From the Archives ...

Trout tips - from tackle shops

Presented from Issue 105, August 2013

We did a bit of a runaround Tasmania’s tackle stores to see what their tips for the first month or so of the tackle season were. We asked what the top three places to fish were, plus lures, flies, baits and a few other things.
Here is a rundown on their answers Whenever, and wherever you fish - anywhere, or for any fish in the world - ask the locals and especially ask at the local tackle store. They know what was caught today, yesterday and on what.

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Jan’s Flies

Well here we are again looking at the doldrum time of
year when our fishing slows down somewhat.
As I write this in early May there are our first snow scuffs
hurrying past the window – a taste of things to come.
There are a few lakes still open and these waters can
fish well if you are willing to put up the elements so go
prepared for the worst the weather gods can throw at
you.

Jan’s Flies

Hoppers, hoppers and more hoppers and I am not talking about grasshoppers. Jassid is the name and they are leafhoppers. On Saturday the 27th of February we had a hatch of these insects in numbers that I haven’t seen for many years. The back wall of our shed was covered with dozens of these small insects. A few days later I was at Bronte Lagoon where I had these insects landing on my shirt. On both occasions the jassids were of the brown variety. They are still very much on the trout’s diet if there is enough to get the interest going. In Tasmania’s highlands there seems to be mostly two different colours, that’s brown or red bodies. Groups of jassids cluster together to feed on the young eucalypts. These insects particularly the very young will be attended by ants which feed on the honeydew excreted by the jassid.

Jan’s Flies February 2010

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.

Jan's Flies October 2006

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.

Jan’s Flies


WrigglerWell, what a season it has been so far! It started with water everywhere with flooded rivers and lake margins pushing back into the tussocks. This made a wonderful feeding zone for fish.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
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.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
Flash, flash and more flash is the point this issue. I have often said flies for fly fishing, especially for trout, have fashion run-just like the clothing industry. Fashion in flies changes every few years and it seems flash is "big" at the moment.
I think people like Dick Wigram, Max Christensen and Stuart Napier would be taken aback to see the amount of flash we are using on flies today, even though there was a little used when those fly tiers were tying. Flies like Miss Tasmania and the Yeti had a small amount of flash material for eyes. I am really not sure what caused the flash fashion to start in fly fishing, certainly the lure trade has encompassed very bright flashy bodies made out of all sorts of flash papers even chocolate wrappers around for many years.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
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.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
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.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
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.

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