It's July 2nd and we are knee deep in snow at Miena in Tasmania's central highlands. Some would say how beautiful it is but personally it becomes a pain to live with as in these heavy conditions it stops my fishing. As most would know though we need any sort of H2O we can get in whatever form to help fill our lakes and in turn sets the rivers with a strong flow.
Fishing at this time of year is for the hardy, but it can be very rewarding if the effort is put in. I have had some superb polaroiding on Great Lake. The place for this is shallow bays with bright sun and at this time of year the best time of day is mid-day and this only gives a span of an hour and a half at the most.
Trout will cruise the shallows looking for small morsels, I have found a fly resembling a galaxia or a small stick caddis will get their attention. Even though at this time of year the window of opportunity is small it's exciting to be able to actually see fish and fish to them. In Great Lake there are browns and rainbows so while the browns are away spawning, there are still some nice rainbows to be had.
The normal way to fish to these fish is the normal polaroiding method with the sun at your back. I wade in knee deep water, don't go too deep as it's at this time of year when the sun is not very high the deeper the water the harder the fish are to see especially when wading. Mostly these fish will cruise closer to the bottom than the top of the water so the angler must look hard into the water to spot any movement.
Some of the galaxia in Great Lake are quite small, around 60mm long and tend to be bottom dwellers, so it's normal for trout to cruise the bottom looking for them.
The following fly has a small amount of weight so when the fish is spotted a quick cast will get that fly down quickly.
Hook - heavy size 8
Thread - black
Tail - olive and black marabou
Body - natural and dive green seals fur mixed
Wing - dark olive marabou
1. Take thread full length of hook shank, tie in tail.
2. Dub on mixed seals fur, take this a third of the way along shank.
3. Place a nice bunch of marabou on top of hook shank with tips facing to the rear and tie down firmly.
4. Now take another lot of dubbing and do the same again finishing back from the eye a little. Tie in another bunch of marabou, tie down, now add a small bunch of black marabou.
5. Make a nice shaped head, whip finish, cute away thread and varnish head.
For the opening of the season there are many wet flies to use. Personally I like my flies to be tied with materials that give a lot of movement. Being a great fan of the Woolly Bugger patterns for many years has given me the opportunity to test these flies with many different materials. Two things are a must, that is number one a marabou tail not too long, if you like some length put a small length of monofilament (10lb) in the middle of the marabou this will stop the tail wrapping around the hook. Also the tail needs to be dressed lightly otherwise you lose all the wriggle the marabou will create. Number two is use soft hen feathers for the body hackle the movement of these hackles are nothing short of superb. If cock hackles are used they stick straight out doing nothing really only looking like an aquatic echidna.
Using these two things on a fly as simple as a woolly bugger, can boost a catch rate from 20% to 70%. The materials give the fly realistic life.
Other patterns you might try are the fur fly family of various colours if fishing from a boat try some weigh on them to get them down amongst the fish.
If fishing from the shore looking for a tail or two the small scuds, snails or even a hairy little nymph will take its fair share.
Fishing from a boat use a fast sinking line got that fly down there with the quarry. The retrieve I like is fast to start, suddenly stop let the fly sink again, then get some speed back, a lot of the time fish will take the fly on the stop and drop. In saying all this if one method is not working try some other retrieve till reaction is achieved.