Chances dictated by weather
  |  First Published: March 2011

Anglers around Launceston continue to experience varied fishing. In all my time regularly fly fishing each season, I do not recall witnessing such dramatic changes in the weather.

Needless to say, the challenge will only enhance our knowledge by requiring us to constantly adapt to the changing conditions.

Brushy Lagoon

The IFS once again stocked Brushy Lagoon a while back and, as with most stockings, quite a few big fish are targeted fairly quickly. All is not lost though, as several slippery customers avoid the net to allow some fun fishing opportunities, especially for the kids out there.

It’s satisfying enough to catch a good fish for yourself, but watching a young tacker tussle with a big, colourful fish is extremely rewarding! Stockings over the past few months include adult brook and tiger trout, and thousands of fingerling rainbows.

Big redfin perch have been becoming active again with one local reddie enthusiast scoring some real thumpers on his new Strike Tiger range of Tasmanian soft plastics.

These lures have also bought a few Atlantics and brownies undone.

Brumbys Creek

I ventured out after work one still evening in the hope of scoring some mayfly action. Upon my arrival at the first bridge past Cressy, the water was running high but clear.

I explored the clear edges while making my way up the Angler Access point, but the fast flowing water was making the sight fishing hardly worthwhile with only one fish spooked.

Soon, up above weir number two, I found some rising fish. I studied them for a short period and noted that they were taking both red spinners and dragonflies. Some fish were leaping up to 2ft clear of the water to smash their quarry – It was an awesome sight.

They were a little difficult to target, as most would slash once or twice before disappearing into the deeper lies. I found one fish on the opposite bank feeding hard, and after watching it rise three times consecutively with each rise about 2m apart, I realised my time had come.

I cast a palmer-hackle Red Spinner pattern in the fish’s path and bam, I’m on! As with most Brumbys’ fish of late, it was fit and feisty. The fish neared the bank I estimated it weight to be around 1.2kg with really thick shoulders. I rarely carry a net these days and it flipped out of my hands at the bank. A cool and windy change soon altered the mood of the fish and they pretty much shut down.

Still, I was stoked to nail the flick, score the trick and bend the stick.

Meander River

The Inland Fisheries Service have released a heap of diploid rainbows into the Meander River in the hope that they may take up station in some fast-water sections.

I hooked up with local guru, Nick to explore some sections above Deloraine. The water has been running a little higher than its usual summer height but of significant mention was the water quality. There had been a landslip in the Dunnings River catchment of the dam which has caused the river to be quite murky.

Still we managed 7-8 fish each over two hours, including a few small rainbows at around 20cm in length. The browns were mostly found in the shallow pockets on the edge of the river and despite the clarity, we still managed a few on dries.

Fit Fish

Finally there has been a few ‘hoppers doing their thing of late. It probably won’t last too long into March but their presence has been most welcome on several waterways, including the St Pats, Meander and both Esks.

Cicadas have been on the wing quite a bit too, with some making into the mouths of hungry trout. With the heavy spring and summer rains experienced this trout season, fish are still in good nick and it’s great to see them regularly up on top and feeding.

Local guide Dan Hackett has noted this season to be a ‘big-fish’ season, with average sizes on the Macquarie, South Esk, North Esk and Brumbys Creek; the biggest in more than five years.

Much of this could be attributed to the plethora of food options both under and on the water, but also the muscle required for the fish to constantly swim against strong water levels for much of the season.

Down the track

With so much uncertain weather, predicting future fishing opportunities is a bit like telling you next week’s Powerball numbers! Typically though, the start of autumn can see some really settled winds which open up some great chances to get out and get stuck in.

Mayfly will reappear and we should see some ant falls. You should make the most of conditions and adapt your technique to suit. The days will be gradually getting shorter and unfortunately, the temperature will be starting to drop slightly.

Remember though, if you are a resident of Launceston and surrounds you could be fishing prime water within 15-30 minutes drive. My advice is to get out there and get down with a chunky brown, or get low with a fit rainbow.

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