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Derek Grzelewski

Derek Grzelewski is a writer, photographer and adventurer from New Zealand. He is the author of The Trout Diaries, A year of Fly Fishing in New Zealand, and contributor to New Zealand GeographicAustralian GeographicGEOReader’s Digest and the Smithsonian. A former fly fishing guide, he is a founder of Wanaka Fly Fishing Academy, and angling consultant for Castabroad.com. You’ll find him at  http://derekgrzelewski.com/trout_blog/.  Also check out his new podcasts in Apple iTunes.

Author Articles

"Sunset With a Plonker"

On the way back south I camped by the Motueka. The river flows through a stunning and fertile valley, Arcadian in its feel and landscape. Steep green hills guide the river, twisting it this way and that, creating attractive bends, structure and lots of fishy terrain, while the banks offer kaleidoscopic vistas of happily rustic lifestyle—orderly orchards...

The Trout Rodeo

A few years in the planning, and a couple of false starts, but it was finally happening: we were going to fish in Haast, in New Zealand's South Westland, during the prime time of the whitebaiting season. These last two words usually conjure up sentiments of large sea-run trout entering coastal estuaries to gorge on the little translucent squirts, but from...

Smelting Perfect

The Southern Lakes of New Zealand always surprise no matter how often you fish them. Maybe it’s their sheer volume and depth that assure we never quite plumb all their secrets, or perhaps the angling discoveries have to be made one at a time, drip-feeding the lifetime of passion. I have lived and fished here for over a decade and a half and I can’t say...

The Fable of La Fontaine

Do you have a river of your dreams, a place that comes first to your mind whenever you think “flyfishing?” It may be a memory snapshot of somewhere you’ve already been or a mental compilation of everything that is the best in our pursuit. Picture it for a moment, what’s it like? What size, with what backdrop, in what country? Does it have long...

One Man’s River, One Man’s War

In a garage studio on a cliff above the Ahaura River, on the South Island’s West Coast, Johnny Groome stepped back from his easel and regarded the canvas with a critical eye. A heavily-timbered stag, trotting up an alpine game trail and pausing momentarily to glance over its massive shoulder, looked back at him from the unfinished painting with a mixture...

The Trout Diaries: "The Mystery River"

IF I TOLD YOU where we fished for three days in mid-January your life would be in danger, because sometimes it can be perilous to know such secrets. In danger, too, would be my own masculinity, for, sure as Sage, my compadres-in-rod would come after me also. So let us just say, after Papa Hemingway, that the river was as big and as wide as a good river...

“The Trout Diaries, A year of Fly Fishing in New Zealand” - January, Part 3

“Yous fellas fishin'?” a Maori guy asked on the shore of Lake Otomangakau. I said we were having a look. “Plenty a fish here, bro. Big bastards, too. But bloody hard to catch, ay.” He was lean and hard, dressed in a bush shirt and hunting shorts, both of which had a lived-in, heavy-use look, and his legs and arms were scratched with bush lawyer and...

“The Trout Diaries, A year of Fly Fishing in New Zealand” - January, Part 2

IN THE MORNING we started up the river, zigzagging against its meanders, linking up shoulder to shoulder for the crossings, stalking the tails and eyes of every pool. The middle parts of pools, sandy, deep and slow-moving, were impossible. The fish, like submarines, were either parked right at the bottom or finned leisurely in circles, nymphing among the...

"The Trout Diaries, A year of Fly Fishing in New Zealand" - January, Part 1

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN on a fishing trip, long planned and much anticipated, where nothing seems to go right for you? You arse up just stepping out of the helicopter and give yourself a good one on the shin, a bruise that over the following days blossoms plump and purple like a Baccara rose. And that’s just the beginning. You promptly trump this with another...