February is off to a great start, with plenty of settled and mild weather, and excellent river and lake heights. The lowland rivers are featuring good periods of mayfly spinner action during most days (particularily the smaller species), and excellent damsel fly hatches, including the South Esk, Brumbys Creek, Meander and Mersey rivers. The north-east streams are featuring masses of snowflake caddis, particularily the esk and St Patricks rivers. Hoppers have started in the drier catchments; look for areas where the riverside grasses have completely browned-off, while giant willow aphids have begun to fall creating reliable sight fishing to the larger fish (check out our previous article on giant willow aphids here ).

The Western Lakes are fishing much better than compared to last season’s super-dry conditions. Lake levels this summer have been medium to high (perfect!), and the fish are super fat. The height that some of the lakes got during spring is simply unbelievable, and no doubt recruitment to the trophy headwaters this season will result in some great fish over the next three or four seasons. Midge hatches have been strong after the high water levels of spring and associated rotting vegetation (food for midges!), and black spinner mayfly falls have been reliable. Terrestrials have been less reliable, somewhat predictably after such a wet spring.

Chasing tails at the doorstep, RiverFly campout, January 2023

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