Visitors to Hobart who are short on time can get a trout fix less than 20 mins’ drive from the CBD at an exclusive fishery called The Springs. It is a year-round fishery and is restricted to a maximum of two anglers and one guide, Shannon Orr. This water is so well-hidden that the short drive from Hobart, through bush-block suburbia on the outskirts of the city, gives no inkling of the 10 ha lake’s existence. It’s nestled in a crater-like clearing surrounded by tall eucalypts.
It was pelting rain when I arrived. We stopped the car and Shannon got out, walked to the dam wall and started fly-fishing. He was using six-weight fly rod and had tied on a Woolly Bugger Mark 2, a searching pattern fly used when the fish are not feeding on the surface. Shannon worked a fly rod as if it was an extension of his arm. The green fly line formed a tight arc on the back cast, followed by a smooth follow through. There were no ripples in the fly line and the leader straightened out to allow the fly to plop gently onto the water.
The dam wall was slippery, but Shannon wasn’t fazed. On his third cast, he hooked-up and a plump rainbow trout of a couple of kilograms was soon at his feet, ready for release. Less than a minute later, Shannon repeated the exercise with a twin of the first fish.
Anglers can walk and wade the shore, or fish from kayaks and dinghies. Either way, there are fish enough for everyone. The trout are mainly browns up to 2 kg with many 500 g trout still growing. They were sourced from wild-bred stock from the Great Lake spawning run.
We moved away from the dam wall to a cleared area along the southern shore. Here the water was shallow and there was watercress for trout to move through while feeding on invertebrates. Shannon cast and hooked-up, catching a brown trout of about 1 kg. It was returned and he waited for more trout to move into the feeding lane.
The lake has a cleared area for barbecues and during the clearing operation around the shoreline, small groins were established to give anglers better sight-fishing opportunities.
The Springs offers half- or full- day fishing with motel-to-lake connections and fly-fishing tutorials for beginners. If you have tried to teach yourself fly-fishing you will realise the value of a day spent with a competent fly-fisher.