Growing up with a mad keen fisherman for a dad ensured Bruce learned his experience as first-hand as it gets. One of the region’s few Central Otago born-and-bred fly-fishing guides, he’s lost count of the nameless back-country streams and lakes he’s fished in the last 40 years, though he can remember most of the fish.
“I guess you could say it’s in the blood. Dad travelled round Central a lot for work and always kept a rod in the truck. He’d take us out there every chance he got, and he made sure he got a lot of chances!” says Bruce.
That much local knowledge lasts a lifetime in a place where change comes very slowly, and every season brings the chance to perfect and refine the unique art.
“It’s not all about casting and hoping for the best down here. In Central you need to be a stalker, a hunter. First you have to find the fish, then it’s all a case of making sure he doesn’t see you while you find the best spot to offer him a fly. That’s how it’s always been for me.”
Those early lessons came in handy when 10-year-old Bruce took his first client out on the river, a visiting circus owner who’d never seen fish hunted in the local style before.
“He certainly got some fish that day and he was hooked on it from that moment. It seemed a great way to make a living to me!”
Loaded with local techniques and know-how, and stories drawn from a career in hospitality, a day with Bruce Leitch goes pretty quickly… unless you’re a trout that is.
Bruce, is a member of the N.Z Professional Fly Fishing Guides Association.
Kia Ora, I’m Henare. Now that’s a Maori name so I should help you out by explaining it’s pronounced Hen-naa-rre. There, not many fly-fishing guides start off with a language lesson!
Seeing as you’ve landed on the Dream Waters website we probably have a few things in common. For instance, I’ve loved fishing all my life, particularly fly-fishing. Growing up on a farm in the Heart of the King Country (Nth Island) meant i had a fly rod in one hand and a rifle in the other, thanks to my father and grandfather. School holidays were spent trapping possums and shooting deer and goats for pocket money.
Moving to Queenstown in 1995 to learn to paraglide and pursue my love of skiing has given me a life of adventure and allowed me to spend maximum time outdoors, where i love to be. After a season of guiding on the Milford Track (Fiordland) I became a professional fly-fishing guide in 1999, learning from one of the world’s great masters, Dick Fraser, at his superb Cedar Lodge back country fishing hideaway.
Since then I’ve been lucky enough to spend the summers flyfishing guiding and the winters heli-ski guiding, a combination that for me is perfect. After having a number of clients ask me about Real Estate here in Queenstown, i thought it was a sign to add that to the quiver of services i could offer as well. I’m still working on the balance of life as we speak! I’m married to Ikuko and we have a son named Jazz who was born in May 08 and has already seen a few of the beautiful rivers and mountains that surround us courtesy of dads back.
Anyway my job’s about sharing the ‘where’, ‘how’, ‘when’ and ‘what’ of fly-fishing here in the Southern Alps region. You’re the ‘who’ and I’m thinking we’ve got enough in common to know exactly ‘why’!
Henare, is a member of the N.Z Professional Fly Fishing Guides Association.