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Summer dry fly action
  |  First Published: February 2011



It really is amazing how much of an impact the weather has on our piscatorial passions.

December was one of the wettest months in decades and scoring a good outing was reliant more on convenience, as opposed to being too picky on your ideal weather pattern. January has seen much of the same varied outlook, but we have now finally kicked into some of your typical summer days, with the temperature sneaking into the 30s and above.

Along with the warmth comes hatches and along with the hatches, comes rising fish. If you have done your homework or have selected a corker day, your intended fishing could just turn from the act of fishing to ample catching!

ST PATRICKS RIVER

Summer is all about the rivers in my opinion and this river is definitely one of my favourite pieces of water around. This is one of the most pleasant little rivers that Tasmania has to offer by far. In fact, I caught my first trout on fly here and continue to visit regular haunts several times per year.

No doubt I will probably be searching out new sections of river for many years to come, but I love nothing more than returning to a familiar stretch and noting the changes; bubbles lines, fallen trees and boulders that have shifted during floods.

Just the other day, I ventured out to the very section that I snared my first fly-caught specimen. In a real sense of nostalgia, I felt right at home and conditions were very much the same.

The river however, had a different personality and some of the runs had more of a youthful feel – likely due to the higher water levels thanks to mid-summer rains. At one point, I mentioned to my companion Nik that I would ‘eat my hat’ should he remain fishless in one small run. Proudly, my hat remained firmly on my noggin!

Individual fish have been selective on reliable dry flies, but others have been smashing them. Of particular note, was the way in which they have been taking the dry; some have eagerly snapped at the fly, whilst others seem to take an eternity to close their mouth.

Some cunning fish have had three or four inspections at your offering, only to ignore it completely. There were several that were eventually tricked after continuous presentations – Maybe they were annoyed? It certainly makes for an interesting challenge, with timing and a close eye on their reaction playing a large part in your level of success.

Lacking in activity have been the grasshoppers. In any normal season they are well under way by now, but numbers have been spasmodically active. In any case, small duns, snowflake caddis, midge and the odd tea-tree beetle have been adequately filling the void. Grass is drying out quickly and it’s only a matter of time before the constant hum of the ‘hopper is filling the air.

BREAK ‘O DAY RIVER

This river in the Fingal Valley appears to be a shadow of its former glory, but all is not lost. The IFS stocked this river with some brown trout a while back and from all reports, anglers are beginning to catch a fish or three. I’m yet to fish the water since the population was boosted, but it’s definitely on my list. Hopefully the numbers will stabilise and continue to spawn down the track.

NORTH ESK RIVER

What an awesome river! With so many options around Tasmania, I don’t get to spend nearly as much time as I should fishing waters close by. The North Esk is born up in the foothills of the north east highlands, not far from the start of the St Patricks, South Esk and Ringarooma rivers. They all wind their way downhill in different directions and develop such contrasting characteristics along the way.

I recently explored some water toward the headwaters and remained stoked to the bone. There are some deeper pools than say, the St Pats, but there are also some longer, shallower pools offering ideal polaroiding and sufficient activity during rises. Fish are slightly larger than the average from the ‘Patties’ and give a great account of themselves.

Imitative flies will bring many undone, but a good mate has experienced plenty of success on both a Parachute Possum Emerger and a Possum Shaving Brush (I’m pretty sure he makes the most of his road-kill discoveries, and hey – why the heck not!).

MEANDER RIVER

Thanks to Anglers Alliance and supportive land-owners, there are now more stiles and access to approximately 30km of river frontage on this sensational river. Some works are not due to be completed until the end of February but for the most part of this month, access will be more than ever before, enabling everyday anglers to experience sections of river than have never been available to the wider public.

Reports continue to demonstrate healthy fish coming from the Meander, with bigger fish coming from the lower reaches and great numbers of small fish chomping dry flies from upper reaches.

LAKE RIVER
Options are now opened up on this lesser-known river with the angler access enhanced. I hadn’t visited since early season and was pleased to see levels running much lower and effectively fishable with the fly. I caught a couple of chunky little brownies within the Angler Access stretch and lost one that would have been pushing one kilo.
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