South Island, New Zealand, December 6, 2009
Copyright Josh Graffam, Teton Trout.
A report from
Josh Graffam
John and I have just returned from a seven day fly fishing trip to an area nicknamed
"The Cannibal's Gorge".

This area used to be a popular route for a few
Maori tribes and the legend says there was a battle between two of the tribes over passage through this gorge and the victors celebrated by feasting on the losers. So we hiked for nine hours and got to the river where we feasted on oatmeal, rice and beans, and peanut butter on tortillas. But we could've used more protein, though! It was raining as we set up camp so we waited for it to clear.

The next morning did not look very promising. It was cloudy and wet and the river was up slightly. We made breakfast and fished for a few hours. We spotted four fish and landed one and it turned out to be my largest trout of the trip at 8.5 pounds!

By the afternoon the rain came down heavily so we retreated to our tents. From 4pm it rained and rained and rained. It rained all night and we woke up the next morning to a swollen, brown and dirty

We ate breakfast when the rain slowed down at 10am then had lunch at 2pm but it was still raining. I read a few books,cover to cover, skipped dinner because it rained hard till 9pm then ate a few granola bars and a handfull of for dinner. We tried to sleep as it rained all night again.

We woke up at 8am and it was still raining but it cleared up for about 20 minutes so we scrambled--packed up and ran our soaked crap to
a hut four miles away.

Well of course then the sun came out so we sat at the hut splitting firewood and drying out EVERYTHING as we debated what to do. We had just spent 41 hours in our tents. It was now sunny but the
river was still up so after being bored out of our minds, having read all our books in one day, we headed back to the river the following day.

We fished that afternoon. The sun was out and the river was still up but you could spot some fish. We landed a few nice ones; all brown trout over six pounds.

The next day we woke up to more clouds. The weather was starting to get depressing. Every time we thought it was going to get better the clouds come in, it rains and the river goes up. We fished all of day six in the clouds. We did spot a few fish and had a good day but the river was just not cooperating.

John and I finally decided to bail. On day seven we walked 14 miles back to our car and this turned out to be a good decision. It rained for three hours during our hike and the river was definitely unfishable again. If we stayed we would just be sitting in our tents! New Zealand weather can be finicky and although you walk all that way to fish a river, you have no control over the conditions. Luckily we did manage to land a few really nice fish and have a good time.

This was John's last fishing trip for this expedition. We are staying in
Christchurch for the next few days before he flies back to Wyoming on Dec. 10. It has been great fishing with John for the last five weeks. I will be taking a six day break before I meet up with Josh and Marty to start my second phase of the trip. I will fish for seven weeks with the Jack Dennis boys.