Well it’s been quite a damp winter this year with above average rainfall during the cold months. This bodes well for the upcoming trout season whether you’re hoping to hit the lakes or rivers.
Great lake has fished well throughout winter for those keen enough to brave the elements and fish hard. Arthurs Lake is also well on it’s way some sort of recovery mainly due to the fact that water has not been pumped from the lake as it enters. If the rain continues there will be many highland waters and their trout populations that will benefit in some way.
Lake Meadowbank has recently been spilling and previously dry Craigbourne Dam is now nearly 80% full. Keep an eye on the IFS website (www.ifs.tas.gov.au) for an early season stocking of Atlantics in both of these waters.
Paddle tail plastics and lipless crankbaits have both been very successful lures over winter for the lure casters that have made the trek to Great Lake. With rising levels, I doubt that that will change much by season opening. Although it would be a good idea to stock up with the ever-reliable minnow profile plastics if heading up in the very early stages of the season.
Berkley 3” Dropshot minnows and the like are a great early season option when targeting weed beds throughout the day in any lake. The ever reliable Woolly Bugger, Yeti, Zonker or Matuka style wet fly will be the mainstay of the early season flyfisher. Usually fished on an intermeadiate line with a sink tip into the shore or a sinking line in deeper water. The shore-based flyfisher may prefer to use a floating fly line particularly over freshly covered shallows.
Derwent valley streams like the Tyenna, Styx and Plenty rivers always seems to fish well in the first month of the season. Light tackle lure fishing and indicator nymphing are both effective methods if rainfall levels subside prior to opening. A buoyant dry fly like a Royal Wulff with a bead head nymph tied on a 40cm dropper is a good indicator rig.
But it may pay to be ready for trout that feed heavily as streams break their banks after heavy rains. The Coal River is another local waterway that while normally choked with weed and with few fishable areas, can offer opportunities for backwater fishing during flood.
Hunting about flooded backwaters with a wet fly or baits can be very rewarding, especially if you can be there just after flooding. This is normally when you’ll find the peak of the fishing as trout make the most of the plentiful food on offer.
Warmer water temps have kept the flathead biting in the bays of the lower Derwent estuary. Flathead that usually clam up during mid-winter cold have been a good target for boaters bottom bouncing Paternoster rigs and soft plastics alike. This is perhaps due to fact that most anglers are using a soft plastic rig these days. Not only that, they are trying a braided line and lighter rod to get a better feel for the bites. This can make a big difference when targeting any species.
The bream scene has recently been a little less predictable as sizeable flows of fresh water redistribute the fish throughout the Derwent. Bream will generally school up and try to avoid the fresh by going deep or holding up in bays that don’t receive a major influx of fresh water. But when the influence of freshwater becomes too great the bream will fall back down the system until they find the required levels of salinity.
In these conditions places like Sandy Bay and Kangaroo Bay can hold good schools of bream if you’re lucky enough to find them. A soft plastic presentation is normally your best bet around the structure in these bays. Worm pattern plastics and a good dose of scent can help in the often-discoloured water after a good rain. Keep the lure moving slowly with lots of long pauses and make sure to stay tight in against cover for the best results.
Last years big seller the blade lure might now come into play, especially as a searching tool to find bream. I had some success with these lures at this time last year when trying to relocate groupings of bream. Casting into the shore and hopping the lure down sloping banks was the successful method for me.
Most of the hits came at around 3-4m of water, where I was able to slow down the lure movements. Once again I found the application of scent to be a good way of turning lookers into takers. Ecogear VX35 or 40, TT Switchblades and Jazz Blades are all available locally.
‘Cocky’ or juvenile Australian salmon are still appearing in catches in the lower estuary. I’ve managed to come across a few on every outing lately. While we don’t seem to get that many sizeable salmon in the Derwent, they still provide a bit of fun to metro-based anglers. I’ve found nearly all the salmon feeding down deep recently. Perhaps due to the fact they prefer the denser salt layer found lower in the water column when fresh water flows from the system.
For lure anglers this is a great time to be on the lookout for new gear to test on the trout at opening. Here’s a list of a few newies and a few old favourites that are well worth a try.
Lures and Tackle for August
Hardbodies: Ecogear MX48f, Rapala F7 and Nories Laydown Minnow
Soft Plastics: Slider 3” Bass Grub, Ecogear 2.5”Grass Minnow, Berkley 2.5” T-tail, Atomic Guzzler 2.5” Paddle Tail and Berkley 3” Gulp Minnow
Spin Rods: Starlo Stix range, Samurai Reaction range and Loomis TSR range
Reels: Shimano Saros, Daiwa Tierra and Abu Soron
Line: Yamatoyo Spining Flouro (leader and mainline), Rio Flouro Flex (leader) Maxima Ultragreen (mainline), Berkley Fireline Crystal (gelspun braid) and Fins Braid (braid)