No doubt about it
  |  First Published: July 2011

If there was any doubt at all that this was to be a mild winter, it has now been well and truly dispelled.

Heavy snow heralded the entry into the winter months, and while we need this sort of weather to sustain good spring and summer fishing, it does make it pretty ordinary for those looking for a trout fix in July!

Great Lake is the one and only destination here in the highlands until August 8, and then it is game on!

Galaxia on the shore

Once the extremes of weather have passed, anglers, especially those land-based, will find good sport to brown trout looking to smash galaxia.

Hordes of galaxia inhabit the rocky shorelines in Great Lake at this time of year – I suspect they are spawning, but stand to be corrected on that front.

Either way, the trout haven’t missed the fact that a good food source is quite vulnerable.

The ideal conditions are an onshore breeze in Swan Bay or onto the dam wall – it doesn’t seem to matter much if it is cloudy or bright. The advantage of bright weather is that you can polaroid trout in between raids on the galaxia, which makes it easier to get a lure or fly in front of them. It also means they aren’t distracted by the real thing – increasing your chances of success.

You can either walk the shore or look for the disturbance created by trout smashing the galaxia, or you can simply search your way along, casting as you go.

My preference is to search and look at the same time. Don’t get in the water too deep, in fact you really don’t need waders apart for their warmth. Cast parallel to the shore and the work into the deeper water, remembering to let your fly or lure sink for longer the deeper the water you are fishing.

Look for prominent boulders and structure in the shallows, the trout will use these deeper ‘pockets’ of water to ambush galaxia.

Best flies are black Woolly Buggers, MK II Woolly Buggers and the Bruce Gibson Bullheads. Lures to use are the ever-reliable black and gold Berkley T Tail – rig them on lighter jig heads for the shallower water, but keep a few heavier jig heads in your kit in case the shallow water fishing doesn’t eventuate and you need to fish deep to get a bend in the rod.

Midges in shallow

Ok, call me an optimist, but you just might find some shallow water dry fly feeders in July. The planets will have to be aligned, but increasing numbers of anglers are catching good fish on dries during winter. Frosty mornings that merge into still and warm (ish) days are the ones to look for.

Small midge patterns are the go, but I like a big dry for Great Lake. Small generic dries like the Griffith Gnat or the reliable Black Bob’s Bits in #14 and #16 should get some interest.

Good luck and stay as warm as you can.

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