Terrific winter fishing on Great Lake
  |  First Published: July 2013

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, some of the best fishing on Great Lake can be in the depths of winter.

The purist fly fishers probably should stay at home, but for the keen lure caster the fishing is fantastic.

The rougher the conditions the better, as the waves pounding on the shores, especially the southern shores from the dam wall across to McLanachans Point, and from there across Becketts Bay to Tods Corner.

Christmas Bay is very good as well. Mostly the wind blows from the south west or north west and the shore upon which the wind blows at an angle or parallel are the best. Calm shore are easy on the angler, but not so good for the catch rate.

The best plastics are pretty much anything with plenty of black and gold in it – Berkley T Tails and Ripple Shads are awesome, as are the new Strike Tiger Hawgs and the Squidgy Fish in Gary Glitter.

Rig them on a 1/8th jig head and cast them into the shore and work them back with plenty of pauses and dips.

The fish are as good (if not better) than I’ve seen for a long time in Great Lake. Maybe the cormorants eating all the rainbows on their spawning run last winter might have done us a favour. A recent trip saw 18 good fish landed, with 15 browns and three rainbows. Of the browns, only one or two were poor – the rest were fabulous.

The way Great Lake fishes has really made me start thinking about why we actually have a closed season in the highlands. Most trout die of old age, even in the hard fished waters like Penstock and Little Pine – why not open everything up for the 12 months. Close the streams and spawning waters by all means, but do we really need a closed season on the lakes? I think not.

Dry Winter

It looks very much like we are in for another dry winter, which will mean good and bad things. On the good side, a dry and hard winter will thin out the older fish in lakes like Arthurs, and allow the younger fish to have some extra space to move and feed. The spawning creeks in Arthurs really rely upon decent rainfall, and if we get a cold yet dry winter we can look forward to some fat young fish in the early months of the new season.

A dry winter isn’t so good for waters like Little Pine Lagoon, which need plenty of winter flushes to ensure clean water as the season progresses. There is a strong link between winter flush outs and clean summer water in the Pine, and last season saw some pretty filthy water at times.

Brendan Turriff with a spanking winter rainbow trout from Great Lake, taken on a Berkley Ripple Shad in Galaxia.

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