Buckle Up, Fly Talk… We're Going to New Zealand

Life trip. Dream trip. Fly-fishing fantasy fulfilled. Use all the superlatives you want. Truth is, I'm about to take a trip I've been dreaming about for 20 or more years. I have never been more excited about any fishing adventure. And I'm going to take you with me (at least in words and spirit).

As you read this, I'll be dozing in a "Spaceseat" on Air New Zealand, somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Come along. Your safety briefing for the journey to Middle Earth is right here

Here's the backstory. I learned to fly fish on the Baldwin River in Michigan—according to most records, the first stream in the United States where brown trout were planted in the 1880s. My first fly-caught fish was a brown trout. While I have been blessed to catch many other species on the fly over the past few decades, the one fish I care most about, when all is said and done, is the brown trout. If I had one day left to chase any fish, it would be brown trout. And I don't bat an eyelash when I say that.

That fish has led me to the far reaches of the world, from Tierra del Fuego, to above the Arctic Circle in Russia, to Iceland, and throughout my home range in the Rockies. The brown trout isn't "native" to most of those places, but in my mind, it's the king of trout. As I have said many times before, the sun never sets on the empire of the brown trout. (Hmmmm… does anyone smell a book brewing here?)

No trout fights with the same dogged determination as does the brown trout. And nowhere, I am told, offers a more pure, honest, and challenging opportunity to match wits with bruiser brown trout than the South Island of New Zealand. Apparently, it's a "mouse year." More on that later. But I have also been told, over and over, from those who have been there—from Tim Romano, to Dave Whitlock, to Jay Cassell, and many others—that the fishing scene in New Zealand is nirvana. Great people. Great culture. Amazing resources.

Well, we shall see. All of us. Because over the next two weeks, I'll be dedicating my posts here to the NZ experience, replete with gear tips, fishing tips, and so on, that I learn along the way. Many of you liked the steelhead dispatches I sent from the Dean River in British Columbia. We're going to kick that up a notch as I trek and fish through brown trout heaven. Please stay tuned… I won't let you down. Kia Ora!