Manic Monday - Tasmania in Detail. Part 9. Penstock Lagoon

By Simon Taylor 08/31/2020
 

Overview

Constructed in 1916 for hydro water storage, Penstock Lagoon is a small but very popular shallow water fishery. It performs best during overcast conditions and being surrounded by native bush, is more protected than many other waters on the Central Highlands. With very limited spawning available, the fishery relies on wild fish transfers. Brown and rainbow trout averaging 1.5lb to 4lb are present (with larger fish possible), but size can vary depending on stocking routines.

When to fish it

Penstock lagoon fishes well throughout the season.

Highlights

Dry Fly: Penstock is a fabulous dry fly water, and is one of the most reliable mayfly waters in the highlands. Large hatches occur, with duns appearing from early November and continuing to the end of March. Mild, overcast days are the best ‘dun days’ with hatches peaking between 11am to 3pm.

Spinner feeders are also a feature of the Penstock. Fish can been seen hunting spinners along the edges of the marsh as well as further off shore. Calm afternoons will see the best action.

 For early risers, the lagoon also has prolific hatches of smaller Caenid mayfly. Dawn to sunrise is the best time, with the hatch most abundant from November to February.

Being set within native bush, Penstock is also a terrific location to find fish feeding on terrestrials like gum beetles and jassids.

Tailers / Marsh Hunting: The Western shore of the lagoon features extensive areas of marsh. Brown trout are more likely to be found in the shallows with early morning (dawn to sunrise) being best, but evening can also be very good. Fish can be found in the shallows throughout the season, with September and October being peak for fish hunting frogs in the marshes. These are then followed by tadpole and damselfly nymph feeders during November and December.

Loch-style:  Penstock is a very good water to fish from a drifting boat, and in recent years a large increase of anglers have begun to fish loch-style on the lagoon. Pulling both teams of wet and dry flies is very effective on the lagoon.

Where to fish

Anglers fishing from drifting boats will find fish all over the lagoon, but Tree Shore through to Canal Shore, and Crisps Point to the dam wall are always popular drifts. The wind direction and conditions of the day will dictate where to fish. Loch-style fishing pulling both teams of wet flies and nymphs will catch fish throughout the season.

Shore based anglers will find the best marshes along the western shore, with Beginners Bay and Grassy Corner always worth a look. On dun days, the Lady’s Walk through to Canal Shore and then North Wall to Hollis Bay are good sections to start.

Map of access points by IFS Tasmania

Tackle

A 9ft 5wt rod is a great choice of rod when fishing the marsh areas of Penstock. My personal favourite rod for this is the 9’ foot 5wt Scott Radian. The 5wt Radian fishes well in close, but also has the power needed to deliver a fly to fish feeding further off shore.

For anglers chasing dun feeders from shore, a 9’6” 5wt rod like the Scott Radian rigged with a WF floating line is perfect. It will fish well close, has power to reach fish out wide and fishes teams of dries 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 type 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.

Fly Choice

Wet fly suggestions are similar to those for Little Pine Lagoon (I personally like green on Penstock) include; mayfly nymphs, Shrek, Magoo, damsel fly nymphs, Bitch on Heat and Claret Dabbler for loch style. Shore options would include damsel fly nymphs, Rabbit Fur Fly, Stick Caddis, Woolly Worms and Woolly Buggers.

Dry files should include; Duns, Possum Emerger, Shaving Brush, Red Tag, Red Spinner, Bobs Bits (claret and black), Gum Beetles small Black Parachutes for midge feeders.

Manic ‘must-have’ flies

CDC Floating Nymph

CDC Thorax Dun Dark

Belinda's Bitchslap Orange/Olive

Doug's Dodger Damsel

Possum Dun

Hi Vis Possum Dun

Possum Emerger

Palmered Spinner Orange

Palmered Spinner Orange

Quill Spinner Rusty