Five tips for chasing Western Lakes trophy trout

Five tips for chasing trophy trout in Tasmania’s Western Lakes, from the Western Lakes experts at RiverFly 1864:

Where: Headwater lakes offer anglers the best chance to chase trophy trout, offering low fish numbers, but endless food. What’s a headwater lake? Look for a lake with little or no inflow, and an insignificant outflow (a creek you can step across). This outflow should flow into a lake further down, rather than a major creek, to ensure low recruitment numbers.

The Pillians, Julians, Little Pine, Pine and Nive headwaters are all good locations.

What gear to use: A five or six weight fly rod is ideal, with a 10-16 foot leader depending on conditions. Finding trophy trout is hard enough, so don’t risk losing a chance with fine tippets. We prefer 3X tippet with a breaking strain of ~8lbs+. In terms of flies, the selection is simple. Either a big terrestrial (such as a 1864 WMD Hopper or Bruisers Bug) for shallow lakes, or a slow sinking nymph (our Woolly Caddis is a favourite) for deeper, sphagnum-edged lakes.

When: My favourite trophy hunting weather is a bright day (for good polaroiding), with a strong and warm north-westerly wind. This really gets the bugs and big trout moving. The second (slightly lesser) option are bright days with south-westerly, or easterly breezes. Thick bug activity is less likely during these conditions, but the often stable light allows for good polaroiding. Any day featuring terrestrials insects from November to early April can offer good trophy hunting conditions.

Guides tip #1: As with all Western Lakes fly fishing, cast to where the fish is going to be, not to where it is! This ensures that the presentation is ahead of the trout, and gives the best chance of a solid take.

Guides tip #2: When fishing the deeper, undercut-edged headwaters, work with a mate as a team. Position yourselves on either end of the bank, creating the best chance to spot the snout or tail of an edge-cruiser, and the ability to set a trap at either end of a beat.

Happy hunting! Daniel Hackett

RiverFly 1864 operates Tasmania’s only wilderness camp located in the Western Lakes / Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Chasing tails in the Western Lakes

Fly fishing Tasmania – worm feeders and backwaters

Late wintertime in Tasmania is the time to fish The Earthworm fly. With each small rain event, the rivers lap over edges and into backwaters, where trout forage for drowned earthworms and beetles. Flooded backwaters are ideal, the best having inflowing creeks, soaks, or river currents flowing through them. The Earthworm Fly is best fished inert, to sighted fish. Video by RiverFly 1864 guide Peter Broomhall.

Just one more cast – fly fishing Tasmania

Tasmanian fly fishing with RiverFly 1864

We’ve all said it: ‘just one more cast’. And there’s probably no other time that you mean it less, than the last day of the season. With a couple months of quiet time ahead, and the odd monster shadow cruising through the high-flows of autumn, that last cast can often go-on for hours. So imagine the thrill if your last cast was this huge Tasmanian brown trout, landed by RiverFly 1864 customer ‘Scottish’ John. What fly, you ask? Our 1864 Shrek variant. When did he catch it? Sunday, at 4pm following a rain storm, as it lurked in a flooded gutter. It was our last cast of the season.

end of season trophy copy - Copy


Fly fishing Tasmania Hatch Chart Oct 19


A ripper Tasmanian trout falls for the Pheasant Tail Black Spinner. Photo: Peter Broomhall

A ripper Tasmanian trout falls for the Pheasant Tail Black Spinner. Photo: Peter Broomhall

The past fortnight has seen predominantly ripper weather for fly fishing in Tasmania. With El Nino in full swing, things are dry, but we’ve had tonnes of sight fishing. Mayfly are out on quite a few of the rivers, and a single Black Spinner does the trick much of the time. We’ll be heading out to the Western Lakes at the end of the week for our first trip, so stay tuned as we look for spring tailers and early-season beetle feeders. Have a ripper week!

hatch chart oct 19



The mayfly are on!

Fly fishing for Tasmanian mayfly feeders has started, with black and red spinner out on the northern rivers. Guided angler Chris caught this sipper on a small Black Spinner during the week, one of several fat & wild brown trout.