Mid-season rundown from RiverFly 1864

The season so far…

Spring and early summer river fishing has been very dynamic. River levels were extremely reactive to rainfall (rising quickly), which meant taking each day as it comes from a fishing-planning perspective. With the extra flows and floods, the average fish size in the Mersey and Meander was bigger than previous seasons, with some real thumpers being landed. The South Esk has had high levels right up until Christmas, with a new cohort of young fish up to 2lbs working small black spinners and damsels most days, and some beautiful clean gravel runs created since the high flows of winter. Our best flies included our French Nymph variant, and Chartreuse Caddis nymph, followed by the Fastwater Dun.

The small streams of the north-east are in the middle of the best season since 2013, with fish numbers back up to the usual high numbers. The big winter floods have restructured some of these small streams beautifully, lengthening the best pools by consolidating  smaller log jams that were previously found every ten metres or so, into single log jams and associated riffles every thirty metres or so. Snowflake caddis have generated terrific hatches, and it’s been dry fly all the way! Our favourite flies have been the Scruffy (size 12) and Glister-bodied Parachute Coachman (size 14). The St Pats, North Esk, South Esk, Ringarooma and tributaries have all been excellent destinations, and fish in the 12-16 inch range are most common.

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The lakes of the Central Plateau are looking great, and almost un-recognisable compared to this time last year. Great Lake has filled something like seven-metres, and nearly all other Hydro Lakes spilled over winter. Beetle falls have driven the fishing on-and-off since early November, with mayfly nymphs and hatches also becoming prominent by early December. Little Pine and Great Lake are both having good seasons for fish condition, and the Ostrich Herl nymph has proved deadly on Penstock and the Pine. Arthurs is still sporadic, but producing some excellent quality fish to those willing to walk the edges and cover some ground.

The Western Lakes were equally wet, with early spring water levels experienced up to the first week of December. This led to an excellent and lengthy frog season, but delayed the mayfly season from a normal mid-November start, to an early December start. The Nineteen Lagoons has been predictably popular, with the lakes and lagoons of the Little Pine River system performing the best to date. The road to the Julian Lakes is expected to open close to Australia Day, conditions permitting, and the Talinah track is currently open.

Fishing from our wilderness huts in the Western Lakes has featured all the weather imaginable, from balmy blue sky days through to snow. Some unusually large fish in the main lakes have been quite exciting (up to six pounds), but have proved hard to land amongst rocks and rushes. The younger year-classes have ranged from 2 ¾ to 4lbs, a great size. The random mixtures of frogs, beetles and midge on the menu has made fly selection has been quite variable, but one of our big terrestrial dries has been really successful (it’s a bit of a prototype we’ve worked on for a couple seasons), as has the Pheasant Tail Black Spinner, and Fuzzle Buggers fished to tailers in the waves. We can’t wait to host head to a new water that we’ve discovered a few kilometres from camp, after recently locating a sneaky shortcut to get there.

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A leaping Western Lakes brown trout, polaroided 400 metres from RiverFly Wilderness Huts. Pic by J Laverty.

An extra positive from our wilderness camp this season has been the increased presence of Tasmanian devils this year! With several sightings and lots of scats around camp, guide Greg French should have known better than leave is wading boots out at night. The inquisitive devils certainly appreciated the offering, pinching a boot, which has not been seen again!

Predictions for summer and autumn 2017

River and lake levels are great, and predictions of a mild summer and autumn gives anglers heaps of options. The north-east streams will be our pick for the best river destinations, given the excellent caddis and mayfly hatches to date, and the general excellent state of the waterways. Lots of juvenile grasshoppers are also out and about along the meadow-streams, and given the fortnightly rainfalls currently, conditions have so far been excellent for a late, bumper hopper season. There’s nothing we love more than sight-fishing big hopper dries on the rivers!

Continued mayfly hatches, and consistent terrestrial falls should drive the fishing on the Central Plateau, and continued muggy weather will start to produce some brilliant daylight tailing on clouded days. Little Pine should continue to fish well, and Great Lake windlane ‘sharks’ will become more established.

Big fish love beetle falls, so we’ll also plan to hunt trophies from our wilderness Western Lakes camp as weather permits during January and February, along with focusing on the bread and butter dry-fly sight fishing that forms the mainstay of our wilderness trips. Contact us if you would like to join a trip.

Thanks for reading, and have a great 2017, from Daniel and Simone Hackett, and the RiverFly 1864 team.

Guided fly fishing, tuition, and destination flyshop – Sage, Scott, Patagonia, Simms and Buff dealer

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.

Brumbys Creek Weir One – Tasmanian fly fishing mecca

Everyone asks, ‘where’s your favourite place to fly fish?’. It’s a hard question to answer, and a few places come to mind: the Western Lakes wilderness fishery, the South Esk River flowing at 130 mg/day, or Weir One at Brumbys Creek during high flows. These are all brilliant options, and at the top of my list. But its Weir One, or the ‘Top Weir’ as locals know it, that I’ve fished the most-400 days+.

What’s so good about Weir One? It’s easy to answer: clear water, 3lb fish and reliable hatches of size 10-12 mayfly. These days we are at the mercy of un-predictable hydro flows, that disregard any recreational uses of the area, but stay tuned to the flow rates and levels on hydro.com.au, and hit the Top Weir when the levels are at 0.3metres and rising. You may polaroid the largest trout you’ve ever seen, or see the most spectacular cartwheeling rises imaginable. Either way it will open up a door to some brilliant sight-fishing opportunities just 30 minutes from Launceston.

For more information, click here to read Daniel Hackett’s FlyLife Magazine article ‘Brumbys Creek’. FL45%20Brumbys%20Creek

Brumbys Creek Weir One

 

Tasmanian fly fishing season opens tommorrow – here’s our tips

 

We are in for a ripper start to the season – that’s my prediction! The weather this week has been shocking, with category #2 cyclone equivalent winds yesterday, and more than 300 mm of rain in some of the catchments this week. But despite this, we are expecting some brilliant fishing as the weather moderates. The spawn-run at Arthurs Lake contained some magnificent fish, with many over three pounds and fit as a fiddle. Great Lake has been quite low for twelve months, and with shallower water comes large weedbeds and more food for the wild browns (as light penetrates the shallower depths). The last time that Great Lake sat at these levels, the fish nudged an average 3lbs. And how good are the rivers going to be: last season saw the largest average size we’ve ever seen, and as these were young age groups, we expect these ripper fish to again be dominant this season! Much the same for the Western Lakes, we’re the younger dominant fish were brilliant condition, and will continue to be the dominant year class this year. Perhaps we should call season 14/15 the year of the three pounder. Lets hope so!

Tips for opening week: Many rivers will be dropping by opening day, but the lower South Esk will be peaking during opening morning. That would make it my pick for flood fishing. The Earthworm Fly is definitely my pick for any of the rivers over the next few weeks.

Expect feisty fish in the highland lakes. Fish have benefitted from an overall mild winter, and will be on the scrounge for spawning baitfish. Our Mk2 Fuzzle Buggers are always a favourite, and the Sunset Fly is a classic for a second dropper fly. Fish against rocky and wave-beaten shorelines, or on the weedbeds.

Have a great opening week, and if you need any advice or gear (now including SAGE fly rods and reels), then give us a call. Thanks, Dan and Simone.

An early season brown trout, taken on a MK2 Fuzzle Bugger

An early season brown trout, taken on a MK2 Fuzzle Bugger

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