PROFILE: Stu’s Fly Shop, South Island NZ

You might know Stu from that youtube video, the one where he blasts a freshly tied fly with a shotgun, as a test of durability (it survives) – see video here. There are easier, more conventional ways to test a new fly pattern. But then again, nothing is conventional about Stu Tripney.

The Scottish born New Zealander runs his not so quaint tackle shop and guiding service in the small town of Athol, a tiny dot on New Zealand’s South Island. You can’t miss it – the sign that is. About an hour south of Queenstown, on the highway to Milford Sound, and smackbang in the middle of some world-class trout fishing is where you’ll find Stu’s Orgasmic World Famous Fishing Shop.

Parked outside is a “fluoro camo” Landcruiser. Around the back, near the parking lot is a jungle of loops and obstacles, a training ground for fly casting newbies. Behind this casting arena is Stu’s residence and a sign that reads: “NO TRESPASSING – violators will be shot, survivors will be shot again”. You get the drift, Stu doesn’t take himself too seriously.

As I walk through the shop doors, a tourist is on his way out, vowing to one day take up the sport of fly fishing. Stu yells “remember, just have fun”. And that pretty much encapsulates his approach to fishing, and life in general.

Inside you’ll find a well-stocked shop. Again, there’s more fluoro camo, this time it takes the form of a shirt. The shelves are stocked with reels, fly lines, DVDs, clothes, hats, fishing art and heaps of accessories. But what drives people back is the awesome selection of flies. His own designs are very unique and super effective on the local trout. I bought a few to try on the trout back home, and a few bigger patterns to throw at bass.

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It’s a great spot to be if you love trout fishing. Just down the road you’ll find the famous Mataura River. And most of the nearby rivers are known for good populations of big fussy brown trout.

If you’re ever passing by, whether fishing or not, it’s worth your time to drop in and check out the “world famous fly shop”.

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For more info visit the website at

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