Hope for fat-bellied fish
  |  First Published: November 2013

There has been plenty of rain through early and mid-spring and the levels of the lakes and lagoons throughout the Southern Highlands having been rising accordingly; some by a huge margin. By mid-September Lake King William had risen 8m in only five weeks!

The fish have responded well in many waters gorging on worms, Corby grubs and other critters flushed out of their hidey-holes by the increasing water levels. Fish caught in Bronte Lagoon have been in very good condition with their stomachs distended with all the extra tucker available.

November has got to be near the top of the list during the trout season for the variety of fishing that is available in the southern highlands, or anywhere else in trout territory in Tasmania for that matter! You’ll find reliable tailers, morning and evening, chironomid feeders, caddis risers, the first big hatches of caenid mayflies are occurring and the red spinner hatches are well underway, and the highland duns are starting to pop up on the lower elevation waters.

Lake MeadowBank

There were over a 1000 Atlantic salmon, averaging 1.5kg released in August, so there should be a few left for November! I’ve also had reports of a few nice little brownies being caught too, so there are still a few trout left after the ‘draw down’ in autumn and winter.

November has traditionally been a red hot month for Meadowbank with red spinner hatch and caenid hatches. I don’t know what will eventuate this season after the lake was drained for six weeks earlier in the year back to the original Derwent with all the shallows exposed. If the forecast is good it may be worth a look, I’d stick to the bays adjacent to where the river widens out into the main lake well north of the bridge, this is where some very deep water and good shallows meet. It is always a good spot to find a fish or six and the deeper water would’ve protected the aquatic life better when the lake was drained.

Brady’s Chain

There have been some good fat fish caught through the system with plenty in the 750g range. These fish are probably the ones that were stocked as fingerlings three seasons ago, so it seems they have survived well; coupled with the 5000 Great Lake fish stocked into the system during winter there should be some good fishing to be had.

The normal hot spots will be the go for the trollers and lure casters such as the Whitewater, Dee Tunnel area and the interconnecting canals. If you get a blue sky day you can do a lot worse than having a look at the island shore of Lake Binney. Features of this shore are a beautiful grassy bottom with scattered fallen trees and stumps, it’s a perfect polarising spot and the trout standout very well as they cruise in around all the structure. It’s also a good spot to find tailers morning and evening.

Woodward’s Broadwater

The Broadwater has fished well so far this season. The water is currently backed right up and has flooded over into the grassy verges with the trout feeding well. By November the levels will have receded a touch but the fishing here will still be outstanding.

It’s a great spot for tailing fish but also for midging fish. A small Iron Blue Dun in a size 14 or 16 or a small Possum Emerger, about a 14, gets eaten well here.

If you find tailers or fish just slowly cruising in the shallows, again the Possum Emerger is tops in size 12 or a Zulu. Other than that, well I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, stick a 007 Nymph under the Zulu as an indicator.

Bronte Lagoon

The fish are as fat as butter this season, which seems to be an expectation of things to come for Bronte. I reckon it’s going to be a corker of a season!

The early morning midge feeders, especially if it’s a frosty morning earlier in the month, can be exceptional and very good fishing can be had from the shore. The Red Rocks shore is a firm favourite as is the shore around Rowallan Bay and Tailers Bay.

You can get fancy with dry chironomid patterns but I’ve always used an Iron Blue Dun, Zulu, small Possum Emerger or the Bronte Caddis. If you work your way through these great patterns with no result, well the morning is getting late and it’s time for bacon and eggs! If no risers are evident at dawn stay back from the lake edge on any grassy shore and you are likely to spot good numbers of fish in close.

Of an evening I like the Red Rocks shore and Bull Rush point, especially if there is a light southerly or easterly breeze. Don’t leave it too late to venture out either, I’ve often found good numbers of cruising and tailing fish here in the mid-afternoon on overcast days.

It’s a great shore with an undulating bottom, I’m sure the fish like it because they can make forays into the very shallow water but it’s only a short retreat to a bit deeper water for safety and security. Plus, there is a good population of scud and snails and other trout lollies in the area.


There are extreme high water levels in the Southern Highlands.


The fish have responded well to the high water and the flushed out food.

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