Here it is, a new brown trout season
  |  First Published: August 2012

Hopefully you’ve got your new season flies tied, lure’s purchased, new line spooled and maybe even a new fly line or two, August is almost here and with it the new trout season for 2012/2013.

The lakes and lagoons of the southern highlands are always popular, well regarded fisheries for the first month of the season. Many regulars brave the often very wintery conditions with many of the popular camping areas at Bradys, Binney and Tungatinah being well used.

Lake Meadowbank, Cluny Lagoon, Lake Repulse, Lake Catagunya and Wayatinah Lagoon are all very good early season destinations. Meadowbank will be especially popular if Atlantic salmon are released prior to opening weekend; it pays to keep an eye on the IFS website for stocking information.

Trolling will be the most effective method. Head up towards the moving water and into the Derwent proper, above the Dunrobin Bridge, especially if the salmon have been released a week or two before opening, as the salmon seem to like to head towards the moving water. They might be tame farm fish but they still seem to retain the urges of their distant wild cousins and head for the moving water.

Cluny, Repulse and Catagunya are also very good early season destinations; again trolling will be the most effective. I haven’t trolled these three for some time but in the past anything green and gold or black and gold always caught fish; I can’t see things being different now!


Tungatinah Lagoon, Lake Binney and Bradys Lake will see plenty of attention in August. The moving water around the interconnecting canals are always hot spots for trolling and drift spinning and working over with soft plastics as is the area around the White Water at Bradys. Last season in the early months a good number of browns and rainbows were caught around the Whitewater by fly fishers using sinking and intermediate lines and large wets tied with plenty of marabou and flash from both the boat and shore.

I landed some good fish here on big black bead head Fuzzle Buggers tied on size 6 and even size 4 hooks. Tie them long for plenty of action and movement. The word is that the IFS will be stocking the system with browns from Great Lake and Arthurs Lake before the opening so there should plenty of fish on offer. These fish will be in ordinary condition though, so please think about catch and release until they gain a bit of weight.


Bronte is the premier water in the region and rightly so. It’s a gem in every way, either for trolling, drift spinning, and shore spinning or with the fly. All shores just scream fish. I like to concentrate on the grassy shores hopefully with some rising water, although we probably won’t see rising water until sometime in early spring. Tailers Bay is a very reliable bay to open your account for the season, but really any of the grassy sloping edges will see an odd fish cruising looking for a feed.

Another very reliable spot is the Broadwater, especially if the water level is up a bit, if the water is low, it’s not very inviting though. These two wide backwaters either side of the Bronte Canal carry some very good fish and they just love to come in nice and close here. For the shallow water, you don’t have to get too fancy with fly patterns early in the season, a natural coloured Sloane’s Fur Fly, MK 2 Woolly Bugger or any of the Yeti variations or similar will get pounced on if a fish comes across it.


Pine Tier will also be popular with its regulars, although the best fishing is yet to come for this water, again trolling and spinning will be most effective. If the water is rising the shallow northern bay will be worth a look for the fly fisher, especially in the late afternoons.


Lake Echo is always best when the water is rising for the fly angler so we won’t see this for another month or so but a few locals in the area have been having great success in Echo over the last few years trolling deep, some using lead lines with success. Casting around any structure with hardbodied lures or soft plastics is bound to get you hooked up.

Whatever the conditions in August it will be good to get back on the water. Many believe it’s too early, I don’t agree as there has been some great fishing in recent years in this part of the highlands.

Don’t think the shallows will be too cold to find fish in close in the early mornings either. Recent opening weekends have found fish tailing in the shallows at Little Pine Lagoon, which is a lot higher elevation and just that little bit colder than the waters of the southern highlands.

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