Manic Monday - Tasmania in Detail. Part 11. Nineteen Lagoons
The Nineteen Lagoons are a network of small lakes and lagoons accessed from the Lake Augusta road. The area receives a lot of attention from anglers, and is the ‘gateway’ to the Western Lakes wilderness fishery. While some can be reached by car, others require a short walk of up to one hour to access. Wild brown trout are dominant, but rainbows are present in some waters with Lake Augusta and Little Blue Lagoon having the largest populations. Fish size varies between locations, with those with better recruitment holding good numbers of trout of 2lb to 4lb, while others with more limited spawning have less, but larger fish.
Map of access points by IFS Tasmania
When to fish it
While some anglers walk in from the locked gate at Lake Augusta dam in the first month of the season, the feature fishing typically begins from mid-September (TPWS usually opens the gate allowing vehicle access mid-September, but this varies depending on the condition of the road and water levels of Lake Augusta Dam). September, October and November will see tailers, flood plain fishing and then frog and tadpole feeders. From late spring until the end of summer reliable mayfly hatches and spinner falls create exciting fishing. Terrestrial falls can generate wonderful dry fly fishing from spring to seasons end.
Being shallow and clear, the 19 Lagoons are a sight fishers dream. All waters differ, some are better known for tailing fish and flood plain fishing, others produce prolific mayfly hatches, some exceptional wade and shore based polaroiding and several are great boat fishing venues. All waters in the region are wonderful dry fly fisheries.
Where to fish
All of the 19 Lagoons have special features, unique geography and characteristics to offer anglers. Places like Lake Kay and O’dells are known for producing hatches of mayfly and black spinners. Hatches appear from late spring and run throughout summer, warm days with light winds and cloud are best.
All locations within the 19 Lagoons offer good polaroiding, but sandy bottomed venues such as Lake Ada, Ada Lagoon, Double Lagoon, Sandy Lake and Lake Botsford are easier places to see fish. If you are unfamiliar with this style of fishing, these are good venues to try first.
Lake Kay, Double Lagoon, Hood Lagoons, Pine River Lagoons, Howes Bay Lagoon and Talinah Lagoon feature large areas of tussock flats which flood after heavy rains. This is prime water to look for tailing fish and trout hunting frogs during spring. Early and late in the day are best, but overcast conditions can have fish stay in the shallows all day.
First Lagoon, Lake Bailie and Second Lagoon all feature shallows with areas of small rock. They are reliable locations to find fish feeding on snails. Dawn the best time to target these fish, which normally feeding slowly seen with their tails and backs clear of the water.
A 9’ foot 5wt or 6wt rod rigged with a WF floating line and leader of 12 – 15ft in length will cover most situations.
Wet fly suggestions would include Woolly Bugger (olive or black), Woolly Worm, Rabbit Fur Fly (olive or black), Stick Caddis, Snail patterns and brown nymphs.
Dry flies should include things like Red Tags, Possum Emerger, Shaving Brush, Black Spinner, Gum Beetle, Bobs Bits, small parachutes and large terrestrial patterns.
Manic ‘must-have’ flies
NEW Assassin Brown
Muz's Sticky Caddis
NEW CDC Shuttle Cock
NEW CDC F Fly
NEW Feral Possum Nymph
NEW Feral Possum Emerger
Bum Fluff Stimi
Quill Spinner Black
Great Lake Gum Beetle
NEW Jellybean Smelt