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Notes by Jason Garrett September 1 2016

Lake Highland Waters may well be a great fishery for brown and rainbow trout but there is nothing abnormal or magical about the lake that sets it apart from other waters.

Like any other superior trout water, Lake Highland Waters can have its exciting minutes, hours, days, even weeks of fantastic fishing. Likewise like any natural fishing water there are times when anglers might say “the fish just aren’t on the chew”. There are years when an entire fishing season may disappoint when comparing to the previous year. Of course it is this variable in fish behaviour that keeps all anglers tying flies throughout the winter months, in anticipation of experiencing one of those never to be forgotten exciting fishing days.

The prospect of warm summer days and rising trout lingers in the foxhole of every fly fishers mind. Scarlet Jassid hoppers tempting every trout in the lake to take them the moment they hit the water, oh! to be able to predict such events, such a season, but that I cannot do.

Tasmania has had a very dry autumn and a very wet winter. I’ve often heard in the past following a wet winter that anglers expect great follow-up spring fishing, imagining flooded lake margins and fat “tailing” trout.

Well from the way I see it, it doesn’t always work that way.

We had probably the best fishing season at Highland Waters in 2015/2016 than in other previous season. Finally, our Highland duns decided this was a great place to call home, and the caenids and beetles added to the dry fly angler’s joy more so than in previous years.

Please God may we have another year like that, and if you’re feeling generous some Jassids too.

So what might we expect in 2016/2017?

Read now what someone with far more expertise than I, had to say about our fishery in May of this year.

Hello Jason,
"I want to thank you very much for allowing me to bring two of my friends to Highland Waters in May. Their visit has certainly inspired them to look even closer at purchasing a block there. Not only was it looking good, but the fishing they had was simply amazing.

As new comers to fly fishing, I am not sure that they fully appreciated the wonderful sport they enjoyed. I certainly did.I took them across the dam wall on foot where we polaroided a large brown trout which was observed for some time swimming a beat. That fish disappeared without seeing a fly but we soon made our way onto the long grassy shore. We had not gone far before we spotted a largerainbow cruising close to the bank. I am not sure if polaroiding rainbows in such shallow water is common at Highland Waters but this is something I am only used to seeing from browns. The fish ate an unweighted damselnymph (called a mcgoo) without hesitation and put up a spectacular fight. It was a fish of at least four pounds and my mate was smiling from ear to ear. Without giving you a blow by blow description of the next four hours before we left, I can say that the fishing was absolutely superb. Multiple large rainbows and browns moved along the shore about fifteen to twenty feet out and all ate the same fly beautifully.

We did also use a different unweighted damsel pattern (Index Fly) which was also very effective. I felt as though many of these fish may well have eaten a well placed dry fly as they were so active. Even when fish were not seen, a searching cast would often bring success. We fished our way just past the bbq area and into the trees but basically ran out of time as we had to leave by2pm.Every fish was in fin perfect condition and each would have been a highlight of any days fishing. For two beginners to catch as many fish as they did is testament to the quality of that fishery.

Although I have only had the pleasure of fishing HW on very few occasions, it always seems to fish brilliantly. It truly is a world class fishery and I am sure that those who get to fish it regularly would agree. My fingers are crossed that those friends of mine do purchase a block from you and invite me back to fish it for myself!

Thank you again. Great fishing!"

Kind regards
Christopher Bassano, Owner / Manager / Guide, Rainbow Lodge Tasmania
Presenter of Tasmanian Fly Fishing Techniques DVDs,
2012 Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships, Australian Team & Individual Gold Medallist
2014 Australian Fly Fishing Championships, Tasmanian Team & Individual Gold Medallist
FFF Certified Casting Instructor
Fishing Writer
Vice President TGALT
FFA Board Member


Well done Christopher, you just might get invited back next year.

This report was followed up by numerous owners who all had excellent fishing throughout the winter months. Far too cold for me to venture forth but it is great the younger brigade ( the future management of your fishery) have enjoyed their winter experiences.

This year we are making concerted efforts to establish a preferred water level policy. Firstly by keeping the water level below the spillway exit level until the end of September. This will supress weed growth if winter frosts are about whilst at the same time minimising flooded foreshore margins and maybe even providing less foreshore erosion.

Secondly the intention is to return the water level to normal level being two stop logs above the exit channel from October to end of January.
May, will see the levels fall again with maximum outflows being maintained as long as is necessary to keep the lake level below the spillway outlet until the end of September. It is during this time, about mid-June that the inflow gates from Lake Samuel will be opened to enable our trout to have a six week spawning season.

An important part of managing our fishery is to maintain surveys of fish caught and then released thereby providing any trend in species, size and condition from one year to the next. This year our surveys will be bolstered by the results of both FLYFISH Australia’s State Championships and National Championships to be held on our Lake in early October and early December.
We are indeed honoured that such prestigious events will take place on our water.
So finally there is a lot going on, I am very confident that we will have a great season, providing the weather, the insects, the fish, and the angler’s all are in good form and oh! if someone also sends down a massive hatch of scarlet Jassid Hoppers.

Enjoy your season.