Hepburn and Newlyn on the edge of winter

Readers of last week’s report will know I managed to find a near perfect autumn day for my trip to Tullaroop. No such luck today – the forecast calm conditions didn’t eventuate, so with full cloud and a stiff southerly, I bypassed Newlyn Reservoir for a rough weather favourite, Hepburn Lagoon.

Good Hepburn weather, although sadly I’m snagged, not hooked up!

Given the wind direction, and the thick weed infesting the main basin when I last visited, I chose the south-eastern (dairy) end of the lake. It was looking much better this time – clear with little or no algae for the first time in many trips, and the weed was less dominant. I could comfortably fish a wet fly left or right of the wall for as far as I liked. Despite the promising conditions though, no trout were hooked or sighted. I did have a couple of false alarms from a busy Australian otter (aka water rat)! The lake is at 44% and rising slowly. Water temperature was 10C; a degree warmer than the air!

Not a trout after all!

As the sun started to break through, next stop was Newlyn Reservoir. Having recorded 94mm of rain at home so far this May (only 20km away) I was a little surprised that Newlyn, unlike Hepburn, is still dropping slightly. Still, water clarity is good and there are plenty of places to fish where the still-substantial weed-beds are easy to avoid.

One of many nice holes in the weed at Newlyn.

While the big patches of sunshine were welcome after the grey skies of the past week or so, the wind was still chilly enough to keep the gloves on. It really feels as if winter is knocking – which of course it is. Meanwhile, in the broken water, it would have been difficult to hear or see a trout unless it moved close by, and that didn’t happen. However, while figure-eight-ing a small sparkly Woolly Bugger through a promising-looking hole in the weed, a steady pull turned into a 3 pound brown. After a commotion and strong run into the surrounding weed, I eventually brought the trout to the net; solid and beautifully coloured, as Newlyn browns nearly always are.

A trout at last.

I had to leave soon after, and on the short drive home, I reflected that on the one hand, I’d fished reasonably hard for a few hours for a solitary encounter with a trout – albeit a successful one. On the other, both lakes looked good; and Hepburn in particular, while still fairly low, is much more appealing than a few weeks earlier. It will be really interesting to see just what this lake produces over the coming months.