Hello everyone, I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself.

My name is Stephen Smith and I have been managing the website tasfish.com since May 2009.

It has been an epic journey of learning and discovery and I am indebted to Mike Stevens for his help, support and patience.

I am developing a new venture Rubicon Web and Technology Training ( www.rwtt.com.au ). The focus is two part, to develop websites for individuals and small business and to train people to effectively use technology in their everyday lives.

Please contact me for further information.

Stephen Smith

Presented from Issue 104, June 2013

Macca and I were kicking back in my tying room in early January this year tying a few flies, having a beer and talking about the seasons exploits. He was filling my head with stories of his Western Lakes adventures and big golden brown trout. Eventually I couldn’t stand it any longer, the images that were being painted in my head became unbearable.

It had been mid-December since I had been to the Julian Lakes area on a three day mission and I just had to get fishing again. Doing my best to sound polite I said “Macca please shut up with all the stories old pal its killing me, lets just get a trip organised and get out West to polaroid some of those trophy browns”. He didn’t take a whole lot of convincing that it was a good idea, so first things first we got the calendar out to settle on some dates that would work for both of us. Sounds easy, but I can assure you when both parties work and you factor in family, sport etc. it’s not always so.

Presented from Issue 102
At an altitude of 1120ms above sea level Lake Mackenzie is one of the highest lakes you can drive to in Tassie. It is the upper most catchment on the Mersey/Forth Hydro scheme, its waters being dammed in the early seventies and diverted via canal and pipe to the Fisher River Power Station. The original Lake Mackenzie, Sandy Lake and Pine Marsh have since become Lake Mackenzie although for most summer months the original bodies of water are obvious.

Please refer here for current information.

100 lake echo 3 pounder cropPresented from Issue 100
It’s been five years since I last did an article on Lake Echo so time for an update on my still favourite water. Each year I manage several trips which due to the distance from home are usually one or two night excursions. The spring months from September through till November still rate as the best times however the month of April in ideal conditions can be brilliant. By ideal conditions I mean rough as hell, in fact during April the rougher the better. Most Tassie autumns can be quite mild and some seasons I haven’t even gone as it was just too calm.

Presented from Issue 100
For adventurous trout anglers springtime and early summer is the time to start thinking about heading out to the area officially known as the Central Plateau Conservation Area or simply to most of us as the Western Lakes.

This area boasts world class angling opportunities in rugged wilderness setting. For many fishermen their sole exposure to the western lakes region is the pocket of waters in the eastern edge of the CPCA known as the “19 Lagoons”. While these lakes and lagoons always provide reliable fishing opportunities, in this modern age it is hard to get a water or even a short section of shoreline to yourself particularly if you are restricted to weekend trips. For those of us seeking solitude and also adventure, venturing further out into the wilderness is a must.

Simon Tueon (Chewy) and I recently shared one such adventure in to this magnificent wilderness fishery. Here is our story….

99 peddar bPresented from Issue 99
Lake Pedder. It used to be a good fishery right? Wrong, it was an exceptional fishery. Through the late 70s and early 80s the trout from this iconic south west water averaged an astonishing 4kg. That was the average weight not the good fish but the average weight. There has never been a fishery like it and there never is likely to be ever again.

What does surprise many is it’s a great fishery now. The trout are nothing like those of years gone by but they are in great condition, fight hard and in numbers that would be astounding if it could ever be calculated. Large bags are common and the quality of fish is very good. So often when it comes up in conversation people are surprised to hear it offers some great fishing to all artificial methods. And most always add that they’ve never been but have always wanted to make the trip out.

It’s well worth it, the scenery alone is unparalleled, panoramas that extend 360 degrees when you’re out on the water. Some areas of the lake it’s breath taking at times. For someone new to the water the fishing possibilities are much the same. You can round a point and be mesmerized by the bay in front of you, flooded tea tree sloping banks into weed rich water, fish rising, sometimes clear of the water chasing damselfly on the wing, only to go around the next point and see it open up again into a better looking bay and another and so on.

99 night aPresented from Issue 99
The Western Lakes can be a tough place to catch a fish, especially if you’re limiting yourself to sight fishing only. There are many influencing factors that can contribute to seeing very few fish during the day. We see fish in the shallows because there is often some kind of food present that brings them in close to shore. So if there is no food, they really have no reason to leave the security and food rich environment of the deeper water. During low water levels and high water temperatures in late summer, trout will often shelter under rocks during the heat of the day and only venture out late in the evening and into the night to feed. These are the days when you can walk all day and only seen one or two fish.

Presented from Issue 97
Lake Mackintosh is your typical deep tannin stained West Coast Lake that was dammed in the 1980s to create the Mackintosh Power station. The lake has flooded up into native forest, limiting much of the shore access to the boat ramp area at the Mackintosh dam. To explore the full potential of this lake, you need a boat to access every corner. The lake is home to both brown and rainbow trout with it opening at the beginning of the brown trout season and finishing at the end of the rainbow trout season. The lake has a bag limit of 12 fish per person per day. To access the lake you need only drive to the town of Tullah via the Murchison highway and follow the signs.

Presented from Issue 97
When people refer to the Western Lakes they are talking about a vast area of the central plateau that contains hundreds if not thousands of lakes. This area is made up of the central plateau conservation area and the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. This area and its fishing is truly unique in the world. The crystal clear waters and the ability to sight fish predominantly brown trout, at close range, amongst a unique landscape, is something that inspires many people to go to great lengths to explore and fish this region. Interestingly, the Western Lakes is not a place where you would go to catch a lot of fish in Tasmania. This is a place where less is more, with the ability to catch a large number of fish per day being gladly replaced with the chance of only catching a few quality fish. This is a place where there is a lake over every hill and where you get that rare opportunity to count the spots on a wild brown trout as it slowly swims past your feet.

Presented from Issue 97
The opening of the 2011/ 2012 trout fishing season had many anglers excited, rainfall had consistently inundated the state for months prior, and our inland catchments realised levels not witnessed for many years. That being said, the overall condition of many fish landed in the central highlands disappointed anglers, Arthurs Lake and Great Lake being two of the biggest offenders when it came to not “reaching expectations”. One Central Plateau fishery that seems to have bucked the trend this season was Lake King William, where if anything, the average size and condition of its inhabitants has increased quite dramatically. Todd Lambert, John Cleary and Mike Stevens recently took a trip up there to see if the rumours were true.

97 Gunns and Little Lake aPresented from Issue 97
Most fisherman I know have a spot or two that when they go there they get that same sense of feeling that occurs when you arrive back home after a lengthy absence. One area that never fails to generate this nostalgic feeling for me is when I journey out to the two diminutive lakes located roughly north east of Arthurs Lake named Gunns Lake and Little Lake.

A chance meeting….

My Gunns and Little Lake odyssey started approximately 20 years ago on a calm and sunny September morning when long time fishing companion Todd Lamprey and I journeyed out to the two shallow natural lagoons on a purely exploratory mission. Todd and I had been in the highlands for a few days already on a multi day trip and we had decided on looking for a location for the days sport that didn’t require a lot of walking to get to. The preceding days had been spent hiking in the Western Lakes district and Todd and I both really needed to rest tired legs.

Presented from Issue 96
Lake Augusta has been an underrated fishery. It has as much to offer as any other water in the Western Lakes region and as Todd Lambert found out recently, given the right conditions, your bag limit can be caught in a matter of minutes should everything fall into place.

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