The end of the brown trout season is nigh, the days are getting shorter and cooler, but this time often brings some beautiful calm autumn days.
Whilst fly life has often eased right off at this time, the trout in rivers and lakes are usually always on the chew, trying to put on that last bit of condition before winter spawning.
It is at this time we often have to resort back to the wet fly. On the lakes, all the bigger wet flies such as weighted Woolly Buggers, Fuzzle Buggers and other similar lure wets are the best bet, and usually in autumn the lakes aren’t overly cold in temperature like they will be in winter.
This means deep sinking lines are not usually needed to reach the fish, and some enjoyable wet fly fishing can be had. This will mean working blind and doing plenty of casting because fish are often not too visible at this time with the lower sun, and more difficult to spot with polaroids.
For Tasmanian lakes to try at this time, Woods Lake, Great lake and Lake Echo, especially those who have access to a boat, and for it’s catch rate this year, Arthur’s gives the angler a great chance of bagging a few fish in a session as well.
Victorian anglers are also spoilt for choice with plenty of water still in the western district waters such as Fyans and so on, while the high country waters such as Eucumbene and Jindabyne and the Falls Creek lakes like Pretty Valley and Rocky Valley.
In Woods Lake, Lake Echo and Arthurs, look for the drowned trees, I love working a wet fly near these natural snags and fish seem to love hanging around these areas ready to smash that passing wet fly. If shore based, look for drop offs, gutters and of course if you can reach the submerged trees try working your fly near them too!
Simple wet fly fishing involves searching likely places with the wet, and casting, then slowly stripping the fly back by using varied speeds or the figure of 8 retrieve, be ready to anticipate that hard strike, especially on those lakes mentioned that contain rainbows, as Rainbows spawn later and are often just reaching their prime now.
For rivers, especially the fast water streams, the trout at this time are often targeting baitfish like galaxia, to pack on condition ready for spawning. For example on north west Tasmanian streams like the Mersey, Leven, Forth and so on I like to use traditional baitfish patterns like Matukas, in a green or black colour, and these flies would work well in other fast water trout streams in the rest of the country.
Sight fishing is often possible as you can see the fish charging schools of very nervous baitfish, and much like sea run trout time, showering galaxia are a thing to watch out for to locate a feeding fish. I always like to approach these fish from the bank, and side on, or by casting at a 45 angle upstream to them, but casting straight upstream to them doesn’t seem to work as well I find. Treat it much like you are lure fishing, retrieving the fly cross current in the hot zone that you saw the fish feeding on the edge.
Working likely areas blindly also produces a fish or three, look for the bubble lines in fast water streams, and what I call the medium flow, as is often the case in a fast water stream you have some very fast and almost unfishable water, the medium flow water next to it (usually in the middle), and slack water on the other edge.
Try casting your fly into the edge of the fast area from a side angle then tease it back through into the medium flowing water, often in this prime lying area you will receive a savage strike from that late season aggressive brown or rainbow trout.
A lot of people give flyfishing away before autumn, but with a bit of application, there is some great wet flyfishing to be had on both lakes and rivers.Reads: 543