Wanaka Fly Fishing Academy


Where are you at with your fly fishing? Is your casting letting you down? Presentation not all it could be? Or perhaps you're just beginning this journey of discovery that is both an adventure and an art? Wherever you find yourself now Wanaka Fly Fishing Acadamy can take you further, to the next level and beyond.  We offer you a distillation of thousands of our own river days into the unique single malt that is fly fishing.

Let our skills and experience, coupled with our memorable hosting, maximise your learning experience and arm you not only with the skills to further your fly fishing, but additionally give you a thoroughly enjoyable holiday in the heart of South Island trout country. We invite you to join one of our Fly Fishing Courses designed to bring out the best in you and to enjoy every step of the journey. Learn More >

Latest news - next course early September 2014  

With several sucessful courses run in April and May, the next course is shedule for early September, or custom courses earlier by arrangement.



Wanaka Fly fishing Academy courses are designed to give an understanding of all aspects of the art that is fly fishing. From entomological (that's bugs!) analysis to knot tying, and fly casting to trout behavior, we cover them and most things in between. Our fast track method is designed to minimise what can be years of frustration, while maximising your overall enjoyment of this beautiful sport. We offer 1, 3, and 5 day courses, as well as custom programs to suit group and corporate needs. Our courses are more focused on learning the correct techniques and practices than on catching fish. Naturally the longer the course the more serious the kick start to your journey! Learn More>


The fishing

Although the focus of the Academy is learning, the fishing around Wanaka is also wonderful. Unlike many areas, even during the winter months, Wanaka has some quality open waters. Being able to access 3 major catchments together with a host of still waters and lakes means there are always options on offer. 
New Zealand fly-fishing [particularly in the South Island] is primarily focused on “sight fishing” meaning most of the fish we catch are sighted before the cast is made. The fish are wild and don’t give themselves up readily. We have seen many an angler become frustrated because of their lack of skills and knowledge to master this most challenging form of fly fishing. By offering comprehensive course based learning, we allow you to maximise future precious limited time on the water and undoubtedly increases the overall success and enjoyment of your angling experience. Learn More>


About Wanaka

Wanaka, often referred to as the “jewel in the south island’s crown”, is undoubtedly the most picturesque and versatile venue to host a fly-fishing academy. A small town of 5,000, it is set amongst a fantastic mountain backdrop and majestic lakes. It has a great 4 season climate, a large range of trout waters (including several that are open year round) and a “classroom” that is stunningly beautiful. Wanaka is small enough to offer personal and friendly service and large enough to cater for a host of other non-fishing activities from skiing, boating, golf, scenic hikes, bushwalking, and wine tasting. It boasts diverse retailing as well as a wealth of quality restaurants and accommodation options. Learn More>


About us

Ian Cole and Craig Smith are well established full time fly fishing guides based in Wanaka, and members of the NZ Professional Fly Fishing Guides Association. They are both Certified FFF Casting Instructors, and have been featured in numerous magazines articles .
Ian Cole is a life long fly-fisherman. Starting at the tender age of 13, he has enjoyed 40 years of learning the “gentle art”. He has extensive fly-fishing experience all over the world and has contributed to a number of publications and videos. Fly fishing is his lifetime passion. He revels in sharing it with others - he has guided “the south” for over 18 years.
He is a talented and patient tutor. Over the years Ian has taught 100’s of budding fly-fishers the “gentle art”
Craig Smith has grown up fly fishing, starting at 12 years old, he spent his school years discovering the small streams of the Canterbury area. Also a qualified teacher and botanist, Craig has fly fished the South Island for 30 years, concentrating his fishing and guiding in the Southern Lakes for the last 14 years. He has a real passion for fly fishing instruction, and has introduced hundreds of clients and students to the joy of fly fishing the wilderness areas that Wanaka has to offer.. Learn More>