Lake Leake 5/5/2012

Mike, my mate Zam and I took the bit between the teeth and fished Lake Leake on closing weekend. Zam sneaked up early and fished on the Friday for four reasonable fish as well as a few of the small rainbows the lake seems to be teeming with.  Not fair really, as they were already hanging in the safe to tease me when I arrived just on dark Friday night.
I had some revenge though; I caught the only two legally keepable fish for the weekend.  There were enough mini rainbows to provide some excitement, but legal size trout were hard to come by. The wind was fierce most of Saturday, but a saving grace of Leake is that there is usually at least some protected area whatever the wind direction. (We both fish about 95% fly with an occasional flick with the spinning gear to give the wrist a rest).

Between us we had about a dozen trips to Leake for the season.  Found some nice fish from August through to October - nearly all rainbows - up to about 850 grams cleaned, with the odd old brown of a kilo or so.  Many taken on various wet flies, mainly woolly worms and nymphs. In mid-season the larger fish seemed to disappear unless a good hatch brought them up.  Browns were noticeably rare, but there are some undersized fish now appearing in the catch, which is just as well because there seems to be a big gap between these youngsters and the very aged cohort that is quickly dying-out.  We surmise there was little or no recruitment of browns for several seasons and this means rainbows are the predominant catch nowadays. Unfortunately that was meant poor polaroiding along the shores, despite the amazing clarity of the water this season.

There were plenty of caddis about early and into the summer, but hardly any late in the season. A few damsels and dragons about too, but they finish too soon to be of great importance. Various "midges" were the mainstay for us, although sometimes they were such tiny insects the fish were very hard to interest with a fly. When bigger midges were about the trusty old wet brown beetle usually brought some interest. (Thanks to Rob Sloane for letting us all in on that secret).

Our summation of the season for us at Leake is that the early fishing was good despite very few browns, there wasn't any mid-season perch fry activity and the water clarity has been remarkable, especially once the long weed flowered and dropped.  It would be the clearest water I can remember in the 60 years I've visited the lake; I only hope it doesn't mean a low level of nutrients and plankton?  If that is the case the small rainbow might struggle to bulk-up, and the present undersized browns will take time to reach the legal length.  We'll just have to wait and see.

We both already have spousal approval for a trip on opening weekend, and that's when we'll start to find out.

Peter Toohey
West Hobart

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