Ronan Creane's Lake Wakatipu Winter Mission

By Ronan Creane of Ronan's Fly Fishing Missions


After a very wet week the river options for the weekend were virtually non-existent. It had to be a lake. There are lots to choose from but Mark and I decided on the Frankton arm on Lake Wakatipu. The forecast was for wind, rain (lots of rain) and snow.

The Frankton arm is sheltered and even if it does blow up you’re never far from the shore, so with the forecast, it seemed like a safe bet. We picked up the Wakatipu Anglers Club boat and set off for a weekend afloat.

Fly Fishing Lake Wakatipu


  1. Shallows, 3 to 6 foot of water.
  2. Deeper water, about 6 to 10 foot.
  3. Holes, gutters and drop-offs. 10foot plus.


For the first, I set up a rod with an Airflo Clear Camo Intermediate line with a small possum streamer on it. For the second and third rods I set up the Airflo Sixth Sense DI7 with 11lb Trouthunter fluorocarbon tippet and a Dore's Mr Glister from the Manic Fly Collection.

The reason for the heavy tippet is the big fly - The Dore’s Mr Glister is quite big and I used a slender size! The reason for the big fly is simply to be noticed. A big fly will be seen by more fish in deep water. It may be the case that we got lots of refusals we don’t even know about using this method but I believe the law of averages will prevail and a good number of fish will attack / eat the fly.

As it turned out on day one the intermediate line was not used. I started catching fish on the first drift way out on the drop-off and reasonable action continued with the DI7. Mark chose the DI5 but didn’t get much action so it’s valuable to know that fast sinking lines are not just for fishing deep water. They fish shallower water very efficiently and there is no need to waste any time counting it down, just start stripping. This makes it an extremely versatile line, in that you can effectively fish 5 to 25 foot down without changing lines.

Mark had no luck on day one with the DI5. He only had a few touches. Partly because he was not comfortable with his chosen rod but mainly because he was not getting down quick enough. I boated seven fish with the DI7. On day two Mark put on the DI7 and changed to rod that suited him. We had four each. This proves the value of the right rod and line!

Ronan Creane Fly Fishing Missions


The next time I’m out there I have a method in mind to try out. I noticed lots of small smelt / fry in some of the fish. I’d like to tie a few weighted imitations and fish them on a floater or intermediate line. Figure of eight them very slowly over the weeds and wait for the takes. It has to work!

I tried a similar method briefly on Sunday afternoon and I got one or two. Also, there were lots of light brown caddis on the water over the weekend. There were a few fish moving on them on Sunday afternoon but not many. I know my father would have picked up a few with his double nymph rig!

Mark and myself had two excellent days afloat. The weather only made it better. The spray from the waves while motoring, the gusts, the cold, the rain, the snow, whatever! It did not matter because we had the clothing for it. It’s that simple!

Winter Fly Fishing Lake Wakatipu

I was hoping to fish some rivers during this month of May, but for one reason or another it didn’t happen, besides a fruitless few hours on the Clutha. This Saturday is my last chance to fish a river before the river season ends. We’ll see what happens! Wakatipu is calling me back too...

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