As it has been in most of Tasmania, the weather has been very variable in the Southern Highlands, and so has the fishing in the region.
Lake Meadowbank has been very disappointing, both for flyfishers and lure anglers. I can’t help but think that the weeklong massive draw down the lake had last winter for dam maintenance has had a very negative effect.
Despite some wonderful conditions for midging fish and caenid feeders, it has been hard to find good numbers of trout feeding and the redfin perch have been a real nuisance. Bradys Lake and Lake Binney have also been quiet, with anglers trolling for many hours for little reward.
Bronte lagoon has fished well, with the fish zeroing in on gum beetles and damsels. The Chernobyl Ant hasn’t been as effective as it was last season on the damsel feeders but a parachute black spinner has been taking plenty of these difficult and frustrating fish. The northern shore of Laughing Jack Lagoon has also been offering up some good fish.
Cluny Lagoon and Lake Repulse fish well in March, with plenty of terrestrials around, such as grasshoppers, beetles and ants, for flyfisher to imitate.
The two storages are perfect for a spot of trolling or drift spinning; any lure with a perch pattern of brown trout colour scheme will get you a hit or two. In the past the great old Wonder Wobbler in the crab claw colour or red fin colour always worked well.
Tungatinah, Binney and Bradys are always worth a look in March. The interconnecting canals are real hot spots and contain some very good browns, rainbows and Atlantics. They are attracted to the moving water and, of course, the food that is funnelled through them. The canal mouths are an excellent spot to troll around, while the canals themselves are great for lure casting or floating a dry around.
Gum beetles have been falling in large numbers recently, with the area around the island of Bradys being thick with them at times, although the more moderate falls seem to have more fish in attendance. The Bradys Sugarloaf Shore is a favourite, a great area to find beetle feeders or fish just patrolling the edge looking for an easy feed.
The level has been down since late December but the lagoon has been fishing well. If the shallows don’t get too warm the good fishing will hopefully continue. After a calm night there will be good hatches of midges and as is mostly the case in Bronte you can usually find a fish or two in close somewhere on most shores.
Last March there were heaps of orange caddis all around Bronte. If they hatch again in good numbers this year, Greg Beecroft’s Scruffy Caddis is a great imitation, it also works very well for the midging fish, if you don’t tie your own flies. The Bronte General Store has a good stock of them.
Laughing Jack, is still holding plenty of water with the northern end of the storage looking very fishy with the water up in the grassy bays. Even if it is drawn down as we head towards March, this area is still worth a look on warm days when the beetles are about. The main body of the lagoon offers some good trolling or lure casting and if you fancy a trout to eat, the Laughing Jack fish along with fish from Woods Lake are probably the best tasting fish in the highlands.
Nevertheless, don’t discount Clarence Weir, you must pass it to access Laughing Jack. It’s right beside the road and only takes a minute to have a look, it’s a nice little shallow weedy storage, most fish weigh under a kilo, but there are some real surprises.
Echo will really fire in March and with the addition of the new boat ramps on the western shore the northern bays, Large Bay and Broken Bay are within easy reach, with some excellent polaroiding in this area. This lake has plenty to offer for all types of angling; great trolling, good land-based lure fishing and on warm evenings you can do a lot worse than floating a good mudeye imitation around – a size 6 or size 8 Cubit Mudeye is hard to go past.
With the amount of gum beetles around this year Lake Echo could very well be the water to visit in the Southern Highlands for the last few months of the season.Reads: 1066