The main season ends on 30th April each year, and at time
many of the smaller rivers, stream and lakes are closed to
protect the annual spawning migrations. Trout from the lakes
congregate at river & stream mouths, and commence moving
upstream in late April and through May depending on climatic
conditions, river levels and water temperatures. In the Lake
Brunner system, trout head for the upper reaches of rivers such
as the Crooked, Hohonu, Orangipuki, Bruce, Brown and numerous
other small tributary streams. They begin returning to their
territorial lies, be those lake or river, throughout July and
August. The arrival of these fish back into those water that are
open to fishing offers great angling opportunities as fish are
hungry and aggressive, and the water is colder and well
Not all fish spawn every year, and whilst numbers will
diminish through the spawning period, we frequently have 10-fish
days throughout autumn and winter.
Winter Fishing Locations in
the West Coast Region
Haupiri, Kanieri, Ianthe, Wahapo, Mapourika, Mahinapua,
||These lakes are open all year, with the
exception that in winter, no fishing is permitted within
200 metres of inflowing river mouths. Lakes Mahinapua
and Kanierie have good stocks of Redfin Perch, these can
be readily caught on streamers such as a Woolly Bugger.
||From Lake Brunner to the confluence with the Grey
River, some 24kms of water.
||From the coast to its confluence with the Clarke
River, over 50kms.
||From the coast to the Lake Brunner Road bridge at
||Downstream of the Milltown (Landsburgh) Road bridge
Coastal river mouths
||Almost all rivers running into the sea are open
(downstream of the first highway bridge) for sea-run
brown trout. In many river systems, food in in short
supply during winter. Trout migrate into estuaries and
river mouths through winter, returning inland in the
spring as they target migrating shoals of whitebait
(like anchovies). Sea-run browns are very strong and
aggressive fighters, and it is not unusual each year for
double figure fish (+10lbs) to be landed.
We often have long periods of settled weather with frost
followed by brilliant fine days. Those who brave the frosts, or the winter
rains, can have unexpectedly good results. Lots of fleecy clothes, chest waders
and warm jackets can make this time of year one of the best. On
one wet and windy day in August 2001 a lady guest caught & released 10 fine
trout, and another 5 the following day!
I personally think winter fishing
on the West Coast offers hugely underestimated opportunities! The same guest
referred to above had been pleased enough with her 1-2 rainbow per day on the
Tongariro, prior to arrival at Lake Brunner. She was ecstatic after a couple of
days of West Coast winter fishing.
"Guide to NZ