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 2004 Lake Brunner Fly Fishing Report

Well, February 2004 broke a few records. The country's senior meteorologist summed it up pretty well - February's weather was unprecedented! No February was this bad since they started keeping records back in 1891... small consolation!

The whole country was wet and windy, and there were extremely serious floods in many areas, most notably the lower North Island which was in the grip of a Civil Defence emergency for several days. Our West Coast region was hit hard as well, but at least we have rapid run-off and local rivers clear quickly. However, it was a little depressing having fresh after fresh down the rivers, as it made it kind of tough to plan a day's fishing more than a day in advance! 

We also had our share of winds... the daily afternoon on-shore breeze was welcome in comparison to the gales we had on a couple of days mid-month!

Apologies, but February's report is almost completely without photos due to the weather - I could not risk taking the digital video camera out in the conditions prevailing on most days!

Feb 1st - 8th

Stan Baldwin and Hal Boylan (here in Feb 2003) dropped in for a week of fun and fishing. We had several good days mixed in with the bad weather, and a very amusing time! Stan gained the distinction of being the first guy to fall out of my drift boat... luckily, the water and the day were both warm! Hal and I gave him 10 out of 10 for  entertainment value for the dive, 0 out of 10 for style. You know how they have the reverse half pike in the Olympics?

His effort was more like a backwards large-mouth bass.... 

Feb 9th - 10th

Jack & Margie Oosting, and John and Bonnie Seabright spent 2 days at Lake Brunner Country Motels, and fished with us in less than perfect conditions. The 2nd day we had a full force gale in the early hours of the morning, accompanied by torrential rain! So much so that my colleague Tony could not get to the lake by either of the normal routes due to 4-5ft of water over the roads on both sides of the Grey River! I loaded all four people into my Landcruiser and we met up with Tony on the Lake Brunner Lodge side of the lake.  Despite the apprehensions to the contrary by the visiting anglers, we were actually applying sun-block before lunch!


Jack Oosting in action on the Hohonu River mouth. The river is stained dark with tannin in the aftermath of yet another flood.

Jack later had an interesting encounter with a trout which took his orange Stimulator dry fly 3 times on a windy, choppy morning on the lake. Casting was extremely difficult, but Jack managed to repeatedly get the fly to the trout which examined it carefully, the delicately sipped it in, but each time it was facing directly at us, and each time the hook slid out without sticking... all very entertaining! 

Feb 12th - 13th

Robert & Linda Kahn return for a couple of days with us, their 3rd successive summer, and struck slightly better weather.

The first day we managed to torment a few of the local trout along the lake shore - on the lee side to stay out of the breeze! Here, Linda & I pose for Robert on a sunny but breezy lunch break at Bain bay, Lake Brunner.

Linda out-fished Robert 8 to 5 so that was fun!

The second day, the weather was much better and we had a pleasant day out on the river. Robert got even on "Dave's Run" by losing count of the number of fat little fish he landed whilst fishing the opposite side to Linda! Despite my coaching and best spotting efforts, the fish were cruel and unkind on our side.... they kept swimming back down towards us, under the fly, eyeballing it critically... when they took, facing straight at us, it was very difficult to get a hook-set. We managed one on our side, while Robert got a dozen or so! 

But ours was better looking!!!   :-)

Feb 21st

Ian Lambswood and wife Amanda arrived in the midst of some more atrocious weather! Our day on the lake was almost beyond description - in a lifetime of fishing the area, I've never experienced wind like it. There were water spouts spiralling off the lake every few minutes, sheets of spray blowing skywards, waves of "Perfect Storm" proportions... unbelievable! We scuttled along the lee side, the western shoreline, and I take my hat off to Ian and Amanda because they were amazingly good sports. We actually landed 9 trout for the day in conditions that far exceeded anything I'd ever experienced out there.

The next guests arrived mid-afternoon to stay at the Lake Brunner Country Motels, and were so appalled at conditions they promptly abandoned the lake for the safety of Kingsgate Hotel back in Greymouth!

When we returned home, we had to cut our way through the fallen trees in the driveway before we could get the boat back in the garage!

Feb 21st

Buck and Jo-Ann Levy found it quite beyond comprehension that when they arrived on 21 Feb in the midst of a full scale gale, I was out on the lake catching trout with two crazy English anglers... 

However, overnight is a long time in our part of the world and by morning it was all quiet, no wind, and flat calm on the lake. The fish were in a very aggressive frame of mind, and Buck landed 10 trout in just under 2 hours, before the breeze kicked in again. A retreat to the Arnold seemed in order, where Buck landed another 7 fish in the afternoon while pitching streamers along the banks.

Angling Report: Feb 2004 Lake Brunner Fly Fishing Report

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