Anglers comments on the lifestyle and fishery

Christopher Hilton

“I enjoy the ability to visit, and at times live in, a beautiful place. The balance of co-operative rules versus personal freedom seems about right. The safety provided by others being around such as our warden is valuable. I do not worry about the house being vandalised as I might have done in other nearby spots. I have only owned my shack for a few years – about three. Early morning boat fishing is something I hope to do more of. Currently about ninety-five per cent of my fishing at Highland Waters would be to sighted fish. Fishing to reasonably wild brown trout of good size rather than stockie rainbows will always be very special to me. I enjoy the ability to occasionally bring friends to fish at Highland Waters (within the limited of the licence.”

Michael Tullio

“The peacefulness, the fishing, the comradeship and being with a group of like-minded people. I have owned by lodge for twenty-six years. I enjoy early morning midge fishing, caenid fishing and all types of surface dry fly fishing. The spawning creek, although not as successful as we would like but I do believe we have had some minimal returns over the last couple of seasons. I believe we need to do a little work on the stream, maybe dig some deeper pools and put in some more gravel. During the past season the condition of most fish were very good, brown and rainbow. The tigers are growing very fast and should be fun to catch this season.”

Mark Cloutier

“Highland Waters is many things to many people. It is both beautiful and tranquil, open and friendly and notably, private. The most obvious joy is the fly fishing on offer. Challenging and visual, it brings out the best in anglers. It can also be infuriating, but that is part of the fun. The fact that Highland Waters sits like a jewel in a natural environment adds to the wonder. It is common to share your day with a wedge-tailed eagle, or wombat, or wallaby and is never tiring. I feel it is always a special time to see an echidna and platypus – the only egg-laying marsupials (monotremes) on the planet. However, the greatest gift Highland Waters gives is friendship. 

Sharon and I built our ‘wee weekender’ late in 2015 and rated this as one of the best decisions we ever made. The great thing about fly fishing in Tasmania is the diversity on offer and Highland Waters seems to wrap us that special part of Tasmanian fly fishing into one neat little package. Anglers are spoilt for choice – midge fishing (I must get out of bed early one morning), caddis, mayfly, beetles, jassids are all laid out in a timeline of hatches from late winter through to late autumn. In other words, there is the potential for hatch driven fly fishing from season’s beginning to end. My favourite, walking the banks and polaroiding lazy browns mooching along the undercuts is as good as anywhere on the plateau. 

One of the key aspects of Highland Waters is the location. I don’t fish here every day of the season and enjoy exploring other waters that are close. There are many. Some that come to mind are Lake St Clair and the wilderness lakes, Dee Lagoon and its beautiful rainbows, Bronte Lagoon, Pine Tier Lagoon and even venturing into the Western Lakes with like-minded neighbours is well within reach.”

Scott Watkin

“It is very hard to single out the most enjoyable feature of the community. We have made many friends. The Highland Waters family come from a variety of backgrounds yet we are united by a common passion for fly fishing. The social side of our community is informal and friendly. Everyone can choose their own level of involvement. We have an annual AGM and lunch. There is the Easter barbecue and fishing competition. We have a community vegetable garden and smokehouse. There is always something to share and it may be fishing advice, a meal, a story or a
Joke. If you need a hand with anything, there is always someone willing to help.

We bought our block in late 2014 and subsequently spent a few years planning and then building. We have lived at Highland Waters since 2018. We reckon it was the best move we ever made. The most enjoyable fishing for me is to be targeting rising fish with dry flies, especially when I can see fish right in front of our block. But fish are not always rising and enticing the fish to eat any fly I have developed myself (wet or dry) is great fun too. I am working on improving my polaroiding skills. Big brown trout cruising near the shore are the Holy Grail. I spook many more than I want to admit.

I reckon during the conventional season that I am targeting sighted rising fish seventy per cent of the time. A particular treat is fishing at dawn in the mist among the (very challenging) midge feeders. In the cold months and the early season my fishing is mainly (eighty per cent) fishing a team of wets from the boat.
“Highland Waters contains a variety of trout. There are smaller browns, some of which are thought to be recruited from the stream that feeds the lake. There are big browns up to six pounds (or bigger if my neighbours are to be believed). Rainbows are plentiful in a variety of sizes in great condition and usually put up a vigorous fight. More recently we acquired a batch of Tiger trout. These are growing fast, attack dry flies and punch well above their weight when hooked.

As great as the opportunities are to fish in our own backyard, I enjoy that we are central to many other excellent trout waters. Nearby Lagoons of Bronte, Dee, Pine Tier, and slightly further to Little Pine or the Brady’s chain. Even the Western Lakes are an easy day trip. There is creek fishing in the Serpentine, Pine and Nive. There is much variety and something for everyone.”