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


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

Flyfish with Greg French and RiverFly ‘beyond Maydena’

Greg French and Simone Hackett, 'beyond Maydena'

Greg French and Simone Hackett, 'beyond Maydena'

If you’ve just picked up your copy of the latest FlyLife Magazine (Winter 2009), you’ll find a great article by Greg French on fishing the rivers past Maydena, in the state’s south. Greg’s been exploring them flat out during the past season, experiencing Tasmania’s most consistent fishing for larger river trout (in the 2-6lb class). Most of these fish are sighted, either polaroided, or seen rising among areas of deep water and high density structure. The scenery from these rivers is beautiful – typically rainforest full of ancient myrtles and sassafras, while the rivers themselves are medium sized fastwaters (similar to the Mersey) with a tannin-tinge.

To promote these unknown river fisheries, which are situated among some of Tasmania’s most beautiful forests, RiverFly is offering two chances to join us, and author/explorer Greg French as our guest, on these magic rivers. We are planning for one 2-3 day trip in late February, and one in early March, to coincide with the driest part of the season, and the best chance of hitting the rivers at the best time, to target the best fish. The exact dates are flexible to suit our guests, and our standard guiding rates apply. Trips will be based from New Norfolk or Maydena, depending on your preference.

If you are interested in joining RiverFly Tasmania on our fly fishing trips beyond Maydena, with our guest author and fishing explorer Greg French, drop me an Email now.

Greg French and Simone Hackett, Styx River, Southern Tasmania

Greg French and Simone Hackett, Styx River, Southern Tasmania

Patrick Horan joins the RiverFly Team

Patrick Horan, preparing for an R&D day

Patrick Horan, preparing for an R&D day

Some great news for RiverFly guests is the recruitment of Patrick Horan to the RiverFly Tasmania team.  Patrick was head-hunted by RiverFly in 2008, and since then has been serving a guiding apprenticeship of sorts with RiverFly founder Daniel Hackett; as expected, Pat has taken to guiding like a duck to water. This is no surprise-Patrick has been teaching fly fishing Adult Education classes for more than four years with the Fly Fishers Club of Tasmania, and was a junior Tasmanian fly casting champion when Daniel met him almost a decade ago. Patrick is an excellent photographer, and an even better fly tier; you’ll find Daniel pilfering his innovative parachute hackles and hopper patterns most days their guiding together.

One thing to point out is Patricks local knowledge: it wasn’t too many seasons ago that Daniel was talking to Pat about a new, favourite secret spot; Pat replied with ‘yeah, I know the spot, I’ve been fishing it for a few seasons now’.  You can find more about Patrick on the RiverFly Guides page.