NZFFA October/November 2023 Newsletter
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So, the results are in and we have a change of Government.

What this means for us and of course New Zealand as a whole, the future will tell.
Promising significant action within their first 100 days, our new triumvirate of National, ACT and NZ First have made a lot of promises.
Whatever your political affiliation, will reflect your reaction to these new policies. How they will unravel and relate to such things as emmissions and water quality we wait to see!


As has been extensively covered in the media on 10 November 2023 Environment Canterbury (ECan) applied to withdraw from the case it initiated – to determine who is responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of the Water Conservation Order for the Rakaia River.

ECan issued a highly misleading press release stating that all questions had been answered and there was no longer any disagreements between parties over ECan’s responsibilities with respect to the WCO.  In technical parlance this is complete bollocks as no determination has been reached by the Court and no agreement sought or given by any other party.

Both Fish & Game and Environmental Defence Society (EDS) immediately filed in opposition to their withdrawal, stating that the time and progress made by all parties in agreeing a single declaration (three similar but alternate declarations had previously been filed, including ours) would be wasted otherwise.  They also proposed that to start the process again would be administratively and financially burdensome on all parties.

As a section 274 ‘interested party’ we were not legally allowed to file a similar objection.

In our opinion, the Court decided that it was all too hard for Fish & Game and EDS to take over from where ECan left off, for whatever reason and basically determined that any party wishing to continue should refile for the same Declaration singly or jointly with others.

Whilst this is very frustrating, it does provide an opportunity for NZFFA to consider how it wants to proceed, without necessarily being dragged along with all the others; or with a smaller set of participants, albeit it would be strange if ECan and Manawa did not wish to participate in any declarations that might affect their interests.

Given all the information it would not be unsurprising if the average person thought ECan’s behaviour to date is indicative of their wider disregard and contempt for the Rakaia River.


Should Fish & Game and EDS follow the Court’s directive and refile the same Declaration (who is responsible for the WCO?), the NZFFA has three options:

  1. Join F&G and EDS as a co-appellant, subject to F&G and EDS’s agreement.
  2. Refile as a s.274 interested party, either singly or jointly (e.g. NZSAA).
  3. Withdraw from the case.

The pros of option 1 are we get a greater say in the process and share legal costs three ways.  Option 2, allows us to better control our own costs and seek closer alignment with F&G and EDS but does not give as much of a voice.  Option 3 speaks for itself.

Should F&G and EDS NOT refile then our options are file as lead appellant or withdraw.  Being the appellant would involve unknown costs and effort but would likely exceed our budget and capacity to manage the case.


We have spent $17,537.32 on legal costs to date including GST.  $10,000 of this came from the MfE ELA grant, $7,129.33 from member donations and the rest ($407.99) from the NZFFA kitty.

The NZFFA executive agreed to committing $6,000 of NZFFA funds on this back in September 2022 and we can apply for up to $40,000 from the MfE ELA grant, providing it is still available. 


On a majority decision, this month, the NZFFA executive agree to continue the case, albeit this was before the Court decision to start the whole process again.

Obviously, the executive is once again being called on to make a decision.

But, our members have put their money and faith in us in this case and so I proposed we seek a decision from our members, by way of a Special General Meeting (using email), inviting them to submit their decision on what we should do.

Please can you respond back to me as follows:

  1. Do you agree we should let the members decide?
  2. If not which option do you support?

Any questions and clarifications also welcomed.


David Haynes

Secretary & Treasurer
New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers
Ph: 03 546 6051
Mob: 0272 351 833


Yes, We Still Desperately Need Input

You may have noticed the paucity of articles of recent times, and we do struggle at times to obtain sufficient input to make a Newsletter worthwhile.

Hopefully, you can help us with our quest by providing material.

It can be humorous anecdotes, factual articles in the news or simple tips.

please send any contributions to

From River to the Pan in Seconds
by Bud Jones
Due to a stroke several years ago, I’m now wheelchair bound, but prior to that I was both an avid deerstalker and trout fisherman. But memories are golden and many are still vivid. Recollecting them and tears well up and are welcomed but not consciously reeled in.
My wheelchair went zipping past 80 recently and yesterday my daughter turned 54.
When she was a young kid, I wished to teach her to fish and dry fly was the easiest avenue with everything in clear view if rudiments of casting skill has become habitual.
And all so easy for youth with fast reactions and good hearing for the “slurp””evening rise” after dark.
I grew up in Colorado USA.
The western half has literally hundreds of small mountain streams of pure clear water bubbling along with frisky brookies rainbows and cutthroat small trout about 10 to 16 inches packed like sardines and eager to see the errant splat of winged “bug” as a free lunch caught in surface film.
Needless to say, these trout were ridiculously easy to catch, but to creel one a different problem, with encroaching tightly packed willows leaving many a silver pink spotted one hopelessly tangled in bushes and doing a willow ballet after it was heaved in one giant wrenching from aqua to flora.
My dad was expert on dry fly and many a trip was delayed when he spotted the “circles” in a beaver pond from the road, but it tweaked my interest and once a kid feels the jerk-jerk of a fish on the line it is certain which participant is the hooked and it’s not the fish - but the kid. Sometimes in bushy places I just tied a nylon leader to the last eye on the tip section and bounced and dabbled the fly over the pool after crawling into position.
Western Colorado has glorious clear crisp cool mountain mornings and so beautiful. Similar was sunset evenings with a boiling evening rise on any beaver pond. Such tranquility has been the backdrop for a sprinkling of old western towns such as Rifle, Bond, Glenwood Springs, Gunnison and dozens more with a harmonious and self-satisfied citizenry as any that ever danced around a celebration May Pole.
 Our family went camping every year near a  trout choked one  called  “Summit” in an area flatter than grandma’s pancakes. Crisscrossed with little willow-lined creeks with beaver ponds, it was a kid’s fish paradise, not unlike that broad expanse on Molesworth/Rainbow road after coming out of the “Hell’s Gate” section heading for Hanmer Springs.
Which brings me to the point - where in New Zealand, can we teach a kid - my 10 year old daughter - to fish perhaps in a place resembling Western Colorado where I had done as a youngster?
Quite by accident really it was right there, in North Canterbury down the road a bit, is Lake Tennyson where the upper Clarence is born and bounds out of and importantly is suitably “sardine-packed” with little trout. There’s the occasional bigger trout.
My mate Bruce Wilde did catch one 7lbs (3.1 kgs) and I got a few similarly big fish some distance further down the Clarence River. We camped there over a period of 25 years
My daughter perfected her dry fly skill there, with my light 7 foot 11 inches Orvis fly rod. Ten to fifteen trout in a session was common, until the trout - ravaged ragged little dry fly could stand no more thrashing and gave up floating.
It even became a spectator sport as a couple of lake visitors chancing upon us would gather around cheering this little girl.
“OK - give us another one!” they might call.
Perhaps such skill by the kid inevitably brings out the record book and stop watches and who knows, might edge toward Olympiad inclusion?
One bluebird crisp morning at Lake Tennyson’s outlet and the birth of the Clarence River, with snow capped mountains of St James Station as a backdrop, a fresh delicate pink flesh trout begged to be breakfast. So I set a challenge.
I said to her, “grab your gear and I’ll get some bacon on the sizzle at the camp stove, then see how quickly you can be back with a breakfast fish. I’ll put you on the stop watch!”
Gear was gathered front and centre!
“Set and go!” I shouted.
She sprinted as I pushed the watch button and turned the bacon.
She was back in camp in 28 seconds later with the fish, quick whip out guts, slide off into two sides of fillet and into the sizzle pan.  Add buttered toast, squeeze of lemon salt and freshly ground white pepper and one is inclined to think it doesn’t get better than that!
A moment of my best angling experience, etched in memory - and I never made a single cast!
To my knowledge, the record of 28 seconds still stands today since that was set on the 6th January, 1979.
Knowing the spot, I think the record will not stand if someone dares to challenge it.
Let’s hope a freckle faced kid of 8 years of age, breaks it.

Coping with Low Summer Flows
by Ben Hope
  Low and clear water can be a daunting challenge to many fly fishers.  Fish get quite spooky and spots that were once fishing great early summer can become difficult.  Unfortunately, these are the conditions that can prevail from December to April in a dry summer climate like can occur.  But don’t give up, just adapt.
 A Shower or Two
  Whereas in the spring, rain was a bother as rivers were running full, rain is now welcome as a wee boost to low stream flows.  Even a small amount of rain can stimulate nymph life and get trout feeding.
  If streams are really low, rain upwards of a half an inch (12 mm) can be beneficial to the fishing.  So get out there looking for feeding fish.
Downsize The Rig
  When rivers and streams are low and clear, it naturally makes for spooky trout  and even the plop a size 12 or 14 nymphs make can send them scooting for cover.  Bead head nymphs are worse in low conditions unless its fast, rough water. And after all that’s where trout may be seeking top oxygenated water.
    But generally in low water conditions, go smaller in fly size with no weighted nymphs that might make a plop. In fact dry fly would be better as it settles gently on the surface. A parachute Adams size 4 or 16 would be my choice first-up.  
  Lengthen your leader and go as fine as you dare with the tippet.
  If nymphing, a subtle shift, like a smaller indicator might be good to complement using smaller, lighter nymphs.
Avoid Midday Heat
  Get out on the river or stream early say at 6am or 7 am before the temperatures rise towards 30 degrees C. Or fish late in the evening. Or even at night. That’s another subject in itself.
 The key is to adjust to the low water situation.  Adjust with logic. It is possible to catch fish when low and clear water prevail. Sure it may be challenging but then isn’t that a major part of the fun in fishing for trout?

Dusk time - on hot days fish early morning or at dusk (pictured)

Fly-Tying - Meet the Zug Bug

by Ralph Scherder (USA)


  Something I’ve come to enjoy about tying flies commercially is the occasional request for patterns not on my usual “set list.” For instance, there are always more Woolly Buggers and Hare’s Ear Nymphs to be tied, and this time of year, with steelhead season ramping up, I’ve handled more than my share of brightly-coloured egg yarn. So when a guy on Facebook messaged me about putting together a custom assortment, it was a nice little surprise to see the last fly on the list was a Zug Bug.

  I haven’t tied or fished a Zug Bug in years, even though it was one of the first half dozen patterns I ever attempted. It’s an easy fly to tie, and very effective. I experienced consistent success with Zug Bugs back then, and considering I was a neophyte fly fisherman, that’s a testament to the pattern’s effectiveness.

  The Zug Bug was invented by Cliff Zug, of Pennsylvania, in the early 1930s and was a precursor to the Prince Nymph, depending on which source you reference. In this case, I’m using Ian Whitelaw’s book The History of Fly-Fishing in Fifty Flies, and he credits the Zug Bug as being developed first. The main similarities between the Zug Bug and the Prince Nymph is the peacock herl body and brown hen hackle. Both flies are deadly in certain situations. 

  The Zug Bug was originally designed to imitate a case caddis or caddis larvae, but like many great patterns, it can imitate any number of aquatic insects. In my opinion, it can also imitate a number of terrestrial insects. For instance, many species of beetles, when turned in the light, exhibit a colour and iridescence very similar to that of peacock herl. In fact, peacock herl is used for the body of several beetle imitations. Many of the beetles that end up in a stream die, sink, and bounce along the bottom like nymphs. I believe this is why I’ve had great success with Zug Bugs late in the season, when beetles are present in good numbers both on the banks and in the water.

  Here’s the original recipe for the Zug Bug:

Hook: 2xl nymph hook, sizes 14-18

Thread: Black 6/0

Tail: Peacock swords (3)

Rib: Silver tinsel

Body: Peacock herl

Legs: Brown hen hackle

Wing Case: Mallard or wood duck flank feather trimmed

  If you’re a traditionalist and want to follow the original recipe, by all means do so. Like most fly tyers, I’ve made a few tweaks to make it easier for myself or more appealing to other anglers. One of those tweaks includes the addition of a gold bead, which I only use about half the time. It seems every fly nowadays has to have a bead of some sort on it, but I really like this pattern with no bead.

  The main change I make is that I use silver wire in place of the tinsel because I don’t like how much of the herl gets covered up by the tinsel. And I use dyed brown partridge soft hackle for the legs. I like the suppleness of the partridge and feel it has great movement in the water, and the speckled pattern of the partridge makes for some very realistic-looking legs. 

  The partridge also makes it a crossover pattern in that it can pass for a nymph or emerger, which is a feature I’ve always found desirable in a fly. It adds versatility and increases the number of situations in which it will still be effective. It can be bounced on the bottom, suspended, and even swung like a wet fly, and it catches fish wherever trout are found and any time of year. Now that I’ve tied up a dozen or so to complete this order, I believe I’ll tie up a few more for myself. 


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Postings From the Website

Some of our more recent posts from the website (see

The Federation's  Executive:

President: Casey Cravens (Canterbury)

Treasurer: David Haynes (Nelson)

Secretary: David Haynes (Nelson)


Dr Peter trolove (Rakaia), Steve Gerard (Central South Island), Andi Cockroft (Wellington), Larry Burke (NZ Salmon Anglers), Brett Bensemann (Otago), Casey Cravens (Otago), Colin Taylor (Nelson), Grant Henderson (Auckland), Peter Storey - Advisory (Rotorua), Margaret Adams, Jason Foord (Auckland), Dr Charles Baycroft

Life Members, Tony Orman, (Marlborough), Sandy Bull (Gisborne), Ian Rodger (Auckland) and Ken Sims (Manawatu) are automaticaly on the committee

Co-opted:  Alan Rennie (North Canterbury)


The opinion pieces and submitted articles are provided for your interest and information. They do not necessarily represent the views of all of the Executive members but are seen as vital to promote active debate around the issues that fit the aims and objectives of the Federation.

If you have not already done so feel free to comment on any of the articles on our website. The discussions always open up many valid points.

Please feel free to circulate this newsletter around club members and friends.

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