RiverFly Tasmania fly fishing report – November 2009



Mersey River, Tasmania
Mersey River, Tasmania

River Soldiers

One of my favourite fishing authors is David James Duncan. His best seller The River Why is in process of being turned into a Hollywood film, but it is his pseudo-biography My Story as Told By Water that strikes a familiar chord closer to home, in particular the chapter River Soldiers, describing his involvement in river conservation projects. Hailing from a deforested Oregon (USA), and later moving to the mining industry-driven Montana, there has been no shortage of conservation efforts calling for his help. This is the conservation efforts he lightly terms ‘river soldiering’- fighting to protect rivers and wilderness.

Over the past three months, I have also inadvertently found myself drafted into a bit of ‘river-soldiering’. The call-to-arms has been the release of the South Esk River Draft Management Plan, which plans to steal environmental flows, and irrigate them across paddocks of poppies and peas as part of the State Premier’s election-driven ‘Tasmania Food Bowl’ proposal. In order to facilitate the Northern Midlands component of this vision, a component that the State Treasury has labelled as un-sustainable, the government’s own water managers are looking to manage the river at summer levels 60% lower than their own scientific advice demands! All in the name of an un-sustainable, politically driven ideal; instead we need to promote the sustainable storage and use of winter flows, rather than cheap and nasty direct-takes of environmental flows.

If this management plan disturbs you, then I ask that you enlist as a ‘river soldier’. For your first act of soldiering, visit our ‘save the South Esk River’ blog entry, read the details, and write a letter of objection to the listed government contact. This will be a battle won by individual acts, so I thank you in advance for your efforts. Submissions close December 11, 2009.

Fishing report Oct-mid November

The fishing during mid and late October was a typical mixed fare of red-hot and ice-cold fishing days! Highlights were black spinner and ant falls on the Macquarie , Meander and South Esk rivers , a red-spinner day on the upper Macquarie, and steady fishing on the St Patricks River. Somewhat predictably, the best days were those with steady weather patterns, with winds from the north. South-westerly days were difficult.

Into November and the fishing became more consistent, with the Meander, South Esk, Brumbys Creek and Lake Huntsman all fishing very well. A highlight was an early morning that RiverFly guide Patrick Horan and I spent on the Meander, landing a half dozen rising trout. The largest trout weighed 4lbs , with three others nudging the 3lb mark – exceptional fishing on one of our secluded stretches. If this morning wasn’t exciting enough, the big fish theme continued on the upper South Esk, with a half-dozen trout polaroided, all weighing between 3 and 5 lbs. The winter floods have certainly led to some fat trout in the rivers!

This week sees Patrick and I heading out to the Western Lakes with Greg French, on an exploratory mission looking for big fish–keep an eye for a trip report on our blog next week . If you would like to join us on a Western Lakes Campout, contact us now for one of the three available dates in January, February and March – RiverFly Tasmania is the only fly fishing business licenced by National Parks Tasmania to operate in this World Heritage Area.


Pre-Christmas dates are now fully booked!

Post-Christmas we have availabilities during January, March and April, but February is almost fully booked. If you’re planning a trip to fish a drought-free Tasmania, please contact us now for availabilities.

Fishing and fly tying tips.

Tip1. Dry soggy or fish-slimed flies with ‘Loon Dust’ prior to re-applying Gink. This is available form the Essential Fly Fisher (03) 6331 8944, as well as a new stock of economical Indian Saddles that look perfect for scruffy dries.

Tip 2. When presenting to an inconsistent riser, try twitching the fly moments before it reaches the trout: this ‘death-rattle’ can often catch the trout’s attention and seal the deal.

Tip3. Wading staffs are useful to anglers of all ages. When wading a river, make sure the staff is positioned downstream from your body, for maximum support. The Lamson wading pole is the best I have used, and again is available from the Essential Fly Fisher in Launceston, who also do mail order.

Product Review

Which Polaroid glasses to buy? This is a common question that leads to heated debates! In my experience, Spotters offer the best polarizing lense and most appropriate tint colours (rose or yellow) in Australia. Their only drawback is that the high-quality glass lenses are heavy on your nose. Maui Jim offer good quality, ultra-light frames and lenses more suitable for everyday use, however the polarizing ability of the lenses doesn’t reach the standards of the Spotters. The Maui Jim green lense is a ripper for low-light. Finally, Otis is a surf-orientated glasses brand available in Australia, and features the best polarizing lenses I have found-the only drawback has been that I can only find brown lenses (instead of my preferred rose) – stay-tuned on this subject.

RiverFly shop – Christmas ideas

The Source Tasmania DVD (featuring Brumbys Creek, the Western Lakes, and West Coast sea-run trout), In Season Tasmania – A Year of Fly Fishing Highlights coffee-table book, and an assortment of RiverFly Tasmania hand-tied flies (tied in Tasmania by the RiverFly team) are available from our online shop.

That’s all for now, stayed tuned for a pre-Christmas fishing report in a fortnight. Thanks for reading our newsletter, and please feel free to forward this Email on to your friends – word of mouth business is the key to our continuing success!

Thank you from the RiverFly Team – Daniel, Simone & Patrick.





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