With the trout season now closed for Trev and myself at least (we don't bother with the waters still open from now on), we thought we would head down the Tamar and try for a feed of Flounder.
Where to go? .... that was the question.
The week between Christmas and the New Year saw Bill and myself about as remote as one can get in Tasmania. We even visited some lakes we had not been to before. Yes, I am talking about the Western lakes.
In nearly forty years of wandering those areas we struck gold with the weather. I can not remember ever having six straight days of blue sky - the norm is two or three days. So having these superb days we covered as much water as possible. That country never gets any easier but at least one can polaroid when the blue sky is there. We found the fish in superb condition, not huge but in the one and a half to two kilogram mark, and plenty of them.
While the winter months have been ticking by I have been on a couple of northern fishing trips one catching barra, threadfin salmon, trevally along with a couple of dozen other species. Trip number two was to New Britain which is part of New Guinea, we were fishing for the hard fighting black and spot tail bass, they are a remote fish in an absolute remote area of the world. It was a great trip and really is good to broaden one's knowledge into other fish species.
It's that time of year when everybody's optimism is running very high. Most are contemplating what the new trout season will bring. One thing is for sure - it will be cold. The rivers will be brownish in colour as we have had some good recent rain which has made for some swollen streams, this is wonderful as the trout will be foraging for food washed into backwaters by the excess water and they will be in prime condition when the weather warms up.
The highland lakes are another story. Both Great Lake and Arthurs are rising with good flows of water from recent rain. As normal, this time of the year the surrounding shore lines will be icy if not iced all over. It takes a little while for the lakes to get rid of the winter blues, but the fishing can be good if you can put up with the cold. So if you are fishing in the highland areas, be prepared for extreme weather.
Nearly every fly fisher has to, at some time, use a heavy line and large sinking flies. Nobody more than I likes to fish dry fly or semi dry, but this does not always catch fish and when it's all said and done that's what we fish for-to catch fish.
One husband and I have just spent the last five days in my favourite fishing destination - the very remote lakes or our beautiful central highlands. The fishing in this part of Tasmania has a place deep in my heart, I am sure my grandfather, Miles, had his way there as he was a great explorer and fisherman of Tasmania's high country.
Tuesday 12 November saw me catch my first fish on a dry fly in the highland lakes. I had heard on the grape vine that there had been an odd fish or two coming to dries during the first weeks of November. Previous to all this there has been some great fishing to tailers on Little Pine Lagoon and frog feeders in the Nineteen Lagoons. To see the antics of these fish the angler needs to be lakeside at daybreak or late evening, although there are odd times such as a very overcast rainy day where the fish will do their tailing, chasing and charging acts all day.
Towards the end of September there was some great fishing to tailing trout. Apart from rising trout, tailers can be very exciting, as well as being difficult to catch.
When fish move into the shallows they will almost certainly be food hunting as shallow water can be life threatening. Trout will feed hard at these times, watch the twisting of the body and if they have their head down the flickering of the tail are all tell tale signs of them feeding intently.
It's July 2nd and we are knee deep in snow at Miena in Tasmania's central highlands. Some would say how beautiful it is but personally it becomes a pain to live with as in these heavy conditions it stops my fishing. As most would know though we need any sort of H2O we can get in whatever form to help fill our lakes and in turn sets the rivers with a strong flow.
Fishing at this time of year is for the hardy, but it can be very rewarding if the effort is put in. I have had some superb polaroiding on Great Lake. The place for this is shallow bays with bright sun and at this time of year the best time of day is mid-day and this only gives a span of an hour and a half at the most.
Even though the weather in Tasmania's highlands has turned cold and most of the lakes are closed through the winter months, I am lucky to have Great Lake on my front door step. Great Lake is one of a few which is open all year. There can be some excellent cold weather fishing if you are hardy enough to brace the cold.
Recently I was given a book on tying paraloop flies. Being an admirer of parachute flies I became quite fascinated with the paraloop method. I had seen a couple examples of the tie but hadn't really taken a close look as there always seemed to be another project on my mind. The basix paraloop is certainly not difficult to tie, the way this method is done makes a lot of sense in its ability to float.
Instead of having a hackle like a parachute fly it has an all over effect much like a human crew cut hair cut, so to me this would trap air amongst the hackle fibres.
The weather has cooled and the trout fishing slowed, so it's the time of year to reflect a little and look forward to the next season. Slot in the diary what weekends and holidays will be set aside for some fishing, it's great to do it early so one has these times to look forward to.
Over the last three months I have been based at St. Helens on Tasmania's sunny east coast; I suppose it doesn't take a genius to work out what has taken up most of my spare time while being in this lovely holiday destination. Anyone who wishes to have some great fishing included in their holiday would not need to look further than this area.
This season has been difficult and has really made the fishing population think on how best to catch fish. The weather has been the main contributor in making the fishing quite difficult at times; there was no warmth to speak of until well into the New Year. Mayfly hatches have been spasmodic to say the least, only occurring for short periods and not very often at that.
At the time of putting pen to paper I am sitting in a nice warm spot in the Central Highlands watching the snow creating a white carpet on the ground. It's because of this unsettled weather I have not had time to fish, but I have busied myself reading Greg French's new book Frog Call. I don't consider myself a great reader and it takes something special to hold my attention. This book I love. Many of the stories and places mentioned relate to experiences I've had. Greg talks lovingly about the western lakes area - he makes it sound so magical and is moreso if you have been there. The book is written as short stories and covers many places and often hilarious situations. So for all those interested in fishing, walking and dreaming this is for you.
Like most angler anticipation has already set in for what the coming season may bring. The past season was rather hectic for us. We fished a lot of areas, both near and far, and as always if one happened to be in the right place at the right time fish were caught. Always remember the more you fish the more you achieve in learning to catch fish.
Some ten years ago when the World Fly Fishing Championships were held in Tasmania, I was introduced to Loch-Style Fishing. It certainly is an effective style of fishing on the day and it won the English team the gold medal.
I must admit though it really doesn't do much for me. It seems to be that it is little more than fishing a team of wet flies, don't get me wrong, it does catch fish and plenty of them on the right day.
Winter time is a traditional time for fly tying and certainly I have done my share this winter. Winter is also the time for end of the year dinners, always great nights, where many fishy stories are swapped.
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