Stu's Story

Video - 2012 short film telling the story of Stu’s Superior Fly designs

Video - Stu’s Willow Grub has been featured in the Gin-Clear film “Hatch”

Video - Stu’s Fly Shop has been featured in Gambit Stone’s film “The Waters Of Greenstone”

Video - 2013 Trout Diaries interview with Stu Tripney

1976 - At the age of 9, Stu won his first competition - Schoolboys Championship

1977 - At the age of 10, Stu won the Schoolboys Championship for the 2nd year in a row

1978 - At the age of 11, Stu won the Schoolboys Championship for the 3rd year in a row

1979 - At the age of 12, Stu won the Schoolboys Championship for the 4th time!

1981 - At the age of 14, Stu with more trophies won at another angling club

1982 - At the age of 15, Stu became Junior Fishing Champion in Queenzieburn

1983 - At the age of 16, Stu with his biggest ever caught Scottish wild brown trout

1985 - Fishing in Scotland article by old fishing/poaching friend

1988 - Stu travelled, studied and worked throughout the world as a safari driver in Africa, spin and fly fishing - photo with Talapia

1990 - Stu registered his first fishing company in Uganda - “Uganda Sportfishing Safaris Limited”

1991 - Some of Stu’s flies have been featured in the USA Fly Tying book “Fly Patterns: Tie Thousands Of Flies” by Randall & Mary Kaufman

2001 - Stu’s NZ Guided Fly Fishing adventures began - Born To Fish

2002 - Queenstown Fly Fishing School

2004 - Stu became a Royalty Fly Tier for the Umqua Feather Merchants fly tying pro team who produced 17 of Stu’s fly designs. Stu had no control over his designs so he dropped out of the program.

2005 - Stu became a Royalty Fly Tier and member of Rainy USA fly tying program. He was the first fly tier outside of America ever to sign a contract by a large American fly tying company.

2005 - Stu was commissioned to design and tie flies by an Auckland Real Estate company for the promotion for the selling of some NZ prime real estate life style properties. The fly designed and tied was called the Bendemeer Beauty.

2006 - Stu won the 1st gold medal for fly tying in Australasia – the People’s Choice Award in an international fly tying competition with his fly the Bionic Bug

2006 - Stu’s fly designs are featured in the book NZ best trout flies - 6 pages of flies

2006 - Stu became a certified IFFF Fly Casting Instructor

2006- Grub Club started

2007 - Stu released his cutting edge fly tying film, A Foam Odyssey

2007 - 'High flyer born to fish in NZ' - Southland Express, Oct 11, 2007

2007 - Stu went to the USA and became the 1st FFF certified master fly casting instructor in Australasia

2007 - Stu with the legend and inspiration Mel Krieger and other FFF Masters

2007 - Stu represented NZ Southland as a guest fly tier at the 22nd FFF conclave in Livingston, Montana, USA

2007 - Fly-fisherman Stu masters his goals Otago Daily Times

2007 - Rise Article in Trout Fisher magazine, August 2007

2008 - Article by Rob Sloane from FlyLife

2008 - Article in NewsLink Oct 2, 2008

2008 - Article In Troutfisher, February/March 2008 'Chasing your dreams or goals'

2009 - The Complete Flyfisherman - article about Stu bringing the foam back into the world of fly tying

2009 - Stu as a saltwater guide in Northern Australia, Cape York

2010 - Front cover of Flyfisher magazine, flies and article

2010 - Article 'Flash Flies' in 'Be Guided' Winter 2010 issue

2010 - The Southland Times article, Oct 29, 2010 'The Artistry of Fly-tying'

2010 - The Waters Of Greenstone featuring Stu

2010 - New York Times featuring Stu fishing the Mataura river - Jan 31, 2010

2010 - FlyLife Article, Autumn 2010 'Review - Stu's Superior Flies'

2011 - Flyfishing & Tying Journal, Fall 2011 – 'Neutral Buoyancy Nymphs' article

2011 - Stu’s fly designs are featured in the top selling fly fishing book The Trout Diaries

2011 - Stu’s flies were painted for the month October in the NZ fly fishing calendar

2011 - The Complete Fly Fisherman, Nov 2011 - Stu appeared besides well-known other fly fishing legends, authors and industry players e.g. Lefty Kreh

2011 - Election newspaper article, The Southland Times, Nov 2, 2011

2011 - SAGE advert featuring Stu's Fly Shop

2012 - Stu’s saltwater crab fly got a mention in The Western Australia Fishing Magazine Nov/Dec 2012, Issue 6

2012 - Stu was interviewed and filmed for the Willow Grub section of the award winning Fly Fishing Film 'Hatch'

2012 - Trout Fisherman article 'Foam? Subtle? Some mistake surely...'

2012 - 'The Essence Of Fly Casting', Derek Grzelewski

2012 - Article in Fliegenfischen (Germany’s biggest fly fishing magazine), Issue 1/13, Dec, 2012

2013 - FlyLife Magazine Article 'Shop Locally'

2012 - FlyLife Advert, Edition 69, Spring 2012

2013 - Front Cover of NZ Trout Fisher magazine, Feb/March 2013

2013 - Stu’s advertising and cutting edge marketing campaigns inspired professional Australian photographer Jesse Whyte

2013 - Some of Stu’s Superior Flies have been painted by Wanaka artist Stella Eve Senior for the NZ Trout Bohemia book

2013 - Stu's Fly Shop is listed at

2014 - Stu is featured at 'Around The Mountains'

2014 - 'Fisherman Content in His Niche', Otago Daily Times

2014 - FlyLife Advert, Edition 75, Autumn 2014

2014 - Stonefly Magazine Advert

2014 - Trout Unlimited Advert, Summer 2014

2014 - Stu's Fly Shop and New Zealand Fly Fishing School are listed at

2014 - Field & Stream Review by Kirk Deeter, July 2014

2014 - Stu fly tying at Sage factory usa

2015 - Field and Stream Blog Q & A with Stu on the NZ Mouse 'Hatch'

2015 - TROUT Spring 2015 article

2015 - The Last Word in Denizen Magazine

2015 - Drake Fly Fishing magazine story

2015 - NZ fly school buys land

2015 - Australian fly fishing club talks

2015 - World's first trout truck

2015 - Trigger joins the team

2015 - Stu's book vision's

2016 - Stu's adventures, so many .

2017 - Stu's world famous fly shop - closes its doors

2017 - Stu starts on the new, NZ Fly School building and fish tank home

2018 - To the Jungle.

2018- The fly school /house takes shape

2018 - NZ Fly School, creative area & home is complete

2019- Trout Diaries books & Stu

2019 - Stu visits Nepal & India yet again - Two books

2019 - NZ fly fishing school, Stu opens new building and casting area.

2019 - Queenstown Writers Festial- Stu gives book talk

2020 - NZ fly fishing school History - 18 + years

2020 - Stu & fly fishing history

2020 - Jungle Blues book nearly finished

2020 - JUNGLE BLUES BOOK - Crowd funding launch

2020 -The Best Fly Fishing Book in Years - FROM ANGLING TRADE MAGAZINE

2020 - Jungle Blues vol-3 - book reviews

2014 - 'Fisherman Content in His Niche', Otago Daily Times

By Christina McDonald

Created 04/01/14

For 10 years Stu Tripney has tried unsuccessfully to catch a fish he refers to as his ''best mate'' and he guesses the fish probably only has another few years to live.

This notion sparks a fear in Mr Tripney, who runs Stu's Fishing Shop in the small Southland township of Athol.

''I'm scared it's going to beat me at the game.

''He's not got long to live and if he dies before I catch him then he's won.''

It was this challenge which attracted people to fly fishing, he said, and he said he thought New Zealand was the hardest place in the world to fly fish.

One reason, Mr Tripney said, was the country's fish were smarter than their overseas cousins.

''The fish, I say, have been in university compared to the rest of the world.''

Though ''nine times out of 10 it's the casting'' and some people enjoyed the challenge of trying to fool these smart fish with man-made flies, others ''just get really frustrated, like me when I first got here''.

''A lot of times I have got to say to people: 'Stay away from alcohol, guns and ropes' [after they struggle to fly fish] and 'you will catch on'.''

''The challenge is fooling the fish with something that's not real and made to imitate a small insect.''

Mr Tripney, originally from Scotland, bought the fishing shop off the state highway running through Athol in 2006, having operated it since 2001, and has grown it into ''Stu's Fishing Shop'' which he markets as ''world famous''. ''I'm a bit rock 'n' roll,'' he says from his lounge behind the shop.

Sometimes, he said, people ''look at the earrings and the tattoos and they overlook the passion''.

A framed newspaper clipping on the shop's wall shows a young Mr Tripney after winning the Schoolboys Championship competition in Kilsyth, Scotland - a competition he won four years in a row from the age of 9.

On a different wall hangs his Fly Fishing Federation casting master qualification and he proudly says he was the 91st person in the world to be awarded it.

Coming back to the rock 'n' roll, Athol might be thought incompatible with such a lifestyle or with being the home of the world's ''funkiest'' fishing shop.

''Athol appealed to me ... and I questioned what I really loved. I've always wanted my own fly fishing shop as a kid, so I decided to make that dream a reality.''

Before Athol he, in no particular order, drove rock 'n' roll vans, but always with a fishing rod handy; lived and worked in Africa for five years in the safari industry; worked in London building skyscrapers and ''managed to live through that with all my limbs''; and worked in Queenstown's tourism industry.

''I did all that but always in my head I wanted to live in the countryside.''

He aims to go wholesale with his own brand of flies which he likes to describe as being like ''the best Scotch or wine''.

The flies wait in the grooves of large trays and have been given names like the Luv Grub and the Killer Nymph.

''You can't reinvent the bicycle, but as I say you can pimp it up and make it better.

''I suppose I look at my flies as art - it's my art.''

Ideas for some of the flies have come to him in the early hours of the morning and some have taken more than 10 years to consider.

Having been in New Zealand for the past 16 years, he said the public fishing access was an attraction that kept him here.

''I've fished in so many countries and most of it is private,'' he said, before giving evidence by way of an anecdote from Wyoming, in the United States.

While standing in a section of river which Mr Tripney thought was for use by the public, a landowner told him it was private.

Mr Tripney said ''I'm not on anyone's land,'' but the man then replied he owned the bottom of the river.

Public access is ''something that New Zealanders never want to lose ... for anybody - walkers, kayakers''.