January is when the sight fishing for surface feeding trout goes into overdrive.
Blue sky days are the things of dreams, as the cobalt, cloud free skies open up clear water and gives flyfishers an experience to dream about.
Great Lake is all about the ‘shark’ fishing – the term used when the massive population of Great Lake brown and rainbow trout look to the surface in search of food. This food is generally in two groups; aquatic, which is predominantly midges, and terrestrial, which is mainly beetles and ants, with a small spatter of grasshoppers if the season becomes hot and dry.
Shark fishing is all about boats and keen eyes, as the bulk of the surface feeding trout are in deep water, often well offshore. While some of the better places to find ‘sharks’ are quite close to shore, the land-based angler really can’t access the best of it.
Techniques for fishing to these fish have been covered many times, but in short cover plenty of water with the wind and sun behind you and pay close attention to solid streaks of foam – this is where the fish will be looking for food.
Best places are the open water between the Sandbanks and Rainbow Point, the open water between Doctors Rocks and Reynolds Island and south of Muddy Bay down to Tods Corner. Smaller boats can find good success in the relatively sheltered water of Swan Bay and around the Beehives.
The western lakes is the term given to the wide expanse of Tasmania’s ‘big-sky’ country to the west of Great Lake. The land of 3,000 lakes is well known for the shallow alpine sandy/silty flats that provide some of the best stillwater sight fishing in the world.
The Nineteen Lagoons is easily accessible and as a result is quite popular, especially if there is even a hint of a blue sky day. Walk for an hour or so and you will probably find great solitude and great fishing – explore waters such as the Christys Creek system and the like – plenty of water and trout to 3kg for the experienced walker and fisher.
Some anglers are doing extremely well here, while others are really struggling. Areas such as the Cowpaddock, while sheltered and close to the boat ramp probably aren’t the best spots to be looking for sport.
The Cowpaddock can really turn it on in January, but those keen to explore should take advantage of the high levels and head in the eastern side of the lake and check out places such as Jones Bay, Tumble Down Bay, Flemmings Bay (awesome in an easterly) and the myriad bays and inlets along the western side of Brazendale Island.
The crowds will be here in their normal numbers, with up to 40 boats on this small waterway on weekends. less popular are the shores surrounding the Pine, and land-based anglers often out-fish the boats, simply by observing where the wind is pushing the food and casting into the wind. In a westerly check out Scotties Bay and the Road Shore on the eastern side, and if the boats get too close just remind them of the 100m rule.Reads: 1887