Fly fishing the Tasmanian Western Lakes
UPDATE – for more information on guided fly fishing in the Western Lakes, click here – RiverFly Wilderness Huts.
During the last week of January each year, I spend a week in the Western Lakes region of Tasmania – this is a region of stark beauty, harsh weather, and remote World Heritage listed wilderness. If you’re after a mental picture of the area, think of a stereotypical Scottish highland moor, interspersed with ancient pencil pines, marsupials, about 3000 crystal clear lakes, and trout ranging from 1 lb to 15lbs. The appeal of the area starts to become apparent.
The trip was one of exploration for us, exploring remote lakes in un-tracked areas. We ranged an area from Pencil Pine Tarn, to Lake Butters, to Lake Fanny and all the way north to Mount Jerusalem; more than 100 kilometres were travelled on foot, in search of extraordinary waters. On the search we found great mayfly waters, beautiful lakes with silt flats where trout were polaroided ghosting along the bottom for nymphs, and a handful of headwater trophy waters. Of a dozen potential trophy waters visited, four had absolutely massive fish in them – one silt-bottomed pond housed a couple of double-digit dinosaurs, while one deeper lake housed an amazing array of trout from six pounds to fifteen – all smashing bait-balls of galaxiids at a full flyline length offshore. On the resulting long distance takes, the trout torpedoed dry flies with enough speed and aggression to pull the slack out of one hundred feet of flyline before the angler had time to flinch. Awesome.
A few tips from this trip: get up high on rocky perches and ridge-lines to aid in polaroiding cruising fish, and secondly, smaller isn’t always better in fly selection. Quite often big is beautiful as many trout displayed, refusing tiny Shaving Brush flies, instead taking WMD Hoppers , Black Crickets and Cubit Mudeyes on second presentations!