Early Season Trout Tips

As the start of the trout season approached the usual questions were running through most anglers" minds, Where to go for opening morning? Which lake is most likely to perform? What will the weather do? Etc etc. The truth is, although the weather hasn't exactly been kind, most lakes in the central highlands area have fished extremely well.

Water levels at Great Lake have been low enough to allow anglers, fishing from the shore, to reach the weed beds - an area chocked full of food and a favorite haunt for hungry trout who are keen to put condition back on after the rigors of the breeding season. These fish have been seen regularly cruising the edge of weed beds and for those anglers prepared to brave the conditions, the results have been great.

Arthurs Lake is again off to a flying start. Fish have been in superb condition and quite prepared to fight hard for their freedom. Few anglers have failed to take fish in what is our premiere trout lake and it is pleasing to see the size of fish improving each season.

Both Little Pine and Penstock Lagoon have fished well early and although the size of fish in "the Pine" seems to be falling, they certainly know how to fight. When conditions have permitted, both of these lagoons have had fish cruising close inshore providing some "great sight fishing'.

As the new season approached, expectations were high for lakes in the Bronte Chain, water levels were at a premium with water recently flooded well up into the tussocks however, fishing has been slow in this area  with those fish caught being "chock a block" full of worms ect. This is an area that should produce some great fishing over the next month or so as fish switch their attention from worms and grubs to start cruising amongst the tussocks in pursuit of frogs as they commence their breeding cycle. When this happens, the Bronte Chain some of the most exciting "sight fishing" to be found anywhere in Tasmania.

In the south of the state, waters such as the Craigbourne Dam have performed reasonably well. Although not always an easy water to fish, perseverance usually pays off and a few anglers have gone away so far this season without success.

Once again, thanks to the generosity of Saltas  and the release of trophy Atlantic Salmon into Meadowbank Dam in the south and Curries River Dam in the North, a number of anglers have had the pleasure of landing that fish of a lifetime - don't forget to return the tags so they can monitor the effectiveness of this program!

Those like me that are addicted to chasing those silvery torpedo's better known as "Sea Run Trout" (or "Sea Runners') are now frantically preparing their gear in readiness for the first migratory whitebait runs. The recent heavy rainfalls are now pushing fresh water out to see which in turn signals the whitebait that it is now time to run upstream to the spawning grounds. The ensuing concentration of baitfish in the rivers creates a veritable smorgasbord for both resident and sea run trout alike and fishing at this time can be fast and furious to say the least! Already a number of smaller sea runners and the odd larger fish have been taken using the new "Maniac" lures made by Spanyid (Raider) in the lower reaches of the Derwnt River, particularly in the bays opposite the zinc works. Although these lures are light to cast, they have the advantage of being able to run in very shallow water without snagging the bottom, a great bonus when trout are hiding hard in against the shore waiting to pounce on unsuspecting whitebait. As the floodwaters abate and the migration reaches full swing, fishing will be at premium - don't miss is whatever you do!

Tooms Lake on the East Coast has fished well again this season with most fish caught being in excellent condition. The growing reputation of this lake has now seen it getting to the stage where there are nearly as many anglers as there are fish - it remains to be seen how this smallish water will withstand the fishing pressure it is currently under.

As the spring rains abate the water levels in the lowland streams subside, some fantastic fly fishing can be had, Although these stream fish are not overly large, they are almost always in great fighting condition and this has become one of my favorite times of the year. Working a "chain" or two bead head nymphs under an indicator can produce some memorable catch and release fishing (I prefer one pheasant tail flashback nymph on top and a hare's ear and gold as the point fly).

Wherever you may be in this wonderful state of ours there is always a fish somewhere just waiting to tempt you, why not make the most of it this year?

Top six flies

My top six flies for this time of year are :-

Woolly Bugger Mark 2, Brown Woolly worm, Hamills Killer, Derwent whitebait, Pheasant Tail Flashback Nymph (beaded head), Hare's Ear and Gold (bead head).

Top six lures

My top six lures for this time of year are:-

Maniac 7g colour #7, Tassie Devil #63(prettyfish) - dual depth Tassie Devil #50 (frog), Pegron #3 (frog), Boomerang deep 65 - Elton Jack or Prudence Knols Native 50 - any of the frog patterns work well.

There are two new lures being released at the moment. The first is the "Warmisham Grub" - an artificial wattle grub the likes of which haven't been seen before, it's so lifelike you will think it's real - plus it's soft and flexible to ensure trout will think they are eating the real thing! The beauty of these grubs is that you can catch many fish on them before they have had it and you can either use them as either a set bait or a casting lure.

The second range is made by "SLUK" - these casting lures feature a great swimming action and superb paint jobs including "pilchard", "rainbow trout", "native perch" and a "brown trout" that is the best imitation trout I have ever seen (this one will rock your socks of!!!).

Keep your eye out for them at your local tackle store - they are sure to be deadly!

John Orchard
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