Excellent Backcountry Fly Fishing
We had a blast fishing with Casey on the South Island. We took a helicopter out of Haast into the backcountry and the experience was unforgettable! Casey handled all of the details. The fishing was great. And the food was amazing despite us being miles from civilization. On a trip like this, make sure you are honest with your guide about your expectations and skill level. I work in the fishing industry and that really helps your guide prepare the proper trip for you. Casey did a great job accommodating what we wanted!
--Chris C., South Fork guide, writer, legal mind and raconteur
Perfect Fly Fishing trip with Casey
What an absolutely incredible experience fly fishing in New Zealand thanks to Casey. As a novice fly fisher, my expectations of myself were quite low. Fortunately, I had the most patient guide and best teacher in Casey. The instruction he gave me improved my casting in just two short days. He coached me perfectly while catching a fish that I would have otherwise lost. He was almost as excited as I was when I landed a fish.
Conditions in October were not the most ideal, but that didn’t stop Casey from finding beautiful Browns in clear water surrounded by the most stunning scenery. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Not only is Casey an outstanding guide and instructor, he is also such wonderful company, he shared so many great stories and personal experiences guiding. It is quite clear how passionate he is about guiding and giving his clients the most memorable fly fishing adventure possible. I was so fortunate to be one of those clients to soak up his instruction, knowledge, and insight.
Great trout guiding out of Dunedin
10 February 2018
Had a world class day out with Casey. He is an excellent guide who knows the rivers and conditions, the entomology, and can put you onto fish even when there appear at first to be none to be found. Caught a 7 pound male, the largest trout of my life, after a thoughtful stalk and observation. Highest marks for Casey, a very good trout man and interesting company on the river.
Great bloke, even better guide!
Spent a day with Casey on the 20/1/18, this was a time when all reports said conditions were tough with the current drought causing warmer than average water temperatures and very low water levels. Having had a tough time of it on our own the day prior, myself and a mate Lachlan were picked up by Casey for an early start out of Lumsden. The drive to the first spot was a good one with Casey's knowledge and passion for the fishery becoming very evident during conversation. He outlined the rough plan for the day and had clearly put in some work in the days prior resulting in us getting into some fantastic dry fly fishing at various spots during the day.
Possibly the best part of our day was just having a great bloke to fish with us. Even if the fishing had been horrible neither Lachlan or I would have complained. His experience showed regularly picking the exact fly we needed and giving us the chance to use some of his own flies which were dynamite!
Casey was also able to show us some excellent locations and provide us with great information that set us up for the rest of our week in NZ.
Thanks Casey for all your hard work, we will be using you again in the future!!
Cheers, Tom and Lachlan
Terrific guide and articulate naturalist. A lot of fun to fish with.
31 January 2018
My 14 yo son and I have been out twice with Casey and have found him to be a passionate, knowledgable angler/outdoorsman who shares his insights with enthusiasm. An encyclopedic knowledge of lower South Island fly fishing waters and how to approach them. Overall, a great experience and has a good feel for tailoring his approach to the expertise/experience of the angler. He showed great patience/willingness to teach /encouragement with my son who has been fly casting for about 5 years. An added level of confidence and interest has been the result of our trips with him. An invaluable experience.
Welcome to the Grub Love Club
"I have yet to meet a more passionate and dedicated fishing guide than Casey. The day seemed to fly by as we fished the Mataura river hard. Casey compensated for my lack of skills with his easy going authentic friendly style
A highlight was to target highly trout feeding selectively on the the tiny yellow 'Willa' bug. An experience that will live with me for a long time. Great company and an enjoyable day on the river."
- Mike C., Trip Advisor
"My husband fished with Casey and had a sensational time! We were in Queenstown and Casey's knowledge, experience and hospitality were invaluable. Casey was a great mentor and my husband caught the most fish he has ever caught --thirteen. Beautiful locations, quality fishing, great company!
He enjoyed it so much he's going back!
-Karina C., Trip Advisor
Epic Day's Fishing!
"This was without doubt one of the best days fishing I have ever had--and what a guide Casey is: always friendly and clearly passionate about what he does. We fished the upper Mataura river, which Casey knows like the back of his hand. I hooked over 20 on both the dry fly and nymph. I would highly recommend Casey and the Wild Angler experience to anyone looking for trout fishing in the South Island. I hope one day to be back!
-Archie S., Uniquely Scotland Tours
World-class fly-fishing guide based in Dunedin
"Casey is a fantastic fly-fishing guide and fisherman. If you are ever looking for a guide in the southern part of New Zealand's South Island, Casey should be your man. He knows the Otago and Southland rivers and gives everything for his clients.
--Uwe Müller, www.Troutfisherman.de
Good value: knowledgeable, hard working, interesting
“My wife and I have gone out twice with Casey. You definitely get your money's worth with this guide. First, he is extremely knowledgeable: he knows where the fish are, what flies to use, and how to approach wary New Zealand brown trout. Second, he works hard to put you onto fish; both times we have gone out with him we started early and didn't knock off until sunset. (This was in October and November.) An additional benefit is that Casey's knowledge is not limited to fly fishing; he has interesting things to say about a lot of subjects. Definitely recommended if you are staying in Dunedin or Queenstown.”
- Dr. David Glanzman
“Casey provided an amazing walk-in day-trip fly fishing experience for me in South Island Otago rivers. He really tries to please, to match your expectations with his site selections, and provide an outstanding fishing experience. We saw no other fishermen, enjoyed solitude and outstanding fishing; large fish, outstanding water. And he LOVES it when you catch trout! Will do it again.”
- Dr. Dave Grainger
Hardest working guide
“Casey Is without a doubt the hardest working guide I have ever been with. His tireless work ethic and vast knowledge of the South Island fly fishing scene was crucial to our success during my two trip with him in late March. We had plenty of hookups on the Mataura and Waikaia and never saw another angler the two days we fished. This is in part due to Casey's secret spots that hold a some really nice fish. The fishing is challenging but the reward of hooking a 6 1/2 pounder more that make up for it. If you are on the South Island and are looking for a experienced guide that will fish with you till you tell him to stop, give a Casey a call or contact him on his website. You will not be disappointed.”
- B. Lucius
One of the best
“Casey Cravens has GOT to be one of the best of Dunedin and Queenstown fly-fishing guides working in New Zealand. He seems to know instinctively which South Island waters to fish, in all seasons and conditions, and what to use. He's SO experienced, and so skilled, I'd love to see his knowledge pitted against other Dunedin and Queenstown fly fishing guides, in some sort of competition. My money would be well and truly on Casey. I have some great memories of my time fly fishing the New Zealand backcountry rivers with him. And he's a lot of fun, too. Memorable times in great country, with a consummate host. Wishing you well, Casey!!
- Tom Jones, Crafty Beers
“If you are looking for a Dunedin and Queenstown fly-fishing guide, Casey is your guy! He has a stunning amount of knowledge in all aspects of South Island fly fishing. And his ability to match the proper the fly pattern for all situations on the Mataura River is amazing. I highly recommend Casey as a guide to chase the beautiful trout that New Zealand has to offer. “
- Jake Weber
“I had a great day fishing the Mataura river with Casey in March 2015, after a two-day Queenstown fly-fishing trip in March 2014 that was a helicopter fly-fishing experience with three other mates from Australia. Before and during both trips Casey's attention to detail and client follow up to questions was exceptional. And he is prepared to travel long distances to meet clients where it is most convenient for them, another strong point. On both trips we caught good fish, in great surroundings, and in good company. Can't ask for more than that in a New Zealand fly-fishing guide. Catch you next year, Casey. “
- Craig Ferguson
Biggest brown ever
“Big day out in a remote part of New Zealand's South Island in search of big browns. We were lucky enough to land a couple of them, including my biggest brown trout ever! Great day out with superb company. Thanks for guiding me on one of the best trophy trout rivers of the South Island, Casey”
- Ray Wilson
Clear water, big fish
“Casey put me straight onto the fish and on my first cast I had a follow! The clarity of the water and the size of the fish is unique to New Zealand and the South Island. Casey is a great guide and his knowledge of unique New Zealand fly fishing techniques very impressive. I came off a cruise ship for one day and caught two fish, 8lb and 5lb and was broken off on really big fish--a monster! His custom patterns and expert guiding made a difference. Casey took some great photographs, which is a nice way to capture the beautiful fly fishing experience that is New Zealand's South Island. If you can fish and cast you have a chance to capture a fish of a life time in God's Own Country. “
- CJ Adcock
“Casey was an excellent guide to fish waters out of Queenstown. He is a master at matching patterns to the hatch. He provides the perfect balance of autonomy and support to each angler. I highly recommend him if you're looking for a top-notch South Island fly fishing guide. “
- Denis W
Amazing winter fishing, with no crowds
“I had an amazing winter day fishing with Casey. He took me to a remote South Island lake where we were not merely the only the fisherman but also the only signs of human life; it was absolutely beautiful setting. The weather was challenging but Casey worked tirelessly to find the good spots for fish. I caught nice brown trout, had a bunch of strikes and ended the day with a monster rainbow! Considering it was a winter day, I was amazed. All in all I would highly recommend Wild Angler to anyone serious about fly fishing and serious about catching big fish!”
- Michael Jaffee
“Beautiful river, great company and guiding, rising trout. I'll fish with you again anytime Casey! :-) “
- Derek Grzelewski, author of Trout Bohemia
“Fishing with Casey of Wild Angler was one of the highlights of the 6 months I spent in New Zealand. Casey is a superb guide and has tremendous knowledge of the land and (more importantly) the waters of New Zealand's South Island. Casey is a also a terrific and a very patient teacher. After two days on the water with him I was casting further and more accurately than I have in my whole life (a necessary improvement if one wants to catch the intelligent brown trout in the big waters).
In addition to his excellent local knowledge and teaching skills, Casey brings a passion for fishing that made the days on the river unforgettable. He came to collect me at 5 in the morning and we fished until after the sun went down -- when you're spending the day with Casey you are spending the day with a man who loves what he does and who wants to share that joy with you. Spending the day with Casey felt more like spending the day with a good friend; in addition to discussing what the trout are biting on we discussed movies, literature, drama, and our favorite travel and fishing destinations around the world. Since I have been back home in the States I have continued to stay in touch with my friend Casey and it is always exciting to revisit our adventures on the Mataura, and sharing new stories and pictures from the fishing we have done since. Fish with Casey -- you will have an adventure you'll never forget.”
- Charley Stern, actor and former hockey star
Living the dream
“Wild Angler is run by an American guide Casey who settled in New Zealand's South Island more than 25 years ago, so he knows what Living The Dream means!! For Casey, taking you fishing is not just putting you in the right place with the right fly, but a truly human experience where it's all about sharing a common passion for fishing, nature, cooking, good books.--in short everything that makes us happy to be alive :) He also is good company in the evenings, discussing everything from Jim Harrison's novels to hiphop to South American travel.”
- Benoit de Vilmorin, director from the HonkyTonk Films production company, for www.LeMouching.com
Three double-digit fish
“I have fished the South Island with Casey from Wild Angler on six trips and have never been disappointed. Casey is not only an expert angler but a skilled teacher of the great art of New Zealand Fly Fishing.
If you are a seasoned expert or a rank beginner Casey is able to build a New Zealand fly fishing trip that will not only meet your needs but improve your ability. Casey has a amazing knowledge of the New Zealand South Island fly fishing scene and has consistently put me onto great trophy fish. I have done a fair bit of fly fishing and days on the water with Casey are always my favorite.
In our last adventure Casey guided a friend who had never caught a trout before, and myself, at the end of this back country trip my friend had released around 15 fish in excess of 5 pound including an 8 pound trophy while I managed over 20 fish released up to 11 pound--including three great fish in the double-digit range.
If you are looking for a New Zealand fly-fishing guide to customize a trip tailor-made to your needs, give Casey a call.” --Peter Quigley
“I had heard a lot about fishing in the South Island of New Zealand and was excited to hook up with Casey and see how good it could be, and we had a great day on the Mataura River, hooked 7 landed 6, 4 on dry and 2 on Nymph. Casey is a really enthusiastic guide and knows this river very well, his coaching and help was greatly appreciated and he also helped my beginner partner with all aspects of fly fishing. I will be back to explore this are again soon. It always pays to have a guide and Casey is one good guide, his enthusiasm is infectious and keeps you going all day.” - Barry T
On the fly he conjured
“Great company and thorough knowledge of the area especially the Mataura River. We had a entertaining day in trying conditions and I have a photo of a Mataura River beauty caught on the change fly Casey had just conjured from his fly box when all else failed. Wonderful!
Can't wait to get back to those New Zealand lovelies! (the fish I mean….)”
-Paul R., Derbyshire UK.
Heli trip for three mates
I had a great day fishing the Mataura with Casey in March 2015, after a 2 day trip in March 2014 that was a helicopter fly fishing experience with three other mates from Australia. Before and during both trips Casey's attention to detail and client follow up to questions was exceptional, and he is prepared to travel long distances to meet clients where it is most convenient for them, another strong point. On both trips we caught good fish, in great surroundings, and in good company. Can't ask for more than that. Catch you next year Casey.
Big day out in a remote part of south land in search of big browns, we were lucky enough to land a couple of them! Great day out with great company. Thanks Casey.
"Casey put me straight onto the fish and on my first cast I had a follow! The clarity of the water and the size of the fish is unique to New Zealand and the South Island. Casey is a great guide and his knowledge very impressive. I came off a cruise ship for one day and caught two fish, 8lb and 5lb and was broken off by a monster! Casey took some great pictures which is a nice way to capture beautiful New Zealand. If you can fish and cast you have a chance to capture a fish of a lifetime in God's own country."
Among the best fishing trips I have ever had
"Early November this year (2011) saw me fish a remote New Zealand river with Casey Cravens from Wild Angler. After a serious health scare through the year I decided I couldn’t put this trip off any longer so I left it to Casey to put a trip together for the first three days of the opening season. My arrival on the South Island coincided with a pretty ordinary weather forecast for the week with rain and snow predicted for much of the South Island.
"After an enjoyable day of hiking we arrived at a backcountry hut and found that we were the only people there. Obviously the poor forecast had put other anglers off, and on November 1st we awoke to a dry morning and a crystal clear river. Spotting large Rainbows was so easy, it wasn’t long before we had spotted 20 fish. And while they were numerous it was somewhat challenging to get them to take a fly. Wets were the order of the day and after a while we managed to release six fish. As the day progressed the weather worsened and the fish were less active. We averaged around seven fish a day in very trying conditions. We fished in snow for the last day and a half but the lure of the trophy fish made it easy to persevere. Towards the end of day two we spotted a very large fish from a very high cutaway bank. Casey suggested I walk around and have a go at it while he returned to camp and prepare dinner. After a lot of effort I was able to get within range of a really great fish which looked to be just less than 10 pounds. My first cast was perfect and the fish crashed the fly with vigour and then proceeded to launch itself across the stream like a missile. Unfortunately the fight didn’t last long and the fish and the fly parted company. Although it was a fish lost it's going to be a lasting memory for me.
"I have fished many locations around the world, and my week with Casey was amongst the best fishing trips I have had. Casey’s organisation was fabulous even to the point of knowing that with extreme weather imminent our destination river would be one of the few fishable locations on the South Island.
And through Casey’s patience and tuition my casting reached a new level. Casey is a top-class guide who provides a really professional service, great conversation, and can arrange trips that provide memories that will last a lifetime.
As for the dream river we fished, it’s a must for any keen fly angler. I can’t wait to get back!"
Principal Moorooduc Primary School
You get 100 percent of him
"To anyone out there considering a fly-fishing guide on New Zealand's South Island, when you use Casey Cravens as a fly-fishing outfitter, you get 100% of him. He is not only fun to be with and full of energy, but knows the rivers and lakes of New Zealand like they were his back yard.
"Casey has all the equipment, including fine T&T fly rods, and knows how to teach the guests the right techniques to hook the great New Zealand wary browns, perhaps the top fly-rod gamefish ever. I had a great time, and Casey can send you a photo of the river that shall remain unnamed.
From a fly-fishing TV producer
"I am the host of a fly fishing TV series, "Hooked on the Fly". It airs all over the world and we sell DVDs of the aired shows on our website as well as fly shops. Check us out at: www.hookedonthefly.net .
"Due to hosting a TV series, I have had the chance to fish with numerous outfitters all over the world, and Casey is right up there at the top in all categories of being a guide and companion on a fly-fishing trip of a lifetime."
-Tight Lines, Chris Travis DDS
Hooked on the Fly
"Choosing a South Island fly fishing guide for your first trip to New Zealand is no easy task, given all the options available. I am very happy I chose Casey Cravens of Wild Angler, based on the recommendation of a friend. He proved to be a top-notch guide and I have fished with numerous guides both salt and fresh. He ranks up with the best of them.
"Casey's depth of knowledge of South Island rivers and his willingness to listen to what I wanted out of the trip allowed us to fine-tune the best location to fish given the conditions. Casey's attention to detail from fly selection, to food, to sight fishing made my multi-day helicopter backcountry trip one I will never forget.
I recommend Casey without hesitation, and look forward to my next trip with him."
-Jim Grant, Texas
"From my initial contact with Casey, I knew that our wilderness South Island New Zealand trip was going to be something special. He provided me volumes of helpful information before I had even booked. Casey's expertise helped my buddy and me nail our first NZ trout in one of the prettiest Central South Island wilderness streams I have ever had the pleasure of fishing. He tailored his guiding to both our skill levels, and I’m a newbie and my friend Rob is quite experienced. His sight fishing skills, hospitality, custom flies, photography and willingness to help, and hospitality were of the highest level. And I really enjoyed the gourmet backcountry meal we all shared—cranberry venison ragout with mushrooms and shiraz and a great bottle of Central Otago Roaring Meg Pinot Noir. Our New Zealand fly fishing trip is one Rob and I will never forget."
-Grey Littlewood, South Carolina
(Grey's friend Rob hooked over a dozen fish, landed most, including three of the
largest trout of his life, both rainbows and browns.
Later, in the gloaming, he even landed an eel on a fly,
completing the South Island Grand Slam.")
A Rave Corporate Review:
"I'm writing on behalf of Casey Cravens, fishing guide based out of Gore, South Island, New Zealand.
"A while back, I brought a group of over 20 anglers and partners from abroad to fish the Southland waters, including the famous Mataura River and its tributaries. On that trip, I engaged Casey Cravens of Wild Angler as our head guide and organizer for the entire week. In addition to guiding us, Casey arranged all the local guides as well as accommodations, spousal events and evening social venues. As president of PPS (Pacific Professional Seminars), I have organized angling travel events all over the world, including six other trips to New Zealand. I can tell you that this was, by far, the best organized trip we have had for many years. Certainly, the best we’ve had in New Zealand. Notwithstanding weather issues, our trip was a huge success. Guiding was very professional and all guides engaged provided excellent local knowledge as well as high quality tackle and flies. Our anglers ranged from the highly skilled to rank amateurs and each was able to meet their expectations for the fishing trip.
"I would be thrilled to recommend Casey to any other corporate group for all the hard work and excellent trip he did for us. I’d love to hear from you and would happily consolidate your confidence in taking Casey to handle your group’s needs.
"Best regards and look forward to hearing from you."
Dr. Ernst J. Schmidt, B.Sc. DMD
Like fishing with your best friend
"Hard working. That's how we would describe our days fishing the lower South Island with Casey. Always looking for opportunities, elated at our victories, supportive at our bad casts. Not like fishing with a guide at all. More like fishing with your best friend, who happens to know the area, some secret spots, and has great eyes for finding trout."
--Terry & Lori Nicholson
After ten years of trips to the North and South Islands
"My biggest trout ever."
-- Peter Neil
"I am very happy to recommend Casey Cravens as a South Island fly fishing guide out of the ordinary. His friendly outgoing nature and his impressive knowledge in matching the hatch on the mighty Mataura ensured that my wife Sue and I had a most pleasurable and productive day's fishing. Contact him now!"
--Tony Kiesanowski, Consultant Lawyer, Christchurch, New Zealand
"Casey is enthusiasm personified! He's a good keen angler with focus and determination to go that extra distance in pursuit of fish. Amiable, personable and certainly knowledgeable, Casey's great company for a day on the river."
--Andy Altman, Dunedin, NZ.
Knowledge of all things fish
"It is my pleasure to recommend Casey Cravens to guide you through your New Zealand fly fishing experience. I have known Casey for more than a decade, fished with him more times than you can shake a stick at, and enjoyed them all. His experience with local and distant rivers, his knowledge of all things fish, and his great personality are all part of the package. Whether it be reading the water, or the thrill of seeing a fish rise to a carefully chosen dry fly, Casey will give you a memorable fishing experience."
--Professor Mike Colombo, New Jersey, USA
"It was a real pleasure to fish New Zealand's beautiful rivers with you, Casey. Visitors unfamiliar with your guiding service can be assured they will be fishing with one of the most knowledgeable anglers of South Island trout streams like the Mataura and their entomology. This is reflected in Casey's innovative fly tying and matching-the-hatch ability. I wish Casey and his future clients every success. You won't be disappointed with the opportunity to fish with the Wild Angler."
--Dr. Gerard Prendergrast
"I've enjoyed fishing the South Island with Casey every season for over a dozen years. He is one of the finest and most dedicated anglers I have known. When I first met him I wondered if he was just lucky. But I soon realized his ability to catch larger fish and more fish than anyone else on a stretch of water on any given day is due to something more than just skill--his ability to think like a fish, a brown trout to be precise. Couple this with a warm and generous nature and a wicked sense of humor, and you've got the perfect recipe for an excellent fishing expedition."
--Dr. Steve Kerr, North Carolina, USA
A man for all waters
"I have fished the rivers of Southern New Zealand for 50 years. The delicate streams of South Canterbury have yielded trout with spirit and size, up to 34 pounds in my lifetime. The peat waters of inland Otago share their shy trout with reluctance, and the cold lakes of the South offer the finest fighting rainbows. For the last dozen years I have enjoyed Casey's collegiality on a dozen streams, all in different moods and styles. Casey is a man for all waters. He's an enthusiast, widely knowledgeable about New Zealand's South Island fly fishing waters, an expert with the dry fly, a wonderful guide and companion. His knowledge and guidance about fly-fishing New Zealand is complemented by his companionship and his conversation about literature, art, current affairs, sport and music. A compleat angler's guide!
--Professor Geoff White,
Former Assistant Vice Chancellor, Otago University