December brings on dry weather and hatches galore
  |  First Published: December 2012

I’m beginning to wonder what the weather will bring this season.

We pretty much skipped spring it seems; most of late spring was spent hovering between winter and summer – often on the same day!

Arthurs Lake

My all time favourite lake is slowly clawing its way back to prominence, the only fly in the ointment will be a dry summer, as still un-capped water rights on the Lake River means that Hydro and irrigation demands will see the level drop.

The real issue with dropping water levels after such a long (historically) period of high water is the risk of more nitrification, and therefore dirty water. If the level drops away slowly and stays relatively stable within a metre or so then the water might in fact clear. If it plummets like it did in 2006-09 then we are in trouble: again.

Having said that, continued high water in the Cowpaddock for the past three years means that this year should see a return to good mayfly hatches. November usually sees a preponderance of trout looking to the surface for a feed, especially beetles and small stoneflies.

December was always the most productive month when I was guiding – we used to average around four fish per day per client in December across all abilities – this is the time to get into them on Arthurs if you are relatively new to flyfishing. Fish the shallow bays on either side of the islands and spend plenty of time investigating foam lines and windlanes, especially ones that draw out of fertile bays such as Tumble Down and the Morass.

Great Lake

With a forecast of a long hot summer, boat-based polaroiders must be licking their lips in anticipation. The past couple of seasons haven’t seen much in the way of blue sky days, but remembering dry years from the past dry spell we were inundated with plenty blue and north winds.

The best days need a warm north wind with no cloud – cruise across the waves with the wind and the sun behind you and keep your eyes peeled. The browns are dead easy to see – often they shine out bright yellow. Rainbows are a tad harder to see, often cruising a little deeper and grey.

Either way pop a Bruce Gibson Foam Beetle or a Peter Broomhall Great Lake Bug in front of them and give them plenty of time to take it.

Nineteen Lagoons

Hot and dry summers aren’t very friendly out here – shallow lagoons and tarns dry up and there is significant fish mortality in some of the more marginal fisheries. This is the way of the west, and it always bounces back.

If you are heading out west, fish early in the day and look out for those snakes – they will be everywhere.

Best lakes when it is dry and hot are the deeper ones around the Julians/Pillans area, many waters in the Nineteen Lagoons will ne heat affected.

The Western Lakes are perfect for blue sky days, but fish early if the weather is hot.

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