Four Springs Lake
The suns first rays are pushing through the tops of the gum trees and the water has a cold platinum sheen. Ducks paddle around feeding on midge in the water surface and the odd Bennets wallaby makes it's way back to the tree line after feeding along the grassy shores over night. Twenty metres along the bank appears the tell tale sings of a fish, no trifling tail tip or slight dimple but the bulging of a big brown as he pushes through the weed to grab a damsel nymph.
Calm down you tell yourself as the water settles and you wait for the next clue to his whereabouts, suddenly another bulge and push through the weed this time only 5 metres from you. The presentation is quick and leads the fish by a metre, suddenly the hunter who doesn't realise he is now the quarry accelerates pushing a V of water quickly towards your fur fly, this ceases abruptly and right on the mark. A moment of indecision and a heart beat of apprehension, has the fly been taken or missed by the charging predator, then a slight draw on the leader where it cuts through the surface film is an affirmation of success, a smooth but sharp lift the rod and you are connected to a hefty brown trout somewhere between 4lb and 6lb, this is why Four Springs keeps you coming back.
Four Springs Lake has rightly earned its name as a lowland big fish water. When the lake was first built with the cooperation of Boral timbers, Four Springs marsh was flooded to create a fertile lowland lake. As with all new lakes there was a boom of growth in both insect life and the consequential trout size, trout grew to good proportions and regularly topped the 8lb to 9lb mark for those who dedicated the time to chasing them. The lake is now settling into adolescence and midge and mayfly are beginning to make more of a mark on the feature fishing at Four Springs. The Inland Fisheries Service has steadily stocked the lake with brown and rainbow trout varying from 15gm up to 3.5kg Lake Crescent adult fish (30/6/05), creating a water where fish can be caught by all angling methods and the chance of a trophy fish is still a very real possibility.
Access and fishing regulations
Four Springs is located 16 kilometres North of Hagley via Selbourne Rd (C735). The lake is on private land which is now owned by Gunns Ltd, however access is freely available and fishing is allowed from 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunset. There is a good boat ramp on the South Eastern Shore, and a BBQ and Disabled facility on the South Western Shore. (Permission to use the BBQ and disabled facility is by permission from Gunns with a key available to gain access past the boom gate at Selbourne Rd. Foot access to the South Western shore is allowed at any time.
All fishing methods are allowed at Four Springs, and the standard size of 220 mm is regulated for both brown and rainbow trout, the bag limit at Four Springs is maintained at 5 fish for all species. The only other regulations to be aware of is that all fires are strictly forbidden around the lake, and there is a five knot speed limit.
Georgraphy of Four Springs Lake
Four Springs runs in a north/south direction and is quite narrow, all of the public access is available to the Southern end of the lake, and there are barriers limiting foot traffic to the marshes at the top end of the lake. The Eastern shore of the lake has grassy banks which back onto forest and the Western shore has forestry timber encroaching more to the side of the lake.
The bottom end of the lake is a large shallow basin, which contains marshes and reed lined shores. These are good haunts for big browns close to shore in the early months of the season from August to December. The Eastern shore is also generally shallow, and has a couple of marshes along its path towards the top end of the lake.
Foot access to the top of the lake on the Eastern shore is limited by a creek which has deep holes and undercut banks. Care should be taken if you are trying to cross this creek. The Western shore is where the dam wall is situated. This area is the deepest part of the lake and depending on the water level crossing the spillway is not always achievable. These barriers on both sides of the lake limit access to the marshes at the top end of the lake. As the lake is surrounded by timbered hills and is quite narrow East to West, winds are generally channeled to blow in a Northerly or Southerly direction, flat calms and wind lanes are regular occurrences on the lake.
Fly Fishing options
From September to December, the marshes come alive with frogs, tadpoles, damsel and mudeye nymphs and of course big browns and the occasional rainbow chasing them. Morning and evenings there are fish smooching around very close to shore feeding on the larder that is available amongst the rapidly growing weed. Chasing these fish has been the feature fishing from the time Four Springs was opened to the public, however as the lake is settling, and the stocking of the lake is continued other options are also becoming worthwhile.
The mayfly hatch on Four Springs is now reaching it's potential, with duns on overcast days and plenty of orange spinners drifting out over the water on warm afternoons and evenings along the sheltered shores. Where once these offerings were largely overlooked by the trout due to the sheer abundance of food under the surface, they are now becoming more acceptable and both browns and rainbows are taking them more frequently.
The midge hatch on Four Springs is amongst the thickest there is, again at one time you would scarcely see a fish coming to the midge of a morning or evening, now the rainbows growing on in the lake are a target as they cruise the slicks sucking hapless midge through the surface of the oily water.
The use of a boat is a definite advantage on this lake. For chasing midging fish a boat is almost a must, however even if you have it for no other reason a boat is the best way to get from shore to shore to check out where the fish are working in the various marshes.
Four Springs is continuing to be a terrific lowland lake which presents challenging fishing to trout often in excess of the 5 lb mark. It is a lake that is easily accessible to most anglers who are willing to walk the shores or who have the option of a boat the move around the lake. The lake itself is changing in the both the manner of fly fishing that is available and also the numbers of fish that are in the lake due to the stocking efforts of the IFS. Four Springs is a handy option for those days when the highland lakes are blowing a gale or in these busy times when life's pressures mean that only a quick session is able to be achieved.