Fly fishing is the ultimate fresh water fishing experience. It takes a little time to master the technique, but once you do you'll be hooked for life.  

How to get started fly fishing

One of the most frequent questions we’re asked at Fish & Game is “where can I learn to fly fish?” Fly fishing is not that hard to learn but there is a lot to navigate when you are getting started. Figuring out how to cast, what gear to choose and where to go can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, many new anglers that buy gear often struggle with early failures and give up. In North America many fly shops offer free beginner fly fishing classes but currently there is no Fly Fishing 101 classes available on the North Island. There are three pathways for North Islanders to learn how to fly fish and using one or all of them will greatly increase your chance of enjoying fly fishing for years to come.   

  • Join a club: There are many fishing clubs that enjoy helping people learn to fish. Joining a club gives you an experienced peer group to help navigate the learning process. Spending time with skilled, or at least enthusiastic anglers will greatly improve your chances of becoming self-sufficient. Most clubs organise monthly fishing trips with shared travel and accommodation.  Being a member of a club is not only great for your wellbeing, but it will also save you time and money during the learning process.

    Select here to view list of clubs by region.

  • Hire a guide: Guides are a great resource if you have the funds, but make sure you tell your guide what you want to learn. Going for a fish on private land with a guide to rig your gear is like shooting a deer in a paddock and thinking you know how to hunt. Tell your guide you want to learn to fish the river where you plan to spend most of your time. One day on the water isn’t going to make you a pro but it will give you a good start and allows you to use someone else’s gear when you are most likely to break a rod tip or put holes in your waders.

  • Teach yourself: If you like DIY solutions and are willing to put in the time there are lots of resources online. Select here to view the video library dedicated to anglers learning to fish, this will save you hours of mucking around on YouTube.  People who do put in the time on their own find the experience very satisfying if successful, but it will take a lot more time and research compared to a guide or a club. If you are not a traditional club person and you decide DIY fits your personality, there are several NZ Facebook groups that can provide good advice on gear and technique.