Good Spring fishing conditions
  |  First Published: October 2010

It’s been a good start to the season in the Southern Highlands. Water levels were low in Bronte Lagoon and the Brady’s Chain of lakes but some good catches were made all the same.

It’s a shame that the Hydro doesn’t seem to cater as much for the opening weeks of the season like they use to, it would’ve been nice to see a bit more height in the storages. The Brady’s chain saw the most anglers in the area, with plenty of hopefuls out and about, mainly due to a local informal competition that is eagerly attended to every year.

Plenty of fish were weighed in, with some good, well-conditioned fish amongst them. Local guiding identity Ken Orr visited and chatted to several anglers and was told that many fish caught in Brady’s had been feeding on the fingerlings that had recently been released, no wonder the trout were in good condition!

We have recently have just had some more good rains and some excellent snow dumps (one of which was the largest dump in over ten years) in the southern highlands. Lake levels have risen and some storages have spilled, including Pine Tier Lagoon. Bronte Lagoon is also nice and full at the moment, it looks promising for some good flood water fishing as we move into spring.

Lake Meadowbank

In the early October mornings you will find fish nymphing  and foraging in the shallow northern bays. A Muz Wilson Sticky Caddis is a very good pattern to use as is a standard size 12 or 14 Black Nymph or a nymph with a Peacock herl body with a black or brown seals fur thorax.

If fly anglers have access to a boat it’ll pay to keep an eye on the windlanes out deeper on calm mornings, as the rainbows and the odd brown will be working the chironomids trapped in them. Mid-October also heralds the start of the excellent red spinner mayfly hatches on warm sunny days.

You may be lucky enough to find the trout up on the duns but this doesn’t seem to be as reliable as the spinner hatches. I like to use my Onion Bag variant on the spinner feeders, just a standard Onion Bag but tied with a Peacock herl thorax behind the hackle.


Onion Bag Fly

Hook: Size 12 Kamasan B400

Body: Strands from an orange onion bag

Hackle: Coachman Brown or brown cock hackle

Tail: Coachman brown or brown hackle fibres

Thorax: A few turns of a good quality Peacock herl.

Rib: (optional) fine brown or copper wire

Brady’s Chain

If the Brady’s chain is full in October the weedy marshy corner at the north-western corner of the Tungatinah wall is a reliable spot to find fish cruising and foraging around the tussocks hunting for frogs and anything else they can find. The back shore is also worth a look; at times you can get some good fishing to tailing fish here also.

As always Binney will be reliable for trolling and lure fishing from the shore with the dam wall being hot spot. The Island shore of Binney will see fish tailing and bow waving about in the early mornings and afternoons, these tailing fish can be real suckers for a floater in October: a Zulu, Glister Tag, Red Tag or Bibio Hopper will catch fish or maybe a 007 nymph suspended under the dry.

This shore is better when the Brady’s Chain levels are only moderately high otherwise it’s too full for this area and access around the shore is difficult.

The best spots for Bradys is when levels are up are the shack shore and the area around the island and the spillway, the trout will be cruising these areas.

Bronte Lagoon

Definitely a prime tailing water for the area in October. All the well-known shores such as Woodward’s Bay, Hut Bay, Tailers Bay, Bronte Bay, Rowallan Bay, Fly Corner and the famous Long Shore will have trout tailing and foraging around, even if the Lagoon is only moderately high.

If the Lagoon is spilling the hot spots will be Woodward’s Bay, the Broadwater and Tailers, the Long Shore these days can be difficult to fish at extreme high lake levels because of the heavy bull rush growth.

October is the frogging month, especially of an evening or on heavy overcast days, the MK 2 Woolly Bugger, Sloane’s Fur Fly and Noel Jepson’s Mrs Simpson variant, the Mrs Simmo will reign supreme.

Pine Tier Lagoon

Pine Tier is another favourite in October. Pretty surrounds, nice and sheltered and a great spot for a camping trip with the family. The main part of the Lagoon is popular for trolling and lure casting from the bank. The shallow northern marsh is ideal for the fly fisher, the mornings are very consistent but often in the evenings there will be very little activity until late afternoon when the sun dips behind the hills then the fish can switch on like a light globe, tailing in the extreme shallows and rising a bit further out to caddis and midges.

For the risers, a small Klinkhammer or a Messy Caddis will get you connected. For the tailing fish a Red Tag or a Zulu with a 007 or a Stick Caddis underneath will give you an each way bet.

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