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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Ahaura River
Arnold River
Crooked River
Orangipuku River

Crooked River

 

Crooked River, as its name suggests, meanders in rather erratic fashion from its source in the southern alps, through flat farmland, and on to Lake Brunner. It has many interesting pools and runs, and some fine trout lurk within its depths, or hide under the willow trees which line its banks in the lower reaches. Fly fishing, particularly with a nymph, is often productive in the Crooked River

As the farmland turns to mountains, the river enters a delightful  gorge, full of crystal clear pools. Some very large trout can be found about 2 miles upstream, in a series of pools which mark the farthest range of trout, bounded by a series of falls which they cannot navigate. These pools are 12-15 ft deep, very narrow, and overhung with trees, making casting all but impossible!  The trout in here will make your eyes hang out on their stalks!!!

Crooked River  New Zealand

Crooked River gorge, the start of "The Pool." Fish can only get another 300 metres beyond this point.

The boulder section just below the big pools, where a big trout may lurk! 

A consistent sequence of pools and runs are a feature of the gorge section downstream to the road. 

The bridge across the river, on the Rotomanu-Haupiri Rd marks the end of the gorge. The river steadily mellows from here on its journey to the lake.

Just above the railway bridge, Mr Cliff Beauchamp hooks up to an angry brown trout...

And the next day, a fine fat hen fish midway between Te Kinga and the river mouth.

Mr Gary Coleman, from  San Diego, California, hooked up to a fat little brown trout. 

This pool is about a half mile above where the river exits into Lake Brunner.

The shade of the last line of willow trees, 100 yards from the river mouth, is a haven for big fat trout!

At the mouth, the river fans out across shallows which terminate in a sandbar. This is excellent fishing in summer, as the lake fish seek respite in the cooler river waters at the mouth.

In recent years, the middle reaches of the river have been affected a little by silt buildup, reducing aquatic insects significantly. Closer to the lake, trout are inclined to seek the colder river water as a respite from the warmth of the lake in summer. Then, it is not uncommon to see large numbers of good sized trout spread out across the shallows at the river mouth, cooling off..... great sight, but the crystal clear water makes a stealthy approach difficult, and the fish are wary..... Still, a challenge is what all anglers thrive on, right? The river mouth is a terrific place to fish, perhaps the best spot on the lake. to the south west of the mouth a large, shallow bay, with extensive weed beds inshore, holds vast numbers of trout. Wading, or drift boat fishing, and using a lure which emulates the prevalent cockabully baitfish, is very productive. The mouth itself has a large sandbar on either side, dropping sharply off into very deep water, over 10 feet deep within a short distance of the waters edge. Wading is obviously a pastime requiring caution, especially at night!

Fishermen have always known of the success of the popular bait fishing techniques. With rain and a rising river, the banks tend to crumble, releasing earth-worms - as children we quickly discovered that the fat, juicy red garden worms often proved irresistible. 

Crooked River

Crooked River is important to both anglers and canoeists, and is very a special piece of water. In the space of a few short miles between mountains and lake, its personality changes dramatically. The upper sections are wild, boulder studded, and consist of a series of short rapids followed by crystal clear pools. In these sections , the fish are wary, quick to spook. The best time to fish is as the river starts to rise, a not uncommon event given the extremely high rainfall!  

 

Ahaura River Arnold River Crooked River Orangipuku River


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