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Sea run trout tactics – Craig Vertigan

Sea run trout tactics – Craig Vertigan

During the trout off-season I tend to spend a bit of time chasing bream, to continue getting a fishing fix, and spend time tying flies and dreaming about the trout season to come. It’s a time to spend doing tackle maintenance, stocking up on lures and dreaming up new challenges and goals for the trout season ahead. When the new season comes around I usually spend the first few months targeting sea runners. Sea run trout are simply brown trout that spend much of there lives out to sea and come in to the estuaries for spawning and to feed on whitebait and the other small endemic fishes that spawn in late winter through spring. Mixed in with the silvery sea runners you can also expect to catch resident fish that have the typical dark colours of a normal brown trout as well as atlantic salmon in some of our estuaries that are located near salmon farm pens. Living in Hobart it is quick and easy to do a trip on the Huon or Derwent and is a more comfortable proposition compared to a trip up to the highlands with snow and freezing winds to contend with.

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107 stone flyPresented from Issue 107, December 2013
I would like to tell you my thoughts on Arthurs Lake. Many are critical of the numerous small fish, the results of good spawning over the last few years. It does show it is a very healthy system.

If there were few fish there would be complaints as well. And it seems not so long ago anglers were complaining of low levels and no water. As I write this Arthurs is 40mm from full. It has never been that high, and has never spilled.

 Over the decades I have fished this water there is a cycle of large and small fish - few and many. It is always changing. Arthurs is one of the very best wild brown trout fisheries in the world, not just Tasmania.

It is a water for all anglers – from bait fishers to hard body lures, soft plastics, trollers and my favourite method – fly fishing. There is plenty of room for all.

Late October through November saw me visit this water many times looking for stonefly feeders. The water is up in the bushes and so are the fish. Where possible I pick a warm overcast day with little wind and the calm shore. If stoneflies are hatching this will be the place to find them - and the fish as well. I have been pleasantly surprised by the size of the fish, which are often around a kilo or more and in superb condition. The fish kept had been full — stick caddis, nymphs, worms, occasional frogs and stoneflies.

Stoneflies flutter rather than fly and lay their eggs on the water. They have a tiny body and their large wings fold flat back along their body. They are often mistaken for caddis.

Many flies will take these fish, but something around a size 14, on a light hook grey in colour and sitting low in the water is best, in my opinion. The following is my favourite, and with a wing that sits up a little anglers can see it. The buzzer hook will let the body sit in the water rather than on it, but the elk hair keeps it floating and gives an impression of fluttering wings - well I think so, and it does work.

Stone Fly

  • Hook: Light gauge, buzzer style, size 14.
  • Thread: Black.
  • Body: Blue gray underfur from a black rabbit.
  • Wing: Grey elk hair (dyed).
  1. Take black thread well round the hook bend.
  2. Dub on blue/grey rabbit fur and finely taper this from well round the bend go all the way to the eye and then back two turns.
  3. Take a small bunch of elk hair and put this in a hair stacker. This will level the tips. Now place on top and tie in firmly, whilst squeezing. You don’t want to flare the wing too much.
  4. Cut away excess butt ends.
  5. Whip finish and varnish.

107 stone fly

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