Get on top for dry fly sport
  |  First Published: December 2013

This is it; the summer surface action is here.

If ever there is a month that trout fishers look forward to, it is December. The mayfly are hatching regularly, the water is warm enough to get trout consistently cruising in shallow water and just about every insect except for jassids are on the water.

Arthurs Lake

It is hard to talk about Arthurs without lamenting the huge numbers of small trout in this lake at the moment. This is not new, Arthurs has always been through small fish cycles. I remember when I first started fishing this lake seriously as a teenager in the 80’s that a fish over a pound was bragging material. Then in the late 90’s and early 2000’s the size improved radically and a fish under 1kg was small.

But it is what it is, and there is some great fishing for smaller fish none the less. I personally love to eat these smaller trout, and I whole-heartedly recommend the same to anyone who will listen.

I’d expect that the mayfly hatch this year will be a good one, especially in the deeper water over 3m. The main reason for this is that I suspect the smaller fish eat most of the nymphs in shallow water, while the deeper water is perhaps a bit different.

While shallow water is always the first port of call in the early part of a hatch, my preference is to follow the drifting duns into deep water, especially off Tumble Down Bay, the Lily Pads and Creely Bay. Look for wind blowing duns from shallow water to deep – a north westerly is prime for areas like the Lily Pads, but a southerly can be good too in areas like the Morass and Creely Bay.

Great Lake

While Great Lake has no real mayfly hatch, (not enough to get excited about anyway), it does have a massive population of brown trout that love some gum beetle action.

While our spring was cold and windy and we didn’t see much if any beetle action till early November, December warm days will definitely bring them onto the water. In the past I’ve found that cold springs mean a greater density of terrestrial action once summer actually arrives, so get ready for the beetles.

Sunny days are great, as you can polaroid them in the waves, but don’t discard a cloudy day, especially if the wind dies in the evening. It is this time of day that trout will get seriously active in the wind lanes, and as the light fades, they get very easy to catch.

Nineteen Lagoons

The Nineteen Lagoon area gets very busy at this time of year, and I basically don’t go out there anymore. The exception is to walk from Ada into the more remote areas, which I believe are less fished now than years ago.

If you are determined to fish the Nineteen Lagoons, look for waters that don’t get hammered – the two Lake Augusta water bodies are a case in point. Add to that Double Lagoon and maybe Rocky and East Rocky and you might find some space.

I fish the western shores of Great Lake on bright sunny days – the polaroiding experience is the same and there is no one there to drop in front of you.

A blue sky day and a deserted shore – a December match made in heaven.

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