This South Island fly fishing destination is a dream for serious trophy brown trout anglers who like to wade rivers, sight-fishing to big fish with dries and nymphs.
Owen River Lodge is exceptionally-well run, and has access (within an hour’s drive) to well over 30 world-class trout streams. Though they can arrange for heli-fishing quickly and easily, what sets them apart is that with all the drive-to fishing, they don’t have to fly. Felix Borenstein, the owner/operator is a rabid fly fisherman himself, and chose this area for the incredible density and diversity of water. On any given day you can choose to fish dry flies to big, bank-feeding <a href=”https://www.theflyshop.com/travel/browntrout.html”>browns</a> in tiny spring creeks, or throw dries and droppers to over-sized trout hanging in the pockets of larger freestone streams.
The most distant river or stream is less than 90 minutes away, and many are within 10-30 minutes. There is even a gorgeous little creek right on the property, winding behind the cabins, replete with picture-perfect little pools and runs, and the standard 2-8 pound New Zealand trout!
The Owen River Lodge package is perfect for hardcore anglers, and non-angling spouses, as well. In addition to great fishing, excellent guides, and optional helicopter access to the bush, Felix also offers superb food, an exceptionally comfortable lodge, and a level of hospitality that is unmatched. He has full-time staff dedicated just for non-anglers, with a full slate of options to experience. Time your angling holiday to Owen River Lodge for the months of November through late April.
Reservations & Rates
Package Rates – 7 December 2023 through to 21 March 2024
Four Night Fly Fishing Package
• Twin share accommodation /share guide NZ $5,800 per person
• Single occupancy accommodation / private guide NZ $8,665 per person
Five Night Fly Fishing Package
• Twin share accommodation /share guide NZ $7,385 per person
• Single occupancy accommodation / private guide NZ $11,050 per person
Six Night Fly Fishing Package
• Twin share accommodation /share guide NZ $8,950 per person
• Single occupancy accommodation / private guide NZ $13,375 per person
Seven Night Fly Fishing Package
• Twin share accommodation /share guide NZ $10,500 per person
• Single occupancy accommodation / private guide NZ $15,425 per person
The package rate includes all accommodations and meals, all drinks including house wine, beer & spirits, use of all the lodge facilities, laundry service, guided fishing (based on double or single occupancy depending on the package you have purchased), and includes any fishing gear needed.
International roundtrip airfare to New Zealand, domestic airline accommodations, airport fees, daily helicopter flights if desired, transfer from the Nelson airport to the lodge and back (NZ$345 each way - can be split between all of the people in the vehicle), fishing license (can be purchased at the lodge, or online prior to your trip – go to www.fishandgame.org.nz/ and make sure to also get a Backcountry License – it’s free, but needed), alcohol, gratuities or items of personal nature. ALL RATES ARE PER-PERSON, DOUBLE OCCUPANCY UNLESS NOTED OTHERWISE. Prices are subject to change without notice.
The Fly Shop® is not in the insurance business, but we recommend Travel Guard coverage as a service with a desire to see your best interests protected. It is impossible to know when an unfortunate situation (loss of luggage, fly rods, illness in the family, or an accident) may occur. However, such things can and do happen, and this insurance can provide a means of recourse against non-refundable financial losses.
• Travel Insurance Information
Seasons at Owen River Lodge
The seasons in the southern hemisphere are the opposite to those in Europe and North America. Owen River Lodge is located in the heart of the vast array of spring creeks and freestone rivers of the South Island of New Zealand, and enjoys a temperate climate.
Spring (October, November):
The functional opening of the fishing season for Owen River Lodge, and
the rainbow trout are just gaining their post-spawn weight back again. The brown trout this region is famous for are already in great shape, and hungry. There is sometimes dry fly activity, but the emphasis is often with nymphs. The trout are sometimes still in groups, so higher per day catch rates are not unusual. Anglers should expect cool-but-warming air temperatures.
Early Summer (December):
This is considered peak fishing, particularly sight-fishing for numbers of trout - action can be with both nymphs and dries. Possibly the best time if you like the smaller mountain streams, as the water flows are still full, so the fish are not yet especially finicky (by NZ standards). The days are long and warm, and because Americans generally don't like to travel to fish during the holidays, the streams are pretty lightly fished. This is a bit of a "sleeper" time of the year.
Mid Summer (January, February):
The most popular time for fly fishermen to visit New Zealand. The good news is the rivers are low and easy to wade, and the trout are easy to spot in the streams... but the good news also means the fish are warier, and more selective. On smaller rivers - usually meaning the mountain streams - these conditions demand careful stalking and delicate presentations with small dries and nymphs. On larger freestone rivers anglers can expect some great cicada and other terrestrial dry fly fishing. A great time for physically fit anglers who don't mind covering a few miles of stream on foot each day.
Late Summer (March, April):
The most calm, dry, and predictable weather of the season, historically. Less fishermen means the trout start getting less fussy again, and both dries and nymphs can produce well. Expect cool-and-getting-colder air temperatures. After a long summer of eating, trout tend to be in superb condition.
Getting to Owen River Lodge
Depart the States for New Zealand:
Direct flights from the California, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) or San Francisco International Airport (SFO) via Air New Zealand depart in the evening, arriving "two days" later into Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand. Though the flight time from LAX or SFO to Auckland is only 12 to 13 hours, you will cross several time zones and the International Dateline, arriving two days later on the calendar.
Air New Zealand flights will arrive into the Auckland Airport, a super-modern international facility, early in the morning. Here you will clear immigrations (passport control) and customs. This is all very easy, simple and you will immediately know you are in a different land, by the courteous and polite nature of the airport officials.
From Auckland you will take one of several daily domestic flights via Air New Zealand to the quaint little town of Nelson.
Once you arrive in Nelson, you will be met by a transfer agent, who will be arranged for in advance for you. The driver, who knows every bump in the road, will leisurely make his way upcountry the approximate 65 miles to the lodge, a 90-minute drive in an air-conditioned vehicle, showing you some of the highlights along the way. The cost of the auto transfer, each way, from Nelson to the lodge is NZ $425, or NZ $850 roundtrip, for the car (can be split between all of the people in the vehicle).
Drive out from the Nelson Airport, take the first roundabout and turn to the right. Follow this road (about 1 kilometer) until it ends at a T-intersection/roundabout. Turn right - you are now on the highway (State Highway 6) that will take you all the way to the lodge (just follow the signs to Murchison).
The lodge is located about 100 kilometers from the airport. On the way (approximately 50 kilometers) you will go over the Motueka bridge/river - keep following the signs to Murchison.
You will see a sign on your left pointing to St. Arnaud (don't turn off) - you are now about 20 kilometers from the lodge. Next, you will then see a sign on your left saying Lake Rotoroa; don't turn here, but it is a landmark to let you know you're now about 10 kilometers from the lodge.
You will soon see the Owen River Tavern on your left - don't worry, you can't miss it - it's a 2-story white pub/hotel in the middle of nowhere.
Slow down, you're almost there. Just before the bridge, turn right up Owen Valley East Road. This is just after the Pub - but BEFORE you cross the Owen River bridge. The lodge is 2 kilometers on your left.
Lodging at Owen River Lodge
Owen River Lodge is a boutique contemporary-styled 5-star rated fishing lodge,located in the Owen Valley near Murchison, in the Nelson Lakes district of the South Island of New Zealand. This unique location places us right in the middle of the best brown trout fishery in the world.
They love to spoil their guests, allowing them to immerse themselves in the luxurious, warm and inviting ambiance that is Owen River Lodge. The
views from the Lodge and guest cottage suites are breathtaking, with sensational outlooks to the Owen River, the valley, Mount Owen and the Kahurangi National Park. The lodge sits on the bank of the Owen River and with almost a kilometre of river frontage, it is an ideal locale for that quiet after-dinner cast during the evening rise.
The food at Owen River Lodge could best be described as stunning. They use the very best of fresh, locally sourced produce, much of which is right out of the lodge's own garden.
The lodge has two guest lounge areas. One of these is equipped with a TV/Video Player and DVD player as well as a Notebook PC for you to check e-mails etc. For the technologically obsessed we have a WiFi wireless network with satellite delivered broadband.
The main lodge building includes the dining room, lounge room, sitting room, lodge shop, fly tying area and of course, the bar. In the lodge grounds, just past our organic herb and vegetable gardens you will find the massage / therapy room and our outdoor Jacuzzi/spa.
To ensure your absolute privacy, guests are accommodated in six purpose built guest cottage suites which are located in the garden. Each comes complete with stunning views of the river, the valley and the mountains beyond.
The lodge is situated on 16 acres of gardens and farmland. It's a relaxing place to unwind from the stresses of modern life - whether you fish or not! The lodge is first and foremost a fly fishing lodge, however the Nelson/Marlborough region has a myriad of things to do for non fishing guests.
Fishing at Owen River Lodge
This is one of the most impressive and diverse (predominantly non fly-out) fishing operations on the South Island, from the gorgeous streamside accommodations, superb dining experience, amazing guides and lodge staff, tremendous supply of top-end fishing gear for guest use, and their array of non-fishing options. Lodge owner, Felix Borenstein, himself a hard-core fly fishing fanatic, has spared no expense making this one of the premiere fishing lodges in New Zealand.
Owen River Lodge offers some of the world's finest sighted dry fly fishing for wild resident brown trout. The region has a huge variety of rivers from which to choose, from small intimate rivers like the backyard Owen River, to iconic freestone rivers such as the Wairau. Each season, the lodge's fisheries have granted many an angler's dream of landing a 10-pound trophy brown.
The lodge is centrally located in the north region of the South Island, with easy access to the Nelson and West Coast fisheries. Thus you can enjoy fly fishing on numerous blue-ribbon streams and rivers, with over 30 waters accessible by road (most within an hour's drive) and countless others by helicopter, should you choose to add this to your standard package rate.
What Makes This Destination Special and Unique?
• One of the most comfortable fly fishing lodges on the South Island, owner Felix Borenstein has spared no expense in making his accommodations luxurious, and the food, 5-star. The private cottage suites are in beautiful natural gardens overlooking Owen River itself, so your non-fishing hours are spent in the lap of luxury, and you will be amazed at the quality and ingenuity of the lodge’s daily menu.
• Owen River Lodge fishing is centered on drive-to fishing, and Felix and his guides have over 30 different streams within an hour’s drive of the lodge. You will fish an amazing diversity of water during your stay. Heli fishing can certainly also be arranged, and there are some streams here with huge brown trout that cannot be reached any other way. You will enjoy short drives to big trout each day, in some of the most spectacular country on the South Island.
• Owen River Lodge is fine taking guests for less than a full week trip, so if you want to tag a few days fishing to the end of a business or tourist trip, they are an ideal choice.
• The lodge has free loaner gear – waders and shoes, and rods and reels. For those not wanting to pack their own gear all the way to New Zealand, this can be an attractive option, especially as felt shoes are not allowed, and guides there insist clients use special drab-colored fly lines. You can show up in your street clothes and be just fine.
• For non-anglers, Owen River Lodge has many options, from horseback riding on the ranch to taking wine tours in nearby vineyards, to shopping in nearby Nelson and Murchison, to white water boating. This area is a hub of outdoor tourism, and a great place to put together a fishing/tourist combo trip.