Why would you go to a foreign country where you may not speak the local language and try to fish self-guided when it will require a large investment of time for logistics?
The answer: Because it is challenging and the uncertainty involved help makes for a memorable and fun trip.
It is possible to travel abroad on your own and successfully catch trout without using guide services. But be warned - it is not an easy thing to do. Do not expect to have day after day of catching monster trout. There may very well be days where you don't land a single fish.
It's not a requirement to have 5 or 10+ years of experience in fly fishing to make an attempt at fishing self-guided in a foreign locale. In order to become a better fly fisherman, you need to spend time on the water. It does not matter if the water is near your home or abroad.
- You can fish self-guided on a low budget. Once you are in destination country you can get by on $75-250 per week. The dollar figure depends on your requirements of comfort and your means of transportation.
- Fishing will give you a reason to go to places in another country that other foreigners normally do not go to.
- There will be opportunities to meet locals in the areas where you are fishing.
- Significant time is spent in dealing with the logistics of travel and finding places to fish (especially if you do not have a vehicle to use).
- Floating down rivers is near impossible if you are traveling and fishing from a backpack. The only way you might be able to do this is if you had a lightweight packraft or if you meet someone who invites you to float with them. Guiding services are valuable because they can provide you with the opportunity to float.
- It is common that private property blocks access to a waterway. Access to fisheries can be difficult if you do not know anyone in an area. A big perk of fishing guides is that they may have relationships with local landowners and can get you onto certain stretches of water.
Self-guided fly fishing is satisfying because of all the inputs that go into catching the fish. You first need to invest time into finding out which bodies of water have fishing opportunities and public water access. Without a car or motorcycle, you need to figure out how you will get yourself and all your gear to the destination. Maybe you will spend the day hitchhiking. Once there, where will you stay? Then you need to actually catch a fish. Do you utilize the correct flies? Is your technique and presentation right? If you do end up catching a trout in a foreign country where you may not even speak the official language, all of your effort and hard work has paid off!
Do not expect to catch trophy fish after trophy fish if you are fly fishing self-guided on foreign waters. You may have managed to find your way onto a gorgeous New Zealand stream that holds some monster brownies, but it takes technique and know how to catch these fish. Trial and error, a bit of local advice and some luck will increase your odds at catching sizable trout.
Depending on your luck and how outgoing you are, it is possible that you will meet local fishermen who will invite you to fish with them or offer you a couch to sleep on. You must first give respect to locals before potentially receiving any fishing advice or invitations. Be friendly and always attempt to speak the local language, even if you are not fluent. Unless you are in a country where English is an official language, do not expect that anyone speaks English. In order to be successful at fly fishing self-guided in foreign countries, interacting with locals is critical.
There are some fishermen who spend their time fishing with a mixture of using guiding services and self-guided. A fisherman may spend the first 2 or 3 days fishing in an area using the services of a local guide, so they can learn how the fishing is in a specific area and the techniques that work, and then spend the rest of their time fly fishing self-guided. Catching that first fish can be the biggest hurdle when fishing.
Self-Guided Fly Fishing Without a Vehicle
It will be extremely difficult to fish in a foreign location by solely using public transportation (buses/trains) as a means of moving about. Public transportation only reaches a limited number of destinations
Hitchhiking will allow you to travel to the places that public transportation does not make it to. It is feasible to use a mixture of public transportation, hitchhiking and trekking to get yourself to fishable water. For example, you can take a long distance bus to a city in a different region. From that city, you can hitchhike and trek around the region to different rivers and lakes. It is possible to solely hitchhike and trek as a means of transportation.
To reiterate: without a car, truck or motorcycle, you will spend a significant amount of your time in transit. It may take you a full day to hitchhike from one river or town to the next. Maybe the long distance bus you wanted to take is sold out and you have to wait until tomorrow to catch the next one.