Fly Fishing Etiquette in New Zealand

The angler that's first on the water has all the rights

Always be courteous to your fellow anglers

Fly Fishing Etiquette in New Zealand

Don't be caught out on the river, things are done a little differently in NZ. Because of the different fishing styles, what is acceptable on the river is a little different than perhaps in other places. And often it out of ignorance that conflicts can occur on the river so take the time to become aware of what's acceptable and what is not.


With sight fishing an a angler requires a certain amount of water to cover in a days fishing, and fishing undisturbed water gives the best chance of success. In the back country, anglers go there for the peace and solitude, they don't expect someone to waltz up and start fishing beside them.


So as a general guide, the angler that's first on the water has all the rights. Anglers arriving second should always look to fish elsewhere if at all possible (drive to the next access point). If there are no other options, look to fish behind the angler who is already on the water, walk downstream as far as you can then start fishing back up, but don't interfere with his fishing, don't wade above him, and certainly don't start fishing above him!


Whenever possible try and have a chat with the other angler, so you can find out what his intentions are, and also to let him know what you are going to do. Maybe he's only fishing for an hour or two or is happy to let you go ahead and start fishing several pools ahead, but you need to ask.


Likewise if you are the first angler on the water, be prepared to help out your fellow angler, if you see another angler, acknowledge him and let him know what your intentions are, help if you can by suggesting an alternative location /option.


There is no doubt that fishing pressure is on the increase, and particularly on popular rivers, they can be busy. So always be courteous to your fellow anglers, as hopefully that will be reciprocated when the roles are reversed.


I remember a great day I had several years ago. I'd just started fishing for the day, and was already hooked up to fish number two, actually it was big and it took me down stream a distance. As I played the fish I noticed two other angler arrive and they walked up a couple of pools ahead, waded across the river and unbelievably started fishing....They committed a number of errors in my opinion. First I was highly visible to them and not far away, they could have easily have come and asked my intentions, next they crossed the river above me, they were wet wading so their scent would certainly put any self respecting browns on high alert and I had no chance of catching any more. Third they invaded my space by fishing ahead of me and I had no undisturbed water left to fish, really they ruined my days good start. Now this river was long, there were plenty of other places, they could see me as they parked their car, they had no excuses for doing what they did.


I went up and watched them for a while, they looked rather uncomfortable. I pointed out a few things to them, politely if I remember correctly and left them to it, consoling myself with the knowledge that they wouldn't catch any fish using the large bright flouoro indicators they had on. But I was actually on a scouting mission and I had only wanting to fish there for a few hours before looking at another place. As it turned out, over the course of the day I managed 10 fish, all over 5lbs including one of 8lbs and another of 9lbs.


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