Jason's Fishing Diary



Insect life is confined to midge and chironomid that only reach the surface in early dawn or as darkness approaches. Fish can be seen sipping and broaching when the water is calm in the evenings and there is a short window of opportunity to catch a trout on the dry fly. Otherwise the water is best fished searching with small wets or if a windy day using larger wet patterns. In late September movement in the shallows occurs enabling the careful angler to tempt his quarry from the shore.


Caddis flies are the only insect to hatch on a specific date each season. They first appear at Lake Highland Waters on October 28 to 30 each year. Prior to this the caddis grub is fat and its home a reed or stick, providing Lake Highland Waters trout with its most common diet, the ‘stick caddis’.


Early November sees the first of the highland duns drifting downwind and the occasional electrifying head and tail rise as a big fish takes the fly with speed through the waves. This provides a great fishing experience – big fish, fast feeders. But not too many, demanding not so much skill as one hundred per cent concentration. By the end of November highland duns and some caenid hatches are occurring. The early morning may provide a sipping brown feeding on the caenids right inshore, whilst rainbows are more aggressive further out in the lake, keeping the boat anglers busy.


December is the most prolific dry fly month. The hatches of highland duns, caenids, dragonflies and their larvae the mud-eye, damsels and red spinners all occur during December, several weeks earlier than those on higher altitude lakes. When warm mild days follow several cold days the hatches are spectacular. The build up of insect life explodes and cruising trout gorge on the fly life as it emerges from the water. This provides the epitome of Tasmania’s dry fly fishing.


The grand dry fly fishing days of December continue through to mid-January. There is a marked change in the weather as the days become warmer. Daylight fishing can be excellent as fish feed on midges and the perch fry schooling in the middle of the lake. It's a time for keeping an eye on the activity in the wind-lanes on the beautiful Dee Lagoon, just five minutes away.


Water temperatures rise and at this altitude aquatic hatches diminish. February is the changeover month. There are more terrestrial bugs about, and the start of new beetle falls excite the fish into prolonged surface feeding. Early morning wind-lane fishing is still available at Highland Waters and the nearby Dee Lagoon, and dun fishing remains an option at higher altitudes. This is Highlands Waters’ warmest month – a time to enjoy Tasmania at its best.


By March and April, Lake Highland Waters is back to its brilliant best with eucalyptus beetles falling in great numbers to excite feeding fish. These beetles do not fall every year. Another less regular visitor is the claret and black jassid hopper. Some years both these insects coincide, providing exceptional fishing at Lake Highland Waters and nearby Dee Lagoon.