Things are generally pretty quiet around the northern traps at this time of year in the freshwater stakes due to the closed season. The good news is there are still options for those willing to get out and about.
Many anglers will be happy to learn that Huntsman Lake is still open all year round. It’s positive for this fishery, as there is plenty of scope for spawning and any fish taken will assist in raising the average size of this fish. Located a short drive from Deloraine, it’s a convenient day trip from Launceston and something the keen angler should do over winter.
It’s not uncommon to see a 1.5kg fish from here or some even bigger, though these are the exception and not the norm. The lake was first formed in 2007 and two initial stockings of over 1200 adult Great Lake brown trout followed in 2008 and 2009. Though fish were already present in this section of the Meander River, it was thought that this would help boost natural recruitment. Hard to say if it had significant effects but the average fish size now seems to sit at around 500-600g.
The lake is reserved for artificial lures and flies and is open from 1 hour before sunrise to 1 hour after sunset. The boom gates automatically close at sunset and will still open 1 hour after sunset, after this you’re locked in and have to pay a $30 fee to get out, so take note of the time! Aside from a restricted area around the dam wall, the rest of the lake is open to fishing including the in-flow streams and the main entrance of the Meander River. These will be the hot spots to explore in my opinion! Post-spawn fish will still be hanging around these areas and this type of water is a huge source of food accumulation in any case.
Another couple of points to consider is that the speed limit is 5 knots and as the lake is managed as an irrigation dam, draw downs and debris can happen at any time. The boat ramp was closed at one point in early autumn due to low levels but we have had some rain since then and it’s open again. Also, take note of the levels after any significant rain, as feeding fish will move up over the newly flooded ground to feed, especially early and late.
I’ve had a session there where tailing fish were waving about all day due to the overcast conditions and that’s one sight to get the blood pumping! Dark wet flies with some marabou in the tail for life work well. Plastics with wriggle tails and paddle tails also work well, as will natural worm colours. Don’t be scared to have a bit of flash or colour in hardbodied lures, especially gold or orange.
Salmon are generally on the hit list when fishing the Tamar. Schools can often sneak well up past Deviot and even Gravelly Beach during the winter months, especially if fresh water has been a bit light on. As always with salmon, keep an eye out for bird activity, as this will give away the action entirely. Once located, approach with caution and haul plastics, flies or the old silver slice into and around the school and wind! Look for calm conditions and a run-out tide.
These fish love a presentation on the move but if action is hot they’ll nab almost anything on the drop too. Fish can be small in the Tamar but every now and then bigger schools to 2kg will turn up and these tend be closer toward Clarence Point, Beauty Point and George Town.
Four Springs fished quite well right up until the end of season. Most of the action was early and late as usual, but it was well worth the effort in persisting. We had some great sessions on lures and fly by fishing right up until sundown and a touch beyond. Fish were quite often smacking the lure on the pause, which probably explains why the trollers were struggling when telling of their lack of success back at the ramp.
I personally haven’t caught any rainbows there lately but the brown trout have been in fantastic condition. We found fish to 2kg in the week or so of the season but I did hear of fish to 3.5kg being caught. Action here late in the season certainly makes up for the frustrations many anglers experienced during the peak of summer. Also, the IFS have installed a fish net barrier around the spillway to prevent fish from going over the falls during high levels. This, I’m sure many will agree, is a good thing.
It may be cold and mornings often frosty but there’s some great fishing still to be had if you’re willing to put the hours in and keep up to speed with weather events that can trigger exciting feature fishing.Reads: 2355