SPRING and early summer is a great period to target trout in Australia’s mainland high country lakes. If you’re planning to get amongst it, here are some tips on how to improve your success rate.
1) Fish when the trout are feeding
Sounds simple, but targeting trout when they’re actively feeding is key to catching them. Fish at peak feeding times such as dawn and dusk and look for fish movement in the area, especially close to shore.
2) Stay out of the water
Relating to point 1, trout will often feed in extremely shallow water at this time of year and can be easy to spook. Keeping out of the water and treading carefully as you move along the shore will help you catch trout rather than just send them bow-waving into the depths.
3) Pick a fly and stick with it
In spring and early summer hungry trout aren’t often as selective. Confidently fishing a fly pattern you know works, rather than changing flies every few casts, will catch you more fish.
4) Match the hatch
In reference to 3, when the trout become selective you need to identify what they’re eating and tie on a fly to suit. If you cover fish and get constant refusals keep changing it up until you get a take. Then you’re on the right track. If you catch a fish and still aren’t sure what it’s been eating, its stomach contents will be a good indicator.
5) Wet or dry?
If there’s no sign of feeding fish, working sub surface streamer patterns or nymphs is often the go. Generally, if trout are rising and you can see the insects they’re taking it might pay to tie on a dry fly. If you’re on the money you could be in for champagne fly fishing!
6) Work with the wind
Many fly fishers curse the wind but it can be a valuable ally. Fishing shorelines where wind is blowing off can provide the cover of surface ripple in brighter hours and draw feeding trout in close. Alternatively, fishing into the wind can be productive, especially when there are a lot of terrestrial insects being blown onto the water in your direction.
7) Don’t shine torches into the water
Bright lights spook trout at night so point torch beams away from the water when changing flies or retying tippets.
8) Vary the presentation
If trout are obviously feeding in the vicinity but you’re getting no takes, vary your retrieves. With wet flies try faster or slower, or just dead drift in wind. Mix it up until you get a take.
9) Long or short?
10) Keep what you need
Fresh trout can be great on the plate if looked after and prepared properly. Best eaten fresh, it’s a good idea to only keep enough trout for your immediate needs. This also provides an excuse, if needed, for planning future trips. Happy trouting!