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.




  1. James 13 April, 2015 at 06:48 - Reply

    Hello, would you please consider removing this post? I’m not sure why you would want to advertise such a wonderful wee stream and risk it becoming overcrowded and over-fished. Please keep it secret. Thank you

    • Leonard Flemming 13 April, 2015 at 09:27 - Reply

      Dear James, thank you for your valuable comment. You are the first person to respond with a negative outlook on this post; I respect your view of course, but you should keep in mind that NZ is a trophy trout venue and not a small stream trout venue. I doubt if this stream will receive much more attention from anglers than what it had prior to the post – very few foreigners in my opinion will bother to make time for it on a trip to NZ. I do not live in NZ of course and cannot keep track of traffic on your rivers and I would therefore like to know if you have experienced more people fishing it lately? I will also get into touch with local anglers in Methven who may be able to give me an idea of its angling interest from locals and foreigners. If it is generally regarded as a ‘fragile’ fishery, then I will remove the post without further hesitation.

  2. James 22 April, 2015 at 06:56 - Reply

    Dear Leonard, I appreciate your reply, thank you.

    I take no issue with you publishing images and a general description of the river, but I fail to see how naming and locating it publicly on the internet leads to any real benefit. Put simply, what’s the point?

    Please remember that while not many people choose to fish (or know of) the headwaters, this is only a small part of what this river has to offer. The lower reaches may not contain trophies, but the fish are impressive nonetheless. By naming the river, you effectively put the whole thing ‘on the map’. I do, however, take small consolation in the fact that you’ve actually spelled it wrong, perhaps deliberately – I’m not sure – but the point still remains.

    Bear in mind also that visiting anglers, such as yourself, aren’t the only ones who potentially scour the internet looking for blog posts about new water. Resident anglers do the same, and they’re not all tight-lipped. It really doesn’t take much for word to spread and for a river to go from largely unknown to practically un-fishable for the average weekend warrior.

    I chanced upon this river one day and have endeavored to keep it secret ever since. It’s true that any enterprising angler is free to discover it; they need only to pick up a map and venture into the unknown, as both you and I did. Or, if the river was disclosed to you, then it’s best to assume that the expectation probably wasn’t that you would write about it on the internet.

    I’ll conclude by borrowing from your own words: “These places are the places we want to look after, guard from those who may exploit or expose too easily locations, conditions and nuances of them.” –


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