Different story for Mike Tenner however. Mike has been kind enough to share his expertise & pictures with Think Tasmania.
Tasmania offers the ultimate in trout fishing. The myriad rivers and streams, lakes and tarns are an angler’s paradise. It’s a beautiful, unspoiled environment that attracts fishermen from all around the world.
Whatever your preference, still water, stream or private fishery, maximise your angling opportunities, for wild brown trout.
Perhaps it is trying to fool the wild brown trout, that can be as cunning as any fish. Or is it the sight fishing on the lake flats, that makes Tasmania so special? Seeing the trout first and then having to present the fly in exactly the right place, certainly adds a keen edge to the fishing. The decisions can be difficult – whether to cast to ‘tailing’ trout in the extreme margins at first light, or ‘polaroiding’ cruising shadows across the open flats under a cobalt sky in the middle of a warm summer day. Each is a real Tasmanian specialty. Tasmania offers the freedom to fish just about anywhere at any time, with solitude guaranteed by countless remote waters. The pure air, clean skies and unique fauna and flora are all very much part of the experience.
Perhaps in some far flung corner of the world there may be bigger trout, or more trout. Elsewhere there maybe better hatches, or fewer people. But to find all these things in one place seems very unlikely except of course in Tasmania.
Showcase Tasmanian trout fishing waters are found in the lakes of the Central Highlands. Essentially these are wild trout fisheries dominated by naturally spawned brown trout, though wild rainbows are common enough. The wily nature of the trout, the confusing diversity of the waters and the variability of the weather has lead to a reputation of demanding trout fishing, hence the ongoing fascination and world-class image.
Successful trout fishing, and lake fishing in particular, has a great deal to do with confidence and this is where up-to-the-minute information about hot spots, water levels, intensity of hatches, feeding patterns, methods, flies, etc. becomes essential to success.
In springtime, highland waters are renowned for their wet fly fishing and, while the weather can be very fickle, this period offers extraordinary sport. There are other attractions too, including sea trout and traditional stream fishing. But perhaps the very best time to fish is from early summer to mid autumn, when the fish can be easily seen cruising in crystal clear water or else found rising steadily to mayflies, beetles and all manner of other goodies.
The real addict will be pleased to learn that several major lakes (including Craigbourne Dam, Great Lake, Lake Barrington, Lake Burbury, Lake Pedder, Lake Gordon and Lake King William) are now open to year-round angling so there is even scope to fish for trout during the depths of winter.
Tasmania has such a reputation for its quality fishing that many visitors come here expecting to take limit bags. But quality does not necessarily equal quantity. Wild trout are seldom easy to fool, so accept the sport as a challenge.
Since most waters are clear and shallow, polaroiding (looking for cruising trout with the aid of glare-defying polarised sun glasses) is the main tactic. Blue sky days are best though proficient anglers become adept at spotting fish in low light.
An effective method, especially where the water is too deep to wade, is to look for fish from the bank. Choose either a sheltered shore or one where the waves are striking at an angle and walk as much bank as possible – the biggest mistake newcomers make is to fish too long in the one spot.
If you are searching a shallow shelf it pays to wade out from the bank and to polaroid both back in towards shore and out along the lip.
Where there are extensive flats you can wade well out from shore and use wind to advantage. Rhythmic waves (as opposed to scatty riffle) open up the water and give a better view of the trout. Wade down wind and be on the look out for moving shadows and stationary anomalies.
If you are a connoisseur of mayfly fishing, Tasmania’s high-country lakes will cater well for your passion.
The best dun-based sport is triggered by the Highland Mayfly and the Penstock Brown. These occur in great numbers on highland lakes throughout summer and are eagerly sought by trout which can often be seen systematically clomping down all the hatchlings in sight. Fish rise both in sheltered bays and along exposed shores where they are washed in with waves and wind. Peak fishing usually occurs from 10 am to 4 pm, so don’t plan lunch for the middle of the day. Although calm conditions are usually best, some venues (notably Little Pine Lagoon) can offer surprising activity even when things are quite windy. What really stems the rise is very bright weather or extreme cold.
Adult mayflies, especially black spinners, also cause intense activity. The best rises occur over patches of calm water and prompt trout to leap high into the air. Individual fish are best targeted between bursts of activity and you will find that polaroid glasses are invaluable.
Many thanks to Mike Tenner for his insight into Tasmanian trout fishing.
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