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.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
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.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
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.

Jan's Flies

Jan Spencer
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.

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