October in the highlands means only one thing – awesome fishing.
Whether you like to sight fish for shallow water feeding trout, or casting lures for deeper holding fish, October is the month.
With so many lakes at such high levels, it will be hard to pick where to go. Great Lake is probably to pick at the moment, with water levels not seen for around 12 years. Arthurs is at record levels, and while that murky water is a nuisance, awesome fishing and clear water can be found by following shores where the wind hasn’t been blowing onto for a few days, or in the bays where clean water is running in.
Great Lake is as great as it gets at the moment, but it will pay to strike while the iron is hot. With works on the power station and pipeline at Poatina scheduled to be finished in September, the water will inevitably retreat from these levels as irrigators start to need water and the Tasmanian population needs to keep the power on!
September and October are usually very wet months, so hopefully the drawdown (when it comes) won’t be rapid. There has been heaps of fish in the extreme shallows for quite some time, and with some extra warmth in the water we will see these foraging fish more active in their feeding methods.
Dry flies are a great way to fish the shallows – no worries about snagging the bottom or shrubbery with wet flies, and in general the fish come to you rather than the fly needing to go to the fish. Brown trout love to feed off the surface, and I am very sure if you were to pop a nice dry fly such as a Glister Tag (Red Tag variant) or a big black Muddler or cockroach fly in between the tussocks and scrub then a fat trout will come your way.
Some bays are obviously better than others in respect to flooded scrub, but Haddens Bay, Tods Corner, Christmas Bay and the area which was Reynolds Neck (now flooded) will surely keep you happy. Look for a blue sky day, that way you can polaroid these fish cruising amongst the flooded shrubbery.
My all time favourite lake is very full – fuller than anyone has ever seen it before. As a result the water is murky around wind blown shores, but in the very shallow water it is clear enough to see a snout or two.
The major issue with Arthurs is nutrification of the water – that is the water became rich in nutrients when it was drawn down in 2006 (the rotting weed caused this) and then the rotting vegetation also releases nutrients as the level has soldiered its way back up again – hence the cloudy water.
Hopefull with stable levels this will clear (I am confident it will).
Fishing is awesome at the moment, especially in the extreme shallows where the fish are hunting anything that moves – frogs, worms, grubs, stick caddis and so on.
If the water is too murky in your favourite bay, head to Tumbledown, Hydro or Cowpaddock Bay – clean water running in will make visibility excellent.
It is a bit of a lottery as to when the gate to this marvellous area will open, but on past form we can expect to have access to this area by early October, barring Augusta Dam spilling or more heavy snowfalls.
As these lakes will be well and truly full, the best bet is to hunt for frog feeders in the flooded lagoons and backwaters. My favourite is Double Lagoon, but if you were to walk to the flooded lagoons on the Pine River, you might just find some of the best flood water fishing you will ever see.Reads: 643