August 2, 2008 sees the opening of the brown trout season in Tasmanian waters. All rivers and most lakes reopen for fishing after the closed winter spawning time. So just what awaits the early season angler for 2008? Shane Flude gives a rundown on some early season waters and examines what's new on the inland water scene. There has also been a number of new regulations introduced which are summarised at the end of this article, anglers should read their code thoroughly before heading out this season.
The most exciting new addition to Tasmanian angling will be the opening of Huntsman Lake on the Meander River. This lake is now flooding over vast expanses at grass and foliage and should provide some fantastic flood plain fishing for the duration of this season and hopefully several more to follow. Like any newly flooded storage there will be huge amounts of food to be had as the water backs up.
More on this at the end of this article.
Other lowland waters which prove popular in the early season include Brushy Lagoon and Four Springs Lake.
Stockings have continued into these waters, Brushy with 450 1500g Atlantic salmon and 1000 Adult browns in May and a further 21 000 rainbow fingerlings in January. Four Springs also received 1000 adult browns in May.
There has been some work done on the immediate carpark and access road to Four Springs so coupled with the opening of Huntsman Lake hopefully the carpark will not be as congested as last year's opening day. Both these waters offer an ice-free venue for those not willing to risk an early season trip to the plateau. There were some magnificent trout taken from Four Springs early last season with others certain to follow this year.
A water that produced well last season but did not seem to make the press was Lake Leake. A number of fish, both browns and rainbows between 5 and 6 pound were taken in the period up to Christmas. With similar low water levels predicted for this season this water may experience a bumper year. Lake Leake is best fished early up until Christmas before the weed beds restrict fishing. A boat is an advantage on this water and it may only be powered by oars or electric if trolling.
Stocked with rainbow fry from IFS July 2008.
The new Lake Echo boat ramp which was nearing completion at the end of last season has now been finalised and will offer anglers reliable access to the northern and most productive waters of Echo. The ramp is located by turning off the Mentmore Road and travelling north past the London Lakes. Just follow the main road in and you will soon be travelling on the newly laid down gravel section that winds its way out onto Tobys Point, just south of Large Bay.
Previous public access to Teal Bay about half way in has now been locked off. The new ramp is steep but fully concreted. There are limited camping areas amongst the trees. Rubbish had already started to build up by the end of last season. How hard can it be to take it back home with you?.
Lake Echo commences the season on one of its lowest ever opening levels. Unfortunately this means that the normally productive northern bays are still without much water in fact Large Bay hardly exists at present water levels.
What's left of Broken Bay was still productive towards the end of last season and is always worth a visit. Fish the gaps in the trees with Rapala lures between this bay and the canal mouth.
With the Lake so low the canal mouth has now formed into a large delta and enters the lake from several branches. Each area the canal enters can be a real hotspot when spinning. The immediate area in front of the canal is an obvious trolling area.
Echo has always had a small population of rainbow trout which spawn up the canal during September and the last few years has seen extensive stockings of further rainbows. The canal mouth is an obvious area to target them early season. The distance from the new ramp across to the canal is nearly five kilometres. If the weather gets up which it often does from the west or south west, prepare for a slow cold trip back.
Lake Echo was a deep natural lake and once out from the tree line there are no hidden reefs or obstructions to run into. Strong wind however often blows whole trees across the lake so don't become complacent.
The Bull Bank is well out of water and being the only island on the Lake is also a common trolling ground, the eastern side fishes best. The best fishing at Echo is traditionally between early September up until Christmas. Stock up on brook trout and perch CD 7 Rapala lures before you go.
Undoubtably due to the low levels anglers went further afield last season and soon rediscovered what would have to have been the stand out fishery of last season, Woods Lake. From Christmas on this water proved extremely popular and although fish numbers were not overly high, their average size and condition was amazing. Average size was around 3-4 pound with a number of larger fish up to 7 or 8 pound being taken by the end of April. Their superb condition added to their fighting abilities. The boat ramp became a bit crowded at times, likewise parking was limited, particularly on the weekends towards the end of the season when word was fully out. For those who have not visited this water before simply continue driving once you reach the Arthurs Lake Dam for another 15 ks or so, the last few kilometres winds down into the basin that holds the Lake. The five kilometre wide lake is roughly circular and averages about 12 feet in depth. Being this shallow it has always been a very discoloured water but this murkiness probably adds to the furious takes as the fat brownies pounce on your lures before they disappear into the gloom. You will be well aware when the first five pounder hooks up.
For those anglers intent on heading to the Highlands early season, low water levels will be a common sight. Great Lake commences the season on a very similar level to last year. In fact the water level has only fluctuated between -15 and -17.5 metres from full supply level for the past three seasons.
The fishing quality has remained high with well conditioned browns and rainbows being taken even through the winter period. Low levels have had an effect on water clarity with the majority of the lake being completely stirred up and virtually unfishable after a bout of windy weather. Several days of calm is needed before clarity improves. The low levels have also caused problems for launching boats. Most of the recognised ramps are still out of water, only the deep water shore ramps at Boundary Bay and the point off the shacks between Haddens and Swan Bay could now be recommended for launching larger boats.
Arthurs Lake also commences the season with record low levels. The ever popular Cowpaddock Bay area can now best be described by leaving off the word bay and adding a few cows because a paddock is all its been now for the past two years. If we do experience an overly wet winter and the tide comes back in the three kilometres of slowly flooded marshes will provide fantastic flood plain fishing. If levels mirror last year then boat anglers will be in for another season of dodging never before seen obstacles. Fishing last season produced good results for the spinner,troller and soft plastic angler although the average size was down. Fly fisherman did not experience the normal mayfly hatches as you would expect with decreasing levels.
So despite gloom from some anglers over another low water season there will still be plenty of fishing available to start the year. Hunstman Lake should prove very popular and the new ramp at Echo should see a huge influx to what has been a previously been a difficult water to access. Anglers will flock back to Woods and don't forget Lake Leake. See you on the water somewhere.