Brushy Lagoon

Brushy Lagoon is one of a handful of waters that the public has the chance to fish for four different sought after species - Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout and brook trout. In addition there are often plague proportions of redfin perch taking bait, fly or lures intended for the trout or salmon. Late August 2004 saw excellent fishing at Brushy, with double figure trophy salmon falling to all methods, so if your after the chance of a brook trout or Atlantic salmon close to home, then head for Brushy Lagoon.

Brushy Lagoon is within an hour's drive of Launceston or Devonport and is easily accessible by the family car. Those living north of Launceston may wish to travel the Franford Road from Exeter, turning on to Priestly's Lane (C714) and following the marked roads from here. Alternatively those travelling from south of Launceston may wish to travel through Westbury on to the Birrallee Road (B72), again turning on to Priestley's Road and following the marked signs to Brushy. Those travelling from Devonport should take the Franford Road, turn off on to Priestley's Lane. Travelling on the dirt road to Brushy the road forks, with a left turn leading to the dam wall and one of the two boat ramps, and a right turn leading to a makeshift picnic area / shelter and a small concrete boat ramp.

The lake
The lake is situated in bushland and is smaller then the nearby Four Springs Lake, but similar in shape and setting with tea tree fringes predominating the edges, making bank access difficult in most places. For bank anglers intent on using worms or grubs, the dam wall is the most convenient place to fish with access to deeper water. Holes in the dense shoreline scrub can be found in the southeast corner, as well as around the eastern boat ramp. The south western side of the lake is the most suited to those wishing to wade, giving access to shallower water but bear in mind this area is quite weedy and silty, and by summer will be frustrating to fish due to the growing weed - though on evening there may be a chance to fish for some of the mudeye munchers.
Boating is pretty easy at Brushy as long as you go slow - there are piles of dead trees in this lake, however most are obvious with the exception of the very northern end of the lake which is crammed full of snags. Trolling is best suited for the southern end of the lake, and the eastern side of the drowned trees that lay in the centre of the lake.
The water is tannin stained.

What the fish eat
Brushy is chock a block full of weed, sticks with plenty of silt. The result of this is that it contains plenty of snails, midges (bloodworms) and mudeyes. Brushy has also suffered from a large quantity of redfin perch which can be good to eat, but can out compete trout for food by their sheer plague proportions. The upside is that baby redfin can form part of the food chain for the other fish, so consider this in your lure or fly selection (it is illegal to use fish for bait). Brushy is also home to black and the red spinner mayfly hatches, and again locals report good dun hatches from time to time.

Charlton's Fishing Launceston has already reported periods of excellent fishing at Brushy, though the fishing can be sporadic - very hard for a number of trips, but excellent on the next with bags of over 20 fish. One of the most consistent methods for catching fish at Brushy has been trolling with shallow diving bibbed lures. McGrath bibbed lures in brighter colours have been the best.
Mudeyes are one of the most popular baits in Brushy as the water temperature starts to rise. Tie up to a tree a fish a live mudeye hooked through the wing case (size 12-14 hook) suspended from a bubble float. These mudeye hatches were famous in Brushy Lagoon's early days, and are still worthwhile targeting, particularly on evening using a fly (Bruce Gibson ties a number of good floating mudeye patterns). Midge hatches can also provide good early morning and late evening fishing in sheltered corners. These hatches have well and truly begun by October.
If all else fails a worm under a bubble float or a grub has also caught fish this year, including brook trout.

Brushy is a popular recreation area. After the Atlantic salmon were stocked there were reports of over one hundred cars at the dam and 30 boats on the water, so be prepared for company. If your there for a day trip with your family, then the boat ramp and makeshift camping area on the eastern side of the lake is a good place for a BBQ. Brushy Rivulet flowing in to Brushy Lagoon, and for a radius of 50 metres below where it flows in to the lagoon is closed to angling at all times.

Daniel Hackett

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