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.


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.


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

Fly fishing Tasmania – searching for tailers

Tailing trout, or tailers’ as we like to call them, are the number one target for September. They can be bloody hard – spooky, head in the weeds, and fickle, but they make up for it by the visual nature of the fishing. Swirls, tails, and fins all giving away the position of these shallow water browns. As the month progresses and spawning frogs get onto the menu, tailers get easier to catch. Morning is my favourite time to fish, with fish still in the shallows from the night before, but evenings can be just as good. Just tie on a Woolly Caddis, snail pattern, or even a favourite dry, and start searching for nervous water.

A nearby lagoon, RiverFly Wilderness Huts, Tasmania.

A nearby lagoon, RiverFly Wilderness Huts, Tasmania.


RiverFly Wilderness Huts – Western Lakes Tasmania

After 3 1/2 years of hard work and planning, we are excited to announce that we will be opening RiverFly Wilderness Huts in October 2012!

RiverFly Wilderness Huts are located adjacent to the famous Western Lakes & Walls of Jerusalem National Park / World Heritage Area.
The hut project has been a massive project for us, and is the first project of its kind in Tasmania to combine wilderness fly fishing and conservation. Of this we are extremely proud. This outcome means that for every customer that visits RiverFly Wilderness Huts, a slice of Tasmania is protected forever.
Here is a link to the webpage and further details https://riverfly.com.au/riverfly-wilderness-huts/ . Keep an eye on our newsletter and blog for more information, and we are taking bookings now.
Thanks, Dan and Simone Hackett.

RiverFly Tasmania fly fishing report – Autumn 2010

Wild Tasmanian hopper feeder
Wild Tasmanian hopper feeder


Gone Fishing…

 It’s been three months since our last fishing report, but with good reason: we’ve spent more than 50 days on the rivers since our last note, guiding through pre-Christmas red and black spinner falls, summer hopper hatches and the beginning of the autumn mayflies, and spent another 30 days out in the World Heritage Listed Western Lakes region, experiencing not only the sightfishing, but nature itself. We’ve found remnants of late 19th century grazing operations, old forgotten horse and cart tracks, not to mention a world of detailed minutiae: cushion plants and orchids, blue and red mountain hoppers, and ancient remnant pencil pine stands. 

 There have been many surprises this season, some owed in part to the end of the drought, some to new river venues, and some to our expanding Western Lakes Campouts. One common theme throughout them all has been constant: wild Tasmanian trout. Whether it’s been the super-conditioned trout of the Meander or lower Macquarie River, the flats cruising trout of the Western Lakes, or the hidden monsters of the fast-water river gorges, the aim of our days has revolved around core values of inspiring places, visual fishing opportunities and wild trout. If we can find these three goals, we know that the enjoyment of the day will take care of itself.  

 Current fishing report

 Autumn fishing has started in northern Tasmania, with large baetid mayfly falls on the lower Macquarie and Esk rivers, and ants appearing on humid days. This has created some classic match the hatch fishing, both from the raft and wading. Grasshoppers are still around and on the menu, and are proving effective at times–again, this has particularly been the case on the lower Macquarie River and a few of our other favourite haunts. The strong baetid hatches are expected to continue through March and April, to the close of the brown trout season at the start of May. 

 Summer highlights

 Summer highlights at RiverFly have been many and varied: young Rory sightfishing and landing a 4lb trout on the Meander, Frank and his six days of sight-fishing nirvana, high flows and great rafting on the post-drought Macquarie river, and the sight-fishing experience of the Western Lakes campouts with the three amigo’s Jappy, Mark and Curtis, the team of four Septuagenarians’, and many others. January was probably the best month of the season to date, with loads of blue-sky days, and early season hopper fishing. March could be a close contender to take the title though, especially if the ants and baetids keep on coming! 

Fishing Tips

1. When casting, always plan to present the fly ahead of the trout, rather than directly at it.

2. When practicing casting, focus on efficiency: learn to (1) cast line out quickly, (2) re-adjust casting length effectively, and (3) change casting directions smoothly.

 That’s all for now. If you have any questions about fishing in Tassie, don’t hesitate to Email us. Thanks from the RiverFly team–Daniel, Simone and Patrick. 


 Stay tuned to the RiverFly Blog for weekly updates and fishing reports.

Western Lakes Fly Fishing
Western Lakes Fly Fishing


Fly fishing tasmania – wild trout pic of the day

Fly fishing Tasmania, wild trout of the day: RiverFly’s youngest customer, Rory, releasing his 4lb catch of the day. Rory polaroided this very fat, very wild brown trout, and hooked it on his second cast! Well done.

Rory and his wild Tasmanian trout

The river fish are well and truly on the hoppers, with the our WMD Hopper proving deadly. It’s been a freaky fortnight on the rivers, with more than 13 three-pound trout coming to hand, all polaroided, and all on the WMD hopper.

We’ve also been busy with Western Lakes Campouts, with the usual mix of blue sky days, and cracked up cloudy days providing both polaroiding days and mayfly days. January was an extremely dry month on the Central Plateau (19mm of rain compared to the average 120mm), so the best waters to head to have been deepwater lakes and their drop-off edges. These cruising trout have been averaging 2 1/2  to  3 1/2 pounds.

Finally, with a break from routine, here is a second pic of the day created by Mother Nature and fires on the West Coast: picture location, Western Lakes three nights ago.

Bushfire sunset, Western Lakes Tasmania

Bushfire sunset, Western Lakes Tasmania