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Hooked on Trout Fishing - Nelson, NZ

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Rebekah Joy
Rebekah Joy

Trout fishing in Nelson is one of the most ultimate angling experiences in New Zealand. The rivers are vast and plentiful, the anglers few and far between. Clear water flowing through native bush and large brown trout with golden flanks jumping and darting around. For our first adventure we decided on one of the rivers at the back of Canvastown, midway between Nelson and Blenheim. Where the rapids flushed our evasive targets were wary and, when hooked were dirty fighters. I gave up watching and headed for the car until I heard my name been shouted with urgency. I ran back to the river, there was blood on the stones. Both fish and man were gasping for breath. He did this to him, they did it to each other! I was euphoric, trout for dinner! Still, I felt the tragedy as this beautiful creature gasped its final breath.

"Kill him," I commanded, wanting it to end quickly. Easier said than done, our guide had wandered a couple of miles up stream with the only knife. He didn’t really think we would catch anything on our first feeble attempts.
"But first photo time!" I called brandishing the camera. Extremely proud he held his first victim up high for a picture. As I said 'smile', that slippery  fish jumped from his hands and made a dive for the ground. Now that the picture had been taken, I wanted to fish to be put out of his misery. "Go get the knife," I suggested helpfully. My partner looked at me with those exasperated eyes. He had waded thigh high into the depths of the Pelourus river and was standing on the river bank in his undies.
There seemed to be an awful lot of blood for one fish. I looked down and followed the oozing trail to the source. It was gushing from my partners foot. That tricky fish! As he had dived to the ground, the hook had been dislodged and embedded into my partners foot. He couldn't cut himself free from the rod, or even put his trousers back on. The sand flies sensed the predicament and swarmed. I ran down stream to find the knife.
The doctor at the hospital was impressed with the tale as she cut the hook from his foot. The chemist was also impressed as he prescribed antihistamines for the raging sand fly welts and bites on my partners thighs and feet. But I was the most impressed as I ate my baked trout and listened to the stories for the ones that had got away.
Day licences for trout fishing are $21.00, a season pass is $100, a family pass $130 or a winter pass $67. Local Fishing and Game offices have a wealth of information and maps that will helps you find some of the more accessible rivers and locations.

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