Planning for October 2020 re-opening

Like every other Australian, we have no idea how long we’ll be off the water, but rest assured we’ll be back as quick as we can. It may be sooner or it may be later, we’re leaving that up to the experts to determine. In the meantime we’re tying flies, and working on a few side projects you’ll hear about soon.

October 2020

For now we are planning for an October 2020 return, just in time for the reliable springtime mayfly and highland frogs. It will mark the beginning of my nineteenth season of guiding, and RiverFly’s seventeenth season of operations. We ‘ve found new hatches, new waters, and new fish, and we can’t wait to share them with you.

If you are keen on pencilling-in a fly fishing trip to Tasmania for the upcoming season, please don’t hesitate get in touch here. We can offer you an itinery, and a no-obligation booking with no deposit or strings attached. If dry fly fishing and sight fishing is what you most enjoy, then give us a call as that’s what we do.

See you soon, Daniel & Simone Hackett and the RiverFly 1864 team.



Tasmanian fly fishing Hatch Chart – 5 February 2020

Summer has seen a steady mix of heat and rain, producing great fishing conditions across the board. It’s been dry fly conditions just about everywhere, though a few die-hard nymphers are still luring up big numbers amongst pocketwater on the Meander and Leven.

Mayfly, damselflies, terrestrials and tailers. You name it, we’ve had it 🙂

Hatch Chart

Mersey – Excellent terrestrial fishing. Huge caterpillar falls on the very hot days, otherwise the 1864 Damsel has been an exceptional fly.

North Esk & St Pats – Best in very hot conditions, with caterpillars falling from the eucalypts. Mini WMD’s have been very effective. Good river levels.

Meander – Hoppers and damsels down low, with a solid Euro-nymphing hatch up top around Meander. Try the new angler access between Meander and Lake Huntsman.

South Esk – Marginal levels currently, but should be perfect for autumn.

Brumbys Creek – Alternating between low and medium levels, with good water conditions. Unbelievable fish condition, 1864 Glister Brush proving extremely effective along with red spinners and damsels.

Cradle Mountain – Running hot and cold with the weather, but good numbers of small fish this season.

Penstock – Popular, and producing predictable fishing with solid browns

Arthurs – Having a brilliant year, particularly among the northern bays and shallows.

19 Lagoons – Excellent tailing in overcast conditions among the Little Pine system.

Western Lakes – Great year for big fish. Good water levels, black spinners and terrestrials doing the trick.

Stay tuned to our IG page, we’ll post some pics of the Glister Brush for those who aren’t familiar with them.

Sight fishing success for 96 year old Jack on Brumbys Creek!



Fly Fishing Tasmania Hatch Chart – 11 January 2020

Tasmanian fly fishing update 11/01/2020

Happy new year!

Summary: The small streams of the east feature low and clear flows, with plenty of sight fishing to single dries. The menu has been mixed, with caddis and the first hoppers of the season, though soldier beetles have been making appearances. Into the midlands and further west, damsels are a consistent target for better than average trout, and since flowing at medium & clear flows for the past week, red spinners are also hatching along with morning Caenids at Brumbys Creek. The Meander has great flows, and fishing the upper reaches, particularly between Meander and Huntsman Dam has been popular. The Mersey on the otherhand is very low, though will grub feeders are about.

It’s been all about gum beetles on the Central Highlands, with ‘shark fishing’ proving effective on Great Lake, while the Western Lakes has been a great mix of beetles and mayfly.  Arthurs Lake has been fishing exceptionally, with the northern bays producing good fish and numbers since early December, which is great news. 15mm of rain over the weekend will ensure continued good fishing across the plateau.

Hatch Chart

St Patricks & North Esk rivers – Good low flows, very clear most days. Early morning to about 2pm is best, or just before dark. Look for patches of hoppers or forest.

Brumbys Creek – Some classic sight fishing since the 5 of January, when water flows increased. Think tailing crossed with mayfly sippers! Great shallow-water moochers averaging 2 ¾ lbs, with fish to 5lbs and better hooked. Damsels, emergers and spinners are all working, depending on the individual fish.

Meander – Good fishing upstream from Meander. Big fish down low are looking for hoppers, and a boost in river flows has been well timed.

South Esk and Mersey – Running low now, will need 40mm of rain to really get going again. Fish were very good condition going into Christmas.

Arthurs – back to some if its best, with good shallow water fishing in the northern bays. Fish to 3lbs, and good numbers of fish overall.

Great Lake – Excellent shark fishing, gum beetles on the menu. Morning midges.

Western Lakes – Excellent polaroiding conditions, great water levels, and very solid fish since just after Christmas. Black spinners and gum beetles.

Cradle Mountain area – Small streams have good fish numbers, but sporadic cold weather. Should have a ripper late summer and autumn.

Fly fishing Tasmania

Hopper feeder, Tasmania


What gear are we using for 2020?

We don’t generally do many gear posts, but we do get asked a lot about what gear we are using and why. So here’s a rundown of some of the key gear we are using this season:

Epic Fly Rods – Epic fly rods are built in New Zealand by our mate and casting guru Carl McNeil, through his business Swift Fly Fishing. We’ve been using his rods for a while now, and their versatility is a key attraction. By versatility we are talking about the way in which the rod can be used for both very short, and medium to long casts, as well as fast or slower line speeds when required. In laypersons terms, this means that the Epic’s are great for either tailing trout in close, or longer casts at cruising trout. The 590C is our go-to guiding rod, while the 3 and 4 weight modern glass rods are excellent creek rods.

Flylines – We run a mix of flylines, but the majority are either Airflo or Rio. Airflo are great for longevity, and general non-technical fishing where the flyline control and tapers aren’t as critical. If the fishing is more technical and requires more controlled presentations and high-flotation (e.g. river mayfly hatches and tailers), then the Rio Perception are hard to beat.

Waders – This season’s customer waders are predominantly Simms Tributary waders, which offer 4-layer protection in the high wear leg areas. The material is extremely light and comfortable, and they represent great value for use on the rivers. (Not recommended for gorse or barbwired fences!)

Boots – our favourite boots this season have been the Orvis Ultralight boots. They have a super-comfy sandshoe feel, and are very light even when wet. The sizing is a bit smaller than normal, so try them on before you buy. The Patagonia Ultralights are a close second for comfort and grip, but sit at a more affordable price point.

Leaders and tippets – The Stroft 4X (6.4lb) are our favourite leaders by far. With a stiff butt, tapering down to a more supple tip, these leaders are great out of the pack, and easy to add tippet to. We use the 9ft leaders on the small streams and creeks, and the 12ft versions for the bigger rivers and lakes. For tippet it is hard to go past Maxima, mainly due to the superior abrasion resistance. We carry 3lb,4lb,5lb & 6lb for each day on the water.

Flies – As always we tie our own custom patterns just for guiding. We are always happy to share some of our best patterns with customers on the water.

Putting the bend in an Epic 590C fly rod, Stroft Tapered Leader.


Beetles and mayfly…fly fishing Tasmania update

A quick update. Mayfly, willow grubs and damsels are on the streams, with excellent dry fly conditions. River levels are mixed, with some ideal flows along headwaters and bottom-of-the-catchment runs.

Hoppers are only a week away!

Gum beetles and afternoon spinners have started to consistently fall out west at the wilderness camp, with some cracking fish to hand. Water levels are brilliant. The next three months should be excellent.

Tasmanian fly fishing update 26-09-2019

Tasmanian fly fishing update 26-09-2019

September has been a great month for spring weather: predominantly warm, interspersed with a number of frontal systems to top up the streams. The South Esk headwaters received a very welcome 150mm+ of rain, and the north east creeks are flowing at steady medium & clear flows. The Upper Macquarie has also received a few pulses of medium flows, running a banker last week which bodes well for the mayflies which are just about to start. Stoneflies and sporadic mayfly have been on the creeks, and trout have been very willing to look up for a dry. The Western Lakes have fished well to baitifish and frog feeders, while the whitebait runs have begun along the north-coast and Derwent. The ever popular Four Springs has had duns for the past two-weeks, while Huntsman has been quiet. All in all it has been a great start to the fly fishing and guiding season, with Pete and I guiding customers onto a mix of both dry fly and nymph feeders each day.

Go-to flies have included 1864 Fastwater Duns as an effective indicator dry, and #14 Pheasant Tail Nymph variants as the dropper.

Hatch Chart:

St Patricks & North Esk rivers – Good medium flows, very clear most days. Sporadic hatches around 1pm, very cold water temps.

South Esk – Running high in the headwaters, but tributaries and lower sections are beginning to fish well.

Mersey & Meander catchments – Still a little slow, but look for action on the lower Meander and Mersey as the sun heats things up over the next few days.

Upper Macquarie – First hatches of the year should be starting, water clarity is medium, heights are ideal.

Penstock – Loads of fish being caught consistently

Great Lake – Baitfish feeders being caught on the rocks, great conditioned fish

Nineteen Lagoons – Great fishing along the edges of some lagoons. The gate is expected to open next weekend.

Derwent, Tamar, Leven, Mersey and other smaller north-west streams: Sporadic whitebait runs have started, they will improve as things warm over the next two weeks. It’s all about tides and river flowrates.

Favourite gear this month: We’ve been using Stroft Tapered leaders for the past month, from Carl McNeil at  . The leaders have been very forgiving for new casters and experienced casters alike, and are nice and supple while maintaining good turnover. The best feature is the low-memory, so even in the coldest water temps, the leaders are laying nice and straight. We’ll be using these for season 19/20.

National Waterbug Blitz

John Gooderham, co-author of the Waterbug Book is coming to Launceston on October 13! If you want to learn more about waterbugs (aka trout food!), hatches, and want to be part of the National Waterbug Blitz and Mayfly Muster, then this is the event for you. John has asked us to get together a dozen of so fly fishers who are willing to help test the new waterbug app, and in his own words, find any bugs 🙂 . The tool is going to be a great asset for anglers to find out where and when the hatches happen in Tasmania, and help build our knowledge of environment at the same time.

To come and meet John on October the 13th, and be a part of the Waterbug App, please send RiverFly an email to register. The event is free of charge, and will be held in Launceston (time and venue to be confirmed). Enthusiastic kids are welcome with parents.

More on the Waterbug App and Blitz here



Hatch Chart 20/08/2019

Happy new season! The fishing is now underway in Tasmania, and it hasn’t disappointed. For the (rugged-up) sight-fishers out there, there has been some great shallow water action, with fish hunting smelt on one lowland stillwater, while the 19 Lagoons has given up really good conditioned fish already. The Fuzzle Bugger has done the trick, as usual. Fish on the streams had a late spawn, so many are still recovering, but rivers west of Deloraine have experienced higher than average rainfall for winter, which is brilliant. River catchments east of Deloraine are drier than normal, generally low and clear, but the double-weather front this week will hopefully bring rain to the east, and raise the levels. Frogs and sea trout will all begin in the next fortnight, so get excited!

Mersey and Leven: Both quite high, and experiencing regular floods. Fish are in good condition, and the next few days should be great for worm feeders.

Meander catchment: Cold water temps will hold things back for a little while, but fish are plentiful. Cormorants are stationed in parts, so expect a few less fish, but a bigger average size this season.

South Esk catchment: Autumn water levels have held all winter. The next month will be key to how the river fishes this season, and we are looking for a good dump of rain at Grey to set things up.

St Pats: Great levels for nymphing, good fish numbers

Brumbys: This year will be the second year of more regular flows, with less fluctuations. We expect good things.

Four Springs: Excellent hatch of boats and flannies :). Also great fishing in the shallows.

19 Lagoons: Good water levels, great fish condition. Plenty of ice also…

Talbots: Levels are up and down like a yo-yo, but kayak anglers have been doing very well.

Penstock: Ridiculous amount of stockies coming to hand, good way to get some runs on the board.

Tooms: Hard work.

Derwent: Sporadic sea runners have started, and will continue in between floods.

Keeping in touch, in the wilderness

It’s a great time of the year to be planning your next big trip of the season; quite often or not, for Tasmanian fly fishers it will be a trip into an off-the-beaten-track location, well out of mobile phone range. A consideration these days is what emergency communication and navigation systems to use? You should never be without a map, which are far more reliable than a GPS, but with this in mind technology can be a great additional tool.

For sometime now we’ve used a small handheld Garmin GPS unit for backup navigation, and a separate GPS enabled EPIRB for emergencies. The combined system is clunky though, and lacks the continual communication ability of a sat-phone. That’s why we were thrilled when Garmin launched it’s new Inreach system, which combines a GPS navigation unit with satellite-powered text messaging ability.

After spending a week in the remote central plateau last month, I thoroughly recommend the InReach. Sending text messages was a breeze, and family on the other end could reply as if they were sending a standard text message to a phone. Even better, the battery life was excellent. After five days, including temperatures down to -5degrees, the unit still has loads of power. The monthly subscription fee of $30 or so is affordable, and cheaper once-off subs for occasional users means that this unit should suit users of all scale. And of course, it’s great not to have to carry two or three separate machines to cover GPS, satellite and text messaging, and EPIRB communications… That’s a 10/10 for me 🙂

Selected Tasmanian rivers – extended season in May

We received our Inland Fishing Service annual fishing licence renewals this morning, and noticed a change in regulations…from May 2020, the lower sections of the South Esk catchment including the lower Meander, Macquarie, South Esk and Brumbys Creek will be open until the end of May. This brings these sections of lowland rivers into line with closure times on the mainland, which feature similar climatic conditions, and will offer anglers the chance of getting out in one of our most settled-weather months.

It’s hard to guess what these lowland river fisheries will fish like in May, but last season provided some clues. During quite a few inspections of the lower South Esk in May 2019, beatid mayfly continued to hatch, and we expect that great sight-nymphing conditions, along with some occasional ant falls will feature during May. Similarly on the lower Meander, where the odd dun continued to pop, sight-fishing opportunities should continue through May, with the addition of being able to target territorial browns willing to chase a baitfish imitation. The Lower Macquarie will be the most unpredictable, featuring colder flows from the Great Lake hydro scheme, but targeting undercut banks with streamers may bring out the big, territorial browns that rarely see the light of day during summer. More here

Have a happy 2019/2020 season, it’s only one month to go 🙂