111 pet guide
 The Guide Dam is a beautiful place

Presented from Issue 111, August 2014
The Pet and Guide dams are both great waters on the North West Coast, often people over look these great waters. They yield good numbers of fish all year round but they fish exceptionally well for the first month to two months of the trout season.

To use the correct nomenclature they are reservoirs, but anglers refer to them as dams, so that is what I have done.

The Pet Dam is especially great for family fishing trips and the beginner angler. With access being suitable for the young, elderly and close flat areas are available for the physically impaired. It’s a large open area with plenty of room for the kids to run about with a great opportunity to land a rainbow trout or brown trout.

 111 pet brown
 Leah Joseph with a brown from the Guide dam

The Guide is a little more restricted for access, ideal for the more adventurous angler wanting to lure or plastic fishing walking along the bankside. However there is still some areas more easily accessed but most areas may require a short 10-15 min walk to the shore. If you plan ahead of time where you plan to fish it can still be a great place to take the family. The Guide also has rainbow and brown trout.

The Pet Dam was recently stocked with 400 wild brown trout so that should really liven up the opening season in the Pet.


The Pet Dam is located in Ridgley which is only a short drive from Burnie. The Pet has easy access being grassy paddock and the first entry is a very short walk to the waters edge and fish are caught here on a regular basis.

On arrival at either of the points marked on the map, the water is in sight and you can start fishing right on the shore between the points marked on the map which are the two main entrances.

There are signs at both of these entries which give you some information on the water including bag limits, fish species and often a map.

The Guide Dam is located in Highclere which is around an extra 10-15 minutes past drive south the Pet Dam on the highway.

There are a few different entry points to the Guide Dam but I suggest starting at the dam wall which is a short walk from an area where you can park, there you will find the anglers sign with information. This area is some easy access with a five minute walk to the shore and for the angler that enjoys wading you can start at the dam wall on either side and fish your way to the other end of the lake. With a bit of wading and a little walking through the scrub here and there you can wade around the whole dam, crossing the creek up the end and fishing your way back down the other side. Just keep in mind that option is not something the beginner angler should do alone.

What to look for

When fishing both these waters you have two options. The first being find yourself a nice weed bed or a small bay or a nice point that sticks out into the water so you are out on a point that fish will be regularly be coming past because your waiting for the fish to come to you, so you need to find something to give the fish a reason to be coming past.

The second option is to cover ground by walking the shore. This is the method is I generally use and it seems to produce the most fish because you’re finding the fish. When walking the shore keep an eye out for any form of weed bed, rushes along the bank, and dead trees out in the water. These can hold good numbers of fish especially in the Guide. When casting at trees in the water try to get your plastic past the tree so you can give a flick of the rod and a good pause just as your plastic is passing the tree because that is where and when most fish will come out from the structure and take to your plastic.

When trout fishing always be wary when approaching the water as you will often scare fish away that are sitting hard in against the bank. Another thing to keep in mind is be sure to keep an eye out for fish cruising in the shallows. You can also spot them in deeper water but usually all you see is a dark fish like shape moving around down in the depths so if you see any movement be sure to have a cast at it and it’s the same as fishing amongst the trees with the flick and pause in what hopefully is the whereabouts of the fish you spotted.


When soft plastic fishing, you should think about the depth of water you’re in. So if you are in a shallow bay with a depth under one metre go down to a light jighead such as a 1/32. For water between one and two metres deep I suggest the 1/16 and anything over the two metre depth I go for the 1/8. These three different weights should get you fish in most dams and lakes without too many hassles.

For retrieves when plastic/lure fishing I find a nice slow to medium retrieve at a constant speed with a short fast flick of the rod tip followed by a small pause every 5-10 cranks of the rod.

Some days the fish like a faster retrieve with lots of flicks and pauses, if neither of these retrieves are working I suggest bouncing the bottom by simply waiting for your plastic to hit the bottom then a few fast flicks of the rod tip in an upwards action followed by winding up the slack and waiting for the plastic to hit the bottom again which you should be able to see by watching your line.

If you are struggling to find fish don’t be afraid to mix up your retrieves but when doing so I suggest keeping a reasonably constant retrieve speed as its proven to pick up the most fish for me in these two waters over the years.


As far as gear is concerned you don’t need anything special. Almost any light spin combo will do the job, although I suggest buying the best rod and reel you can afford. Better gear will last a long time and it will help you enjoy your time on the water.

I like to fish nice and light with a Lox 1-3kg yoshi rod fitted with a Shimano 1000 size reel running 4 pound line. This setup is perfect for these type of waters. In saying this though you can catch just as many fish on a $100 combo as you can a $500 combo.

I highly suggest going for braid as your main line because it helps the action of your plastic and helps you feel when you’re on the bottom or have a fish nipping at your plastic. It can increase the amount of fish you land in a day by quite a bit, if you’re worried about the knots you need to learn don’t be, there simple knots and a friend can soon teach you or your local tackle shop will have you knowing the basics or even learning the more complex knots if you chose to.

Depending on the day, my ‘go to’ plastic is the Berkley black and gold T-tail and secondly is the olive pearl T-tail. I’ve had great success on a number of different plastics from many different brands in many different shapes and sizes. The key fishing these waters is to stick with natural coloured plastics ie: black, gold, greens, browns, dark red all seem to work great, so don’t be afraid to try different plastics.

I find the rougher and dirtier the water is the darker plastics seem to work better and on the calmer brighter days i suggest going for a lighter coloured plastic.

The jigheads you will need are 1/32, 1/16 and 1/8 in any brand and these sizes cover most weather conditions and all areas you fish in the Pet and Guide with any of the needed retrieves.

I’d also highly suggest buying some polaroid sunglasses this allows you to see into the water by reducing glare from the sun and hopefully help you find some fish on the move.

If you’re new to fishing and unexperienced in lure or plastic fishing and it’s not something you’re looking into learning you always have the option of bait fishing with a worm or powerbait which many anglers choose to do in both the Pet and Guide.

So next time your hoping to land a fish on the north west coast remember these few key points and give these great waters a shot and you may be surprised as to how good some of our local fishing is here on the north west. I wish you all good luck and happy fishing.

Billy Lane

The Pet Reservoir




The Guide Reservoir