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Fly Fishing Expeditions

Simon Wilkinson specialises in sight fly fishing to trout using 4WD and helicopters (or even jet boats and rafts) to access remote wilderness fishing rivers and the trout to be found in these pristine scenic areas.

A variety of guiding options are available from October to the end of April, and Simon will happily customise a trip for you.

Fishing guide Simon Wilkinson
Contact details

Phone: +64 3 442 1950
Mobile: 027 216 3787

Email: swguiding@gmail.com

Web: www.flyfishingexpeditions.co.nz

Blog: www.flyfishingexpeditions.co.nz

Please mention nzfishing.com when you make an enquiry or booking.

Fishing waters

Some of the many waters fished by SW Guiding include:

Oreti River

Mataura River

Waikaia River

Hollyford River

Ahuriri River

Hunter River

Caples River
Cascade River

The area and access

SW Guiding is based in Lumsden, a small rural town in Southland, New Zealand, just over 1 hrs drive south of Queenstown and is situated very close to the banks of the Oreti River. From Lumsden there is great fly fishing access into Southland, Fiordland and Otago.

There are 40+ rivers, streams and lakes within 1.5 hr radius. Southland offers a wide variety of water in which to to fly fish, from large alluvial riverbeds, grass and tussock lined streams, mountain rivers that cascade through sub-temperate rain forests, crystal clear spring creeks, small tarns and large lakes, all holding large New Zealand trout.

The fishing

Southland fly fishing waters have large wily brown trout and some have a mix of rainbow trout as well. A few of our southern rivers have runs of sea trout after Christmas and also some small runs of Chinook salmon in Feb and March. The average size of fish we catch is around the 20" mark (around 3–5lbs) and many well over that size.

The opportunities for true New Zealand trophy trout are always possible with 10lb+ fish being landed each year by lucky anglers. Southland fly fishing is a regular producer of wild trophy trout.

Best times

The Southland fly fishing season starts on 1st October and typically the rivers will be high from snowmelt dropping as the month's progress. The fish are well rested, as they will not have seen an angler for five months.

December to March is the prime season with surface insect life at its peak and 70% of fish caught will be on a dry fly. The big, bad and bold fish may take a little extra encouragement and a nymph fished under a dry can often be the recipe for success.

April sees the start of more changeable conditions with a good chance of Mayfly activity on some waters. Dry fly, terrestrial and nymphs are all used depending on the conditions.

Early season: 1 Oct – 30 Nov
Peak season: 1 Dec – 30 March
Late season: 1 April – 31 May

Fishing options

Fishing options:

  • Queenstown-based day fishing trips

    Generally you will spend the day casting to stalked and sighted fish ranging in size from 3lbs to 5lbs, (20+ inches) always with the possibility of seeing and hooking much larger fish. The whole day is yours and there is no time limit for Queenstown fly fishing trips.

  • Southland Explorer

    This great fly fishing expedition allows you to get right into the heart of some of the best sight fly fishing in the South Island. It can be fitted easily into your vacation in New Zealand. This expedition allows flexibility for you to hire your own vehicle and meet me in Lumsden or for you to have Simon pick you up in Queenstown at the beginning of the expedition and drop you back to Queenstown at the end. It also allows you to coose the most appropriate accommodation in Lumsden for your budget and needs.

    Day 1: Simon picks you up from your accommodation in either Queenstown or Lumsden (or at the Queenstown airport) at a pre-arranged time (usually between 0600 and 0730). You'll then be driven to the best fishing spot for the weather and your goals. At the end of the day, you stay in your choice if Lumsden accommodation.

    Day 2: Simon picks you up from your accommodation in Lumsden at a pre-arranged time (usually between 0600 and 0730). We then drive to a different fishing spot that again is suited to the weather and your goals for that day. At the end of the day Simon will drop you off either back at your Lumsden or Queenstown accommodation (or the Queenstown airport as required)

    Extended trips: The Southland Explorer expedition can easily be extended from the minimum of two consecutive guided days. However Simon regularly guides for up to 10 varied day trips from Lumsden.

  • On The Road Fly Fishing Expeditions

    Get the best of the fishing all the while staying in the comfort of a real bed with a roof over your head. This expedition is very flexible and works around the prime mover of what the weather systems are doing and where the best place will be to get the fishing you are after. It’s a great way to see my end of the country and the best fishing it offers while enjoying all the creature comforts of home.

  • Helicopter excusions
    Access remote wilderness rivers by helicopter using professional heli charters.
View videos

View YouTube videos from SW Guiding. For more, go to the FlyFish New Zealand YouTube channel.



About your guide

Simon Wilkinson grew up in the North Island in a family that loved the outdoors including fly fishing and hunting. He was taught how to fly cast in Taupo and then caught his first trout on the fly rod in the Tongarario River - a nice 6 lbs - at the age of eight. He fly-fished all over the North Island as a teenager and young man and would always get some fishing in while overseas in Europe, Canada and the US.

By 1995 Simon had put down roots in the Queenstown area where, after some serious time exploring the rivers, he began showing clients what South Island fly fishing is all about. His ability to instruct, knowledge of our waters, background in jet boating, the sheer amount of time spent in helicopters flying around the lower third of the South Island and a pretty good set of fish spotting eyes means Simon's clients have a great time on fly fishing trips.


The friendliest and most knowledgeable guide I’ve ever had the pleasure to fish with and who got me a shot casting to more big brown trout than I’ve ever seen, though I did a fine job of screwing up the hooking/catching part in most cases. Please, if you ever have the chance to fish New Zealand, get in touch with Simon. It’ll be the best choice you can make to increase your success rate, both short and long term, and his wife’s home cooked lunch was worthy of making the trip in itself.” Chris Carlin

What a fantastic week. The only problem was it had to end. Not only did you put us on some of the best Browns and Rainbow I’ve ever seen, and showed us some of the most beautiful country NZ has to offer, but you spent the time with each of us to improve our technique and that is priceless. I would do that trip again in a heartbeat. I look forward to fishing with you again in November. Andrew Rankin 

What a great fishing experience. Simon took our fishing to another level. My mate and I had two days with Simon. We are both working out how quickly we can get back to do it all again for longer this time. Fabulous. ” Brad Johnston

See more testimonials

Qualifications and certifications
  • Current member of the New Zealand Professional Fishing Guides Association (NZPFGA)
  • Commercial liability insurance and an audited safety operations plan through the NZPFGA
  • Department of Conservation concessions authorization to guide on DOC land almost (through the NZPFGA)
  • Current outdoors and workplace first aid certificates as required by OSH
  • Helicopter loading and ground handling certificate
  • Commercial certified driver with a P endorsement
  • Operates a commercially certified vehicle (CoF)
  • Commercial vehicle insurance
  • Transport Service Licence (TSL)
  • Certified commercial jet boat driver

For more details and costs, go to the SW Guiding website. All prices are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include statutory Goods and Service Tax (GST) of 15%.

Bookings and enquiries

Please fill in the online booking form or email Simon


Preferred methods of payment are Visa, Mastercard, internet banking, bank transfer or bank cheque.

Booking confirmation

To confirm a booking, a non refundable 30% deposit is to be paid (with the balance due at the beginning time of the trip). Visa or Mastercard details can be provided via phone or skype. If a phone call is not appropriate, Simon can supply you with bank account information so you can do a money transfer. Please remember to allow for any bank transaction fees.

Anglers will be supplied a deposit invoice.

Client cancellation

If a client cancels a trip the entire 30% deposit is forfeited unless the client finds a replacement angler.

If SW Guiding/NZ Fly Fishing Expeditions can replace the days with another booking of similar length and cost, a refund less transaction fees will be considered – this is at the discretion of SW Guiding/NZ Fly Fishing Expeditions.

Adverse conditions

Only the guide can postpone or cancel single day expeditions due to inclement weather or river conditions or any factors that may compromise the safety of the client/s and/or guide/s. All single day expeditions that cannot be postponed under these conditions will be canceled and a full refund less any transaction fees will be given.

Note: On multi day expeditions the guide will always endeavour to do their best to take you to the best available water on any day of the expedition due to the weather and river conditions – however the weather is outside of our control so there will be no refunds given on any days lost due to adverse weather/river conditions during multi day expeditions.


Click on the the images below to see larger photos



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