Manic Monday - Tasmania in Detail. Part 8. Bronte Lagoon
Located geographically at the centre of Tasmania, Bronte lagoon is medium sized hydro-electric storage set in native bush with extensive areas of tussock margin. The lagoon is located within a 10 minute drive of the Bronte Township, and is a popular location for camping with some excellent sheltered locations. There are formal boat ramps on the northern end of the lagoon and fishing shacks along the western shore. Bronte fishes better the period before Christmas, and then again later in the season during autumn. Wild brown trout have always been a feature of the fishery, and a healthy population of fish averaging 1.5 to 2.5lb exist. Although wild rainbows are in present in reasonable numbers, in recent years the IFS has boosted stocks of rainbow trout with stocking.
When to fish it
Feature fishing would be from September to November for tailers, December and January for reliable hatches of duns and March / April for gum beetle and jassid feeders.
Early in the season the lagoon is a wonderful location to find tailing trout. Tailing action can start from opening day (depending on severity of the winter and water levels), but the best fishing is during the months September, October and November. Dawn is the best time, with ideal conditions being when water levels are rising after rain. It is exciting fishing, with trout chasing and charging in the shallows with their backs clear of the water, searching frogs amongst the flooded tussock margins.
Bronte is a lovely dry fly water. Spring will see good hatches of midge on the water, with early morning the peak time to find fish up feeding.
Mayflies will begin to appear by late-November, but the post-Christmas period is when hatches become more reliable and larger in size. The lagoon also has many sheltered shores which are excellent places to target spinner feeders.
Calm evenings throughout summer can see good evening rise action with fish feeding on caddis, midge, spinners and beetles.
Gum beetles can be found throughout most of the season, but the best action occurs on hot summer days. Later in autumn, good numbers of beetles will continue to bring fish to the surface, but these are often overshadowed by the late season appearance of jassids.
Where to fish
Anglers searching for tailing fish are spoilt for choice on Bronte, the majority of the lagoon is frequented by tailing trout early season. Places like the Long Shore to Fly Corner, Tailers Bay (including the Frog Pond; a marshy swamp connected to the lagoon by gutters during periods of high water), Hut Bay, Woodwards Bay and Stile Corner are always good. Fish tail well in many other locations around the lagoon when water levels are right, anglers willing to explore will often be rewarded.
Dun hatches can occur all over Bronte, but the heaviest hatches occur at the southern end of the lagoon. Places like the Long Shore, Red Rocks Shore, Fly Corner and Hut Bay are excellent areas to look.
Beetles feeders can be found all over the lagoon. Shore anglers should focus along the forested eastern shore, with places like Hut Bay, the Long Arm through to Bronte Bay good places to start.
Anglers fishing loch-style will enjoy Bronte. The lagoon holds good stocks of fish and plenty of structure like reefs, timber and weed beds which will hold fish. Being relatively shallow, fish are never too far away from angler’s flies. Drifts will vary depending on the wind, but areas like the Long Shore, Rainbow End, Stile Corner, Long Arm and Tailers Bay are reliable.
Map of access points by IFS Tasmania
A 9 foot 5wt rod is ideal for targeting frog feeders at Bronte. This line weight is a perfect choice for its ability to present flies delicately when required, but has the power needed to handle early season winds, turning over the medium sized wet flies used to imitate frogs. The Scott Radian 9ft 5wt is well suited to this style of fishing.
For shore based anglers chasing dun and beetle feeders, a 9’6” 5wt rod is perfect. I like the Scott Radian rigged with a WF 5wt floating line for this type of fishing. It fishes well close, but has power to reach fish out wide and will handle both teams of dry flies and nymphs well.
Loch style anglers are best suited using rods between 9’6” and 10ft in length with line weights 5 or 6 being ideal. I prefer fishing a 5 weight rod for dry fly, and a 10ft 6wt rod when pulling wets. Line types will vary on the day and time of the year. If you are pulling wets, its pays to carry both floating and sinking lines in the boat.
Wet flies for early season tailers should include; Fur Fly, Fuzzle Bugger, Fiery Brown Beetle, Stick Caddis, Black and Peacock, Woolly Worms, Woolly Buggers are effective.
Anglers pulling wets fishing loch-style should carry patterns like; Zulu, Bitch on Heat, Claret Dabber, Shrek, Woolly Bugger, Magoo and mayfly Nymphs.
Dry flies should include; Gum Beetles, Red Tag, Shaving Brush, Bibio Hopper, Possum Emerger, Bobs Bits, Jassids, Black Parrachute and Dun Patterns.
Manic ‘must have’ flies
Great Lake Gum Beetle
Hi Vis Possum Dun
CDC Thorax Dun Dark
Belinda's Bitchslap Black/Red
Belinda's Bitchslap Orange/Olive
Muz's Sticky Caddis