The new season is getting ever closer
  |  First Published: July 2012


The last days of the trout season went off for some lucky anglers around the Southern Highlands region.

A mate and his companions happened on an awesome gum beetle fall, where they found the beetles dropping out of the sky like confetti, with the browns and rainbows switched on to them big time.

Several times, pods of three or four fish were patrolling the shallows together; it was just a matter of which fish would get to the artificial beetle pattern first!

Lake Meadowbank and Lake Burbury are the only waters open in July, with Meadowbank being the best option not so much for the quality of its fishing but for the far more comfortable conditions to fish in. All the regular methods are worth a try but trolling will be the most favourable and likely method to get hooked up. There are a few Atlantics still swimming around in the lake as well to add a bit of variety. The Atlantics seem to favour the moving water, so head above the bridge and troll along the old riverbed up around the point of the willows and continue up the river proper. You can travel quite a way before the flow gets too fast.

Preparing for next season

Although the fishing maybe dismal in July there are plenty of things to keep us occupied especially if you are a fly tyer. With the new season not that far away, it is time to go through your fly boxes, see how many Stick Caddis patterns you have, Sloane’s Fur Flies (natural brown and black), MkII Woolly Buggers, Black Woolly Buggers, Mrs Simmo’s (Jetson version of the Mrs Simpson), Black and Green Fuzzle Buggers, Fiery Brown Beetles and 007 Nymphs and Montana Nymphs you have.

These patterns are some of the first you should tie on when the new season rolls around in August so you will need a good supply. Hopefully we will get the late winter and early spring rains and snow that we had last year to get those lake and lagoon levels up.

We relied heavily on Stick Caddis patterns early last season, hooking many fish in Bronte Lagoon and Lake King William on them. I use two patterns, the easy to tie Scintilla Stick Caddis and the little bit more involved Sticky Caddis, developed by Muz Wilson. These two patterns have one thing in common which I believe is very important for stick caddis patterns, they are very slim; many stick caddis imitations are way too bulky.

Another trick, instead of using the usual yellow or lime green-coloured material to imitate the caddis grub, try white. One of Noel Jetson’s favourite flies in the Bronte area was his stick caddis made from bound crow wing fibres with a few wraps of white floss to imitate the grub. Fish the Stick Caddis imitation on a dropper underneath an easy-to-see bushy Zulu on about a size 12 hook to tailing fish, often the fish will snavel the dry fly, especially if there are a few spiders around flushed out of the tussocks by hopefully-rising water levels.

The Montana Nymph is also a great fly to have in two or three sizes. A good trick with the Montana is to tie them with red plastic bead heads. It just seems to add that little bit extra to what really is a great fish catcher and plastic beads don’t add much weight to the fly as metal beads do, so it makes them suitable for shallow water. A small size 12 Montana is effective fished under the indicator to tailing fish, larger sizes make good general searching patterns

The MkII Woolly Bugger is another great fly to tie on opening day and for the rest of the season for that matter. Tie it to the original design though, these days any Woolly Bugger tied with different coloured tufts of marabou tied alongside the main marabou tail is called a MkII. The original pattern and the most effective has a black tail, hot orange marabou tufts either side, dark olive body and a black hackle.

This fly works well in the smaller sizes such as a size 10 or 12 for fussy tailers and of course tied larger on size 8 and 6 hooks for general blind searching. Tie some with a bead head for added action and a bit of extra weight if you need to fish the fly deeper in deeper water.

In August it will be time to give an overview of the best destinations in the region for the opening month. I’ve some good fishing in the last month of winter, especially on those late afternoons when there is a bit of flooded water about, you can usually find a fish moving somewhere on a sheltered Bronte shore.

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