The Five Best Fishing Lodges

Catching your own fish will give you a great sense of accomplishment. 

© Shutterstock


Catching your own fish will give you a great sense of accomplishment. 

© Shutterstock

1. Brush Creek Ranch, Wyoming, US

It’s not difficult to imagine the tough experience of early trappers and loggers who settled in this remote corner of the Wild West, but no such hardships await guests at the luxurious Brush Creek Ranch. The activities on this 30,000-acre estate near Saratoga certainly don’t stop at fishing, but it’s easy to be hooked by the serene flow of the Upper North Platte River, teeming with a variety of trout species, all completely wild. Wade up the summer shallows, float with your rod through the rocky landscape for 20 miles downstream, hone your casting skills on one of the six stocked ponds or visit in winter to experience ice fishing.

Back at the ranch, tuck into marbled beef from Brush Creek’s own American Wagyu herd, but not before you’ve tried the house gin. It’s distilled from farm-foraged juniper, using the same pristine mountain water that makes for such glorious fishing.

2. Farquhar Atoll, Seychelles

If your idea of getting away from it all involves a tropical desert island, white sandy beaches and azure oceans teeming with enormous, exotic fish, then head for this distant outpost of the remote Seychelles. Farquhar Atoll sits in glorious isolation, over 700km southwest of the main island Mahe and only a little closer to the northern tip of Madagascar.

It may be a serene place to relax on the beach, but the fishing here is rather more adrenaline fuelled. Farquhar is one of the few places to test yourself against the powerful bumphead parrotfish, which can grow up to 1.5m long. Then there’s the ferocious giant trevally, the predatory barracuda, the torpedo-shaped yellowfin tuna, ghostly bonefish, colourful triggerfish and a dazzling assortment of other reef dwellers.

It’s never crowded here. The Farquhar guesthouse can accommodate 10 people, with each en-suite cabin offering a dreamy view over the lagoon. Dine shoreside on the finest Creole cuisine as you relive the day’s adventures.

3. The Greyhound On The Test, Hampshire, UK

Disappearing into the wilderness isn’t for everyone. All fishing fanatics should make at least one pilgrimage to the bucolic banks of the River Test in Hampshire, just a 90-minute drive from London. This is the idyllic rural England captured by Kenneth Grahame in The Wind In The Willows: a land of green pastures, weeping willows and groaning picnic hampers. It was also on these gin clear chalkstream waters that the likes of Frederic Halford and his Victorian contemporaries dedicated themselves to refining the art and science of dry fly fishing. Wild brown trout are the main focus here, but there’s also a chance to hook an elegant grayling and perhaps even migratory sea trout or salmon.

The small, pretty town of Stockbridge is the beating heart of the Test valley, and 15th century coaching inn The Greyhound sits right on the High Street. While the food and rooms are a cut above most English pubs, The Greyhound’s major selling point is its very own private beat on the Test. This is also English wine country, so look out for local star producers such as Exton Park and Black Chalk on the list here.

4. Tiamo Resort, Bahamas

Any keen fly fisher will want to test their skills against a bonefish. The Bahamas are paradise by any measure, but these islands’ sandy flats and tidal creeks are also renowned as the place to come for some of the largest, fastest, strongest bonefish in the world. There’s also the chance to take on other saltwater giants, including tarpon, barracuda and shark.

There’s no better place to base yourself than the Tiamo Resort, a secluded haven on the South Bight with no road access, just perfect white beaches and wild forest. Guides are on hand to share their expert local knowledge of the best fishing spots and, if you prefer to travel light, there are plenty of rods available to borrow. A 10-minute boat ride away lies the Andros Barrier reef, one of the world’s largest and a dream for fishing fanatics and snorkellers alike. Alternatively explore the coast via trimaran or take one of the Tiamo nature tours, trekking through the wilderness in search of tropical fruits, rare orchids, rare rock iguanas and some of the 330 bird species here.

The beachside villas reflect this calm connection to the natural world. Eco-friendly comfort is the outlook here: forget TVs and noisy jet skis, come here for the library or transparent canoes, another magical way to connect with the rich sealife.

5. Stonefly Lodge, South Island, New Zealand

Any outdoor adventure seeker should have New Zealand high up their to-do list, and that’s especially true for fishing devotees, especially as the country prepares to open up its borders. Its sparsely populated, achingly beautiful mountain regions give rise to a dazzling cascade of rivers and streams that provide a perfect habitat for large but thrillingly elusive wild brown trout.

There can be few places better positioned to tap into this natural bounty than Stonefly Lodge, a scenic 50-minute drive from Nelson on the South Island and sandwiched between three national parks: the alpine Nelson Lakes, wild Kahurangi and coastal Abel Tasman. The lodge itself is handily perched on the banks of the Motueka River, but dozens of other enticing fishing options, from the gentle to the more adventurous lie within an hour’s drive. Alternatively take advantage of the lodge’s own helipad to fly into the Kahurangi National Park for some of the New Zealand’s most spectacular, remote fishing experiences.

In keeping with the natural beauty of its location, Stonefly Lodge is a model of environmentally friendly luxury. Self-sufficiency is key here, not just the stone and timber building materials sourced from this 350-acre property, but also the off-grid alternative power sources and extensive garden, which is responsible for much for the fresh, seasonal menu. You’ll never want to breathe city air again.