HomeWest CoastWest Coast: Where to fishLake Brunner

Lake Brunner


Lake Brunner is a popular and scenic fishery with a good population of brown and a smaller number of rainbow trout that can be caught by a variety of methods. Lake Brunner is one of New Zealand's premier brown trout still waters fisheries and is open all year.
Fish type Mostly brown trout with some rainbow trout
Situation 25kms from Greymouth.
Setting Lake Brunner is fed by a number of small rivers and streams all of which offer excellent fishing opportunities where they enter the lake. It is drained by the impressive Arnold river. At the northern tip is the small settlement of Moana which consists mostly of holiday homes (though over the years the numbers of permanent residents has risen). Most of the lake is only able to be reached by boat though some areas can be walked to especially when the lake is low in mid to late summer.

Access map

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Description Lake Brunner is a wonderful lake to fish. Although it is deep, fish rise freely across the whole lake and there can be good evening rises particularly where rivers or streams enter the lake. Mostly the lake is surrounded by native bush which provides an endless supply of terrestrial food for the fish. There is a boat ramp at Moana. While trolling is the main method of fishing, casting either a spinner or fly from a boat or the shore also works well particularly at the southern end of the lake which is relatively shallow.

Around many bays there is shallow water where fish can regularly be seen cruising around the weed beds and under the bankside vegetation. These fish provide great stalking opportunities as they often follow a regular beat and can be ambushed with a fly placed along their regular course and then twitched or slowly retrieved as they come close.

A fly cast just behind a cruising fish will often cause them to spin and take the fly. All methods can be used in these situations but do stay well camouflaged as they will spook quickly if they see a profile against the sky.

Fish numbers and size The lake holds very good numbers of brown trout and limited numbers of rainbows. Sizes are mostly in the 2-4lb range though it does hold much bigger fish as well.
Ease of fishing As most fish are caught by trolling, fishing is very easy. The shore-based angler has plenty of opportunities for both spin and fly fishing, especially when the lake is low and access to many points opens up.
Access Access is via the Arnold Valley road which turns off State Highway 7 at Stillwater which takes you to the township of Moana at the northern end of the lake. The Kumara - Inchbonnie road give access to the southern section around Swan Bay. A small road also leads to Cashmere Bay on the eastern side of the Lake. See the Lake Brunner access map.
Recommended lures

Suspended nymphs that are just below the surface work well during the evening when fish are cruising the shallows. Fish will also take nymphs of the Hare and Copper or Pheasant Tail variant which can be cast in front of a cruising trout's path and twitched as they get close.

Dry flies:
The fish are often feeding on windblown terrestrial flies and so flies such as a Green Beetle in early summer and cicada patterns from mid summer on work well. Wasp patterns can also work well in the summer months. Otherwise try an Adams, Greenwell's Glory, Humpy or similar pattern.

Wet flies:
Large sunk flies such as a Hairy Dog, Mrs Simpson, Hamill's Killer or Fuzzy Wuzzy fished deep can induce a take especially on a dark night or near a stream mouth.

Spinners: As trolling is the major form of fishing, Cobras, Tasmanian Devils and Tobys all work well when trolled at depth.

Tributaries Several important rivers feed into Lake Brunner. These include the Crooked River, the Orangipuku River and Bruce Creek. The Arnold River drains from the lake into the Grey River. All around the lake there are a number of other small streams which may appear insignificant where they enter the lake but can hold some very big fish early (and sometimes late) in the season.
Applicable to Lake Brunner
Region West Coast

Trout: All year

Salmon: 1 Oct-30 Apr

Methods Artificial fly, spinner, bait
Bag limit Total sports fish: 2
Size limit (cm) No limit

Other fishing waters of the region


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