What a great opening it was! Thanks to good mid-winter rains and snow, most of the smaller storages in the southern highlands were full, which is unusual for so early in the season.
In mid August Bronte was still way back into the tussocks, with plenty of worms, spiders and Corby grubs flushed out just waiting to be mopped up by the trout. Many anglers even had some very early dry fly action as fish were looking up for spiders and floating grubs.
Bradys, Binney and Tungatinah have been well patronised over the early days of the season. Most fish have been taken on soft plastics and by trolling, however most landed fish have been small, recently stocked brownies. One boat reported landing 21 fish with soft plastics around the Island on opening Saturday.
Echo has had its share of visitors with some good fish landed again on soft plastics from the shore. Reports also came in from anglers fishing the Guelph Basin at Lake King William, with plenty of typical King William trout being caught.
We can expect heaps in the Southern Highlands in October. It’s the month for tailers; the shallows are that little bit warmer so the aquatic animals that the trout love are moving around freely; frog spawning is at its peak; and the larger lakes like Echo should still be rising and flushing out worms and other terrestrial beasties.
Bronte will be one of the go to waters, as it is every October. Any of the marshy gently sloping grassy shore and bays will have tailing browns evident morning and evening and on overcast days a lot of the tailing fish are still active even towards noon.
Trout will also be hunting frogs, after last year’s wet conditions and of course the same weather this year there should be plenty of frogs around. The patrolling fish can be very aggressive when frog hunting, so larger flies are required.
The original Sloanes Fur Fly made out of wild rabbit fur, a size 8 or 10 MK2 Woolly Bugger or the good old Tasmanian favourite, the Mrs Simmo (a smaller version of the New Zealand Mrs Simpson) can trigger some very aggressive, charging takes.
If the trout are not in such an aggressive mood, they are probably feeding on stick caddis, snails or aquatic beetles, maybe the last of the drowned worms. These fish will usually take a dry, a size 12 Zulu, Glister Tag or Possum Emerger, as well as a Scintilla Stick Caddis, size 14 007 nymph or a Fiery Brown beetle.
Tailers Bay, The Long Shore, Hut Bay and the Red Rocks Shore and Bull Rush Point are the hot spots. The fishing can be difficult in some spots though because of the thick tussocks and reeds, especially if Bronte is still very full, they have got very thick and really need to be burnt off.
If Echo continues to rise, as it is expected to during spring, then Large Bay, Broken Bay and Teal Bay will be well worth a visit. The fish will be worming and frogging well over the newly covered ground.
Even on the sunny days, fish may be spotted cruising in about knee-deep water. A MK 2 Woolly Bugger or black Woolly Bugger should get a response.
A good mate and I had a bit of a recon mission to the King in the second week of the season during the middle of the day. We found a few fish tailing and they were eager to pounce on a Sloan’s Fur Fly and a small Montana Nymph. Just quietly, the Montana should be used more than it is in Tasmania, as it really is a great fish taker, especially when tied with a red silk or bead head.
King William is currently 1.7m from full, and as long as it doesn’t spill, the scene is set for some fantastic sight fishing for the fly fisher.
King William has a massive head of fish, mostly small in the open water but many of the trout that are in the shallows are a fair margin larger, some approaching 1kg and a sprinkling going over. They are fantastic fighters in the shallow water, taking off leaving roster tails in their wake after being hooked.
I always rig with a size 12 Zulu as an indicator and a size 14 or size 16 007 nymph or a Scintilla Stick Caddis as a dropper off the bend of the hook for the King William tailers. The dropper only has to be about 12cm long otherwise the nymph can get lost in the underwater grass.
What a great little fishery Pine Tier Lagoon is in October, especially in the large northern bay. Early mornings and evenings here can be a real delight with plenty of fish feeding in the shallows.
The morning fish are real suckers for a small Red or Glister Tag or again the deadly 007 nymph.
In the evening fish will be tailing in the shallows and plenty will also be rising to chironomids out a bit deeper. I have found that Greg Beecroft’s Bronte Caddis is a great fly for these fish and a small Iron Blue Dun is also a good pattern for chironomid feeders.Reads: 1572