A couple of weeks ago my wife asked if we could take the kids to the circus during the school break. After considering the cost of going to the circus at >$400, I could see better value options. A few minutes later, my wife called back and said the kids would like to go to Tasmania. So we spent the next few days planning our trip which included a full day fly fishing.
I decided on lake fishing as I didn’t have sufficient time to plan a river trip and given the amount of rain Tassie has received recently, the lakes were the better option. The kids and wife could explore and take plenty of happy snaps, while I fly fish. We arrived at our chosen destination just after 6:30am and rising fish could be seen close to the bank. I geared up and wondered down to the water, while the wife tendered to the kids.
Tailing fish is something I have read a lot about, but have only actually done a handle full of times. Staying well away from the water, I watched for tails as trout worked among the reeds foraging on nymphs and other aquatic life in inches of water. This was enough to get the blood pumping in any fly fisher. Each time I saw a tail or swirl made by a trout, I would drop my fly in front of it only to have them spook and head into deeper water. This was very frustrating and the fish seem to spook even before the line hit the water. I moved into the shallows laden with trees and under growth, hoping to hide my reflection off the water as the sun started rising.
Sight fishing using my Viking fly fishing waders
The fish would work a beat, and you would see a fish in one spot and just before you made your cast it would move to another location and in most circumstances it will end up at your feet before moving to its original location. I spotted a tail right up against the bank in between a tree. I dropped my fly on his nose and the fish charged it, leaping out of the water to take my fly as it sank beneath the water surface. Instinctively I struck and the fish exploded. It ran around the tree wrapping itself around the trunk. We slipped the net under the fish and landed my first Tassie tailing trout. This had to be my most challenging but rewarding catches.
As the sun rose, the fish moved into deeper water and I was left with flogging wets and nymphs. I worked a couple of nymphs in deeper water were I could see fish rising to tiny midges and big black mayflies. The water was discoloured from the rain making site fishing difficult. I use a figure 8 retrieve followed by a slow strip to imitate the nymph gliding in the water. The figure 8 gives the nymph a great action under water. The lakes and views of the surrounding mountain side are spectacular and it didn’t take too long for my line to come up tight and I felt the power and surge of a big fish taking line from my hands.
Catch of the day... Trophy rainbow trout!
The fish made for the middle of the lake and then came easily towards me. I managed to get a glimpse of the large 8+ pound rainbow, before it rolled and spat the hook. Just before lunch I worked my flies around some submerged timber. Just as I was giving the nymph a twitch, I felt the weight of another big fish, this time taking me to the other side of the bank. I scrambled to manoeuvre the fish out of the timber and into open water.
Viking Waders and Trophy Rainbow Trout
As the fish came towards me it looked enormous leaving a wake behind its huge tail. This fish was easily the largest rainbow at the end of my 5wt. A few intense minutes later and it was in the net (only just fit). The fish weighed 10.5lbs 84cm (33 inches) and a PB rainbow. My wife took a few photos and we slowly revived and released the fish to fight another day.
Tasmania offers exceptional fly fishing, challenging conditions, and picturesque environments.
If you'd like your own viking waders, or just want to talk fishing... drop us a line!