Your Top 3 Fantasy Fly Fishing Destinations

whatamango bay

The stunning Whatamango Bay in New Zealand

New Zealand is far and away your dream fly fishing destination. That’s what the results of our big fishing survey tell us. Canada is next and Alaska is the third most popular choice. When we asked for your ‘money-no-object’ top fly fishing destination, we were staggered by the response; nearly a thousand of you took the time to answer and the results were unequivocal.

But why do so many of you want to fly long haul in search of fly fishing adventures? Let’s find out.

New Zealand

Bringing a New Zealand bow' to hand. Image: jakub-kanok.com

Bringing a New Zealand bow’ to hand. Image: jakub-kanok.com

Almost a quarter of those of you who responded to the survey said your ideal destination is New Zealand, even though it’s about as far away as you can get from the UK. This means the travelling alone sucks three or four days from your holiday. It must have something special going for it…

First of all, the New Zealand summer coincides with our British winter. Just as the salmon and trout seasons here draw to a close, the rivers on the far side of the world open. For anyone who wants to fish year round, New Zealand is the perfect choice.

New Zealand offers world class trout fishing. Image: jakub-kanok.com

New Zealand offers world class trout fishing. Image: jakub-kanok.com

And the fishing is stupendous. There is arguably nowhere else in the world that offers such a quality and variety of rivers, lakes and streams – and all within relatively easy reach of each other.

The welcome is warm, as Kiwis are famed for their hospitality. Accommodation and food are reasonably priced, too. Heck, they even drive on the same side of the road as us.

A New Zealand spring creek brown. Image: jakub-kanok.com

A New Zealand spring creek brown. Image: jakub-kanok.com

Where to go

There’s good fishing all around New Zealand. But the South Island is where the fun really starts. Get ready for some wonderful wild brown trout and salmon, all the way from sunny Nelson to the wilds of the Southern Alps. Fish the meandering rivers of the Canterbury plains before heading south to Queenstown and Gore, the “brown trout capital of the world”.

Stalking South Island Browns. Image: jakub-kanok.com

Stalking South Island Browns. Image: jakub-kanok.com

To make the most of your adventure, use an experienced destination outfitter. Aardvark McLeod, for example, offer tailor-made fly fishing adventures all over the world. They’ll source the best accommodation, and their stable of experienced guides will make sure your trip lives up to your dreams.

This outstanding video by Jakub Kanok pretty much sums up the appeal of fly fishing New Zealand:


Gone West & Manic Tackle Project present: Set & Release from GW, Jakub Kanok on Vimeo.

Canada

Fly Fishing near Vancouver island, Canada. Image: coastwild.com

Fly Fishing near Vancouver island, Canada. Image: coastwild.com

Canada’s wilderness is quite staggeringly vast. Getting to your fishing destination can involve flying in a float plane across hundreds of miles of pristine boreal forest, before touching down in a lake fed by glacial waters so clear and so clean you can drink them. Imagine fly fishing for native rainbow, steelhead and chinook – and more – fishing that’s better than any you’ve ever experienced.

A huge Canadian salmon. Image: coastwild.com

A huge Canadian chinook salmon. Image: coastwild.com

We’re talking tall trees, awesome glaciers, bald eagles, grizzly bears and rivers like you’ll find nowhere else on earth. No wonder over 16 percent of you would choose to go west for a once in a lifetime fly fishing holiday.

Where to go

There are hundreds of incredible angling destinations across Canada. If we were forced to choose the best, British Columbia would be a strong contender. The fishing season runs from February to October and of course, the Rocky Mountains are just spectacular. But there’s also Saskatchewan, Northern Ontario, Quebec…

A catch from British Columbia. Image: coastwild.com

A catch from British Columbia. Image: coastwild.com

Log cabin accommodation ranges from backwoods basic to the last word in luxury. Again, to really reap the rewards of crossing the Atlantic in search of fishing heaven, you really need the services of a guide. They’ll help you find the best spots, and share their years of knowledge so you can get more from your fishing. Somebody like Curtis Smith of Coastal Wilderness adventures will ensure your trip is as productive as possible.

Check out his awesome steelhead fishing video on the Campbell river:

Alaska

serenity lake alaska

Imagine fishing Serenity Lake in Alaska…

If rather less of you dream of wetting a line in Alaska, that’s probably only due to the remoteness of the location, and the perceived difficulty and expense involved in getting there. But make no mistake, though just under 10 percent of you favour making the trip to the frozen north, those who do are in for some spectacular (and abundant) fly fishing.

Alaska offers the opportunity to experience untamed wilderness in search of wild rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and Steelhead. But wonderful though these species are, the US’s 49th state is really all about salmon!

A Bristol bay salmon. Image: AardvarkMcLeod Facebook.

A Bristol bay salmon. Image: AardvarkMcLeod Facebook.

King, Silver, Sockeye, Pink and Chum – you’ll find no less than five species of this splendid game fish in the rivers of Alaska. So make sure you time your visit to coincide with the spectacular salmon runs.

Where to go

Pushed to choose, we might head for the Kenai River in South-Central Alaska. Early runs in June average 16,000 fish, but the late runs are truly incredible. Upwards of 40,000 fish surge upstream, some weighing in at near 100lbs. As one Alaskan fishing and lodging outfit puts it: “May through September, something is always jumping in the Kenai.” Now that’s fly fishing at its best!

If you’re intending to fish in Alaska, the services of an experienced guide will prevent you ending up as bear food.

Did your top choice make it into the top three? The UK was in fifth position – perhaps for those people, it’s a case of ‘East, West, home’s best’!