Even though the weather in Tasmania's highlands has turned cold and most of the lakes are closed through the winter months, I am lucky to have Great Lake on my front door step. Great Lake is one of a few which is open all year. There can be some excellent cold weather fishing if you are hardy enough to brace the cold.
Monday 12th May 2008, we had minus 3° at Miena, no wind and clear blue sky. This is a perfect recipe for an overnight or early morning midge hatch.
I did need the help of a pair of binoculars to check if there were rising fish from my lounge window and as predicted, there were quite a number of tell tale rings.
By mid-morning the frost had receded and the temperature had shot up past 0°. I went to see if there was a fish close enough to shore to get a cast to.
As it turned out, there were a number of fish within casting range, but in mirror smooth conditions I am sure the fish get the vibes of anything landing on the water twice the normal distance. It took till mid-afternoon when a slight westerly breeze sprang up and formed a few nice little slicks that I managed to catch a rather nice rainbow, which was mopping up midge on the edge of the ripple and smooth water. It really is nice at this time of year to get a fish on top, nose out, taking off the top.
Over a long period of time with lots of trails and errors in these conditions, I have found it's best to wait till the wind gets up and forms some slicks as the food will be concentrated into these areas, as will the fish.
Mostly they will feed subsurface a little, taking drowned midge. A small buzzer pattern let sink and twitched a little as the fish swims onto it will sometimes bring response.
The most success I have had is a small Black and Peacock fished the same way. When slicks form there can be all manner of food gathered together. It's in these areas that the fish find it so easy to feed. They will follow a slick sometimes till it is hard in onshore, feeding so hard they lose concentration that they are in such shallow water, it can be an amazing sight to see for a shore based angler.
The slicks in the cooler months are a little different in that there is not the fruit salad of feed that there is through the summer months so it does make catching a fish very special indeed.
The following two flies have been tried and tested for many years. More often than not these flies are fish as singles.
Hook: Medium guage size 12 or 14
Rib: Fine silver wire
Body: Black floss
Wing: Two white, turkey biots
Thorax: Mole fur
1. Take thread along shank and half way around the bend.
2. Tie in silver wire for rib, then floss for body. Take thread two thirds back along the shank.
3. Wind floss forward to thread and tie down firmly, cut away excess floss. Wind silver wire forward to thread, tie down with thread and cut away excess wire.
4. Take two white turkey biots. Tie one on each side of the body with the point of the biot facing toward the rear of the fly. If the biots are long, cut them in half before tying in.
5. Spin on a nice thorax with the mole fur finishing close to the eye. Bring each of the biots forward toward the eye and tie down, cut away excess biot. Form a small head, whip finish, cut thread away and varnish head.
Black and Peacock (wet)
Hook: Short shanked size 12 hook
Body: Two peacock herls.
Hackle: Black hen hackle.
1. Take thread full length of shank, tie in two peacock herls by the thick end. Bring thread forward to just behind the eye.
2. Wind peacock herl forward with nice close turns, finishing at the thread, the down firmly and cut away excess herl.
3. Tie in one black hen hackle, make three turns of hackle tie down and cut away excess hackle. Pull the hen hackles over the body and form a nice little head, whip finish, cut away thread and varnish head.
Hope you have some great winter windlane fishing with these flies.