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Fly Fishing Tasmania's Chudleigh Lakes - First fish on Fly

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Hi all,

Had the absolute pleasure of being invited down for my workmate's annual Tassie fishing adventure to target the summer browns on dry flies through the Chudleigh Lakes system on Tasmania's Central Plateau, along with another fur'n'feather guy who came the year before. The route was planned based on Greg French's work and I was in experienced hands to assist with the hiking and fly fishing as I'm relatively new to both.

My fly rod (G Loomis Pro 4X 6wt) and reel (Daiwa Lochmore SLA) arrived a fortnight before (how do I cast this thing!?) we were due to fly into Launceston on Feb 18th, so after a quick stop to pick up some flies (nymphs, adams parachutes and red tags), I found myself standing by Middle Lake, in the snow, watching thousands of duns break the surface whilst being molested by rising trout who were all well out of reach.

The fishing began relatively slowly, with Nick managing the first fish after a day and a half. After a couple of days of wind, sleet, snow and rain, we finally caught a break in the clouds and the super clear water began to turn it on, with Nick braining 5 good fish in a short space of time during our session at Nipps. Peter had managed a fish the evening before and dropped another that day whilst I was still working out the best way to avoid bushes behind me ("you're still dropping your cast!")

Day 3 rolled around and I was quick to get out of bed before the sun, thinking "this is the day I open my account". The morning was still and the fog heavy. Nick and I began stalking our way around Halkyard looking for tailing fish in the shallows, coming across a few, but only once we'd spooked them. Incredible how fish that size can be invisible in water that shallow - nothing but a subtle fin or steaming bow wave to give them away.

Anyway, we work our way around to small backwater bay off the main lake and Nick spots a rise close in, to our right. "This one's yours" he says. I creep down to the water's edge and start working my fly out in increments - not gonna line this fish! The fish rises again a few metres away, a further to the right again. I place a silent cast a foot or two to the fish's left and let it sit as per Nick's instruction. The fish turns slowly and a bow wave heads to the dun imitation sitting in front of me. The heartbeat gets louder as everything bar the wave and the fly fade into the background, then, finally, a head appears and sips my fly below the surface. I wait for the instructed "1-2-3" / "God-save-the-Queen" / "Don't-f&&&-it-up" before striking.... only for the fly to come back at me.

I'd missed the bloody fish.

Spooked another fish that morning and struggled to land one the rest of the day. Depression was beginning to set it.

Nick and Peter continued to enjoy success with fish taken at Dead End by both.

Finally, on day 5, we made it to the appropriately named Snake Lake where we came across the first tiger of the trip. The wind was howling and polaroiding was proving difficult given the incredibly patchy sun. After almost doing a lap of the entire lake, I found myself on a rock with the wind flying from left to right. I opted for a speculative cast along the rocks & down the wind lane, like I would for bream back home. I began retreiving my dry to re-cast, only to hit what I thought was a snag.

"Hang on, dry flies shouldn't sna-..." 

...and off swam the rock.

After a few minutes of tripping over my line, I landed my first fish on fly, a healthy brown at 48cm. Stoked, I made clear that I didn't care if I caught nothing for the rest of the trip, as long as I had my first.

I doubled my catch for the week while polaroiding Lucy Long and dropped another in a stream on our way back to the car on the 7th & final day.

Average fish for the trip went 50cm with the largest hitting 60, and a couple of smaller models in between. 

Grey and brown adams parachutes accounted for most of the fish, with one taken on a stone fly pattern. Muddlers worked well in the evenings, scoring one fish for Nick, one for Pete, and an unconverted hit for me.

We saw some snakes, hundreds of wallabies and almost every lake had a platypus in it. The fishing really was a bonus!

Sorry for the long read - if you can't tell, I'm excited and can't wait to throw a fly at something else!

Edited by jdanger

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Thanks really enjoyed the report and video good stuff.

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Mate that is awesome stuff! Once you start flyfishing it opens up a whole endless world of opportunities both fresh and salt! Congrats and a great read and video. How did you like the loomis? Have you had a chance to compare it to other 6 weights yet? 

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A very enjoyable read. Not only describing the fishing successes and failures, but also the fauna and weather conditions. Felt as if I was there with you guys. I'm sure we have all experienced the "got the first, don't care if I don't catch another syndrome". But it's only satisfying for a short time and then it's " righto, bring it on". Well done BN

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