From all reports and predictions, Arthurs Lake is nearly back to its best.
The mayflies started hatching in good numbers as far back as the third week in November in the Cowpaddock, which is usually the pre-cursor to some solid summer hatches on the right days.
This fills me with nostalgia, as some of my best fishing memories are long days on Arthurs fishing to hatches, spinner falls and for those wonderful ‘Yum Cha’ feeders who just mooch along snipping down anything they see in front of them.
While not seeing it first hand, I am assured that water quality is getting back to where we like it, with clear water returning to the sheltered shores and open expanses of the lake.
The size of the fish isn’t huge, but those of us that have fished Arthurs for a long time will recall that there is always peaks and troughs of average fish size – wet winters and we will always have plenty of smaller fish to 700g.
The size always increases when winters are dry and spawning runs are affected – we can’t have it both ways.
For me I’ll be concentrating on the shores that draw along fertile stretches such as Tumble Down, Hydro, Creely and Cowpaddock. Mayflies will pop up on most days, but cloudy and rough days are best.
Settled evenings are best for spinner falls along the eastern shores of the Blue and Sand lake – and never, ever drive over a slick on Arthurs Lake in summer – I’m yet to see one without a fish!
One worrying aspect of the highlands in general is the increase in cormorant numbers – alarmingly many shallow areas of lakes seem to be devoid of smaller trout. Anything over 45cm seems to be reasonably safe, but bearing in mind that a cormorant can eat up to 6kg of trout a day and we can see the damage that can be caused.
The small streams of the north, east and south of the state have been pillaged by the cormorants, and it’s going to take a few years to get back to normal, but that is nature – it isn’t an easy planet.
The shallow lakes out west will also see cormorant activity, and if it were me heading out west, I’d be concentrating on those back lakes with deeper and rocky sections, as this will allow trout to escape these birds.
Usually during January we get a fortnight of awesome fishing on the ‘big lake’ where every fish is up in the waves and looking for a feed. Combine these days with plenty of blue sky and it is game on.
I’ll be making a beeline for the top end of the lake when the blue sky shines and the north wind blows – while the fish might be a tad bigger in the southern half of the lake, there are just so many trout in the open section between the Brandums Bay ramp and Cramps Bay that it is hard to miss out on a bag.
Once you find the fish up in the waves, a Bruce Gibson Foam Gum Beetle or a Peter Broomhall Bruisers Bug cast about 2-3m in front of them will d the trick – just strike slowly. Don’t worry about getting the fly too close to them, as long as it is either in front or to the side they’ll find it.Reads: 552