Flyfishing paradise: Wakatipu Anglers Club vice-president Mike McCann with a trout he took from a river in the Wakatipu earlier this year


Wakatipu Anglers Club’s annual beginners’ course is a ‘‘gateway drug’’ for the sport of flyfishing, a club member says.

Club vice-president Mike McCann says many of those who’ve done the all-day course have gone on to join the club and fall in love with the sport.

To be held at the Queenstown Events Centre on October 10, it’s a hands-on introduction to catching trout, with all gear provided, that teaches the basics of casting, fly selection, finding fish, knots, reading water, insect life, and how to land and release fish properly.

McCann says many locals don’t realise they live in an area with some of the best flyfishing in the world, with rivers in the Wakatipu and northern Southland, like the Mataura, within an hour’s drive away.

Even better, in a Covid world, the next season or two present a ‘‘huge opportunity’’ for locals to flyfish their rivers without competition from overseas anglers.

‘‘There’s never been a better time to learn to flyfish.’’

For McCann, it’s a way to escape the crowds, connect with nature and focus on an art that for some people becomes an addiction.

‘‘The rivers are broken up into fishing beats, so often you won’t see anyone else.’’

With the flyfishing season starting last Thursday, a lot of the club’s members will be getting ‘‘pretty excited’’, he says.

‘‘For some of them, it’s all they think about.’’

The club has about 100 members of all ages and nationalities.

It has a hut by Diamond Creek, near Glenorchy, and a club boat.

It organises trips for members most months of the year — in August, 20 went on a trip to Turangi, he says.

‘‘It’s very sociable and everyone’s sharing of information.’’

The course, which costs $150, runs from 9am to 5.30pm.

Details for reserving a spot are on the club’s social media page.