Skinny water: Fat Fishing
  |  First Published: September 2011

You blink your eyes and before you know it, spring is here!

Winter lived up to its expectations this year with lots of icy mornings, cold nights and plenty of snow up top. It probably depends on your individual schedule, but it all seemed to go pretty quick to me.

It might have something to do with the arrival of my future angling partner, Mason Leonard Turriff – tipping the scales at a healthy 8lb; he is surely my best catch! The little one is a bit too fragile yet and the days too cool, but I’m looking forward to that first wander with Mason strapped on for the ride.

The opening of the trout season saw many anglers taste success in a variety of ways on a variety of waterways. I personally found a brief window of oppor-chancity to flick my way around a headwater creek and found some small brown trout that rose to the dry.

Others sulked on the bottom and ignored heavier bead-head nymphs unless they drifted right in front of them. The water was running towards full but really clear and cold, with the likely culprit a few hundred metres above me on the snow-capped peaks. There was no hard and fast rule as where they could be found, small pools, rippled runs and eddies all featured as fish or two.

I needn’t have worried about bringing a drink flask, as a handful of fresh water had never tasted better than it did that day. It doesn’t matter if it’s as cold as a mother-in-law’s kiss, or as sweaty as a gym-junkie from Bagdad, fishing small creeks and tributaries will always satisfy my angling needs.

As expected, anglers turned up in droves to Four Springs and reports seem to indicate that boat anglers fared best. Bigger browns came to slowly retrieved plastics around timber and drop-offs while trollers managed to find some feisty rainbows. I haven’t heard of any monsters being raised yet but fish in the 4-5lb mark are nothing to be sneezed at. Fish will start to put on some condition in the coming months as their metabolism builds along with their appetite.

According to the latest Angling Code for 2011-12, Huntsman Lake will now be open all year around from the start of this season. This will open up some fantastic fishing opportunities for anglers looking to smack up a few trout in an otherwise deemed ‘off-season’.

Looking ahead, I’m hoping for a wetter spring as below average rainfall towards the later part of winter kept waters at steady levels. With any luck we can expect typical rainfall bringing ideal flood fishing opportunities with it. I recall an opportunistic outing with a mate on the St Patricks River a couple of seasons ago when it bucketed down on us while fishing the river.

It continued for hours until the river swelled enough to begin trickling over the banks and into paddocks and tussocks. The freshly flooded ground quickly offered up drowned worms and beetles and the trout weren’t far behind. It was amazing to see schools of small fish leaving the main river to search out an easy meal across the sodden ground. The water was shallow but we managed to secure a couple of fat fish that were sight-fished.

It doesn’t get any better! You can’t set your watch for this type of fishing, but I’m certain that an intimate knowledge of your local river levels would be of great benefit – something I need to study some more!

With a busy season ahead I will be focusing on spending my well-earned outings closer to home and I have a plan to fish more on the Nile, Liffey, North Esk, Isis and Macquarie rivers. Huntsman Lake will also make a mention.

With limited fishing time ahead for me, I will be relying on varied conversations with mates, fishing clubs, forums and tackle stores, so feel free to email me if you have a special report or a classic photo: --e-mail address hidden--

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