Posted: October 10, 2022Category:

Fly Fishing Checklist for a Perfect Getaway

It’s past time for that perfect fishing trip! Queenstown Fishing guides are the experts in all the best hotspots, whether you’re looking for lake or river fishing, spin or fly fishing, basic gear or high-tech gadgetry. Whatever your experience level, Queenstown Fishing will be your guide to where the fish are biting, the water is shining, and you can enjoy our favorite pastime for as long as you want: fishing, fishing, fishing!

Fly fishing is popular this time of year, and for good reason! When you’re going out on the water, you should always remember the best fly fishing checklist for the perfect getaway. Don’t let your fun get tangled up in a bad line, and don’t let forgotten necessities anchor your fun! This guide is full of fishing tips and tricks to help you maximize your fun on a perfect getaway. We will discuss some differences between fly fishing and regular fishing, what you should prepare for when you’re setting out, and a few secret tips to help make the most of your weekend trips!

Queenstown Fishing has you covered if you’ve never heard of fly fishing. We have everything you need to start this invigorating adventure and go from complete amateur to comfortable pro in no time.

Flying High

What’s the difference between fly fishing and regular fishing? When you think of fishing, most people imagine the old-fashioned style: pole, line, bait, and cast your hook. The classics become classics for a reason! Nothing quite matches the fishing experience, does it? Add some snacks and drinks, go out on a dock, camp out on the beach, or head out on the boat to enjoy the water and hopefully catch some dinner in the meantime.

Fly fishing, in basic terms, is using a “fly lure” to attract fish–an artificial fly, or a lure that resembles insects and small invertebrates. Fly fishing lures look like a favorite snack of the fish you’re hoping to turn into your favorite catch. Fish find them irresistible, and the lures come in a dazzling variety of colors and shapes, each tailored to a different species of fish. While any “fly” can catch fish, you’ll do a lot better when you use the right lure for the right target, as we’ll discuss below.

Now that we have the basics about fly fishing down, let’s take a look at the technique.

Cast and Crew

Here’s an important fishing tip for those of you who are starting out: fly fishing looks superficially similar to regular fishing, but it requires a fundamentally different casting technique. That may sound complicated, but with just a little practice, you should be casting with the best of them.

One major difference is that the fly fishing lures are lightweight compared to regular lures. This requires a new approach. You’re not just casting the lure, but casting the line, and this is a matter of finesse as opposed to brute force and letting the momentum of a heavy lure carry out your line. Fly line is heavier, but it still requires a certain amount of skill to properly cast a fly line. The motions are similar, but the subtle techniques involved demand more patience. This caster’s stroke is difficult to master, but we are happy to help show you how to accomplish it in person. Our fishing charters include the training you should need to have a blast when you cast.

There are also a variety of videos available online to help you understand the motions you need to get the most out of your line.


Any time you’re out on the water, it’s important to always practice safe behaviors and use well-maintained equipment. No fly fishing checklist is complete without these vital elements, so please be sure to check all your equipment before heading out, and make sure that everyone on your trip is well-versed in proper behavior while you’re out on the water. Sometimes, things do go wrong, but with good equipment, and a little preparation and knowledge, you can handle anything that comes your way. Keep your focus on the fishing, not on the fixing!

When you take a charter with Queenstown Fishing, we gladly provide you with both safety and fishing training. We want you to enjoy the water and the catches of the day without worry, so our experts are ready to help you minimize the hassle. Lake Wakatipu has many things to teach fishers both experienced and new, and this beautiful natural refuge should be enjoyed by all.


Even if everyone in your party is a good swimmer, the best practice is to have a lifejacket for everyone out in water too deep to stand. Just in case something happens, a lifejacket is the epitome of a “would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it” piece of equipment. Many fishing charters will provide a lifejacket, but if you’re going out on your own, you may want to consider packing some for your whole crew.

Sun Protection

As beautiful as the water can be, it does hold the hidden dangers of sun exposure. Sunlight reflects off the waves, so even if you have shade from above, you can still find yourself a little overexposed if you’re not careful. Be sure to bring sunscreen and apply it regularly as needed. However, you may also want to consider sunglasses. Even if you don’t wear them the entire time you’re out, they’re great for giving your eyes a bit of a rest from the glare reflecting on the waves. A cap can also help keep the sun out of your eyes.

Cold Weather Gear

While summer fishing is always a favorite with those beautiful blue vistas, winter has a charm all its own, and fishing waits for no season! If you want to do some cold weather fishing, we say more power to you! You’ll want to bring gloves and a warm jacket, but you can also consider some other options like pocket-sized hand warmers or even thermoses full of hot soup, coffee, or tea. These can help keep you warm even when it’s chilly out so that you can stay focused on the fishing and not on your freezing fingers.

Waders and Boots

If you’re looking for a different kind of challenge, drift boat fishing may be the perfect charter experience for you. Drift boats are great for getting the shy fish and the hard-to-reach spots, giving you a great chance to get out there and really get your feet wet—so to speak! You’ll want to bring waders and boots if you plan to do this kind of fishing. Having strong footing and protection from the cold water is very important.


One aspect of a perfect fishing trip is having plenty of good refreshments! Coolers full of your favorite drinks, lunchtime and snacktime options, and your alcoholic beverages of choice (though please drink responsibly) can enhance the fun of a day out fishing. Always bring lots of water, as well. It’s important to stay hydrated–maybe those fish are on to something! Here’s a pre-fishing tip you should remember: be sure to bring plenty of road snacks. While a fishing getaway is an ideal vacation, you don’t have to focus solely on the destination when you can make the trip just as fun!


When you want to make a fishing getaway even more memorable, try bringing some entertainment. If you are going on a drive to get to your destination, some music and road games can liven up the experience. You may also consider what it’s like out on the boat itself. While we always enjoy the music of the water itself, some groups like to have music or cards in between casts.

If you’re out on a Queenstown Fishing charter, you’ll have plenty of entertainment, but for those over-the-weekend fishing trips, you should consider what you’ll be doing in your hotel room or the campsite. Movies, games, and more can all help create that perfect fishing trip experience your group will remember for years.

“The Fish was This Big…and I Have Proof!”

One item that should be on any fly fishing checklist is a camera. Lake Waktipu is gorgeous, but so are the Southern Alps and the Mataura River. Some of our favorite hotspots are at the southern end of the South Island, too. All of these locations are some of the most beautiful scenery to be found in New Zealand, so bringing your camera is a great idea. Take some pictures and bring home the mementos that will last a lifetime.

Especially if you’re going on a family outing, pictures are a great way to show others how much fun you had and for your family to revisit the experience again and again. We recommend taking pictures of everything, from the flies you’re casting to the fish you’re landing. Take the time and really show off what you came here to do!

What to Expect

Queenstown Fishing offers both public and private charters for your fishing needs. If you want to catch trout, take one of our two- or three-hour charters. We’ll bring the equipment and the training so that you can always make the most of your time. You’ll cruise out onto lovely Lake Wakatipu and learn some fly fishing basics in the creeks and rivers that connect to it, while enjoying all the comfort of one of our charter boats. It will be a relaxing day full of laughs, refreshments, and, of course, fishing!

We also offer a drift boat service for those who want to spice things up. You’ll drift along alpine lakes and streams, and we even offer pickup and drop-off services in the Queenstown area. Our drift boats make for great stealth angling and are a perfect fishing day trip for the experienced fisher and friends. You’ll be bagging rainbow and brown trout before you know it. Our drift boat service uses fly fishing only for the ultimate fishing experience!

Expect to bring some of the items on this fly fishing checklist. Our expert guides will help you with the rest. We’ll teach you the best spots to fish, help you master some fly fishing basic techniques, and share in the good times that you create out on the water. One thing you’re guaranteed to catch on Lake Wakatipu is a whole lot of fun.

Don’t Forget the Extras

What epic fly fishing trip would be complete without the extras? Souvenirs are one thing, but for our charter services, we also have BBQ, transportation, and even cooking your own catch, guided by our seasoned fishermen. We also have live entertainment and apparel. While it’s not part of your pre-trip checklist, these things are very worth planning for as you prepare for the trip.

Time to Cast Your Line

If you’re ready to see the best that the mountains, South Island, and the lakes of Wakatipu, Hawea, and Wanaka have to offer, feel free to book a trip today. When you’re putting together your fly fishing checklist, this guide will help you keep track of the most important items, as well as plan for the activities you’ll undertake so that you can bring exactly what you need.

Even if you’ve never been on a fly fishing trip before, now is a perfect time to start. Queenstown Fishing has decades of experience fishing between its expert guides, and we have been helping newcomers to our great sport for years. We’re friendly and welcoming, and we take pride in presenting the best face of New Zealand fishing.

For those of you who are more experienced, you’ll find yourselves right at home with our charters and drift boat services. We’ll take you to some of our favorite spots and let your hard-earned skill do the talking as we catch fish, share in some fun and games, and enjoy some good refreshments.

The Southern Alps offer a wealth of trout and salmon. The Southern Lakes region offers a wealth of natural vistas. Queenstown Fishing offers the best way to experience all of these things and more. Start with your checklist, pack your bags, and let’s get fishing!