NZ Xmas in HariHari West Coast

The La Fontaine , Harihari

La Fontaine 4 lb

8 lb brute took a mouse pattern !! Thomas the Dane

Oreti River

Hello , well after my trip up the Clinton I headed up the Oreti River and base camped at the Mavora lakes . Tried to fish the Oreti however my foot was starting to hurt badly making mobility very difficult !! That evening still in pain I hobbled to the banks of South Mavora lake and bolted a mouse pattern on to a stiffish leader and waited till dark !! Then taking great care not to lose an eye I cast Mickey out into the darkness , the idea being that large trout cruise the margins eating mice that are looking to cross the lake not wise !!
I was fishing near to a dane who was also trying his luck ! It was cold and very dark , however the stars were amazing as were the loud glooping noises indicating a mouse going to meet his maker !! I felt as if the rod was being wrenched from me only to be given back , the fish or thing had missed the hook !! Thomas the dane was encouraged his next cast resulted in the 8 lb beauty shown above . We fished on for an hour and I felt it increasingly harder to stand and increasingly harder to get the short distance back to my Hammock due to the pain in my Toe , I knew something was up and I made the sad decision to get it checked out which meant leaving this place and heading to civilisation !!
A visit to the GP in Wanaka confirmed the toe was infected and prescribed antibiotics and rest as Xmas was looming I headed north to Harihari and the bech hut I`d stayed in on the way south .
After a day the drugs kicked in and the inflammation started to reduce thankfully .
As the La Fontaine is very near I gave it an afternoon , a small spring fed stream I managed to hook a 4 lb fish and land it not until I had to wade out to dislodge it from a reed bed !
Heavy rain that evening (downside of the west coast ) put the rivers up , so I checked out a few rivers nearby .
Next day went to look at the mouth of the Waita river were it enters the sea and found this amazing beach .
Stayed and watched the locals spinning for Kawwai ? 5lb Mackerel is the best I can describe , at serious risk to my six weight I bravely dodged the flying metal and cast hopefully into the incoming tide fruitlessly I may add , however my six weight is still intact and as a local took pity and handed me a bled fish I left to cook it up at the hut , instructions to cut out the red meat flour and fry in hot oil where followed and I had the best fish supper and equal to the best I`ve eaten !!
Next day saw me fishing the Whangunuitaeona !!! I think , anyhow saw plenty of Fish some very big , but lying in suicidal nymph territory , so I looked on in envy and respect , anyhow caught two fish 3lb and 2 1/2 Ib , which as the wind had started to blow trees over !!! making spotting and casting trickier then I was pleased . 20` leader and small beadhead needed this length of leader is the minimum I am finding to prevent spooking these fish , the plop of a heavy bead will also have them scurrying away you only get one shot normally screw it up and your history if you get a second shot change nymph if it sees the same unappealing offering twice your history !! What amazes me is some fish if suspicious will swim downstream to look at you then shoot off !!
Wind got too bad as it is today so will return as soon as the wind eases , however I am keen to kick south again towards Jackson bay south of Haast and try some rivers in this remote area .

Clinton River , Lake Te anau NZ

Large Brownie about to spook !!!!

The Jetty start of the Milford Track and the GODDESS

Whitebait omellette

Resting and reflecting on pain and exhilaration

First Rainbow it was very cold !!!!

The junction pool a stunningly deep blue pool typical of this stunning peice of fly heaven

Hi , recovering and resting up in Te Anau after an amazing adventure up the Milford track fishing the Clinton , hope the pictures represent a feel for what was a privilege , I was very fortunate to gain access to this wilderness river due to being invited to join Deano on his Boat the Goddess after a perfect storm arrival at midnight in a howling gale which tried to drive us aground as we tried to berth at the jetty Very Scary !!!!!!!!!!!!!! we woke after a few nerve settling whiskys to a perfect calm in paradise , only to be rudely disturbed by the arrival of the daily ferry depositing trampers departing on the three day trek to Milford sound . We however where here to fish , we still had some tramping though and it was tough but worth every agony .
Gin clear river , large hard fighting rainbows and browns requiring stealth and cunning to deceive them . Pictures of me resting and waiting on a plate of Whitebait to be cooked up NZ just got better a memorable trip that will live with me always

New Zealand 13th November 2009

Hi to my army of followers !!! Two weeks now and it seems I`ve lived here all my life , its been an enormous adventure and numbing on the senses so many sights and sounds to take in .

I have tried unsuccessfully to update the blog at my last stop in Reefton however it crashed and I had to move on , anyway I`d been camping on the Grey River close to the confluence with the Robinson River , after meeting the farm manager who kindly allowed me access , after a beer or two !! I spent two days here weather not too good rain and bad visibility and tough on my leg , bad experience when got lost in the bush !! however I relievedly found my way out .

Second day much better weather still the odd shower . I`d decided to fish the Robinson as my leg was sore from my bush wanderings , and encouragingly spotted fish , however they obviously took offence to me ogling them and pissed off , this happened repeatedly and a consequence of seeing them too late as they saw me !! pleased to be spotting them in bad light though ,can only improve , I will have too its a whole new ball game but the rewards are unbelievable , so after spooking most of the fish the only one I didn`t turned out to be a fish shaped piece of wood :)

I headed back tired bruised and beaten , back at the truck I brewed up and pondered on some really nice fish , made a hot brew of tea on the stove as English men do when under fire ,I took the decision to tramp down the Robinson to the confluence where it meets the Grey , it meant I had to cross It to get the best position to fish up to where they meet , a tricky crossing I scam bled to safety and strode to my assault position I began my creeping up the bank knowing this water would hold fish it was a classic lie , but worried I would spook them ! call it luck or doggedness I spied a fish feeding and it continued to feed a good sign , my first cast fell short my second drifted perfectly that resulted in a 20 min battle with a fine fish it went ballistic and I could feel its anger through my rod hand it all ended well and after a few hurried pics I released the bristling beauty back to the flow Awesome !!!!!!!!!!!:)

I went back to the farmstead and shared a whisky with Perry May and we chatted over looking the valley where I`d caught my fish and chatted , I then went and set up camp and decided to depart for somewhere new first thing , I said farewell to my black robin who shared camp with me and after an hour I rolled into Reefton an old Goldmining town , coffee and few calls and txts home as found a signal , and decided to Camp on Larry`s Creek weather bad rain and cold and sandfly HQ , I am still itching the scars ,I had a tough day and got soaked and sore , still managed to spot fish but these where actually telepathic !! So I ended up very cold and wet .

After a wet night I woke to find the river high so set off into Reefton for a coffee , I then got a call from Deano offering me his Dads Batch ( NZ for camping hut ) Which was at Harihari fuher south down the coast and also would I like to spend four days with him fishing on Te Anau in Fiordland and maybe fish some Rivers on the other side , which was really kind of him .

So I headed south crossing river after river all running high and coloured till I reached Harihari and found the beach hut with a range which I Lit and soon had hot water and a shower luxury , in the morning I checked a few rivers local one being La fontaine however all high , found Berry`s Creek a spring fed river and so was fishable , it was here I encountered a massive shock at er negotiating a tangle of electric fencing similar to Tom cruise in mission impossible !! I was wading under one when I touched it with my back !!and nearly bit my tongue off shit this wasn`t a soft buzz you get in the UK this was adrenaline charged NZ voltage , so shaken and smouldering I staggered back to the truck as the rain continued to poor down . At the hut I prepared to depart for the long haul in the morning to Te anau .

What a trip Jeremy Clarkson eat my dust ! Stunning rainforest glaciers waterfalls , Haast gorge , Wanaka , Great lakes (simalar to the lake district But on steroids ) Queenstown ( Towers of Mordor ) the remarkables and after a stop at Mossburn I am now in Te Anau awaiting Deano and the boat , in the library with aload of backpackers using free wi-fi access .

It was an amazing drive yesterday and you could spend a month just doing it justice .

I will be away on the boat for four days I think so on our return I will visit here again .

Best regards mark .

First Days NZ

Recovering the morning after outside the hut with black coffee and paracetamol . Have you seen the view ??? Lake Mason a place I will never forget my first taste of backcountry fishing NZ style Deano is a great guy , if a rubbish pig hunter , came on a herd of wild pigs in full flight !!out came the rifle and hunt on ,

pigs escaped unscathed much to Deans frustration !!!

My first night in a back country hut , met these two great guys cooked us a first class meal , with great wine , as one owned his own vineyard , the hut was in a stunning location .

Fish safely returned calm by beating heart !!

Fish in the net !!!

Little over a week here on the ground and have not stopped , been out in the backwoods most of the time so have pulled out to resupply and do communication !!!

Have got some great video but seems to take an age to upload so will settle for pics thus far , all I can say is its awesome truly , weather been poor so far which has made spotting fish difficult but well worth it when you do !!!!!!!!!! not for the faint hearted .

First fish on the Hurunui with Deano

Not sure this is the correct video Deano took a few and Hope i`ve chosen the correct one , if not will sort later , but he took some great stuff .

Any how after returning to Christchurch and a night at Deano `s with Bec`s and Emma , I set off back to the Hurunui on my own and spent two days there , one fish the first day , and landed two lost two the next day !! soooooooooooo strong !!! Reluctantly I headed off through the Lewis pass heading for the Grey?Robinson Rivers close to Springs Junction home of Trophies !! Weather not good overcast and rain making spotting trickier than it is anyhow . you only have to look at these fellas the wrong way and your sussed !!!

All in all my first week has fulfilled my wildest dreams so far , I am spoiled for choice as to where to go next currently in an old gold mining town Reefton ,drinking coffee and buying a net with scales , its tough landing these beasts without one and I don`t like beaching them , plus opportunities can be limited , hence the losses and my gammy leg doesn`t help !!! Plus I need to know how big they are , I am thinking 5ib + however think I`m wrong !!

Enjoying the camping in spectacular country and met some great people so far , really friendly and helpful no negatives at all .

Lasrry`s creek is near by and will give it a look later , the video is taking an age and I am itchy to get goiing as the sun is shining hotly for the first time since my arrival .

Will post more soon but will leave it for a rainy day , thank you for following me .

Mark Whitehead adventures down under .