The 2021 Tasmanian fly fishing season dominated by La Nina weather patterns: higher than average rainfall, great flows and chubby fish, all influenced by easterly flows from Christmas onwards. The catch-22 of the easterly flows was completely unpredictable hatches. One day would be great for mayfly spinners, other days were dead as doornail, and we fell back to terrestrial food sources such as beetles, hoppers and damsels. The hopper season was the latest I’ve ever seen, starting in March (two months late!), and the willow grub season barely got going due to lower temperatures. Despite the challenges, the fish condition was one of the best in years, with great fish condition on the Meander, Mersey and South Esk. There wasn’t a month that went by without a 5lb fish being targeted on the Mersey, while plenty of customers will have stories of big fish from various locations of the South Esk. With water tables full charged already, this September will be great for big fat fish.

Best fisheries

Top fisheries for the season included the South Esk and Meander rivers in the north of the state, along with Little Pine Lagoon and Pine Tier Lagoon on the plateau. Both of the ‘Pines’ featured lots of fish over 5lb this season, and some of our most memorable sight fishing pre-Christmas (sorry we didn’t tell you, some things we like to keep low key!).  The 1864 Blue Damsel was one the killer flies for this sight fishing. The St Patricks River also had some great moments, particularly towards the end of the season as the fish population adjusted to life as a tailwater fishery (as a result of the new Camden Dam), and the 1864 Black and Peacock fished well to sipping fish.

Best hatches

Springtime tails on Little Pine Lagoon (scud feeders), and early morning caenid mayflies on the Mersey River were without doubt the best hatches for 2021.

Predictions for this coming season

My gut feeling is that the dominant, young cohort of fish on the South Esk will continue to grow this season, as will the St Pats fish population under the new tailrace water flows, which ensures better average flows than previously. The Western Lakes also has a younger dominant year class coming through currently, which should represent some great 3lb fish this season as the previously dominant year class tapers off.

Coming this spring

This season we are running September and October sea trout-focused trips for the first time (think fast and strong silver trout), before we switch our focus to mayfly on the rivers from mid October. Contact us here if you are keen to join us for a spring trip, in particular the sea trout fishing which is targeting the best tides this season as they are sure to book out early.

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