108 western walk sceneryPresented from Issue 108, February 2015

One of Tasmania’s most experienced Western Lakes anglers, Craig Rist, explains what’s in his day pack and why.

What to pack for a day out West is something I consider very carefully through out the season. The time of year and the expected weather conditions for a particular day will dictate what I throw into my pack. How many kilometres I expect to walk into the heart of the Western Lakes, away from civilization, is another factor I consider, especially if it’s going to be a solo trip and you don’t have anyone to help you limp out with a broken or sprained ankle.

108 arthursPresented from Issue 108, February 2015
All Arthurs fish are small this year. Myth Busted. I recently spent a day with a friend on a water that some people have deserted because they believe all the fish are small. They are wrong.

One of the delights of fishing is the friendship built up over the common bond. So it was with some delight that I accepted a call from Graham early in the season to catch up at his local club shack and fish Bronte. Graham is the sort of chap that friendship is never blemished by time. He represented Australia in the Commonwealth fly fishing championships in Wales but now prefers the friendly competition of mate against mate. Unfortunately our schedules didn’t suit for the Bronte match, but in the third week of January he responded to my call for a day on Arthurs.

Presented from Issue 107, December 2013

If you’ve managed to get out trout fishing a bit like I have this season then you will probably have been cursing the lousy weather so far and the mediocre fishing that’s gone with it. I’ve sampled most of my favourite waters and can confidently say that the winner is certainly Woods Lake. The following is a brief roundup of some of our favourite locations and a detailed look at Woods Lake itself.

107 pedder justinPresented from Issue 107, December 2013
Lake Pedder whilst it has gained some popularity over the last few years it is still not high on the visitation list when compared to some of our other large water storages. It shouldn’t be the case as it has so much to offer and to the lure angler the options are almost endless. Lake Pedder is an immense water storage, controversially created in the late 70’s by the construction of 3 relatively small dams to hold and supply water to nearby Lake Gordon, itself an enormous water catchment that dwarfs Pedder in volume.

107 tarraleah troutPresented from Issue 107, December 2013
Located in the southern Central Highlands is the township of Tarraleah — an ex Hydro village, built in the 1930s and located around one and half hours from Hobart and 50 minutes drive from the Great Lake via the Marlborough Highway. Tarraleah is a great place for fishing with a number of waterways all connected by canals. They hold excellent stocks of trout and its unique in the fact that only trout inhabit these waters as far as I know, with no eels or redfin perch present. It is suitable for all types of angling and a wonderful option if wanting to either explore some new water, or if the weather is rough on the Great Lake side of the hill.

Presented from Issue 107, December 2013
Arthurs Lake has always been one of the key fisheries for Tasmanian brown trout. In recent years though Arthurs has faded somewhat from the trout fisherman’s perspective with the lake being challenged by big draw-downs on the water level. The draw-downs drained many shallow bays including Cowpaddock and most of Jonah Bay, killing long established weed beds and resulting in the prolific mayfly hatch being interrupted. With the aquatic food supply from these bays no longer available this meant that the lake could not support a large head of good size trout.

In 2008 Arthurs fell to one of its lowest levels since damming, 5.72 meters below the full level of 952.82 meters above sea level. Dead fish were located in pools isolated by the draw-down and threatened galaxias were transferred to other waters by the Inland Fisheries Service to create safety populations.

Presented from Issue 104, June 2013

Macca and I were kicking back in my tying room in early January this year tying a few flies, having a beer and talking about the seasons exploits. He was filling my head with stories of his Western Lakes adventures and big golden brown trout. Eventually I couldn’t stand it any longer, the images that were being painted in my head became unbearable.

It had been mid-December since I had been to the Julian Lakes area on a three day mission and I just had to get fishing again. Doing my best to sound polite I said “Macca please shut up with all the stories old pal its killing me, lets just get a trip organised and get out West to polaroid some of those trophy browns”. He didn’t take a whole lot of convincing that it was a good idea, so first things first we got the calendar out to settle on some dates that would work for both of us. Sounds easy, but I can assure you when both parties work and you factor in family, sport etc. it’s not always so.

Presented from Issue 102
At an altitude of 1120ms above sea level Lake Mackenzie is one of the highest lakes you can drive to in Tassie. It is the upper most catchment on the Mersey/Forth Hydro scheme, its waters being dammed in the early seventies and diverted via canal and pipe to the Fisher River Power Station. The original Lake Mackenzie, Sandy Lake and Pine Marsh have since become Lake Mackenzie although for most summer months the original bodies of water are obvious.

Please refer here for current information.
http://www.ifs.tas.gov.au/about-us/publications/tasmanian-inland-fishing-code-2016-17

100 lake echo 3 pounder cropPresented from Issue 100
It’s been five years since I last did an article on Lake Echo so time for an update on my still favourite water. Each year I manage several trips which due to the distance from home are usually one or two night excursions. The spring months from September through till November still rate as the best times however the month of April in ideal conditions can be brilliant. By ideal conditions I mean rough as hell, in fact during April the rougher the better. Most Tassie autumns can be quite mild and some seasons I haven’t even gone as it was just too calm.

Presented from Issue 100
For adventurous trout anglers springtime and early summer is the time to start thinking about heading out to the area officially known as the Central Plateau Conservation Area or simply to most of us as the Western Lakes.

This area boasts world class angling opportunities in rugged wilderness setting. For many fishermen their sole exposure to the western lakes region is the pocket of waters in the eastern edge of the CPCA known as the “19 Lagoons”. While these lakes and lagoons always provide reliable fishing opportunities, in this modern age it is hard to get a water or even a short section of shoreline to yourself particularly if you are restricted to weekend trips. For those of us seeking solitude and also adventure, venturing further out into the wilderness is a must.

Simon Tueon (Chewy) and I recently shared one such adventure in to this magnificent wilderness fishery. Here is our story….

99 peddar bPresented from Issue 99
Lake Pedder. It used to be a good fishery right? Wrong, it was an exceptional fishery. Through the late 70s and early 80s the trout from this iconic south west water averaged an astonishing 4kg. That was the average weight not the good fish but the average weight. There has never been a fishery like it and there never is likely to be ever again.

What does surprise many is it’s a great fishery now. The trout are nothing like those of years gone by but they are in great condition, fight hard and in numbers that would be astounding if it could ever be calculated. Large bags are common and the quality of fish is very good. So often when it comes up in conversation people are surprised to hear it offers some great fishing to all artificial methods. And most always add that they’ve never been but have always wanted to make the trip out.

It’s well worth it, the scenery alone is unparalleled, panoramas that extend 360 degrees when you’re out on the water. Some areas of the lake it’s breath taking at times. For someone new to the water the fishing possibilities are much the same. You can round a point and be mesmerized by the bay in front of you, flooded tea tree sloping banks into weed rich water, fish rising, sometimes clear of the water chasing damselfly on the wing, only to go around the next point and see it open up again into a better looking bay and another and so on.

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