RiverFly Tasmania fishing report – June 2009

Winter teachings

This off-season for the first time, we’ve kept RiverFly ‘open for business’. During past off-seasons I’ve gone off to uni and worked the odd jobs, waiting for the next season to start. This winter however, has been different—I’ve been able to keep teaching, which means inspiring and passing on information to others for the better of their fly fishing passions, and hopefully, to the benefit of Tasmanian’s and the Tasmanian fisheries.

For a start, we guided through May for the second season in a row, and had fun (both customers and guide) in the process. This past month saw designated rainbow rivers opened through an extended season for the first time ever in Tasmania, which has meant that sight-fishing for wild trout on the rivers was still on the agenda. During these trips we fished beautiful bits of feature-filled rivers, polaroided fish, and enjoyed being out their just doing it. In the process, myself and my guests became the first people to fish these rivers, ever, during the month of May. I posted a small entry on our blog detailing one of the trips to a section of river I’ve nicknamed Vanishing River.

Following on from May and into June, the rivers are now all closed but we’ve still kept ‘guiding’-now teaching local Tasmanian’s fly tying skills at our weekly fly tying classes hosted by The Essential Fly Fisher. It has been very enjoyable teaching new-hands to tie their first flies, while showing old-hands some new tricks: different ways to tie flies, dub bodies, create hackles, and all the tricks on how to fish the flies and more.

Through our interactive website (which turns a year-old next month), I’ve also been able to keep teaching and spreading the word about everything fly fishing and Tasmanian. The blog (web diary) entries have covered fly design (see the Fastwater Caddis post), a piece of fly tying history which creates as many questions as it answers (see the Bloody Mary and giant stoneflies post), and through an industry first initiative, I have been able to create and post a series of free fishing maps on our site (www.riverfly.com.au/fly-fishing-maps-pictures-images/). This has included map-guides to fishing the Mersey River, St Patricks River, Macquarie, Lake and Brumbys Creek, as well as a map guide to Western Lake wilderness day walks. You see, I’m a firm believer in getting more people into fly fishing, and sharing the information around where possible, but more than anything, I love guiding – and modern technology enables me to ‘guide by wire’ through a different medium during the quieter periods of winter.

Ultimately, the more people that become inspired to fish our rivers, or head off on day walks in our wilderness Western Lakes, the more people there is involved in our pastime, protecting our environment and using our business. Without the people, and without the environment, I wouldn’t be able to do the job I love, so enjoy the free maps and blog entries, and see you on the river for a guided day next season; it’s only two months away now!

New RiverFly Tasmania lodge accommodation

Many of you as repeat clients would know that we were Tasmania’s first river-based lodge operators, based on the North Esk for a number of seasons up to 2007. Since leaving RiverFly lodge, we’ve been working extremely hard at finding a new permanent home for RiverFly customers, in the form of a venue that would offer relaxation and rejuvenation in the country, with classy modern rooms, and good quality comfortable dining. As such, we are excited to announce that RiverFly again has a home for its guests, now located at Quamby Estate.

Quamby Estate Homestead

Quamby Estate Homestead

 Through a strategic alliance with Quamby Estate, a large 1830’s Anglo-Indian estate just 15 minutes west of Launceston, we now have a new base for the accommodation side of our business, central to Tasmania’s northern rivers (in fact, the Meander River forms part of the magnificent views from the estate). This impressive estate is owned and operated by Anthology www.anthology.travel, new eco-tourism travel group who also owns and operates the world famous Cradle Huts and Bay of Fires Walks from Quamby Estate. The partnership between Anthology and RiverFly Tasmania is great news for the $60M Tasmanian recreational fishing industry.

RiverFly Tasmania and Quamby Estate have launched two initial packages, starting at three days and three nights from $1662 per person for two anglers. For the non-anglers there are massages, local winery tours, and golf on the estates own 9-hole course. Visit our packages page for more information. You can book your place for next season now by Emailing Daniel.

Corporate retreats are also catered for with RiverFly Tasmania and Quamby Estate, offering fly fishing and golf packages, as well as helicopter tours and more. 

New full time guide for RiverFly 

As well as working hard to once again offer river-based accommodation, we’ve been working hard at head-hunting a new guide to work with Daniel. We’re excited to announce that we got the man we were after, and would like to introduce Patrick Horan as the second full-time guide in the RiverFly team. Since late 2008, Patrick has been serving a guiding apprenticeship of sorts with RiverFly founder Daniel Hackett.

As expected, Pat (who’s an aquaculture graduate in his mid-twenties) has taken to guiding like a duck to water—but this was no surprise as 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 also an excellent photographer, and an excellent fly tier; I’ve already been caught pilfering his collections of parachutes and hoppers!

Patrick Horan

Patrick Horan

 One thing to point out is Patrick’s local knowledge: it wasn’t too many seasons ago that Daniel was talking to Pat about a new, favourite secret spot, and 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.

Fishing report late April /May 2009

Late April is traditionally a good time of the year for dry fly fishing and stable, overcast weather – but this year it was interrupted with good falls of rain! During periods of stable weather, steady fishing was had on the Lower Macquarie and South Esk rivers, mainly to fish taking baetid mayfly. Pat, our new guide, nailed a number of fish over three pounds above Longford on the Lower Macquarie, whilst I had some good days on the South Esk using Cripples. Anzac day weekend saw some heavy falls of rain arrive, with 40mm in some areas, which closed down the brown trout river fishing prematurely—but not before young angler Rory Kelly landed his first trout on the fly, beating the two older generations of his family, his uncle James and grandfather Graham, for the biggest fish of the trip. Awesome work Rory! These early rains prompted many fish in both the rivers and highland lakes to spawn early, which will give them almost a month extra to recover and put condition back on, compared to a normal spawning in May.

May saw drier conditions come back to Tasmania, allowing for some steady fishing on the rainbow rivers. The two picks were the upper Mersey and the Weld (northern Tasmania), where fish were found still feeding off the top till the last day of the season – last Sunday. In the Walls of Jerusalem, some adventurous Gen Y fly fishers battled blizzards during a trip to Lake Meston; they all said it was definitely worth it though, such is the attraction of the wilderness, the Western Lakes, and historic old (and warm) huts.

As a footnote to autumn, rainfall in Northern Tasmania reached its average, and rainfall in the west and south east was above average. This was great to see.

Fishing and fly tying tips.

Tip 1. Test for leaks in breathable waders and Gore-Tex jackets by turning them inside out, and rubbing them with methylated spirits. The pin-holes will show up as small black dots as the methylated spirits permeates the pierced layers. Keep the leftover metho for your camping stove!

Tip 2. When tying flies with deer-hair, always use a hair stacker to ‘stack’ the tips of the hair evenly. Secondly, always remove all the under-fur fluff and short fibers prior to use.

Fly Tying classes – starting late July

Just a quick note, we’ll be running a second round of Tasmanian fly tying classes during late July – register your interest now if you would like to keep informed.

Thank you for reading our newsletter. Word of mouth is the key to our success, so please feel free to forward this Email on to your friends! Thanks from the RiverFly Team – Daniel, Simone & Patrick.

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