Plenty of action still left for highland anglers
  |  First Published: May 2013

Ok, so it isn’t summer, there are no balmy evenings and the mornings are a tad crisp if not wind-blown.

But May remains a favourite time to be plying the waters of Great Lake looking for brown and rainbow trout action.

I am an incorrigible optimist – I’ve been known to drift dry flies with great confidence in May along the shallow shores of Great Lake – and I’ve caught a fair share of trout this way too. Just because a date in the calendar says that the brown trout season is closed in 99% of the other trout waters in the state doesn’t mean that surface fishing stops here. In warm Mays we have seen a sprinkling of beetles and jassids (in the first few weeks of May in any case), and trout will still remember what they look like.

Most fish thinking about feeding rather than spawning tend to get very excited about some orange in the fly, either in the tail like a Glister Tag or as part of a wet fly. Depending upon the school of thought you subscribe too, this is either because they remember the bright red of a jassid, or that red and orange stirs up the aggression as they move to spawning time.

I am beastly careless of either, as long as a trout takes the fly!

In past May’s I’ve had some good success drifting dries along the eastern shore of Little Lake Bay, where there is a reasonable sort of a drop off (depending upon lake levels). Half Moon Creek runs into this bay, and while it isn’t the best spawning creek as far as heaps of fish milling about goes, it does get a few moving towards it.

The browns will have already started spawning well before the beginning of May (sometimes in mid-March), but that doesn’t mean every fish in the lake has downed tools and started pairing up.

Far from it in reality. In many ways I often wonder why we bother with a closed season in the highlands, Arthurs Lake trout rarely spawn before June in any great numbers and are often still banging away in the creeks in mid-August. Close the creeks by all means, but open water trout are either still to spawn or have finished.

Casting lures

If there was ever a sure fire method of tricking a May brown trout in Great Lake it is casting soft plastics along the wind swept shores. This is a technique best kept for those rough, cloudy and cold days where a north west or south west wind has been chundering away for a few days.

Fish the shores like the ones between the dam and Tods Corner by drifting along and casting plastics like the Berkley Black and Gold T Tail or the new Strike Tiger worms – the Copper Berry colour has Great Lake written all over it.

Cast them in as far into the shoreline as you can get – look for those deeper holes between the bigger rocks where trout can hide while food washes past them. Fast flicks and small pauses are the go – you are looking for a reaction bite here, not a considered sipping of the lure.

Other good shores are the rocks around McClanagans Island, the exposed shores on the northern side of the Beehives into Christmas Bay and Haddens Bay.

This rainbow was taken extremely close to the shore on a Cranka Vibe. Note how close the boat is to the shore and how the waves are crashing onto the bank. This is the sort of shore to look for.

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