After a fortnight or so of very bleak, cold weather locally, the last few days have seen some improvement. This afternoon, I finally managed to find a couple of clear hours to go fishing and decided on Hepburn Lagoon. Although the lake level is down a bit, my previous visit a few weeks earlier had confirmed there are plenty of fishable holes in the weed on the northern and eastern shores, plus nice clear water.
I prefer Hepburn when the weather is rough and grey, however I rationalised that the high cloud and late afternoon timeslot would compensate for the otherwise ‘too pleasant’ conditions (as my friend DJ would say in an exasperated tone). Sure enough, on arrival at the lake midway along the north shore, the water had a good feeling about it. In fact so good, I didn’t bother changing the orange-beaded Magoo from my previous outing and got straight into the fishing. Normally I would consider the Magoo a bit too big and bright for Hepburn, especially on a settled day. But call it laziness or subconscious genius (let’s go with the latter) I found a nice big pocket in the strap weed and started searching. A few casts later and four hand twists after the fly landed, a firm pull turned into an airborne 3 pound brown.
Although I fished the rest of the area carefully, it seemed that the crashing and splashing of the brown had seen off any other trout, so I moved on. Towards the eastern shore I found some more open areas to fish. At first there was no sign of life, but at 4.45 pm (I made a note of the time) a good fish swirled within range and I covered it. However that cast and three more produced no response. Maybe the Magoo wasn’t ideal after all. I changed to two flies: a Scintilla Stick Caddis on the point and a Milly Midge on the dropper (despite lots of Australian smelt in the shallows, I hadn’t seen any actual smelters). A couple more fish moved. One which looked very big breached too far out to reach, but another moved twice within range. I slowly drew the flies ahead of that trout’s presumed path and saw the line bridge lift. I struck, but no luck.
I scoured the shore for another target without any success. As always at this time of year, I was caught by surprise at how quickly it got dark, and how quickly it got cold. The gloves and buff that had seemed like overkill when I left the car two hours earlier, were now very welcome. On the way back I passed the spot where I caught the brown and I briefly contemplated putting on a big black Woolly Bugger and giving it an hour into the night. Maybe I’m getting soft, but I chose the car heater and a hot meal at home 30 minutes away instead.