We’ve not done much lake fishing recently because the Mataura river has been so good and I couldn’t leave those rising trout alone but lake Onslow kept coming into my thoughts so I suggested to Lisa we should give it a go. I checked the weather; you really don’t want to be up there in bad weather, it was fine so up the mountain onto the dry weather track we went. We arrived about 10am to find a nice ripple so we loaded the boat and set off for the large island straight out from the boat ramp. The wind was running parallel to the island which gave us a nice long drift we had both set up with airflo fast glass intermediates and wet flies with a humongus lure on the point. First drift we got a fish each immediately nice pounders both taking the point fly.
Sport was patchy for the first half hour as we drifted along the island, four to the boat then we reached the end where we found a shelf on the edge of a massive shallow which was like a tropical flat as we reached it I hooked a fish of a couple of pounds which jumped and threw the hook as I lost it Lisa bent into a good fish at about 3lbs it was the biggest we had caught at onslow. I repositioned the boat so we drifted along the shelf and as we got there Lisa’s rod bent and a big fish jumped she played it carefully and I helped her net a 4 1/2lb lump! Out again and another drift down the Chanel when I got a fish of 3lbs whilst Lisa was taking a picture of my fish her line was still in the water and another 3 1/2 lbs fish picked up her fly off the bottom.
We were approaching the island now and we got fish all along the length of this little grassy outcrop all the fish were over 2lbs. The wind was dropping now and we noticed most of the fish were coming up the cast now to the wets with an Orkney pattern the hulk on the top dropper really doing the business. The bank opposite the island looked lovely and fish were there too. We caught fish lost fish and missed fish all along the bank then the wind changed. Well it turned right round so we drifted all the way back, it would have been rude not to!
We spent the remainder of the day drifting over to the drop off and the island catching all the way interestingly a black and pearly Palmer and the hulk out fished the hunungus on the point, we called it a day as dusk approached the ripple died and we motored in as the odd fish broke the surface I was tempted to keep fishing but it’s not a good idea to be out on the lake in the dark as its pitch black with not a light anywhere except in the sky.
All the way home we were talking about going back so a week later we did. In my wisdom I decided to try a blob and a black booby well Lisa got three in the first half hour and missed a few I got bugger all. Nods as good as a wink I changed and got a 4 1/2 lb fish straight away on the black Palmer fish were coming regularly not as fast as last week but it was clear the hulk was the fly to be using. It was a lot windier than last week so we thought we would try somewhere else and we motored to the top of the lake but as we motored up we spotted some shallows so we just had to try them.
Was there any fish there? You bet! There was lots of shallows with channels between them and fish hanging out along all of them. To get to some of these deepish channels I sometimes had to get out and push the boat over flats six inches deep but it was worth it wild brown trout lake fishing at its best.
We never did get to the top of the lake as we ended up getting carried away and worked our way around the back of the big island catching in every channel. Time was getting on now and I thought I would cut around the back of the island and take a short cut out into open water and back to the boat ramp BIG MISTAKE. Light was fading and we had to lift the engine up and push the boat for about 400 yards over a mud flat covered in 4 inches of water.
Boy were we glad to reach the open lake it was quite choppy now and we got to the boat ramp just in time loading the boat back onto the trailer in the dark. Lake Onslow is regarded as a water with small fish and on our previous visits we had not caught anything larger than 2 1/2 pounds so we were pleasantly surprised to find so many lumps which fight like mad and jump like crazy. There’s so much to explore here I don’t know how in going to find the time to fish Poolburn, Mehinerangi, Mavora lakes etc but I’m sure we will!
Loch style drifting over the front of the boat is awesome here. We’ve not seen anyone else doing it, I can’t wait to use some epoxy buzzers diawls crunchers etc when the midges are coming off. I feel like I’ve got the golden ticket of the fishing world off willy wonker.