it’s hard to envision a more appealing trout fishing destination than New Zealand’s South Island.
Fishing in New Zealand waters should be more appropriately named trout stalking, because usually the brown trout is first spotted by carefully walking along the stream, before a presentation is made. The clarity of the water makes spotting some trout easy, though in many instances, what’s visible to the trained eye of the guide is invisible to the less experienced angler. And because there’s not a trout behind every rock, anglers must carefully locate each fish before a cast is made.
Flowing as clean and crystal clear as mountain air, South Island streams harbor trout that can average close to four pounds. Five to seven pounders are acknowledged heartily, but an angler needs to break the eight pound barrier before celebrity status is bestowed. Much of the season, the trout will rise eagerly to a well placed dry fly, a Royal Wulff or an Adams.
Situated on the central west coast of the South Island, Lake Brunner has within its reach over 20 rivers and streams. Some are larger rivers, like the Arnold, and others, small spring creeks which offer insect rich flows and stocky brown trout. Many of these watersheds flow through thickly forested lands which filter run offs and keep streams clean and evenly flowing when other areas are flooded or discolored.
Brunner’s fishing, though, is only part of the attraction. The west coast is rich in unique trees and vegetation. A walk along the maintained pathways surrounding Lake Brunner, or up to the scenic waterfall behind the lodge will expose visitors to the wonders of this area. Within a few short hours, there’s a wide range of non fishing sights to explore, from the Franz Joseph Glacier to the south, to the unique rock formations along the coastline to the north.
The lodge itself sits on the shores of picturesque Lake Brunner, largely unsettled along much of the shoreline bordering the lodge. A crackling fire is always beckoning in the lounge area where guests gather at day’s end. A bit more solitude is available in the richly paneled library next door. And when dinner is announced, few hesitate, for the gourmet meals at Brunner are among the high points of staying at the lodge.
Individual rooms are all well appointed, with heat, electricity and private bathrooms standard in each room. The lodge is run in a casual yet efficient manner by owners Ray Grubb and Marion van de Goes. Ray supervises the fishing. Marion is an acknowledged authority on New Zealand ecology and wildlife, as well as a graduate of the Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy.
Getting to Lake Brunner Lodge is easy. Guests can drive right to the lodge, or fly into nearby Greymouth or Hokitika. Trips to Brunner can begin and end any day preferred, and last as long as guests want.
New Zealand enjoys seasons opposite to those in North America, so when cold winds howl at home, summer temperatures and rising trout beckon at Lake Brunner Lodge. New Zealand’s special friendliness, spectacular scenery, and wonderful trout fishing are a perfect antidote to icy temperatures.