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Skittleball Plains

Little Pine Lagoon

Little Pine Lagoon is situated on the Marlborough Highway 10 kms from Miena. Since the lagoon was formed in the 1950’s it has enjoyed the reputation of being the premier fly fishing water in Tasmania.

The lagoon supports a huge mayfly population and from late November to mid March “The Hatch” is a daily occurrence. Mild overcast conditions produce the best hatches, but the duns will hatch in a variety of weather conditions including snowstorms and strong wind. Possibly the worst hatches are on bright sunny days, but these conditions allow the fish to be “polaroided” and are often red letter days, with fish spotted (excuse the pun) at close range in shallow water eagerly accepting the dry fly or nymph in full view of the angler.

Summer also sees good evening fishing with caddis hatches, the mornings producing midge feeding fish and tailing activity.

Spring (Sept. to Nov.) on Little Pine Lagoon finds the crustacea in the lagoon migrating into the shallows to breed. This produces some of the most exciting fishing in the Highlands with trout “tailing” in the shallows feeding on the crustacea. These fish are easily approached and at first give the appearance of being easy to catch; this is generally not the case. They can be extremely frustrating. Dry nymph and wet fly can all be successful, the essential being the presentation of the fly.

This period will also produce midge hatches, stonefly emergence, frog feeding and
Some superb wet fly fishing. Again if conditions allow, polaroiding fish in the shallows can produce some phenomenal fishing particularly in the Western Lakes but also Fergus, Little Pine etc.

Autumn on “The Pine” is terrestrial time with Jassids gum beetles and ants adding to late mayfly hatches to give excellent dry fly fishing. “Tailing” activity can be good, as can fishing wets during periods of inclement weather.

Little Pine Lagoon has vast “flats” that are covered in weed. The trout regularly feed on these flats and are often visible. All that remains is to catch them. During the season a great day can be had anytime. Whenever the conditions are favourable the trout will feed.

Although the food options in Little Pine are many and varied a surprisingly small number of flies are needed to successfully fish it. The reason for this is that most of the fishing is sight fishing where a trout is clearly feeding and visible, and most of the food is approximately the same size. A brown seals’ fur nymph or a hares ear nymph in size 12 will represent the majority of trout foods and will catch fish in a variety of circumstances. The exact pattern is not essential. Stick caddis, scud and wet beetle patterns all have their followers. Small wets eg. woolly worms, fur flies and other “impressionist” patterns will catch fish in sight fishing situations.

Dry flies work extremely well in sight fishing situations, even if the trout are not obviously surface feeding. Tailing and cruising fish will rise and take a surface fly giving the angler unforgettable pleasure. Again the pattern is not critical and I use mayfly patterns but any number of non-descript will do the job. For searching (or when frogs are on the menu) a few larger wets round off the fly collection. Fur flies, woolly worms, woolly buggers, yetis, matukas are all useful in this regard, faith being the best guide as to which one to use.

The homestead is set on a sheltered bank 5 minutes walk from Tailers Shore on Little Pine Lagoon. A track to the lagoon provides vehicle access. The setting is alpine vegetaion with a large flat grassy area surrounding the house with “kerosene” bush flats and alpine eucalypt forest on the hills.

Inside you have everything you need for a comfortable stay. Hot and cold running water, indoor toilet and shower. Towels and bedding are provided. The kitchen, lounge and dining room are open plan and lead on to a comfortable veranda. A gas cook-top, wood fire cook-top, 240v fridge, all crockery and cutlery together with a Weber BBQ cater for cooking needs. Two bedrooms with beds and bunks for up to 6 adults along with all bedding requirements provide comfortable sleeping arrangements. Heating is provided by combustion wood heating. Three heaters warm the house on even the coldest night.

For the fly tier, we have a dedicated desk with vice and light. Bring your materials in case of emergency.

The Great Lake Shop and Hotel are situated 10 minutes away, with Bronte Park Village 25 minutes along the Marlborough Highway. Provisions can be purchased from these locations and provide meals if you don’t feel like cooking.

Tackle Requirements

4-6 wgt fly rod and floating line.

Floating fly lines will satisfy most of your fishing needs. A sink tip or intermediate line is good for searching but not essential.

Reliable tippet material - this is essential. I have seen a lot of trips ruined thru the use of “Hi-Tech”, “latest & greatest” or the “most expensive” tippet material. Most don’t tie good knots. There is no need to fish ultra light either. If you must bring high tech stuff along, make sure you have some Maxima you can fall back on when the other fails.
I extend this warning to hooks as well. Some of the fine chemically sharpened hooks will straighten (or snap) on hooking a fish.

Polaroid sunglasses are absolutely essential. Make sure they are not scratched. Optically correct glasses are less likely to cause headaches.

Hat. There are 2 types of hats, good and bad. Good hats stay on your head in all fishing conditions, bad hats continually blow off. Bring a good hat. It must also have enough brim to shade your glasses (and face) and it should keep your head warm. An Akubra style hat with toggle and a polyprop balaclava are an excellent combination.

Gloves. I rate these as essential if you are not used to alpine conditions. It can be very cold at first light (and right through the day). Numb fingers will spoil the experience.

Vest. These items should all be in a vest. It ideally should accommodate a waterproof jacket and lunch etc.

Skittleball Plains
7 km South West of Great Lake
(03) 6424 1288

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