About Lake Dunstan Fly Fishing

Just down the road thirty minutes from Wanaka is Lake Dunstan ,this medium sized lake was formed in 1993 for hydroelectricity and irrigation. The old town of Cromwell was flooded at the junction of the Kawerau and Clutha rivers and was then rebuilt on a large terrace overlooking the old town. Since then most of the land between Wanaka and Cromwell has been turned into farmland for either cattle or sheep ,fruit orchards or vineyards which produce internationally acclaimed Pinot noir. The Stretch of lake in the Clutha arms is usually always clear but the Kawerau and Dunstan arms can be sometimes murky and silted up due to the flood prone Shotover that enters into the Kawerau river further upstream so always bear this in mind when deciding on which lake arm your thinking about fishing, obviously after heavy rain has fallen in the region it wouldn't be advisable to head there fishing. Again Lake Dunstan holds both Brown and Rainbow trout, small land locked quinnat salmon and also Perch. The top of the lake is a favourite spot of mine as there a loads of weed beds and channels that provide both food and cover for trout. . Tactics similar to that of Lake Wanaka work very well and there a few areas that the banks are high enough above the lakes edge to look down into the water and spot for cruising trout. A couple of my favorite lake edge nymph patterns for here are Black and Peacock snail imitations work extremely well here, midge pupa, water boatman , swimming beetles and damsel fly nymphs all of which are very effective on cruising fish that are feeding subsurface and are best fished on a clear intermediate sinking line with a long tippet.

As for dry fly choices again Blow-fly patterns with several different coloured under bellies (as fish mainly see blue and become gun shy of them as the summer rolls on), cicada patterns in several different sizes and colours, brown beetle imitations, Black Gnats and also small darker bodied para style dries in sizes #12-16 I find work well.  Access to the lake is very easy, with SH6 following along the Western side and then SH8 along the Eastern shoreline there are lots of Anglers access signs visible so keep your eyes open. Boat ramps are also available on both sides of the lake on the Clutha arm just by Bendigo , Northburn on the eastern side and at the Lowburn harbour.....good luck !