The Tasmanian Highlands is one of those places where as soon as you arrive, you breath out, stress gone, nothing to worry about here. My appreciation for this place is as much for the people and the way of life as it is for the fly fishing. People visit each other here. Not a text or facebook, but a visit in person. Quite often a number of people visit the same house at the same time, totally unplanned, and the outcome generally means the planned early start on the water becomes a late one! The one thing everybody has in common here is fly fishing. Just about everybody fly fishes, locals and tourists alike and this I believe brings the people together.
I’m getting back on top of the fishing after a slow start. I mentioned in my last blog that I thought other methods would work well and I still believe that, However, dry fly fishing is the way forward here. It’s all about spotting a cruising trout and making him come to the surface to eat your fly. A nymph might be better at times but I want to catch them on dries, at least that’s how I feel here in the central highlands.
While in NZ, Stefan gave me a beautifully tied and constructed Swedish balsa wood wasp pattern. I put the fly in my box without giving much consideration to when I’d use it. 4 days ago I had none of my Tassie beetle patterns tied, so I was looking for inspiration. “The wasp” I thought, “Perfect!” I put it on the point and before long a 4lb brown sipped it down. Terrestrials are essential here. On the 19 lagoons and farther out into the wilderness I find them better than dun patterns. Beetles in particular, I see them on the water every day in good numbers so it makes sense. Colour is less important than silhouette. I have never seen a wasp on the water here but from the time I put the wasp on, 8 out of the next 10 fish ate it, (I fish 2 dries) then I left it in a fish. What makes this fly so good? I’m not sure but I think it generally looks like food. Terrestrial food! Stefan, please send me one or 2 more!!
My day consists of heading out to the Western Lakes, usually the 19 lagoons which are accessible from a rough track. I look at my map and make a plan for the day which often changes as the day progresses. The terrain between lakes is tough going. Stumbling over tussocks and spiky plants is the order of the day. A few days ago I walked a few Ks of river which took me over some of the toughest terrain I’ve ever walked. I fell down about 10 deep river eroded holes hidden by tussock. I think the risk of breaking a leg down a hole is far greater than being bitten by a snake. By the end of the day a cold beer always goes down well. 8 fish was the most I had in a day so far and my worst day was a blank! Today I had 3. A 2lber, an impeccably conditioned 4lber and my best Tasmanian fish to date, a 5.5lber. 4 lakes for 3 fish in about 5ks in 7hours. Aside from falling in and then feeling the wind chill it was a great day to be alive!
Don Ogden, A fly fisherman on a break from the sport, has kindly put me up for a while, so in the evenings I have a place to kick back, tie flies, write blogs, drink beer, eat spuds, enjoy visitors, etc.. Thank you very much Don!
Fish hard. Stuntman Ronan..