Text and photos by Leonard Flemming
When I travelled through New Zealand in 2010 and 2011, I obviously tried to catch big trout, but after I got lucky and landed a few large fish I also tried to explore as many streams as time allowed. One of the streams I was told about was the Boyers Stream that runs through the North Canterbury region.
The brown trout that live in the Boyers are smaller than those in most other rivers and although there are quite a few fish in the suburban areas it runs through, they are well trained by the local fisherman that fish the stream regularly. That is why I headed upstream into the nursery area of the Boyers Stream, which flows through Alford Forest.
Alford Forest is part of a natural reserve, which protects the indigenous flora that grows so dense it hides the Boyers from a bird’s eye view. I guess that could be a good reason for the exceptional fishing in this river, because no one spots it on Google Earth. The other obvious reason is that eager beaver anglers visit New Zealand to catch trophy brown trout and not to fish small streams.
Whatever the case may be, I didn’t complain when I fished it and pulled out a tally of juvenile browns that could fill a trawler net. As an avid small stream fly fisherman and an any-and-all fish catching addict, I handled the little trouts with care, wetting my hands before lifting every fish from the water and removing the barbless hooks with fine forceps.
Most small streams are not worth fishing more than once. It is only a special stream with a good head of trout and pretty surroundings that draws me back for more. These elements should be exceptional if the river lures me back in a place where big trout, like ten pounders, can be caught close by. That is why I believe that this stream may just be the best small stream in the world.
Even though the voice in my head fussed about the time that I was wasting on the Boyers Stream catching ‘nonsense fish’, the joy I was feeling was enough to dim those thoughts. You will probably also win the bet if you placed money on my weakness for small streams and that I would wade up this stream once more if I ever travel to New Zealand again.