Four Springs Lake

There is no doubt Tasmania hosts the best fly-fishing in Australia, our Central Highlands Lakes are world renowned. For those who live in the North of the State there is another piece of water which gives the opportunity of a trophy size brown or rainbow trout, Four Springs Lake.
Situated 16 kilometres North of Hagley via Selbourne Rd (C735), Four Springs holds both brown and rainbow trout that regularly exceed 6 pounds in weight.

The Lake
Opened to the public in 1999, Four Springs is a relatively young lake, which is primarily shallow and hosts abundant weed growth. Public access to the lake is on the South East shore, where a boat ramp and car park have been established. The lake basically runs in a north/south direction and is quite narrow. The shoreline is bordered on all sides by forest, the geography of which ensures that if a wind is blowing it will blow from the North or South.
The bottom end of the lake, from the boat ramp South, is a large shallow basin. There are marshes in both corners of the lake, which are hot spots for large browns.   As a whole the eastern shore is generally shallow, and free of submerged trees. It is bordered by grassy banks and there are several small points which jut out into the lake. About half way along the eastern shore is a marshy bay, which is again a haunt for large browns. As you travel further up the shore there is a point coming out in a line of dead trees, this is where the main feeder stream enters the lake. Caution should be taken if you try to cross the stream; there are some deep holes and numerous snags in this area.
After the creek you reach the top section of the lake, this is generally shallow, but more drowned timber is apparent from here to the top where another marsh exists.The western shore commences in the southern basin and is generally shallow until the BBQ area and disabled boat ramp and jetty (directly opposite the public access ramp).   From here the shoreline steepens and deeper water can be found close in. About 2/3 of the way up the western shore is the dam wall and outflow for the lake. This is the deepest section of the lake, at about 20ft. From the dam wall you are again into the "top end" of the lake with drowned timber once more featuring all along this shoreline.

Insect Life Being a relatively young lake which hosts prolific weed growth, the amount of aquatic insect life in the lake is astonishing. Midge, damsel and dragonfly larvae, corixa (water boatmen), are all apparent in huge numbers. Red spinner mayfly are present and are increasing in number each season. Frogs inhabit the marshes and tadpoles can also be found in large numbers through spring. Shine a torch in the water after dark and at times it would not be possible to count the amount of food that you see swimming around.

Fish Stocks
Brown and rainbow trout have both been introduced to Four Springs Lake by the IFS.   Stocking has continued since the inception of the lake with recent stockings being;
Brown Trout Fry:

  • November 2001    10,000
  • December 2002    10,000

Rainbow Trout Fingerlings:

  • February 2002          3,000

Last season the average size of Four Springs Brown Trout in my bag was 5 _ lb.   

Early Season Tactics
Although a good feeder stream enters the lake on the Eastern Shore, there appears to be no real spawning facilities. As a result both brown and rainbow trout are in top condition from opening day onwards.
Brown trout cruise in close both morning and evening, and will often be within inches of the shore. Stealth is needed for these fish, as they are spooky. A first look at the water should be made from well up the bank to prevent putting out fish which may be sitting "doggo', or slowly cruising the edge. A lot of the feeding by these browns is mistakenly called as "tailing'. In my experience at Four Springs the browns tend to be cruisers, more so than tailers. They can move a surprising distance in a matter of a few seconds. A slight swirl is noticed and then another about 20 feet up the bank a few seconds later. It is a simple mistake to call these movements as two fish when in fact they are one fish quietly cruising the contour of the shore.
Unless a fish is moving constantly in a confined area be willing to lead the trout here by 5 to 6 feet. A black fur fly or damsel fly nymph drawn slowly across the anticipated path of the cruiser should get some sort of look. A take can be a simple small swirl or tightening of the leader or look something like a washing machine being turned on. I don't fish Four Springs with anything less than 6lb tippet and reliable strong hooks.   The big browns along the shore have a nasty habit of jumping clear of the water and then burying you deep in the weed, testing your terminal tackle to the max. Should a fish bury you in the weed, maintain tension on the line and work your way out to the fish lifting the weed clear of the line as you go. Hopefully this will have the fish taking off again, you still connected.
Blind fishing versus stalkingFour Springs is not a lake where you can expect to take your bag with regularity.   Blind fishing has to be a patience game and fishing from the shore there can be a lot of casting between fish. Best flies for this style of fishing are Black Woolly Bugger, Woolly Bugger MkII, Yeti and sinking mudeye patterns. On windy days blind fishing is a good option and patience should reap rewards. In calm weather or on a quite shore the best tactic is to walk quietly along looking for signs of movement, concentrating in areas where you see a fish or suspect one to be.   When you find a trout moving take your time and try to work out a direction of travel and make the first cast count. You may only get one chance at the fish as he will wise up quickly if things are amiss.   If you get no response from the presentation be on the look out for movement further along the shore as these fish do cruise surprisingly quickly
I consider mid October through to early December to be the prime time of the trout season to fish Four Springs Lake.As the water warms up, the weed growth in the lake kicks on and mudeyes really begin to make their presence felt.    On calm evenings trout can be seen and heard taking emerging mudeyes as they make their way to shore in big numbers.   Good mudeye patterns for these fish are ones that sit low in the water,  a slow retrieve just under the surface film is deadly.   The  foam body style of mudeye which sits high in the water will often only get an indignant swirl when twitched past a mudeye feeder. If you get  refusals  like this try to get your fly to sit lower in the water.   The Gibsons mudeye is a truly great fly for any mudeye fishing.   This type of pattern modified with a deer hair head is the best pattern I have found to date for active mudeye feeders at Four Springs.
As the season pushes on into December, the Western shore becomes a more fishable prospect as the weed growth begins to thicken up and choke the shallow waters around lake.   Rainbows are more prevalent around this deeper water and they are actively hunting mudeyes at this time of year.   The only issue here is the long walk from the locked boom gate on the access road.   A boat is very handy to get you around at Four Springs, even if you intend to fish the shore.

Special Regulations:
Fishing is only permitted from 1 hour before Sunrise to 1 hour after sunset.No campfires are permitted around the lake.A bag limit of 5 fish applies.
Four Springs is a very fertile lake which produces some excellent trout.   A catch and kill attitude on this water, particularly towards the large brown trout should be avoided.   The lake is dependent on stocking and fish don't get to an average size of nearly 6lb overnight, so please try to adopt a limited kill approach to your fishing.

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