Trout fishing on a golf course. Clearwater, Christchurch, New Zealand

Although I was bought up fishing by a dad who loved the outdoors and ensured my children learnt the skill of putting fresh fish on the table, once they left home, I no longer went fishing.

However, a chance meeting with Jonathan Pasley, a professional fly fishing teacher & fishing guide, soon had him introducing me to fly fishing – a form of fishing I‘d never done. Clearwater is just 15 minutes drive from Christchurch city (7 minutes from the airport) and it was not long before Jonathan had a 24-hour fly-fishing permit, and with a rod in my hand, learning, then practising with no fly and hook.  Under his instruction it was not long I was ready for the real thing. And less than an hour later, under the gaze of a pair of spur winged plovers I had my very first trout on the line.

I didn’t want to eat this fish that fought being bought to shore and, as he removes the hook, he tells me, “They need to be handled with care as they have a very soft mouth.” Lying on the side of the little lake the stream has formed, he holds it in the water and continues, “Trout are not like sea fish which can be just thrown back in: holding it like this allows its gills to start working well again.’ Within a minute he released it and my first trout swims away – much to the horror of my sister who fishes for trout every season in Tasmania.

Jonathan, who is a member of the NZ Professional Fishing Guides Association, began his fishing skills, as a six-year old, while staying in a tin shed on the Taieri Plains, with his grandfather. He created this job for himself some 7 or 8 years ago. A perfect way of combining his skills and passion with a career, and an example of the adage – do what you love to do and soon you will be paid to do what you love to do.

Clearwater is is set within 465 acres and has been said to be ‘New Zealand’s premier lifestyle resort’ has something for everyone and is the home of the HSBC NZ PGA Championship – and all are able to play the 18-hole championship golf course,.

The public can also enjoy the driving range, practice putting greens, tennis courts, extensive walking trails, on-site fly fishing, and popular Lakes Cafe which serves uncomplicated food.

Also, nine kilometres of walking tracks span the perimeter of Clearwater’s championship golf course, as well as ecological heritage sites such as The Groynes Recreation Reserve and adjoining farmland alongside aquifer-fed lakes and the Otukaikino Stream, with expansive views of the Southern Alps beyond.

Note: Whether fishing independently or with a guide, you must have a licence to fish for trout, salmon and coarse fish in New Zealand and carry it with you when fishing.

A Fish & Game licence covers all of New Zealand except the Taupo fishery area (and an additional back-country licence is required for a few specified rivers).

A licence permits you to fish according to the current regulations for the region. The regional regulations define where, when and how you can fish specific waters. They also specify the maximum number of fish you can take and the minimum size of fish. For details, see the sportsfishing regulations.web heathers fish


Author: Heather - the kiwi travel writer

Nomadic travel-writer, photographer, author & blogger. See more on and Amazon for my books (heather hapeta)

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