This year is slightly different to others – the weather seems to have slipped into a ‘normal’ pattern, meaning that the rule book for the past couple of years can be thrown out the window.
The last time we had anything approaching a normal season was about 10 years ago, and then we had good beetle falls in November on the sunny days and some early hatches on the cloudy days later in the month.
I well remember a sublime hatch on Little Pine in the fourth week of November in that year when the duns hatched in their thousands in a backwater in the middle of the island just in front of the shacks. It was like seeing 20 dogs in a paddling pool as some really good fish surged to and fro banging down the duns and emergers. It lasted about an hour and I’m sorry to say, I really didn’t get as many fish as I could of – just a bit gobsmacked really.
Arthurs is well on the way back to being a reliable fishery, and while the condition of fish was a little on the lean side for the first few months of the season, they have picked up in the spots you’d expect them too. Some anglers seem to think Arthurs Lake fish were always fat and two pounds, but this has never been the case. Some areas have always featured skinny fish, and others have always had fat fish – that’s just the way it is.
With an increasing water temperature and the level starting to ease back as the pump and evaporation take effect, prospect the extreme shallows first before moving into deeper water. My favourite spring day on Arthurs is either a boisterous cloudy sou’wester or a bright nor’easter – there are plenty of fish to be had on both.
Penstock reliably hosts dun hatches starting in November, and while the timing of them isn’t as reliable, prospecting with deep fished nymphs, long-tailed Woolly Buggers and damsel patterns should keep you busy. Bright days aren’t so popular, but many clever stalwarts of this lake walk the shores in front of the shacks polaroiding fish cruising in close.
Now is the time to spend as much time as possible out here – tailers in the morning and cruising browns in the afternoon are the go.
Come summer and the madding crowds will thicken to the point of being annoying, so make sure that any genuine bright blue sky day is spent out here. This is also the time to get adventurous and go for a walk out to some of the back lakes – just because it isn’t February doesn’t mean the fish are cruising and taking dry flies.
John Clark cradles a fat Arthurs Lake fish taken on a wet fly in the Lilypads region of the lake.Reads: 881