We had fairly typical September weather during this trip; plenty of wind, snow flurries, some rain, frost overnight and day temperatures not quite reaching double figures on the warm days.
This has been quite a wet winter in the Central Highlands. Lakes like Little Pine, Penstock and Augusta that fill readily have been spilling for months. Great Lake and Arthurs are as full as they have been for many years. Arthurs is so full (0.63 meters off full) that there is water above the causeway at the top end of Cow Paddock. Foot access is quite difficult in a lot of areas around Arthurs because the water is right up into the trees and scrub. In areas where there is no scrub on the shore (e.g. bays with tussocks like Phantom Bay and Powerline Bay) there were fish gorging on worms up in the gutters. The fish are fat already, which augers well for the summer.
Penstock was less productive than last September. This year we didn’t find heaps of rainbows feeding on daphnia like we did last year, possibly because the winter has been so cold and water temperatures are a bit lower. The daphnia might still come on but a bit later. We did find a few rainbows and browns that would take a damsel or woolly bugger. They were in good condition.
Little Pine was interesting. The water was about 70 cm below full during the week we were there. LP is more accessible at this level than when spilling. There were a few fish tailing early in the mornings and we found fish feeding on scud and stick caddis all day in the big shallow bay round near the river. We even had one sunny afternoon of wade-polaroiding in gale force winds, with fish taking either a suspended scud or stick caddis and in a few cases, even the dry fly we used as an indicator.
We drove out to the locked gate at Augusta and walked out to lakes Paget and Carter. The road was in good shape although frozen. Both lakes were brim full. We got fish on damsels in both lakes, mainly fishing blind. Fish that could be seen cruising were catchable.
My long-term average catch rate for September is 2-3 fish a day and that’s how it was this trip. The best day produced 5 fish and the worst zero. There have only been a few bumper September trips over the years when fish were going mad on daphnia or scud, otherwise it’s mainly wet fly fishing with a fair bit of blind casting. We didn’t get onto anything huge either. The best fish was a rainbow that was probably close to 5 lb. The Little Pine fish were mainly around 21/2 to 3 lb and in fair condition.
Judging by the amount of water around and the noise of the frogs, this is shaping as a very good late spring. I will be trying to get back over in late October or early November.