Spoilt for Choice
  |  First Published: December 2011

We are certainly spoilt for fishing choices at certain times of the year.

It doesn’t seem to matter when or where, but with a little bit of homework and an open mind there could be a significant trout event occurring on any given day. For example, recently on a warmish evening I ventured out after work to have a quick flick with some soft plastics for sea runners on the North Esk. Action was slow, but as the sun was going down I tightened up on a 1kg or so fish. Content with getting a quick fix, I headed home.

The following day I spoke with a mate who, on that same evening, fished to rising fish at Four Springs towards dark on a day that had been very quiet when all of a sudden, the fish were up and at ‘em. In contrast, another mate rose early that morning and had been fishing a superb red spinner hatch mid-morning on the Macquarie River and managed to fool numerous fish, with the best nudging 2kg.

I visited a client that tells me he was out in the Western Lakes taking advantage of some blue sky by polaroiding trout that were cruising the edges. Add to this that I noticed on a local fishing forum that on that same day, one party was hooking into some squid on dusk at the mouth of the Tamar River while another mate (far out, I know some mad cranks!) tells me he was at his place overlooking the Tamar River, tempted to harass a school of salmon busting up as they made their way upstream. I’d tell you about my uncle catching several nice bream on hardbodied lures in a system just east of the Tamar River, but that would be taking things too far!

Four Springs

Four Springs has been fishing well on typical warm and muggy days as long as there is substantial cloud about. There have been plenty of duns on sunny days, but fish the fish have been shy. Weed growth tends to cause some havoc towards summer at the southern end and up some of the eastern shore, but if the fish are up on top then you have no need to be in the weed, unless of course you are trying to extract one of the numerous semi-trophies that inhabit this water!

We should start to see some mudeyes (dragonfly larvae) making an appearance during December – an event that often attracts healthy fish towards dark when the mudeyes are hatching and making their way to safety. I purchased a fly rod off a local guy some time ago that fishes the mudeye hatches religiously at Four Springs. Up on his wall was a 5kg specimen and photos of several others nudging that magical 10lb mark.

Perhaps one day I could achieve such a feat!

In safety news here, the old yellow buoy that used to mark a hazard out off the boat ramp for several years is now under water due to higher levels. Please ensure you stick to the 5-knot limit or perhaps even take a wide berth if your stern hangs low! According to the IFS, one punter has already punched a hole in his vessel from fanging it a bit too hard. A new marker is apparently being sought.

On the rivers

Anglers continue to snare healthy fish from both the South Esk and Macquarie Rivers. Fish of 1-2kg have become much more common and encountered by many. Red spinner hatches have been sensational on the right day with the more selective fish holding station closer to willows and drop offs.

If things manage to dry off a bit this summer, hopefully we can start to see a resurgence of the grasshopper season as last year was a bit of a non-event. They were about, but many paddocks adjacent to these rivers stayed fairly lush and green, as opposed to the drier conditions that force some of ‘hoppers toward the water’s edge.

I recently had the opportunity to fish the headwaters of the North Esk, on a property that I hadn’t been to since I was about twelve years old. Let’s just say that was a while ago!

I have fond memories of stalking small, wild browns using grasshoppers with my dad and some friends here over summer and it was nostalgic being there again. The place was teeming with small fish that were pretty happy to scoff down most patterns. Their red spots were such a contrast to the brown and golden hues. I can’t wait until summer to explore some more sections of this river and tributaries and perhaps even check out the old shack with the owner’s permission.

December is the place to explore small little waters before they become too dry in full-on summer. They are some splendid waters tucked away all over the place with some rarely fished. There’s nothing better than grabbing a mate, some supplies and maps, then heading to a new destination and not knowing what’s in store.

Many of these are buried in state forest or the like so access is not too much of an issue. My hot tip would be to take a snake bandage and first aid kit, and dress appropriately!

Half the fun is the mission.

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