Autumn brings relief from hot and dry conditions
  |  First Published: March 2013

We spend so long during the cooler months waiting for summer to arrive and just as we’re settling in, it’s pretty much done and dusted.

It might spell a sigh of relief for many though as we’ve had some consistently hot and dry conditions, exhausting both our fisheries and the anglers!

Many northern rivers and tributaries could do with a decent rain and a good flush to get things going. I guess we can’t have it all our way, as a few good days of rain would probably delay the recent grasshopper fishing which has been nothing short of sensational.

It’s like the trout’s version of the Big Day Out with the ‘hopper being the headline act and you can bet a few bangers that now I’m back from an overseas mission, I’ll be right up in the mosh pit this year. I just have to be careful not to pop a disc or something (again).

Anglers fishing the Mersey and Meander in particular have reported great numbers of ‘hoppers and trout close by responding well to a wide variety of patterns. Public access stretches provided by Angler Access have also been performing well so don’t drive past these fantastic waters, especially when there are no cars parked in the vicinity!

One spot in particular is the Woolmers Bridge section on the Macquarie River which can generally fish really well at this time of year, providing the water provided by Brumbys Creek has not been running a banker for extended periods. If no fish are showing, it pays to blind fish the edges with ‘hopper patterns during the day and smaller caddis patterns early and late.

Keep your eye out for mayfly too which should begin to re-appear this month, providing another exciting food source for our speckled friends. Sparse spinner and emerger patterns usually bring a few undone at this time of year, as more settled weather can make them a bit spooky. If you see the odd snout breaking the surface at dusk try an F-Fly; a trusted fussy-fish producer.

Another water that appears to have come back to life of late is the infamous St Patricks River. I reported a couple of months back how cormorants have given many sections a good touch up, but the resilient brown trout has emerged from hiding in a few haunts to take advantage of the ‘hopper festival.

A good mate reported a great day out recently with a ‘coupla hands-full’ of fish coming to hand, with some taken on generic ‘hopper patterns and the rest on a Royal Wulff. This fly has probably accounted for 35% of my river fish during my short flyfishing addiction. It’s a fantastic searching fly and doesn’t really imitate anything specific but can look a bit like a ‘hopper, a bit like a moth and represents a similar silhouette to a mayfly. The touch of red on this fly then adds a little bit of the aggression factor, bringing inquisitive trout up for a tempting look.

It’s a must have in the Tasmanian fly box in my opinion.

Of course there’s the major rivers to explore and many anglers get around to fishing them at least once in the season, but don’t forget those lesser-known waters that barely get a mention or hidden away from major roads. These can be magic little waters providing they hold enough water year-round and lots of fellas I know have at least one hidden gem.

Check out a map and get to exploring before the season is up, you may just stumble on to someone else’s dirty little secret. Treat them with respect but be sure to fish the hell outta them!

Moving forward, the ‘hopper action will drop off and the mayfly too but as long as the levels remain low we can expect dry fly action to continue on the rivers right up until the season closes. I know I’ve had sessions where I’ve landed fish on the dry on opening day and closing day and I don’t expect this season be any different in terms of that opportunity.

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