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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Winter Fishing

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 oxygenated. 

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

Lakes Brunner, Haupiri, Kanieri, Ianthe, Wahapo, Mapourika, Mahinapua, Moeraki, Paringa 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.
Arnold River From Lake Brunner to the confluence with the Grey River, some 24kms of water.
Grey River From the coast to its confluence with the Clarke River, over 50kms.
Taramakau River From the coast to the Lake Brunner Road bridge at Jacksons.
Arahura River 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. 

Winter Weather June, July, August

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.

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