on a dull day or in discoloured flows, but it is during the winter spawning runs where they come into their own.

 

Both dawn and dusk are prime time to fish egg patterns in any conditions, however many will find much greater success by switching to naturals throughout the day in normal water and clearer weather conditions. More eggs will get washed downstream in times of increased flows and so any high water or increasing flow can be a great time to break out those glo bugs.




Choosing The Right Colour Roe Imitation

 

You’re at a major disadvantage if you head out to the river with only one size and colour egg in your fly patch. Earlier on in the spawn the roe can be bright, and so oranges, tangerines etc can be at their most effective. Later on eggs lose their vibrance and so early girl and more muted tones can be the way to go.

 

Additionally, on low light days brighter colours will stand out and especially in discoloured flows, larger patterns in chartreuse, oranges etc will grab attention, and in lower, clearer or brighter conditions the sensible option is to stay smaller and with more neutral tones.

 

While much of the above applies to moving water, similar advice can be followed when fishing lakes. However in stillwater situations eggs can be washed down from the stream mouths or found suspended in the water column at any time making them a good, all day addition to your rig.


How To Rig Your Egg Patterns


THE TRIED & TRUE DOUBLE NYMPH RIG

 

Tied behind a nymph and fished upstream beneath an indicator, or off a dropper above your weighted point fly. It pays to get into the habit of every few casts letting them swing at the end of the drift and hanging for a few seconds before introducing a few strips / stops. You’d be surprised how often you’re pulling the flies out of fishes mouth when you are in a hurry to recast



TIE ONE ON BEHIND YOUR STREAMER

 This adds an extra incentive to fish that may not be interested in a bigger meal and often converts those 2lb pocket rockets, amongst other things.



Add one to your streamer

 Egg-Truder style. There’s a hook trailing off the back there so why not dress it and add to your pattern?



Stillwater nymphing, indicator style

 Suspend a pair of egg patterns beneath an indicator, depth to suit. It may take time for the indi to register a take, and a soft egg type pattern is likely to be held by the fish for longer than an artificial yarn type imitation doe to a much more natural feel. As well as fishing them static, occasionally draw your rig towards you and allow them to settle again, both the rising motion, and slow sink of your flies will often grab attention. A favourite Marty Langlands tactic when fishing adjacent to stream mouths.

 

GO SOLO WITH A SINGLE GLO BUG

 Add some Loon Black Drops, for snaggier sections of water where you don’t wish to lose tandem flies every few casts.



FISH A TEAM OF EGG PATTERNS ON A SINKING LINE

 Try and fish your glo bugs 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, more so if a small booby type pattern or FAB is used on point.



On a dropper euro style

 This is a no brainer with a heavier job nymph on point and one or two egg patterns on droppers, worked seductively through a run. Try using a small, well weighted streamer pattern on point to make fish move.



Fishing the rip

 Try fishing an egg cluster on a short dropper and Di7 line, leaving it to move about the currents in the rip. Either fish it heave and leave style, or slowly crawl it back up the edge of the in flowing current.




GETTING YOUR EGG FLY INTO THE EAT ZONE


 

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, as well as the famous Bomb Squad are my pick.

 

Try the hanging shot technique below using Loon Black Drops, eco friendly lead shot which matches the accepted weight of lead split shot:

 

Simply split your tippet six inches above your top fly with your favourite dropper knot, tying an overhand knot in the end of one tag end and leaving it long.

Attach your shot to the tag end and avoid damaging your mainline as you squeeze them tight

In snag prone areas maybe tie the dropper off a tippet ring using much lighter line. Chances are the shot will snag and can be pulled free with a straightened rod and tight line

 

Utilising a long, level tippet and good mending technique are the hallmarks of a good, winter angler so you don’t have to deal with as much uncomfortable excess weight, and can allow your flies to move more freely within the currents down below.

 

 


LET'S GET INTO EGG PATTERNS


 

As mentioned, utilise colour and flash in low light, or coloured water conditions or even to get seen from a distance if the run is few and far between. Smaller, more natural patterns are our go to in clear water flows.

 

In slower water or when fishing further from my indicator I’m going to want a fly the fish will hold for longer whereas for rough and tumble jungle fishing, or when fishing in faster flows which are harder on flies I’m reaching for durability.


Fly Tying Materials


 

Yarn has been the traditional pattern for eggs for many, many years both being durable, easy to shape and easier to tie. However often being of the same materials we choose for its floating properties as indicators, you often require excessive weight to sink these flies quickly.

 

Along with their durability, yarn patterns can also be advantageous when fished below a dropper holding split shot, for if snagged the lighter trace to the shot is likely to break first while your buoyant yarn bug is hopefully floating above the debris.

 

Soft rubber eggs offer a more realistic, translucent appearance and feeling much more natural may be eaten more confidently in slower water or in times of heavy angling pressure. The drawback however is their durability and ability to stay on the hook, however various glues and the addition of Egg Veil yarn used for effect can also further improve the durability of your soft egg pattern.

 

Choose your flash wisely for too much flash can put off fish in clear or bright conditions however can add the attraction of reflected light on duller days. The addition of Fritz, UV Dub or other eye catching materials add some pizazz without going too overboard when needed.

 

A wide gape hook leaves plenty of room around your bulky bead pattern and heavy gauge wire is a must, for you will often be fishing deep with heavier rigs that seem to love finding every snag and overhead branch they can. On this note, it’s wise to carry a hook hone to touch up any dulled down hook points following such an encounter.

 


AND SOME FINAL EGG TIPS FROM THE FLY FISHING PROS


 

“We love the Manic Otters Soft Milking Egg in tangerine for coloured water or low light conditions. Gel eggs look more realistic and sink way quicker, which most people underestimate”

 

Jason Bethune - The Creel Tackle House and Cafe, Turangi

 

“Being a mainlander, I mostly fish egg patterns in high country lakes in two ways , firstly a weighted egg under an indicator near stream mouths fished dead drift and secondly on a 25 cm dropper behind a weighted streamer . Both get super results”

 

Martin Langlands - Troutlands Fly Fishing

 

“Use UV materials in the construction of your eggs when fishing the McKenzie Country Canal system to stand out more to trout, and dead looking fleshy colours to really turn the fish on”

 

Ben Booth – Boothy’s Fishing School

 

“A few tips when choosing the best egg pattern is be prepared to revolve naturals and egg patterns. In coloured water you can fish larger and brighter eggs. I tie otters with veil to hold the soft egg in place and personally have found better hook sets with a slightly larger hook and deeper gape tied on a smaller diameter egg. So, fishing a 4mm egg and using a size 12 grub hook compared to a size 14. Eggs can be fished down river and spawning fish will hit them on the swing close to the bottom trailed behind your bomb. So get your eggs in front of the fish!”

 

Rob Vaz - Robfish Fly Fishing Adventures




Winter 2021 - You should be here!

Posted by Chris Dore on August 12, 2021 at 6:25 PM




Its been a cracker here in the South this winter and while it hasnt been easy with flows well up, with the right gear, the right techniques and the right guide by your side, there are fish to be found.




Touch base with Chris to get into some Southern winter, and springtime fishing.



Windy Day Tactics

Posted by Chris Dore on July 10, 2021 at 6:15 PM


Always worth a revisit..


After spending many, many guide days on the water I have observed countless styles and attempts to combat the wind. The following are a few tid bits to assist you in windy days on the river.


 

* Minimise, or better still, eliminate false casting. The more time your line is in the air, the more time you have to phuck things up.


* Keep a short, manageable line. Wind riffle will hide the fish, but it will also conceal your movements. Shorten up and move in closer.


* Keep your rod tip low to the water. Any vertically hanging slack beneath the rod tip will get blown around by the wind, ultimately affecting your drift. Keep your rod tip down low, touching the water to minimise this effect.


* Check your leader often, and use a stiffer tippet. Last thing you want is to finally hook a fish only to have a wind knot give.


* If an indicator is required, keep it small. Energy will transfer down the taper of the line, into the leader and end when it hits your indy. The nymph then turns over from momentum alone, so if you cannot get rid of the indicator completely, make it as small and least wind resistant as possible. Shorter, steeper tapering leaders assist greatly in the transfer of energy through to the fly.


* Use a heavy tungsten to push through the wind. If using a dry fly, trailing a small tungsten on point will assist greatly in turnover.


* Maximise every chance. Realistically, windy days can be tough – maintain realistic expectations and do everything you can to convert whatever chances you have at fish. Practising at home, employing the above tactics and working the water well will result in more fish caught. FACT!


Dealing with low light conditions

Posted by Chris Dore on June 13, 2021 at 8:25 PM




It’s never too glary to find a few fish, you just have to adapt your strategy.

 

First up, look for a solid backdrop and then look for a height advantage. As hard as it might be to put into practice just forget about that stuff that you can’t see into and put all your focus on the water that you can. Make sure to position yourself the best that you can to see into the absolute best of the water, you may need to sacrifice good water to get the advantage on great water but it’s usually worth it.

 

Choose a lens that draws in light. My light copper / neon lenses are perfect for these situations and while my favourite all round photochromic copper lenses will suffice, why not make life a little bit easier for yourself in this tougher conditions.

 

AND SLOW DOWN! Let the fish reveal themselves. This is probably the best advice I can give to any angler on any given day, but especially grey, low light days. If you think there should be a fish there then chances are there will be, you just need to chill out and wait for the moment it stuffs up and gives its position away.

 

Wear tones to match the dull day. On this particular day stalking along high banks my black softshell stood out way too much with all the grey above and behind, so Chris, in his Simms G4 Pro Jacket took the lead, moving slowly and undetected amongst the scrub, and we did alright.




Don’t expect to find too many fish swinging 30m distant on glary days where you have plenty of time to plan your strategy. This is very rarely the reality. It will most often be close quarters reveals, and often you will be right alongside the fish. Whether you have a shot at him or not depends on how prepared you are.

 

Firstly, are you rigged correctly? What would you do if there’s a fish sitting right beside you in 30cm water, and you have a split shot loaded, stonefly rig attached? Probably nothing.

 

If you’re leaving a deeper run and approaching softer water above simply take the time to rerig in advance. There are numerous ways to get a lighter fly deeper, or noticed but not many ways of stopping a couple of BB shot from finding the rocks in softer, shallower edgewaters.

 

Be prepared. If your best visibility is in the shallows beside you it’s no use having a 20 foot leader and split shot rig. Go shorter and lighter with flies that will fish through the water at hand. Likewise if your vis suddenly becomes clearer deeper out, change out before you stalk that water and find that fish you just won’t cover with your shallower water rig.

 

When I’m switching out regularly like this I carry Loon Rigging Foams for quick, easy changeovers. I might have one rigged up with a heavy stonefly and a natural dropper, one with an attractor fly and smaller dropper, and one with a pair of smaller, lighter naturals. Simply attach whichever rig you need with just one quick, well-practiced knot, and get your flies out there tangle free in no time at all.

 

Finally, the biggest issue I see with anglers is the inability to attach the flies to the rod, but more often, getting the flies off the rod and onto the water before the fish knows you are there. You may only have three or four seconds to drop that fly in front of that fish you are almost stepping on, so this needs to be a practiced technique.




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