October rocks into the dry fly fishing
  |  First Published: October 2012

Once October finally gets here we can just about say goodbye to the worst of the wintery weather.

Not completely mind you, as there have been plenty of rough and snowy days in October over the years, but there is enough going on to get trout looking to the surface with greater regularity.

Arthurs Lake

October is an awesome time for this big lake – if the warm season comes through as predicted we will see the start to the gum beetle falls. It often takes a few days for the fish to lock into them, but once they do it makes for consistent dry fly fishing. Even if there are no beetles on the water on any particular day, it will always pay to prospect with a dry fly – they will be looking for them, so don’t be shy. My favourite generic dry flies at this time of year are the Orange Carrot in tandem with a Claret Carrot.

Stoneflies should also surge on the tussocky shores. Some anglers mistake these for early mayflies – which they are not. Levels should still be high before the inevitable summer drawdown, so look for the flooded tussocks where the wind is blowing off – these insects will flutter and skitter on the surface, so make sure you give your dry flies a tweak and a pull every now and again.

Great Lake

The way that lure anglers have opened up this water is incredible. I remember when I was a kid, two fish on a weekend was a good score, now some of the good anglers like Patty Sullivan and Grant Stingle can pull 40 in a day! A good season meant 40 once upon a time!

The key difference is two-fold with this. These anglers are using high quality lures worked very intelligently with pauses, rips and very little constant retrieve. The other winning aspect is the shores they are fishing. They like a shore that has the wind blowing onto it for a couple of days and they cast right in on the shore.

There are huge numbers of trout patrolling these shores – and it seems like the condition factor is back where we would like it, well done IFS for getting the balance right between rainbow stockings and wild brown removals.

Out west

It is game on out west – the gate should be open unless Augusta is spilling, so look for dull mornings and bright afternoons.

I’ve probably caught more fish out here on dries in October than in February – they will take them quite well, make no mistake.

These fish are very much ‘Yum Cha’ feeders – they cruise along and take a bit here and a bit there, and if your dry fly is in the queue, then you are in with a top chance.

Crowds will be at the easy waters, so get fit (and man do I need to) and walk a few extra kilometres to find peace, quiet and hungry trout.

Hunting brown trout in the back lakes in the Western Lakes is fantastic in October – keep an eye on the weather and plan accordingly.

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