New Zealand, December 25, 2009
A report from Josh Graffam
The boys and I have just returned from a five-day trip to fish one of New Zealand's most remote river.

Little Josh, Marty and I had to
helicopter into this river because it is nearly impossible to walk to. I have read in a hut book that numerous people have attempted to walk to this river but got lost, nearly drowned and were forced to return. It requires crossing a big river and climbing through gorges. Wayne, the helicopter pilot, told us that he has met only one person that was able to walk in there. Anyway we took a chopper in and brought some kayaks so we could get across the river. Once we got there we had to hike an hour from the drop off point before we could use our kayaks to get across the river.

It was evening by the time we arrived at the first pool and in it were six trout swimming around eating nymphs. It was evening so we made our camp then fished for a couple of hours.

The next day we started early and after a breakfast of out normal oatmeal and raisins we fished long and hard. Right from the get go we started landing fish. This river is so remote it sees maybe 10 parties a year so the fish were obviously not educated. I have never caught so many fish in New Zealand. We landed fish after fish, working our way up river from each pool. We kept trying to skip the faster water but every time you looked in front of a rock or along a seam there was a four-pound brown trout swinging in the current. It got ridiculous. It's easy to get spoiled by this kind of fishing. We landed 18 trout that day and in the end we made a big fire back at camp and slept hard.
The following day we moved camp about four miles and fished in the afternoon. We got stuck on a couple of bigger pools within the first mile of camp because there were so many fish that when we were trying to hook a
fish we spotted, the fly would be intercepted by another fish that would swing over and eat the fly. I would be spotting--staring at the fish and watching the dry fly drifting down--then out of nowhere a fish would rocket up from the bottom and eat the fly four feet in front of the target fish. After a three hour bush bash and six hours of fishing we were beat and passed out in camp.

 Our last full day of fishing started early. After breakfast we started up the river around 9am. We fished our way up through a couple of gorges, trying not to stop on every fish because we really wanted to explore this river and see if we could find some bigger fish. At this point we had landed around 30 fish and they all were in a slot of 3.5 to 5.75 pounds.

We covered more water this day and did not fish as well. We landed plenty of fish but all three of us went through some rough patches. I think i hooked four fish in a row without landing one of them. Little josh went through a bad streak like I have never seen. He seriously broke off six fish in a row on
3x tippet! Little Josh was not laughing but he was all smiles when he finally landed a few after that.

We fished until about 7:30pm then realized we better head back to camp before it got dark. It is nice here in New Zealand-- it does not get dark until about 9:30pm but there are no trails on this river. We bush-bashed our was back to our camp and because of the weather forecast we decided that we better be cautious and leave a little early.

The next day we banged and crashed our way back to the botttom of the river. We were able to find a better route back to the confluence so we made pretty good time. But when you are bush wacking with no trail, it is hard to see where you are stepping. This causes you to lead with your foot and as a result your shin seems to lead the way. It's amazing how bloody your shins will get when you crack them on 1,038,402,844 logs and rocks in five days.

We fished the bottom section of the river in the afternoon then kayaked across the river and made our way down to the edge of the wilderness area where our helicopter was picking us up. It is Christmas day. Wayne came ripping in on his helicopter wearing shorts and sandals, told us to jump in, and away we went. In a flash we were back in civilization. It is strange how you can be in one of the most remote areas in the whole country then be back to your car in under 20 minutes. I think I need to buy a helicopter!   

We spent our Christmas evening at the
Rongo in Karamea. They had a big feast with about 20 people. There was roasted lamb, lasagna--all kinds of food--this is really what we needed. It was kind of strange eating Christmas dinner in shorts and t-shirts outside in the sun. There was a great sunset and summer is now finally in full swing. All three of us are a little sun burned from the last couple of days.

We are now headed down to Queenstown. We will be stopping on our way to fish a little bit but we are mostly going to take our time, relax a little bit and spend some time on the beach. We are going to spend New Years in Queenstown with my dad and step-mother and will spend eight days with them. Little Josh and Marty will go fish a few rivers in the area and then we all will join up again on Jan. 10, 2010 to spend our last few weeks exploring more rivers.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a great New Year. See you all in February!

All photos used in the New Zealands report are copyright images by Josh Graffam at and are used on this website with his written permission.