Time for terrestrials
  |  First Published: March 2012

March is the time that all keen highland anglers start looking for beetles, ants and jassids.

Some lakes in the central plateau region are struggling a bit with low water after a pretty dry old summer, but with a decent autumn break I’m sure these shallow alpine waters will bounce back quickly.

Great Lake

Great Lake doesn’t have any issues with water levels, and with the prospect of calmer days and cooler temperatures, gum beetles will definitely be front and centre of the agenda.

March has traditionally been a more settled month, and with this summer being a ‘typical’ one, hopefully we get those glorious autumn days of endless windlanes and feeding trout.

Brown trout will be starting to think about spawning in March, and while Liawenee Canal won’t be running much at all, there will start to be a concentration of fish on the western side of the lake.

These fish will be keen to feed, so any slicks off Canal and Boundary bays will be worth persevering in.

Even when beetles aren’t a feature, I generally use a Bruce Gibson foam gum beetle pattern, as they make a nice plop and really appeal to cruising fish.

The top end of the lake is prime for slicks pulling off the northern shores and the treed points along it. Ants will often hit the water on muggy days, and this is a real bonanza for the fly fisher.

Lure anglers will be looking for the rough days with plenty of cloud to stir up the pre-spawn browns, and casting into the windswept shores is a sure way to rack up some big scores.

Arthurs Lake

Arthurs has struggled again this season with dirty water, which also got very warm during the hot part of mid-summer. The mayflies were scarce again this year after looking so promising in December, but I’m sure this prime water will come back to its best in a year or so.

March can be a dour time for the fly fisher on Arthurs unless the beetles and ants get the giddy up, or of we get an early fall of jassids.

When I was guiding, March was always the toughest month of all here. As the end of the month gets closer, start to focus on bays like Tumble Down, Hydro, Jones and Cowpaddock for those pre-spawn trout that will be looking for a feed before heading up the creeks. Arthurs trout often spawn later than Great Lake, but this shouldn’t mean that they don’t get as agro!

Western Lakes

The western lakes have been hit hard during the dry summer this year, both by lower water levels and plenty of anglers.

Once March rolls around the hordes have dispersed and the water cools, so some sublime action is well on the cards.

Blue sky days are often quite common in the first three weeks of March before the season turns, so don’t let the shorter days fool you – the fishing out there can be the best of the year.

The western lakes can turn up some sparkling fish like this fat 1kg brown trout. Photo courtesy Christopher Bassano.

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