Early summer at Lake Fergus, Tasmania

One week out from a trip planned 6 months earlier and the preparations were for snow, rain and freezing cold nights so common in the Tasmanian highlands; even in early summer.

Fast forward 8 days and there I was with friend Craig, hidden behind the ‘thorny devil bush’ (well, that’s what we called it!) on the edge of Lake Fergus polaroiding trout after trout and trying to establish what they were feeding on. The result was a frustrating afternoon with a few near misses. The conversation over dinner that evening was along the lines of, ‘At least we’re seeing and getting a chance at these fish… Catching them would just be a bonus…’ We both knew this was nonsense, however neither of us wanted to admit it.

Beautiful, but no fish.

Beautiful spot, but no fish.

Day two was overcast and mild with duns hatching in reasonable numbers from 9am. What could go wrong? Teamed with emergers, various nymphs and the patience of 3 year olds, we walked the open shore expecting the trout to present themselves and make our lives easy. The reality was that we spooked many fish, and lost a lot of flies that were unable to be retrieved from the thorny devil bush. Let’s just say lunch on day two was sombre.

Fortunately, that afternoon our Lake Fergus fishing experience changed for the better. This was due to tadpoles, frogs, an errant cast and black Woolly Buggers.  We discovered that in amongst the pin rushes on the western end of the lake, the trout were less spooky and very much mooching around looking for a meal. Even so, casting to the edges and hoping to entice a fish out of the jungle proved useless as they were focused on their beat and couldn’t be distracted.

Pin rush paradise.

Pin rush paradise.

Then I made a frustrated cast right in amongst the pin rushes, literally slapping a Woolly Bugger onto the back of a mooching trout. This resulted in the first of many aggressive takes. Not all resulted in a fish landed, but I’m sure you get the picture – no fancy tippet allowed, 6lb Maxima at a minimum!

From the pin rushes.

From the pin rushes.

Days 3 & 4 were the same as the afternoon of day 2. In fact the couple of extra fish we caught on Possum Emergers seemed unusual when we’d become so accustomed to fishing Woolly Buggers in the pin rushes on 6ft leaders!

xxxx with another one.

Craig with another one.

In summary:

  • We experienced perfect dun conditions with the added bonus of duns hatching in solid numbers, however the fish didn’t comply. The frog feeders didn’t care.
  • We experienced perfect blue skies and some decent polaroiding for milky looking fish, but even lying down flat and barely breathing didn’t help as they saw us from a long way away. The frog feeders didn’t care.
  • We experienced solid wind, which made casting, polaroiding and general searching difficult. The frog feeders didn’t care.


Overall it was a great four days with lots of browns landed and unbelievably kind weather for the Tasmanian central highlands – Gore-Tex jacket not required.