Finally, the season is open again and we can become reacquainted with the many waters closed for three months.
It actually feels like the closed period has gone quickly this year to me, but perhaps several missions to Huntsman and Great Lake have filled that void appropriately and kept the cabin fever demons at bay.
High on many anglers’ lists will be the northern rivers – there are just so many options to tangle with a trout in these wonderful, lively waterways. The North and South Esk rivers, St Patricks, Great Forester, Meander, Camden, Isis, Mersey, Ringarooma and Macquarie just to name a few abound in this region.
Not to mention all of the countless tiny little creeks and streams that flow into them – If they are connected, chances are that there are fish in them! This time of year can pose a few problems with rising water levels due to rain, but you can often find some clean water in smaller waters and higher in catchments. To date, some of these rivers have only experienced some very minor flooding on two occasions over winter and it’s usually the late winter-early spring inundation that gets the major rivers breaking their banks, spilling out into paddocks and giving trout plenty of foraging options.
Too many floods and the trout don’t really respond as well. Too much water and the trout are often hard to locate. There is a fine balance with flood fishing, as with most situations. The point of making a mention of this though, is to inform you to keep an eye out for the first real couple of floods, where you can be on the water as levels slowly creep their way into fishable water where worms, beetles and spiders are likely to be drowned. This can happen anytime from season opening so be ready and keep an eye out on local levels and more importantly, get to know your local water and what levels work best.
Floods are not the only significant event to be prepared for when the season opens – I remember one exceptionally mild and dry winter some years ago where I landed most of my fish on dry fly when angling on the St Patricks River.
Sure the water wasn’t warm or really low, but it was clear and fish were certainly wary of a surface presentation. No doubt you could probably clean up fishing nymphs all day, but it depends what holds more value to you, numbers or surface-takes?
Dedicated trollers and spin anglers will probably head to Four Springs. This waterway, 30 minutes from Launceston is always popular on opening weekend, not just due to its convenient proximity to the city, but because you’re a good chance of landing a thumper here! Early and late season are the hot times and big fish are out looking to put on some weight post-spawning – this means big flies and lures.
You shouldn’t need to be fussy here as some of the larger specimens are really predatory and will sometimes aggressively accept a 4” soft plastic or hardbodied lures in excess of 100mm. There is often a lot less weed here in the cooler months, which is a massive plus. The only negative is that punters love the place so hard that this time of year is often as busy as a billfish on a bait ball.
My guess is that you will find some space at Huntsman Lake. Now that this water is open all year long, people have had the opportunity to fish here during the closed season, so will be looking for new waters when the season opens. Fish are smaller here but maybe there’s a knack to targeting monsters here? It’s only a relatively newly formed dam and I would have thought that bigger fish would have started to appear by now but maybe there’s something about its character that stunts fish growth. There has been the odd 1-2kg fish encountered but for the most part fish seem to be less than 1kg.
The families will find a great day out at either one of the above-mentioned lakes or rivers but my pick would be at the picnic area on Huntsman Lake. The facilities here are fantastic and the scenery is outstanding. If you’re thinking of getting the kids onto a fish by spinning you may want to have a look here.
Bait fishers will have to head to Brushy Lagoon or Four Springs and of course any river that is open. Best of luck getting back into them and be sure to let me know if you want to share any details at --e-mail address hidden-- .
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