The Western Lakes consist of literally thousands of small lakes and tarns situated to the west of Great Lake, inaccessible except on foot. There are no helicopters allowed and most have no vehicular access. Not surprisingly, some of these lakes contain very large fish, in excess of ten pounds. Like all big fish, they’re not easy to find or catch, but if you’re lucky enough to land one, a few photographs and a quick release is the order of the day.
To fish these lakes properly, overnight sleep-outs are recommended. Trips ranging from two to four nights are the norm, in order to reduce the likelihood of bad weather affecting the trip. As casts are not made unless a fish is spotted, it is truly sight fishing at its best.
This sort of fishing is certainly not for beginners – or for the faint hearted. Being able to walk while carrying a backpack and make casts under pressure is a daily occurrence.
Because bright weather brings the best conditions for polaroiding, mid-summer is the most popular time to fish the Western Lakes. That is not to say that spring does not produce great fishing conditions (it is, in fact, my favourite time), but getting a cobalt blue sky day at this time of year is pot luck.
I will insist on total catch and release in this part of Tasmania.
For many anglers, this is the best fishing available anywhere. Site casting with dry flies while wading shallow water is why we all got into fly fishing and the western lakes provide exactly that.
I can not think of any other place in the world that has this many shallow, crystal clear lakes and lagoons in which big fish will be looking for dry flies. Unique.
Footage of The Western Lakes, with Christopher Bassano, Highland Gold DVD
Western Lakes Photos
Please click on the images below to enlarge them.