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Getting down - and getting lucky

The Central Highland lakes during the early season can be a daunting prospect. Water temperatures are low with snow, ice and freezing winds a common occurrence, all combine to make fishing the lakes a challenge to say the least.

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When you have finished for the day, why not have a brag about the ones that didn't get away! Send Mike an article on your fishing (Click here for contact details), and we'll get it published here. Have fun fishing -

109 leake tapsellPresented from Issue 109, April 2014
Situated approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes from Launceston is a water that flies under the radar of many…Lake Leake.

Although a fair bit has been written about it over the years, this water remain largely underutilised and doesn’t receive the amount of attention from anglers as it deserves. Both browns and rainbows inhabit this water and they can be quite a size.

They are perhaps the best average size of any water in Tasmania.

Dawn ‘n’ Dusk

Many anglers know, dawn and dusk are the best times to be on the water to maximise one’s chances of success. But how many regularly get out of bed early and experience the magic of first light—breaking over one of our lakes and rivers. To be in the half light waiting for the sound of a trout slurping a morsel off the top of the water, or in some cases leaving a ring that is barely visible to the naked eye.
 The fish are there, and they are there in numbers and more often than not they are feeding hard. They often continue to do so until the sun burns off the cloud cover and puts them down to seek refuge in the depths below. I talk mostly in this article about Lake Leake, but a lot of what I say is relevant around the state.

It’s 4 am and the alarm goes off breaking the nights silence, my wife sighs and mutters something that sounds unfavourable. I am pretty sure I heard the words ‘you’re bloody mad’ in there somewhere and for a few fleeting seconds.. I agree.
Then the thoughts of feeding trout invade my head and in no time at all I find myself in the car heading to one of my favourite fishing destinations—Lake Leake.
In this article I would like to share some information on this ‘early morning water’ that will hopefully lead to some success for you.
 I hold few secrets when it comes to sharing experiences and information because as far as I am aware no lake or streams have ever been ruined by doing so and as we all know just because one witnesses success one day, it doesn’t always translate to the next.

Lake Leake 
Lake Leake has had some very ordinary reports written on it of late with people saying that the fishing there is very challenging.
A couple of my mates and I disagree with that line of thinking, as recent trips to this water have resulted in us catching our bags in a very short period of time. If I was a betting man, I would envisage that those not fairing that well there are probably arriving well after all the action has happened....dawn.
This water is an amazing fishery for early morning midge feeders, in fact I would go so far as to say you would be hard pressed not to find feeding fish on top at this time of year if the conditions are right.
A perfect morning here is a light southerly and an overcast sky, and I emphasise the overcast sky, for without that, it’s all over by around 8.30 am, but sometimes that’s all you need as the five fish bag limit is often taken by anglers ‘in the know’ by that time anyway.
It is a cocky feeling one gets when talking to someone who has just arrived at the boat ramp as you are packing up to head home. They admire your catch and you know they will probably have to work very hard to achieve the same results.
They might ask us what fly we used, where we went etc and I am happy to tell them. I even give them a couple of the flies, but unfortunately most of the action is over.

Early morning methods
Right, you have done all the right things and arrived at Lake Leake as daylight is breaking What to do now? My suggestion is to engage the electric motor, and slowly move around the lake until you spot a wind lane with a bit of insect life in it, then just sit there........for they will come.
Unless you have an experienced eye, you may not notice feeding fish at first, as many just sip their tucker from under the surface, the only giveaway is the slightest ring left on the water.
Even when you do pick up the path of a feeding fish, they can still be very hard to follow; this makes for very challenging and sometimes very ‘frustrating’ fishing indeed.
That being said, every trip is a new adventure, last time we encountered fish charging past the boat with their heads out of the water and mouths open like one of those ‘whale sharks’ you see on the discovery channel.
If you’re a long accurate cast, you hold a distinct advantage as this gives you more chances at the fast moving rainbows before they spot you.
As for myself, I am not the greatest of casts therefore I improvise by sitting down low in my boat and by picking the direction a particular fish is heading in, I position myself far enough in front of that fish so as to set a trap by casting my fly in wait for it a couple of meters ahead.
When one is poised ready to strike as the fish works its way closer and closer, it is a magical feeling, especially when the fly is taken,.... the reel screams to life and it all comes together, now that’s worth getting out of bed for!

Early morning flies for this water need only be as simple as a team of two or three size 12 to 14 black seals fur fly’s with a brown hackle, in fact anything small and ‘red tagish’ like a Zulu dry will work.
Presentation is more important than the fly itself, in my opinion. Sometimes though they seem to ignore it and go under your dries, if you witness this happening, after a couple of times, I suggest you tie a small nymph or stick caddis to your dry fly’s hook shank and hang it six inches under it, this technique usually brings the fussy fish undone.

Dusk is another great time to fish! Minimal effort for maximum results (in theory anyway) and I am all for that. As the sun disappears over the hills that surround Lake Leake, the fish, especially in the last half hour of daylight start to look up consistently again, quite often a persistent angler will be greeted with a huge swirl appearing from nowhere next to his boat as a fish charges to the surface, grabs whatever was on top at the time and heads for the bottom again.

An Elk Hair Caddis is a great fly to put on now, especially if there is a good hatch flying around you, beware though as quite often there is no warning of an impending take, they just want to smash it!!
Other great flies to try are the Johnny Dekkers’ “Purple People Eater” (a purple woolly bugger with an orange tail) or a buoyant mudeye pattern pulled along the top of the waves in short sharp strips.
It might appear like lunacy casting blind in the dark to noises or the glimpse of a ripple that didn’t look quite natural, but if you’re going to get a big fish, now is the time. You don’t have to ‘see’, you only have to ‘feel’ when the line goes tight and you hook up.

Soft Plastics too
With the huge advances in soft plastics that have come forward in recent years, this is another method that produces fantastic results in the darker hours.
Today we are spoilt for choice and the variations of softies in different colours and scents, pre rigged or unrigged, nowadays, seem endless.
I love to fish with plastics early and late in the season especially at dawn as these are the times of the year when the fish are eager to put on condition and they seem to be looking for something a bit more substantial in their diet on a more consistent basis. The fishing can be fantastic, especially if your after that monster!
The big advantage with this form of fishing is depending on the level of water you are fishing in and the size of the jig head you are using, you can cover a lot more territory with the added advantage of longer casts, enabling the angler to reach the depth’s required when necessary.
I have caught many fish with soft plastics in early morning wind lanes , (especially rainbows), after spotting a boil or rise and then casting a couple of meters in the direction upon which I think the trout is heading, I then try to retrieve the plastic past the fishes nose.
Once again, the strikes can be very aggressive, morso before full daylight.
My personal favourite plastics are Berkley gulp pumpkinseeds and the Tassie Yep “Red rascal” and  “Flapper” range in both the pre rigged and unrigged versions.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve used Lake Leake as an example in this article, mainly because it is one of my favourite waters, but the same techniques and tips could be applied to Burbury, Huntsman, Four Springs, Brumbys Creek etc, etc with equal success, these methods work for me and work well, I am just an everyday angler with no great skill set to fall back on, just a fair bit of experience collected from over four decades of fishing our fantastic Tasmanian lakes and rivers.
By making the effort to get up early or by heading out after tea to fish the evening until dark, I do catch fish regularly and so will you.

Todd Lambert

lake-leake-2015-08-09-cLake Leake Report 9/8/2015

Connor caught this cracking 7.15pound 680mm Brown Trout from Lake Leake today.
Biggest I have seen from the lake in a very long time!
Thought you might like the pictures!


Click Read More for picture.


lake-leake-2015-02-12-cLake Leake 9/02/2015 

Fit healthy fish having a devil of a time on a cool evening
With the lake waters still around the 20°C and a cool evening with a north easterly wind, we decided to take my sister’s boyfriend Joe out for a fish on the lake, as he had never caught a trout before.

lake-leake-2014-11-16Lake Leake 16/11/2014

Left home at 4am, the Sun was well and truly up when I arrived. The water was like glass, fish on top everywhere after midge. Spooky as hell .Managed 2 on the fly and lipped another three... Too quick on the strike. I trolled a soft plastic around whilst looking for solidly feeding fish and had a brown that would have easily went 4 -5 pounds jump 3 times and spit the hook, also had another big grab for a solid head shake but no hook up.... T/ tails.

lake-leake-2014-08-17-bLake Leake Report 17/8/2014

The first entry in the "Win a Groper Bandana" Competition!

With not a breath of wind and the sun shining, Connor and I decided to go for a "Late Morning Fish". We hit the water by 11am, and were soon trolling. We both had on Tassie Devil lures, an S11 Funky Frog for me, and a #110 Perch for Connor.
We were soon up past Clark’s point, when Connor says, “Let’s pull in here and have a flick or two”. I changed my lure to a Moore soft plastic, in a pumpkin seed colour rigged up with a 1/12 jig head.
First cast, it was near a big old stump, I let it drop, and picked it back up, let it drop again, and I felt a tap, I then was on! I set the hook, and it was the battle between me and this fish!

I wasn’t letting this on get off.

Lake Leake 29/8/2014

Lake Leake continues to  give up some nice fish although the time put in to achieve these results is often long and arduous .Pictured is Noel Washington of Hobart with a couple of quality fish (out of his bag of four) landed in a recent early morning session .


Lake Leake Boys

Here's a video I put together of Connor and I fishing Lake Leake and the fish we have caught over this past season.
Enjoy, Cheers, Samuel

Lake Leake Report 6/4/14 

Young Gun well and truly shows up the Old Gun!
With not a breath of wind in site, pop rang up and said to get the boat out as he was coming to “try” and show us young one up…  drinks1 We were on the water around 12:15pm trawled across the bay with a variety of different lures on. Connor had on a Berkley Gulp Pumpkin seed (That Todd Lambert gave him the day before, thanks Todd!!! cool1) pop had on his trusty old’ black, red and gold and I had on a Gold Mepps Spinner. Connor had a nice hit, and lost it. Then Pop was onto one, but only a perch. We headed out towards the southern end of the island, having a bit of a drift and spin, but the drift was nearly impossible as the lake was mirror image! Not a ripple on the water.  From there we decided to trawl up to the Snowy, were we pulled up and had a few more casts, but nothing. By this time it was around 1:30, and a heap of boats had come out onto the lake. We fished there for a while, but nothing. 

Lake Leake 29/3/2014

Another good morning on Lake Leake, 6 all up between us.
Jim McKenna was happy with his day as well after landing these couple of leviathans.
Click Read More for pictures.

Lake Leake Report 26/3/2014

Well, light north easterly winds and an overcast day. Pop decided to come over for another fish with us Yun guns!  After school had finished we loaded up the rods, and were on the water by 3:30pm I had sent Adrian from FBT a PM to get some knowledge on what Mepps Spinner I should use. So I went with the copper blade #1 black fury. We trawled up the western side of Kalangadoo bay, up along Red Beach where we had a triple hook up! We were onto something, of course it would only be red fin, but hey… It’s a start!

Lake Leake 23/3/2014

Mark Tapsell and myself headed to Lake Leake early this morning in search of a contender for today's Pirtek Challenge...I caught three over 54 cm so hopefully I am in with a shot with one of them.
Regardless of that, we landed 8 between us in a little session of around 4 hours. We also lost a couple of others.

Lake Leake Report 14/3/2014

Grandson finally catches the biggest fish for the day
Pop come over again from Bicheno today to show us grandkids “How to catch a big trout” and to see if he could show us young’uns up again, like last trip out on the lake! We ditched school at 1pm (not really, for those whom don’t know we are schooled through distance education and seeing that Connor and I had all of our tasks up to date, we got to knock off early and as you all know fishing is VERY educational!) 

Lake Leake 27/1/2014

With mainland guests (Kevin and Jules) over for the Australia day weekend, we hatched a plan to head to Lake Leake this morning and to be back at the Red Bridge Cafe at Campbelltown for a 9am breakfast. I was designated boat driver, Kevin was “bow ballast” and “net boy” and the two ladies (Janet and Jules) would fish.

Lake Leake Report 15/11/2013

I decided to head to Lake Leake today with the mad Hungarian George Papp. We arrived around 10.30am, the lake was fairly calm and mostly sunny conditions throughout the afternoon. We mostly fished the Snowy and big timber shoreline, casting Dale Howard's Yep Red Nuts towards shore. The lake is full, water spilling over dam wall. I managed my third bag limit in a row - having a purple patch on this water at the moment. George bagged four nice fish as well. We got a mixture of browns and rainbows, with a few others lost at the boat

Lake Leake  Report 3/11/2013

We went to Lake Leake early yesterday morning after a few wind lane feeders and found a few rising but they were often only ”oncers". We  managed a nice rainbow, broke on the strike on another (which looked like a very good fish) and also caught a smallish rainbow. The fish very hard to catch as there is an abundance of stick caddis in the water and they are gorged full of them.

Lake Leake Report 25/10/2013

Well, with a few calm days on our hands. We were hoping we might have stirred up a few fish. We stirred them up alright, just not enough to jump on to our lures! With follow after follows, no such luck.

Lake Leake Fishing Report October 2013

Lake Leake has had its fair share of wet, wild and windy days since my last report, with over 5 inches of rain, filling up the lake. Many boats have come back in without a trout, while others have put in the time and caught one or two, nice average trout around the 2 pound mark.

Lake Leake Fishing Report September 2013

By Samuel Evans
With winter finally behind us, spring has arrived, along with the swallows.
Insects are hatching and the trout are on the move. Spring has brought warmer weather with water temperature increasing a couple of degrees, making the trout a bit more active.
There have been a few rough wild and windy days, at the lake, most fishermen have been accessing the lake from the boat ramp around at Lake Leake, then taking to the shelted parts of the lake by boat, but for us and our 4hp motor we wouldn’t have got out of Kalangadoo Bay, the wind would have pushed us back up onto the boat ramp, so we waited for calmer, safer days, which has given us some awesome catches from our boat, along with fishing from the shore.

Lake Leake 2/9/2013

An early afternoon phone call and a bit of enthusiasm was all that was needed...Mike Stevens arrived at my place around 1.30pm and soon we were on our way to Lake Leake with his newly renovated Purdon Dingy in tow. We weren’t on the water long when we had couple of nice fish onboard to christen it, finished with 4 trout (2 rainbows, 2 browns) along with one massive perch.

 Lake Leake 2/9/2013

I was going to head up to Cramps Bay today, but with a forecast of 25 knot nw winds up there, I decided to have another crack at Lake Leake with George Papp instead. We arrived around 11.30am and had our bags by 3pm.
Fished up the Snowy again and caught fish on Yep golden seducer, red nut and Black & Gold T.Tails.
Gusty nw wind and with sunny periods,fish again in good condition with the best being around the 5lb mark.

Lake Leake 24/8/2013

I decided to have a look at Lake Leake today with the Mad Hungarian George Papp. We arrived around 11am to a full lake, headed up towards the snowy and started drifting across the bay in 1.5mts of water. We were casting Dales Yep lures about as well as the gold and black t.tails.
We mainly stuck to fishing this area and caught the majority of fish here.

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