Owen River Lodge is based on the banks of, funnily enough, the Owen River not far from Murchison and has a lifetime of fly fishing locations on its door step. About a year ago owner, Felix Borenstein, invited myself and my fiancée, Charlotte, down for a few nights to check out his little spot of paradise and after a couple of attempts trying to line it up we finally got ourselves sorted and rolled up on Thursday evening ready for a long weekend of relaxing by night and intense fishing by day.
I’ve heard it said on multiple occasions that the upper South Island has some of the most difficult fly fishing in the country with wise and wary browns that sit in tricky lies and don’t tolerant any shit. That familiar recipe of uber long leaders, small flies and making those first casts count was probably invented in this region. Now throw in some wind, tight casting zones and multiple currents creating all sorts of drag that requires a degree in physics to unravel and you’ve got a system set to beat you down into fly fishing submission. And that’s why we love it. When it’s tough you need to be fishing at 110% and the fish needs to slip up to 95% if you want to be in the game.
Thankfully we had Owen River Lodge guides Hannah Clement and Adam Peat showing us around and despite high water conditions in the main flows we checked out some smaller dream streams in the region spotting more than enough fish to keep things interesting, converting them was another story but eventually we got a nice 5lb fish on the dry as a reward for our efforts.
The Fish Après lifestyle at the lodge in the evenings is nothing short of a luxurious experience that needs to be experienced at least once in your life. With only one other guest staying we were treated to some five star dining courtesy of Ryan and gregarious hosting by Felix, Kylie and the two friendly labs, Keely and Indy. Followed up with a hot tub and a night cap and life doesn’t get much better.
But, as always with these things, it was back to reality on Sunday and as we said goodbye, packed the car and headed back to the big smoke we vowed that we’d make it back very soon as there is a lot of unfinished fishy business left in those hills and plenty of Neudorf wine still to be consumed.
A huge thanks to Felix, Kylie, Ryan, Hannah, Adam, Wayne, Keely and Indy for all making it such cool experience in seeing how the other half lives. Now back to Backcountry dehy’s, sleeping under tarps and Double Brown’s to wash it all down…which also has its own special appeal.