New Zealand Fly Fishing Guides - Ben Kemp

New Zealand Fly Fishing Guides - Ben Kemp

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Lake Brunner

"Where the Brown Trout Die of Old Age!"

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Angling Report: Feb 2003 Lake Brunner Fly Fishing Report

Overall, the summer has been cooler than 2001/2002, but the weather has been significantly better - less rain, more cloud and wind. Lake temperatures peaked at 17C early in the month, and had declined to 13.5C by 20th - very low for this time of year. The net effect has been a different pattern of food availability for trout. Smelt and cockabully (like sculpin) are later spawning, and trout slow to seek out the colder, more oxygenated waters of incoming streams. From November through to February, there has seldom been much action before mid-day. Oddly enough, trout have been most active from 1:30pm through until the afternoon wind sets in. As a typical example, Feb 13th saw 1 fish landed in the four hours until 1:30, the boys then landed 9 in the next two hours! From the low of 13.5 degrees, the temperature climbed to 21.4C in the week til 27th Feb - an astonishing 8 degrees in 8 days!

Angling report Feb 2003 Kingfisher Lodge fly fishing reports Lake Brunner

Cicada Season! February has truly been the month of the Cicada! We have hooked and landed more fish on a Cicada imitation than any other dry fly this month. Only fly that came close was the #14 orange Stimulator. 

February has seen several records broken, as the following paragraphs will show;

Feb 5th

Ken MacKay came out for a day to sample some Lake Brunner brown trout fishing. The weather for the day promised much early, but failed to deliver. Early high cloud along the alps did not burn away as expected, and by mid-morning we had complete overcast, but mild temperatures.

First fish of the day after a couple of minutes work... and it  looked like we were going to enjoy a hot, sunny day.
As the morning wore on, the cloud thickened, and the wind started a little earlier than we'd have liked, at 2:30pm.

Ken had a good day, his 11 fish in the net equaling the individual record for most fish landed in one day by a guest. This is the third day of 11 fish by one guest since Dec 2002. This was not a day where a lot of fish were evident, but his good casting allowed him to take advantage of most opportunities. As has been very common since November, fish were less active in the morning - we had to work for the 3 we'd landed by lunch time. From 1pm until the wind started at 2:30, we landed another 5, lost one and missed several takes. 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
15C (65F) - down from high of 17C the previous week. 16-18C brisk afternoon breeze from 2:30pm Clear morning, 100% cloud cover by mid-morning, clear again by dark. 1050

Lots of cicada and some caddis evident. Took 7 fish on a #14 Gold-ribbed Hares Ear flashback nymph, under a #12 orange Stimulator. 4 fish took the Stimulator - in fact one fish took the dry fly THREE times before the hook stuck, and then the hook came out after 30 seconds and some acrobatics.

Feb 8th

Tim Leybold, Ron Scott, Bob Ingram and Jim Warjone were our guests for these two days. It was a little tough on the 8th, a slight drop in barometric pressure and a south-wester making conditions tough.

Tim Leybold Jim Warjone
Ron Scott...  again....

 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
15C (65F)  16-18C cool south-westerly from 11am 100% cloud cover 1040

 

Feb 8th

On the 9th, conditions improved, and Ron managed to bring 8 to the net, Tim one.  

Water Temperature

Air Temperature

Wind

Cloud

Barometric Pressure

15C (65F) 

18-20C afternoon breeze from 3:30pm fine 1045

Feb 10th

Robert and Linda Kahn, who enjoyed last years expedition so much, paid us another visit. we had a superb day up a little creek. Hand to hand combat with frisky browns among the logs and trees. 

Strike!!! Why do they lie in impossible spots?  Linda shows flair and skill in getting a cicada to this fish hiding at back of the stump.

Whoa, boy! Robert connected to a 4lb brown, this one actually ended up in the net despite its best  efforts. Several others fought real dirty and escaped.

Robert and Linda got numerous takes, landed a few, and lost several among the logs. Takes were mainly on a big olive deer-hair Cicada, and the wonderful orange Stimulator.

Teiji Araki and Masahiro Mizukami managed to land 4 fish during their day in the Haupiri area. 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
15C (65F)  16-20C breeze from 3pm Morning drizzle, fine afternoon. 1045

Feb 11th

A big one leaves the security of the shadows for a few moments. Robert got this one to take a Cicada on the second inspection, but the hook did not stick. All three of us were on our knees a few yards from the fish for around 20 minutes, trying to coax another take with a variety of flies. Eventually, it got tired of teasing us and slid off into the shadows again.

 An Arnold river brownie has a close encounter with the Queen of Streamer! This was a battle and a half - Linda collapsed in elation/exhaustion after a savage encounter which see-sawed in and out of weed-beds, around logs, into deep holes, back and forth across the river. This fish fought hard and dirty but she handled it extremely well.

Robert landed 2, Linda 9 on an interesting day on the Arnold. Linda fired streamers all day, a green Damsel imitation was the fly of the moment. The morning was dull and hard, with the occasional fish following but not taking the fly. After lunch the response improved, with several fish in an hour from 1:30 to 2:30pm.

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
15.5C (65F)  16C breeze all day Some rain, 100% overcast  1045

An egg-laying session by numerous caddis stimulated a 30 minute surface feeding session, which ended as fast as it began.  Robert got a fish to take a #14 Goddard Caddis but the hook did not stick. The Paverd/Brunk team had a nil day on the Arnold and Grey rivers -saw a few, but could not provoke a take. Mr Araki and Mr Mizukama landed 4 fish on the upper Rough River.

Feb 12th

A truly awesome day's fishing. Ken Brunk and Audrey Paverd spent the day in the drift boat, landed 23 fish for the day. Ken's total of 15 is the new individual record, Aubrey's tally of 8 making a new record for the most fish in the boat in one day. Cold overnight rain caused numerous cicada to hit the water during the day. The fish were really going to town on them! The day was notable in many respects, including two double hook-ups, with Ken and Aubrey both into good fish at the same time. Twice a fish took a natural, then the imitation within 20 feet of the boat - the first time this happened, Ken had placed his imitation next to a live cicada and when the fish came up and took one, we all thought it was his! He immediately realised his mistake, and slapped the fly back down in one move - the fish slid over and slurped it in.... amazing to watch! Of the 23 fish, 3 took a Gold-ribbed Hare's Ear Flashback nymph early, the other 20 took a dry - a mix of Cicada and Stimulator.

Ken Brunk & Audrey Paverd with the first two fish on a magic day on Lake Brunner. The morning was damp and drizzly, and Aubrey holds on to a nice fish for the obligatory photo. 
New champion Ken poses with another surprised trout...  and another one... 

Mr Araki and Mr Mizukama also had a great day on the Grey and lower Rough Rivers, landing 8 fish. 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
15.5C (65F)  17C Calm until 4pm Light rain, late afternoon, fine periods 1045

Feb 13th

The barometer dropped sharply, and fishing was tough in the morning. Mr Araki and Mr Mizukama came out in the boat for the day, with only one landed before lunch. The afternoon improved, despite the early start of the brisk wind. Fishing was steady, takes on Stimulator and cicada until 4 pm when they began to refuse the dry fly. We had to tie on the nymph droppers, and began to catch them again until knock-off time at 6pm. This tally was Mr Araki 8 and Mr Mizukama 4 for the day. These men could really cast - the other guide (Tony) said "Park the boat in the middle of the lake, and tell them which beach you want the fly to land on!"

Mr Teiji Araki and Mr Masahiro Mizukama

Teiji Araki

Teiji Araki

Masahiro Mizukama

Aubrey Paverd and Ken Brunk, out with Tony for the day on the river, managed one in the net between them. This helped put the previous day into perspective!  

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
15.5C (65F)  18-20C Afternoon westerly wind from 12:30pm Morning cloud, fine day 1035

Feb 14th

The barometer took another dive overnight, and the rain kicked in as we were finishing breakfast. Spent the morning on Lake Poerua with Aubrey & Ken, could not get a fish to respond at all. Retired in defeat in the face of driving rain and wind. Set forth on Lake Brunner after lunch, prised 3 fish out on sheltered corners despite less than pleasant conditions - strong southerly, showers... big waves with white-caps everywhere.  

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
15 C (65F)  12-14C Wind all day Cold showers 1030

Feb 15th

Straight off the plane from the USA, Hal and Stan landed five fish on the Arnold before dinner. The next day (Feb 16th) was a river trip, in reasonable weather except for could which caused some difficulties in spotting fish due to the glare. The boys enjoyed the day, not least due to these two nice fish shown below. 

Hal Boylan - 4.5 lbs Stan Baldwin - 5.5 lbs

Feb 17th

Cicadas rule, ok! 16 fish landed along the lake shore in mild but damp conditions, all on a Cicada dry fly imitation proved the rule.  We saw several interesting examples of the need to keep the imitation close to the natural...

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
14.5 C   16C Occasional light winds, steady breeze from 3pm Some drizzle 1040

Feb 18th

Weather declined a little, a falling barometer off-set by numerous cicada hitting the water due to strong, cool westerly wind. Sheltered bays provided good fishing, with a total of 12 fish. 

Again, cicada imitations accounted for most fish. 

One fish took an imitation placed next to a natural, and AFTER the hook was set, turned and grabbed the real one as well - this is the first time I've ever seen a fish take anything else after being hooked!  

This 5 lb Lake Brunner fish mistook the imitation cicada that Stan Baldwin had placed in his path. 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
14 C (63F)  14-16C Strong W wind all day Mostly cloudy 1035

Feb 19th

The weather worsened as a cold front rolled up the island, bringing heavy rain, cold temperatures, and strong winds. This, coupled with the falling barometer, made for tough conditions. Only four fish came to the net, with another two lost. A miserable day, with fewer then usual fish seen, and whitecaps across the entire lake. Rivers severely flooded and unfishable.

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
13.5 C  (62F) 12C Strong SW wind all day Icy showers 1025

 Feb 20th

The previous day's weather did not seem so bad... as today brought thunderstorms, icy showers, hail... At least the barometer stayed steady, even if it was low! The fishing started slow, with 4 in the net by lunch time - one on a nymph, 3 on streamers. A foray into the Orangipuku River, discoloured from the rain, improved results, with another 13 fish falling for Zonkers and conehead Woolly Buggers. This ended up being a great day, despite the atrocious "summer" weather!   

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
13 C  (60F) 10-12C Strong SW wind all day Icy showers, hail, thunder 1025

Stan & Hal ended up with a tally of 57 fish for their 5.5 days of fishing. The majority were taken on the big Cicada dry fly, some on nymphs, and the last 16 on streamers.   

 Feb 25th

The Kellihers stopped by for three days. 

Day 1 saw us out along the lake shore pitching big cicadas at fish that became more lethargic as the day wore on. We finished up the day in the Orangipuku River, coaxing several trout into the net, overall a good day out.

Ginger holds up a nice fat Lake Brunner brown, her second of the day.

 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
19 C   26C Afternoon breeze from 3:30pm Blue dome day 1045

 Feb 26th

Day 2 saw us on the upper Ahaura River. Ed Kelliher holds up a nice Ahaura brownie in a perfect summer day. Fish were holding in shallow channels in fast, broken water. 

This one happily slurped up a Hare's Ear nymph - once the wind let Ed get it in the right place. The water temperature was up to 17.5 degrees, but the fish responded quite obligingly to well-placed casts. 

The day delivered seven fish of 3 to 5.5 lbs to the net, plus a number of "tiddlers" as well.

Air temperature soared to 32C just before the afternoon breeze kicked in, and we had trouble tearing Ned off the river at 7pm. 

 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
17.5 C   32C Light afternoon breeze from 4:30pm Blue dome day 1045

Feb 27th

Day 3 commenced at the Crooked River mouth. Ned Kelliher holds a 4.5 lb brown trout prior to release. release. This greedy fish was one of several that could not resist a Cicada imitation.

Angling report Feb 2003 Kingfisher Lodge fly fishing reports Lake Brunner

 

Lake temperatures had reached an uncomfortable 21.4 degrees Celcius in the bay adjacent to the Refuge Islands. Fish were hard to find in the lake, many having sought refuge in the Crooked River shallows. We did coax three out of the lake, along the shore under Mt Te Kinga as we surfed the down the waves in the stiff afternoon breeze. 

This was another "blue dome" day, with not a could in the sky, and air temperatures pushing close to 30C.

 

Water Temperature Air Temperature Wind Cloud Barometric Pressure
21.4 C   27C Afternoon breeze from 4:30pm Blue dome day 1045

Angling Report: Feb 2003 Lake Brunner Fly Fishing Report

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