Dougal Rillstone caught his first trout in the Mataura River in 1953, and has fished it almost every year since. He was born close to the river, and continues to own a fishing cottage 10 minutes from the Mataura. In 1998 he was individual champion at the Oceania Fly Fishing Championships, held in the Snowy Mountains, Australia. He has contributed to Gray’s Sporting Journal in the United States, and FlyLife in Australia.
"Walking Upstream on the Matuara"
I started thinking about walking the length of Southland’s 190-kilometre Mataura River sometime in 2015. At first it wasn’t much more than an idle dream, but it eventually crystallised into something I couldn’t resist. For a few years I had wished that someone who had loved the river had written about it, say, in the early part of the last century...
"Not My River"
I fished the last day of the season under a pale autumn sky, on a river I don’t call my own. I know this unpromising water about as well as a woman met in an airport lounge before a flight to Havana, or Vladivostok when for a moment much felt possible. If the sun had risen further south the river would have been shadowed by a monument on a volcanic cone...