Autumn gold
  |  First Published: April 2012

So you thought the mercury has dropped enough to put your feet up? Well you could, but you would be missing some great fishing action.

Feeling a little chillier than usual is no excuse to go soft. Unless you’re older than me and suffer from arthritis, then all is forgiven.

Commonwealth Flyfishing Championships

The XV Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships have been run and won in Tasmania recently and I’m stoked to announce that Australia Gold took out first place by a convincing margin! Local guru and trout guide Christopher Bassano placed first in the individual section with 31 fish.

It goes to show that some local knowledge can be a game-sealer when difficult conditions prevail; well couple that with the fact that Christopher pretty much has gills. For those that may not have heard too much about it, 16 teams from around the world (including Kiribati!) competed on Arthurs Lake, Woods Lake, Little Pine Lagoon, South Esk River and Meander River with each angler spending three hours at each location.

Needless to say, some of these waters received a wide berth for some time leading up to and during the competition due to increased pressure, or certainly the presumption that it could be busy. For me personally, with limited time on some missions, I certainly understand that a little careful planning ahead of an outing can see you spend more time fishing rather than travelling or attempting to find some solitude on a busy waterway.

Many anglers have been pleased with the numbers of grasshoppers still frequenting most northern rivers, along with the mayflies which have returned for a brief stint before tapering off again. The Lake River has had some great ‘hopper action with damselflies distracting trout in between. The Meander River has seen some sections void of consistent activity – perhaps due to pressure around the township of Meander and higher sections may not have recovered too well after floods a while back.

There are fish there but you have to cover extensive ground to satisfy the thirst. At least the ground in question is visually appealing, the aromas pleasing and the trout colourful.

Some sections of the St Patricks River have experienced great ‘hopper action along with snowflake caddis in sheltered spots. One guru has been concentrating on fishing more secluded deeper holes with great success on lures and the white matuka (wattle grub!). Its nearer sister water – The North Esk, has also held onto the grasshopper activity but more forested sections in the upper reaches (along with the South Esk) have been somewhat quiet in the insect department.

Nevertheless, trout have still been quite willing to accept a well presented non-descript dry fly, along with the usual suspects.

I was able to have a lash in the Tamar River recently and with an impressive artwork of ink being a dead giveaway near the shore, I strapped on a squid jig and came up trumps on three calamari in around half an hour. The colours lit up sensationally as they were rested on the pontoon, but these ones were destined for the dinner table. I’m always being accused of simply filling the hunter shoes but never quite mustering the skills as a gatherer!

Whilst fishing in the Tamar I noticed a handful of boats fishing into a school of fish in the Kelso area – Well I assume it was a school salmon (and perhaps kingfish) as there were plenty of birds carrying on, and the carry-on lasted for some time. I was impressed to see the boats all positioning themselves on the outside of the bust-ups and casting in, as there’s nothing worse than meticulously working a school of fish when some goon-bag trolls directly through the activity rendering the session temporarily over. Believe me – It happens regularly.

Looking forward we have even less daylight hours than at present and as the nights become cooler - frosts will be setting in. One of the more positive aspects though, is that the wind is a lot more predictable and there’s often a lot less of it! This makes for some really pleasurable outings fishing open sections that have been far too difficult to fish in recent months, especially with the fly rod.

Four Springs in particular really starts to fire up again at this time of year as fish start to become aggressive and territorial prior to spawning. Big wets and sizeable plastics are the go and often bring some real brutes undone each year. Keep in mind that the brown trout season closes on 29th April this year but Brushy Lagoon and Lake Huntsman will be open all year round.

Make the most of your fishing opportunities before the general shutdown kicks in!

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