Fly fishing Canterbury Braided Rivers

These large, wide and expansive rivers flow from the Southern Alps down through the Canterbury Plains in a lace like set of braids that are the most dynamic of all New Zealand trout rivers! The combination of heavy snow and rain fall in the Southern Alps can cause these rivers to flood with huge volumes of alluvial sometimes glaciered water. However they can also have periods of stable low clear flow and it’s during these times we seek Rainbow and Brown Trout that dwell in such river systems.


Using 6-7wt rods and covering lots of water is the key with these highly mobile fish that often accumulate in pods. The fun part here is you may use both large and small streamers, swing them across and down. You may upstream indicator fish heavy nymphs and in total contrast huge mayfly hatches can occur. It is then we use emergers, spinners and mayfly dry fly patterns.

There can be a component of sight fishing in braided rivers, but for the most part blind fishing is best as this teaches and expands the anglers knowledge of ‘reading the river’ an essential thing!
Near the Pacific Ocean large numbers of Sea Run Browns occur again, mainly fished on streamers with Switch and Spey casting becoming more popular here. The amazing aspect of fishing braided rivers is there are miles upon miles of water to cover and explore with other anglers not often encountered. Combine this with the panoramic Southern Alps as the back drop and you can have a great day provided you choose the right time. Jet boat and salmon fishing culture are also popular on Braided rivers during November thought to end of April.