Five Christmas Tips from Chris Dore - Fly Fishing NZ

It’s nearly one week on and we are hoping you all had a bloody great Xmas. For those of you who were less fortunate beneath the tree, here’s a late pressie from us at Manic to better those socks, cans of Old Spice and striped woolly sweaters you’re currently looking to regift. With rivers being so low so early this season the fishing has proven tough for some. There’s some great fishing to be had yet not everyone is hooking into it.

Here’s 5 tips from Dore that are keeping his, and his client’s rod bent this summer.


Every presentation we are making at the moment, whether dry or nymph sees our tippets dressed with Mud. Loon's Snake River Mud submerges and degreases your tippet, reducing shadow and dulls the shine, essential when chasing wary, low water trout. Refusals are greatly reduced I find, especially in smooth water, and Mud is often all you need to get an unweighted nymph, or soft hackle sinking smoothly through the film.

#2 - 18’s

Sz18 Kyle's Deleatidium

One thing we have noticed around the traps is the preference for smaller and slimmer nymphs. While fish will still accept a larger pattern, on double fly combos where size varies it is the wee 18 that is getting eaten much more often, and importantly, much more confidently. Guide buddy Ronan Creane once mentioned the notable difference between a 14 and a 16 to trout, and I believe the difference between a 16 and 18 can be a game changer at times too, especially in low flows. I tie my wee nymphs super sparse, unweighted and with a 2mm bead. Fish will happily move & lift well into the water column if they want these. A benefit of low water and active trout.

Keep them small. Keep them slim, and fish them well.


From here on in with terrestrials on the wing, I’m only using yarn type indicators if deeper nymphing. If I’m using an indicator then it should be something the fish could eat, and so a dry fly is now my go-to. As mentioned, while larger nymphs are working, fish are hitting wee 18’s much more readily and so this is what I need on my rig. The issue lies in getting such a small, slim fly down while maintaining its super slender profile. The solution is trailing it behind a heavier 14 or 16. Three flies are legal on most waters, so why not make the most of it and have your dry, depth finder, and wee 18 work together as a killer team. Mix up your depth finder pattern, maybe incorporating some bling, or simply fish a pair of 18’s beneath your dry to create a more synchronised, and noticeable team.

Have trouble casting this rig? I’m pretty sure I told you a while back to go out and practice.

Tip: Open your loop, stop crisp and check your shoot to assist turnover.


See that fish in the pool? Everybody else has, and chances are he has seen more flies than you have. Why not look for fish that don’t get as much pressure? Most anglers give fast water a quick once over, that is if they don’t walk past it altogether. However those calf to thigh deep riffly sections are the prime feeding water in most rivers, and a quick cast here and there just won’t cut it. Slow down. Stop. Now watch, and watch some more. Fast water feeders have to move to eat and they’re usually fast, bold and detectable movements. Once you see him, take a few markers so you know where he is. Now cover him carefully, repeatedly if needed and be conscious about how deep your nymphs are getting if he won’t lift to a dry. As well as being the prime food factory of the river, the oxygenation riffly water provides is sought after once levels drop. Regardless, the better fish in the river will often be found in this type of water.


I’m fishing long. I want my flies to drift as drag free as possible, and my line kept far from wary fish. My usual set up is a 10’ Trouthunter nylon leader and 3-5’ of tippet to my dry. Energy transfer is everything when it comes to long leader turnover and I find the longer, thicker butt of Trouthunter leaders are great for this and offer greater stability on turnover. Struggling the get the cast right with longer leaders? We've got you covered HERE

Get out there and enjoy. Fish hard, fish safe and have a great NY!

Five Tips For Fly Fishing In New Zealand