For live and premium content, sign up for our email newsletter and we'll send reports directly to your inbox

Sign Up Now!

Two international subscribers have checked in with very positive reports about Scott Murray of River Haven Lodge, who fishes the northwest region of the South Island in New Zealand ( The first report is from subscriber John Part from London, who says he has fished with Murray every year for 12 years running. His latest trip was in November 2011.

“This last trip I caught 112 fish, all but a handful over three pounds, and most in the four- to six-pound range,” Part writes. “This included brown trout of 11¾ pounds, 11¼ pounds, 10¼ pounds, two over nine pounds, and three over eight pounds. All of the fishing I do with Murray is wade fishing, with quite a lot of it requiring energetic walking over rocky banks. The water is very clear and most fish are spotted and cast to upstream. It is just about as exciting as fishing gets.”
Part says he uses 3- and 4-wt. rods normally, but moves up to 6 wt. to cope with strong wind. Dark-colored, weight-forward floating lines are crucial, with leaders as long as possible. “A tapered leader of 20 feet including tippet is a huge advantage,” he writes. “The fish barely know you are there.”

He says drab-colored, locally tied nymphs in sizes 14 to 18, often heavily weighted to reach fish feeding a few feet down, are the overall best offering. There is dry fly fishing at times, he says, usually in the early afternoon in November. “The fish tend to feed actively throughout the day on nymphs and emergers, say 8 am to 5 pm,” he writes. “Dry fly hatches tend to occur 1:30 to 3:30 pm.”

Part says November weather in New Zealand is springlike, varying between cloudless summer days and squally rain with moderate temperatures. “I wear a T-shirt under a normal fishing shirt, plus a windbreaker jacket,” he writes. “If I get too hot I just sit in shallow water for a moment.”

A highlight of Part’s recent trip was catching 26 good fish in one day and three of the big fish noted earlier on another day. He also remarks positively on the hospitality and friendship of Scott Murray, and his wife, Leya. Part gives the cost of his latest trip as $9,540 (US) for 11 days of guided fishing and lodging. He does say whether that includes any days of helicopter fly-in service, which he says is $1,350 per day. “You can reach the backcountry rivers by helicopter or by walking in,” he explains. “Helicoptering gives you opportunities to cover rarely fished waters. The key thing a guide must do is find water that has not been heavily fished recently, water that is ‘working’ at the moment, and locations where the wind will not be directly in your face.”

“This is the best fly fishing for brown trout I have found,” he writes in conclusion, “and at the most friendly and comfortable lodge. I have fished brown trout in many countries of the world, and this is the best by far. Scott Murray is the best guide I have ever had anywhere, and his guiding team shares his commitment to giving the angler the best possible experience. I would happily fish with any of them if Scott was unavailable. Both beginners and experienced anglers will learn a lot and take their fishing to another level.”

The second report on Scott Murray is from Ruhan Neethling of South Africa, who fished with Murray this past January. “I caught 140 fish in eight days,” he writes.

Neethling says the average size of the fish he caught was between five and six pounds. “This was amazing fishing in amazing water,” he writes, going on to call Scotty “the best guide he has ever fished with, not just fishing-wise, but personally as well. He is very much keyed in to the ability and personality of his clients. He offers as personal a service as you will find anywhere. Add this to the stunning rivers and scenery and you have a winning combination.”
Neethling does not give the cost of his trip, but he warmly recommends it to fellow subscribers.

Previous reading
A Rebuttal Supporting SHE Expeditions Services for Women Anglers
Next reading
Striped Bass Crisis: Bad and Getting Worse