Chris Paris Fly Fishing Down ‘Under
Australia and New Zealand together have some of the most sensational and diverse fly fishing to be found anywhere in the world. Australia is an enormous country and though much of it is desert, it also has loads of great trout country, especially in Tasmania and the well-named Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and Victoria. There is also excellent saltwater fly fishing across a range of climatic zones from the tropical north to the chilly Southern Ocean. New Zealand looks small on maps compared to Australia, but it’s about the same size as the UK. It’s a well-known trout fishing destination but it also has runs of Pacific salmon on the South Island and a fabulous variety of saltwater species eager to chew your flies.
Chris Paris has over forty years’ experience of fly fishing down’under, starting with his first-ever wild brown trout from the Swampy Plain River in southern New South Wales in November 1979, towards the end of a year spent as a lecturer at Flinders University in Adelaide. He lived in Canberra for 11 years from 1981 to 1992, getting to know the Snowy Mountains and Monaro regions under the tutelage of Maury Wilson, a cantankerous old sod who didn’t like most people but somehow decided to take Chris under his wing and show him the ropes. Chris fly fished throughout the 1980s in the Snowies, especially Lakes Eucumbene and Lake Jindabyne, as well as the Eucumbene river and many high country streams. He started saltwater fly fishing in Southern New South Wales in 1990, as well as fly fishing in Tasmania with legendary guide Bill Beck.
Chris moved from Canberra to a job in Ulster University, based in Derry, in 1992. Having a base in Northern Ireland never stopped him from going back to Australia for varying periods of time, sometimes on academic business but often on extended fishing trips, mainly to Tasmania for trout or Queensland’s Sunshine Coast to chase tropical species. He went back to South Australia for a job at Adelaide University in 2013 and 2014 which made it easier to spend lots of time in Tasmania and helped pay to fill his bucket list with tropical species on fly in the Northern Territory and Far North Queensland.
A base in Adelaide also helped Chris get into fly fishing in New Zealand, starting in March 2013 with a guided trip to the Southland region of the South Island, organised by Melbourne-based Hurley’s Fly Fishing. That trip was so good that he couldn’t resist another week’s guided fishing in the Westland region, where Gavin Hurley himself was guiding on rivers and lakes. Chris has had many subsequent trips to New Zealand, mainly on the South Island with his Adelaide-based mate Tony Otworowski, all unguided apart from a bit of help from local friends, especially Christchurch angling legend Bob Jones.
This talk provides an illustrated overview of the range of fly fishing opportunities in fresh and saltwater in Australia and New Zealand drawing on Chris’s own experiences over the last 40 years. Chris offers impartial advice to prospective visiting anglers whether they’re just after a day or two out from a business trip or ‘family’ holiday to fanatics looking for a full-on intensive fly-fishing experience for trout, native fish such as Murray Cod, or any of the hundreds of saltwater fly fishing targets around the coasts of Australia and New Zealand.
About Chris Paris
Chris was born in London in 1948 and brought up in the Lea Valley in Hertfordshire from 1950 to 1966. He first fished with his grandad when he was six and is still fishing in his seventies, mainly fly fishing for big brown trout on Irish loughs, Erne, Corrib and Sheelin. As an all-round angler, though, he still enjoys ‘coarse’ fishing for roach, barbel and chub with old friends in England. He is also mad keen to catch his first 30lb pike, having had dozens over 20lb including a 21-pounder on fly, and neither cares where it comes from nor by what legal method.
He was the first in his family to go to university and decided where to study based on fishing opportunities. He studied geography at Southampton University so he could fish the Hampshire Avon for roach, chub and barbel. With a good enough degree to get a postgraduate grant he spent two years doing an MPhil degree in Town & Regional Planning at the University of Glasgow, mainly so he could fish Loch Lomond for pike.
His professional life as a social scientist, university teacher and consultant researcher took him to Birmingham and London in the 1970s, Adelaide and Canberra in Australia in 1979 and the 1980s, and to a professorship at Ulster University in Derry, where he has lived since 1992. His fishing life and friendships have reflected the opportunities in those places, from English carp fishing in the 1970s to wider horizons in sea fishing and fly fishing in fresh and saltwater in Australia, Ireland, and around the world. He has fished widely across the island of Ireland, mainly for wild brown trout, but also for sea trout, salmon and the odd bass. Chris was a founder member of the Wild Trout Society, which morphed into the Wild Trout Trust, of which he is a life member. He is also a life member of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.
Chris is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and has published extensively as a social scientist with numerous books, book chapters, research monographs and papers in scholarly journals. He has also contributed occasionally to fishing magazines, and has recently completed his first angling book, The Fish of a Lifetime, published by Amazon.co.uk . Signed copies of a special printing on high-quality paper will be available for sale at the Irish Fly Fair.
Chris’s first ‘fish of a lifetime’ was a 1lb roach from the Lea in 1962, followed by specimens caught by all angling methods in many countries: pike, carp, tench, chub, barbel, bass and cod in Britain and Ireland; Australian saltwater snapper, kingfish and coral trout; wild brown and rainbow trout on fly in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Argentina; barramundi, tuna, snook, tarpon, trevallies and giant herrings on fly in Australia and the Caribbean; Pacific salmon on fly and bait in Canada and Alaska.