Fishing Highlights, August to September Daniel Hackett
The majority of Tasmanian fishers think of themselves as a relatively tough bunch, "any harder they'd rust', battling relentless snow, rain and sun (somebody has to do it). Despite the obvious ruggedness of the fishers in question, the battle hardened Taswegian trouter is more likely to be found tucked up in bed eating Nan's chicken soup during August and September rather then on the water. This is a pity because any time is a good time to go fishing, and August and September are no exceptions. Pack away your blouses, pull on a beanie and try a few of these highlights!
Worming the flooded rivers
The time of year when fishers get to be kids again is definitely September. High, murky rivers in September are like the school bell at the end of the day, a sign to put on the holey blue jeans, get dirty (and in trouble) digging up the flowering bulb garden for monster earthworms. After safely securing the bait it's time to head for the favourite worming creeks. Typically this is a scrubby tributary of a bigger river, full of pan-sized dynamos. I like the Macquarie river tributaries. The tackle needed for this fishing is cheap and simple. A small soft rod is all you need, older fibreglass rods are often gems. A small reel, rigged up with four pound line, a running ball sinker (big enough to hold in the current, but as small as possible), and a number 12, de-barbed bait-holder hook finish the set up. A thermos is also handy.
In the swollen rivers the main creek beds are often too turbulent for the fish to hold and feed. Trout are lazy, so they'll often be in the back eddies and side waters just smooching along, sucking up worms and grubs, and maybe a few snails. This is the place to put a bait.
With a few minutes of patience the first trout should be on board. And also, it's no coincidence that these creek trout are referred to as "pan-sized'!
Wet fly-fishing the lakesSome of the best wet fly-fishing is to be had in September and can be divided into lake fishing and river fishing.
On the rivers, a rising level often finds trout finning around the riverbank edges, into flooded trenches, paddocks and irrigation channels. These fish are not always apparent during the day, but evening sport can often be consistent, with worms, and later in the season frogs, the main food source.
The fish are often feeding with their heads in the grass or rushes and the water is typically murky, so repeated presentations to the fish are often needed. As always accuracy with casting is a big advantage. An inert presentation can be effective, as soon as the fish hears or sees the fly it will often attack it. If this isn't working a short, smooth twitch will hopefully aggravate the trout into chomping on your furs and feather. No fast retrieves, and the better flies are often the old faithfuls, Wigrams's Robin, Woolly Worms or a Fur fly.
Lake fishing can be very exciting as well. If the fish aren't found feeding amongst the weed (try an almost inert presentation), try the rocks. Fishing amongst the big rocks near the shore can be very visual at times. Big brown logs have been known to fly out from crevices and shadows after a big wet fly. I'm sure you can see them salivating.Good early season flies are the Woolly Worm, Woolly Bugger, Cat fly, Matuka's or just about anything else big and tasty. Mix up your retrieves and bring the thermos
Brook trout fishing
The brook trout is the poorest cousin of all the trout in Tasmania. Despite this perception, the brookie is definitely the most beautiful and best eating of the lot. Now with some help from aquaculture brook trout are available in a number of waters, and August to September is the time to try.
Brook trout are not able to cope with high water temperatures, so early in the season, when they should be feeding heavily to recover from spawning, is a prime time to target brookies. These are naturally aggressive fish, with huge bucket mouths. So big wets can be employed. Again the usual flies are effective, Woolly Buggers, Woolly Worms and Matuka's are some.
Clarence Lagoon has been the best known brook trout fishery in the state, but check out the Inland fisheries newsletter on the internet for information on new locations to fish for brook trout, including the Bronte system!