You are curious about traveling to a foreign country to fly fish on your own. Now how do you get started? Here are some important questions to ask yourself.
1. How much available time do I have?
If you are planning on fly fishing in a foreign country without the use of a fishing guide, it is best if your trip lasts a minimum of 2 weeks. You will invest a fair amount of your time by planning the required logistics to find places to fish. If you do not have a vehicle available, the amount of time spent on logistics only increases and you also need to spend time traveling about on your own (hitchhiking/public transportation). Of course, the more time that you have, the better!
2. What is my budget?
You need to consider the following items when planning a budget for a self-guided fishing trip.
- Plane tickets
- Travel Insurance (recommended)
- Transportation while in country - Will you take buses or trains? Will you buy/rent a truck/motorcycle? Will you hitchhike?
- Fishing License
- Accommodation - Will you camp every night or stay in hostels when possible?
- Equipment - Do you have all the camping/backpacking/fly fishing gear that you need? Do you need to purchase additional flies, a new sleeping bag/tent, etc?
- Visa fees
The two main items found above that will impact your budget are: the cost of transportation and the accommodation. If you feel comfortable enough to hitchhike, you will have a dramatically cheaper trip as opposed to renting a car by yourself. If you wild camp, you will be sleeping in the outdoors for free instead of paying for a hostel dorm bed or private room.
Once at your destination country, it is possible to travel around for $75-$250 USD per week. It depends on how much hitchhiking and camping that you do.
3. Which country/countries do I want to fish in?
There is no correct answer to this question! You may have always had a desire to visit New Zealand. Or maybe you would like to improve your Spanish and get the chance to hook into some trout in either Chilean or Argentinian Patagonia. Do not forget to research the visa requirements and fees.
There are some European countries where you can fly fish self-guided without a vehicle of your own, including: Slovakia, Slovenia and Finland.
4. During what time of year do I want to fly fish? What species of fish do I want to catch?
The seasons of the Northern Hemisphere are the opposite of the Southern Hemisphere seasons. What will the weather be like during that time? November through April/May is the regulated trout fishing season in Southern Hemisphere countries like Chile, Argentina and New Zealand. The trout fishing season in Northern Hemisphere countries can vary, but are commonly open between April and October/November. You will need to find out when the regulated fishing seasons are open in the countries you want to fish in.
5. Do I want to travel and fly fish by myself or with a friend?
Would you prefer the comfort of traveling with someone who you know and trust? Do you want to push your comfort level and travel by yourself? Fishing with another person can help your motivation to continue fishing when the weather is crap and the fish are not biting. Getting rides when hitchhiking may be easier if you are on your own, and locals can be more inviting and friendly if they see you are all by your lonesome.
Traveling on your own is a great opportunity to learn more about yourself, by moving outside of your comfort zone (if being in a foreign environment was not enough). You can only depend on yourself and the random people you meet while on your trip.