December is the month of questions. Just where out of a hundred good waters do I go?
December sees the best of all options – tailing fish of a morning, mayfly hatches on cloudy days, polaroiding on sunny days and some good boat-based flyfishing on the days with everything.
Arthurs has been the beneficiary of some excellent spring rainfall, to the point where the dreaded Hydro pump has had no influence at all on proceedings. True to form, the shallows have proved the best option, however the real test will be the size of the mayfly hatches – if any. The past few years the mayfly hatch has varied between disappointing and non-existent, and one hopes that the recent two years of high water will see these wonderful insects return.
Even if the duns fail again, the shallows are full of caddis, meaning that there is plenty of food to bring those shallow water feeders in. If things keep going as they have, we can expect the level to stay high until early February, where evaporation and lower rainfalls will see the level drop.
Gum beetles have started to fall on the warmer days, with several late November days seeing a sprinkle of beetles on the northern reaches of the lake. This is the critical ingredient for the ‘shark’ fishing, the phenomenon that sees good-sized brown and rainbow trout cruising high in the water looking for beetles. These fish will feed on the surface in 5-15m of water, and on any blue sky day with a northerly wind flyfishers can expect to find some sport on the surface.
It probably doesn’t matter too much where on the lake you are, but the stretch between Elizabeth Bay and Tods Corner is very reliable, as is the top part of the lake between Pine Island and the area known as the Sand Banks.
The Pine has been well patronised of late, especially early and late in the day as anglers pursue the tailing trout. Of note has been some excellent midge hatches and some very subtle caddis rises.
Mayflies should be well under way by the end f the first week in December, and any suitable day (cloudy with a bit of wind) should see plenty of fish and fishers!
The duns started here in mid November, but as has been past practice, most anglers were elsewhere. Penstock hasn’t fished so well in the past season or so, but consistent mayfly hatches should pull some good fish up to the surface and some anglers back to this water. There are still plenty of trout here, and while the often murky water does deter some anglers, it won’t worry the fish.
This area has been extremely well patronised on the sunny days, and practically deserted on cloudy days. While the polaroiding is particularly good on sunny days, anglers shouldn’t ignore the overcast days, and trout will often tail till lunchtime.
Mayfly hatches are a feature here, and often yield much better fish and fishing than the more popular waters.
The Nineteen Lagoons is perfect for tailing fish in December, as Adam Scurrah demonstrates with this 1kg brown from a small lagoon.Reads: 1429