Wild brown trout on the mayfly

Autumn hatches are on – fly fishing Tasmania

The Tasmanian autumn hatches have begun! We’ve had some ripper fishing during the past three weeks, everything from hoppers, aphids, ants, baetid and caenid mayflies. It’s been important to keep moving and to find pods of action.

Dry flies such as our Mini WMD Hoppers, #16 Fastwater Duns, Bruisers Bugs and F-Flies have all been successful. Meander, Mersey, Esk, 19 Lagoons, Great Lake (isopod feeders on the mud flats) and parts of Arthurs have all been great.

The image was taken by RiverFly 1864 guide Peter Broomhall last week, a wild brown trout homing-in on a caenid mayfly.

RiverFly Tasmania fly fishing report – September 2009

Trout Fishing like its 1959… 

Tasmanian trout, polaroided and landed by RiverFly guests August 2009

Tasmanian trout, polaroided and landed by RiverFly guests August 2009

 Earlier in the month I wrote a blog (online diary) entry titled fishing like its 1959’. Back when Australian fly fishing author David Scholes’ was fishing the Tasmanian streams, early-season flood fishing was the first event of the year, followed by the classic mayfly hatches of spring Show Day. Well, for the first time in my 8 year guiding career, we’ve started the season with classic Scholes-esque flood water feeders, gorging on drowned worms and grubs, and it looks like the best mayfly season in decades is about to hatch.

 About 6 years ago, myself and my friend Aarron fished our first major hatch on the upper Macquarie River. This river, and its mayfly hatches, were made famous by the writings of David Scholes earlier in the 50’s and 60’s. The day of our first hatch was magical–morning ceanid mayflies greeted us, large red spinner duns hatched at lunch, and giant red spinners fell on evening. We landed 22 fish, 8 over two pounds, and lost the biggest few fish of the day, perhaps up to 5lbs in weight. All of this took place on a section of river less than a cast wide, with lovely grassy undercuts sheltering the wild browns as they sipped mayfly from the current seams, and weedy runnels. These hatches continued through until late November, when water levels dropped, and we moved on to the larger rivers and their later pre-Christmas hatches.

 The following year I again fished the upper Macquarie, found some good hatches over two weeks or so, but didn’t achieve any once-in-a-lifetime red-letter days. A further season on and I managed to fish one solitary hatch during the making of In Season Tasmania, but by that November water levels were too low, the paddocks were parched, and the only thing cruising were starving tiger snakes and the odd redfin perch. The frogs were quiet, the mayflies in remission, and the water had turned an algal brown. Five years of drought had taken its toll, and the fishery was on life-support.

 But now there is great news. For the first time in many, many years, I’ll be fishing the spring mayfly hatches on rivers such as the upper Macquarie. The drought has been broken by the third biggest wet in a century, with the east coast of Tasmania receiving more than 700mm of rain over winter. The rivers have been flushed, the headwater soaks and springs replenished, and the mayfly are ready to go. As harsh as the past seasons have been on some of the midland’s rivers, these insects will go into reproductive overdrive, shortening their breeding-cycles to booster populations. The trout that have spent the past few seasons on a maintenance diets have added fat to their lengthy frames, with worms, cockchafer beetles and grubs providing the early season fodder. It’s a time to re-visit the fisheries of old, and fish like its 1959. See you on the river.

 If you’d like to book some time fly fishing the spring mayfly hatches with RiverFly Tasmania, send us an enquiry now. We have spaces available in October for the start of the hatches, and very limited spaces in November and December.

   

  • Fishing report for August and early September

 

Trout fishing a Tasmanian rainforest creek

Trout fishing a Tasmanian rainforest creek

For a rundown of the fishing to mid-August, read our blog (online diary) here.

 The rains continued into September, with flood-feeders still the primary target until late last week. RiverFly guide Patrick Horan’s earthworm fly was the outstanding fly pattern of the period, with lake and river fish finding it irresistible. The headwater creeks offered the most consistent fishing, much of it polaroiding, though well timed trips to the South Esk, Macquarie, and St Patricks rivers resulted in great flood fishing for lucky anglers.

 An interesting by-product of the big-wet has been prolific midge hatches on the lakes. Nearly every lake in Tasmania is now full (with the exception of Lake Gordon, Great Lake and Lake Echo). This has meant that kilometres of previously dry shorelines are again underwater. As the flooded vegetation (grasses etc) rot, they provide food for invertebrate populations, and the midges have been the first to explode in numbers. This has led to dry fly fishing opportunities on Lake Huntsman in particular. Other lakes that have fished well in the past couple of weeks have been Lake Echo (with access now available to the marshes at the top end), Great Lake and the Bronte Chain.

 My last trip to the Western Lakes was opening day, with all the lakes from Augusta right out to the back lakes full and overflowing. Since then, persistent highland rain and snow has kept the road access closed while Lake Augusta spills. I’m anticipating a visit to the Western Lakes later in the month, so stay tuned to our blog for a report.

 

  •   New Project from the ‘In Season Tasmania’ Team

For fans of the book In Season Tasmania – A Year of Fly Fishing Highlights, you’ll be interested to read that I have just embarked on my next ‘artistic’ endeavour. I’m keeping cagey on the details for now, but all will come to light on the RiverFly blog over the next month, as a winter of planning turns into a season of action. Super-photographer, FlyLife Magazine staffer, and In Season co-author Brad Harris will be one of a cast who’ll be joining me on parts of the next project, providing inspiring images along the way.

   

  • Product Reviews

·        Whiting Eurohackle

 

Whiting Rooster

Whiting Rooster

Relatively new to Australia are Whiting Eurohackles, available from the Essential Fly Fisher in Launceston. These are dry-fly saddles in the traditional sense, but this breed of rooster caters for a range of larger than normal sizes. For a long time now, size 8-10 dry fly hackles, or over-sized hackles for parachute flies have been hard to come by. The Eurohackle fills this void, with saddles catering for 8’s, 10’s or 12’s, depending on the individual saddle selected. I’ve been using them on size 10 and 12 parachute duns, and give them two thumbs up!

 ·        New Sage 99 fly rod

Sage have just released a new model rod called the 99. These are 9’ 9’’ inch rods, specifically designed for European style nymphing. My first impressions from casting this rod are that it will be awesome for its specific job. The length is ideal, the sensitive and slow tapered tip will be well suited for casting and ‘feeling’ the nymphs as they fish, and the low-down power will offer plenty of oomph for pulling rainbows out of white-water pockets. If you’re trying to picture what the rod feels like in action and balance, think of a rod built with a graphite bottom half, and fibreglass tip. This rod will be a hit among the competition fishing scene, and those wanting to fish this effective style of fishing.

  

  •  Quamby Estate – RiverFly lodge accommodation

Quamby Estate, RiverFly’s lodge accommodation partner, has been receiving some great reviews of late. To read more about the charms of the estate, follow these links to recent reviews: , the Sydney Morning Herald, or pick up a copy of the latest FlyLife Magazine, Spring 2009.

Quamby Estate Homestead

Quamby Estate Homestead

  

 Guests booking our 3 Rivers Package with lodge accommodation receive free airport transfers from Launceston to Quamby Estate.

 

 That’s all for now. Thank you for your loyal business which has led to record pre-season bookings for season 09/10. We look forward to showing you some of our new river venues this season, or perhaps leading you on a Western Lakes wilderness campout. For more information visit our website at www.riverfly.com.au

 Thank you from the RiverFly team: Daniel, Simone and Patrick.

RiverFly Tasmania fishing report – July 2009

 

Western Lakes Tasmania, winter sunrise
Western Lakes Tasmania, winter sunrise

Fly Fishing Tasmania—lots of rain, and the season to come

Great news for Tasmanian fisher’s has been the big-wet of late. Just a few days ago, Mole Creek (on the Mersey River) saw 150mm’s of rain (that’s half-a-foot!) in a day, and all the rivers, including the drought ravaged Macquarie River, are in flood. And by flood I mean that they are well over their banks! The drought-depleted and algae-bloom affected Leake, Craigbourne and Tooms lakes are now full, or close too, which is awesome news—Tooms’ in particular features excellent fishing to baitfish feeders, while the Macquarie downstream offers the best small red spinner mayfly falls in Tasmania. This will be the best season in four years or more, both in terms of water flows and lake levels, and associated mayfly populations and fish sizes.

With two or so weeks to go until the new trout season opens, I’ve spent the last month tying flies for our webshop, and exploring remote waters in the Western Lakes. The trip report from our last weekend of explorations among the wilderness Western Lakes is here, but in a nutshell, early rains brought about early spawning, which will result in bigger and healthier early-season trout. As I type, Lake Augusta on the rim of the Western Lakes is overflowing, and has been for four days. 

We’ve also been concentrating on lots of behind-the-scenes activities in the last month, which have included gaining access to new guiding locations on the Meander River. This river adds to our guiding venues on the Mersey, Macquarie, Brumbys, North Esk, South Esk, St Patricks and north-eastern creeks. I’m sure that repeat clients (as well as new guests) will enjoy this season’s new venue.

Opening day tactics

As alluded to, our trout season opens in just over two weeks on the 1st of August. Many will be heading up to the hydro lakes for opening day (such as Arthurs Lake), but I’ll be hunting around in the flooded backwaters of our northern rivers. The author David Scholes made these flood-fishing events famous, but the recent years of drought have seen opportunities for flood fishing all but disappear. I’m not going to miss out on this winter’s offerings, so the Upper Macquarie, lower Meander, and perhaps even the South Esk or Lake River will be on my flood fishing to-do list. Patterns such as the Fur Fly, Woolly Caddis and Black and Peacock Spider will feature among the fly patterns to try.

baetidAs August moves in to September, hatches and falls of cockchafer beetles, stonefly, and by late September, mayfly will be underway and the trout will be looking for dries. By October the mayflies will become consistent (outside of any flood events) leading to some of the best close-quarter dry fly fishing of the season.

 ‘Meet the author’s day’ at the Tasmanian Trout Expo – Greg French, Phil Weigall and Daniel Hackett

The annual Tasmanian Trout Expo (at Cressy) is on over the weekend of the 29-30th of August this year, where I’ll be found manning the Petrarchs Bookstore stand. The Sunday will see Greg French and Philip Weigall also at the stand, happy to talk to fellow fishers and sign books. Phil will be launching his new book ‘Fishing Season’, so it will be a great opportunity to get your copy on the day. More info on the Trout Expo here.  

 Fly Fishing offerings from RiverFly for season 09-10  

October 2009 -May 2010 Try a Three Rivers Package and lodge accommodation with RiverFly Tasmania and Quamby Estate Homestead  

November 2009 – May 2010 Book in for a Wilderness Campout. We have a remote river venue for 1-2 night trips, and Western Lakes campouts for those wanting to experience Tasmania’s wilderness fishing mecca.  

October 2009 – May 2010 Learn to Fly Fish days with RiverFly Tasmania and Quamby Estate Homestead

Fly tying classes – shortcuts, improving techniques, and trouble-shooting – Keep an eye out on our Blog for the dates of our second round of fly tying classes. The first round finished successfully in early July.

Fishing and fly tying tips

Tip1: If you get caught wading in water that is too powerful and need to turn back, try and avoid wading downstream back to shore: the water will start to ‘float’ you away as your centre of gravity is pushed downstream by the force of the current. Instead, it is safer to slowly work your way back to shore in a diagonally upstream direction, where you can keep your centre of gravity forwards, and your feet on the ground.

Tip 2: When tying parachute flies, always use a hackle that is one to two sizes larger than usual. This will give the fly a larger ‘footprint’ on the water (which will make it a better attractor), and ensure that it stays upright on each presentation.

 The Source-Tasmania DVD now available

The Source-Tasmania DVD by Gin-Clear Media is now in stock and can be ordered through our WebShop. As the feature film of last month’s international Fly Fishing Festival, The Source has already been shown to more than 2000 people, to generally great reviews. The film-fest is now headed for Europe for showings next month.

The film is beautifully shot across four locations: Sea-run trout destinations on the North-West Coast, the rainforest creeks of the Western Tiers, the mayfly waters of the Lowland rivers, as well as a longer section featuring the wilderness Western Lakes. The Source features Greg French and Daniel Hackett, as well as a cast of visiting anglers. Purchase The Source here.

That’s all for this months newsletter. Look out for the August edition which will contain a report on the opening month of fishing, with a focus on the feature-flood fishing we’re looking forward to. Have a great opening Day from the RiverFly team-Daniel, Simone and Patrick

RiverFly Tasmania adds lodge accommodation to its business

Quamby Estate Homestead

Quamby Estate Homestead

We are excited to announce that after a two-year hiatus from providing lodge accommodation, RiverFly Tasmania is once again offering river-based lodge accommodation and all inclusive packages to its guests. Through a strategic alliance with Quamby Estate, a large Anglo-Indian 1830’s estate just 15 minutes west of Launceston, we now have a new home for the accommodation side of our business central to Tasmania’s northern rivers. (In fact, the Meander River forms part of the magnificent views from the estate).

The estate is operated as a part of Anthology www.anthology.travel, a new eco-tourism travel group who also owns and operates the world famous Cradle Huts and Bay of Fires Walks from Quamby Estate. The partnership between Anthology and RiverFly Tasmania is great news for the $60M Tasmanian recreational fishing industry, which over the past two seasons has struggled to offer a critical-mass of dedicated accommodation linked to professional, full-time guides, since the recent sales of Blue Lake Lodge and London Lakes.

RiverFly Tasmania and Quamby Estate have launched two initial packages, starting at three days and three nights from $1662 per person for two anglers. Visit RiverFly’s three day fly fishing page for more information. We will update our normal packages page to include the new packages over the next week.

Coporate retreats are also catered for with RiverFly Tasmania and Quamby Estate, offering opportunities for guided fly fishing as well as golf on the Estate’s own 9-hole golf course, as well as helicopter tours for the adventurous.