Mayfly hatches makes the catches
  |  First Published: November 2013

Although the start of the season was a bit hit-and-miss for many around the north, the fishing and catching are now improving. The weather too, continues to influence more consistent action due to trigger hatches, like the recent start to the mayfly season.

Dun Dun Dun…

November has to be my favourite month for flyfishing at Four Springs. Although sporadic, the fishing during mayfly hatches can be sensational. For some reason, the water can be covered in little mayfly duns popping away and only one fish will be feeding on them, then suddenly fish start rising all over the place giving the angler hectic periods of opportunity.

On other days, duns will be madly sailing away all day and barely a fish is seen. Cloudy, muggy days are often best but even still, it’s no guarantee of success. Low light can give you a better chance too, with the evening mop-up my favourite, but sometimes the rising fish just fail to come to the party. That’s fishing for you!

Another option is to fish the first light after a still night – both the caenid mayfly and midge can be dotted across the water, with the odd snout chasing them down. Presentations need to be precise and subtle, so too with imitative fly choice.

The approaching dusk can also bring hatches of caddis moth, madly fluttering around the water’s edge. Many patterns can work well given the various options on offer but as darkness intensifies, deer-hair patterns can be a bit easier to see than more sparsely tied offerings. Try if you can, to track the fish’s path and place your fly a metre or so in front.

River Sessions

There will still be the odd sea-run trout lurking around into November, chasing whitebait up-river but as action slows, your focus should switch to the numerous mayfly hatches on reliable rivers. The Macquarie, South Esk, Brumbys Creek and a few other meadow streams will be experiencing regular hatches of black spinner and red spinner mayfly.

Traditional patterns like a Macquarie Red and Black Spinner are a great starting point but there are many other variants that will work on the right day. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to think outside the fly box from time to time, especially if you’re experiencing a number of refusals.

Once again, the caenid hatch is one to look out for at first light. Some of these hatches have been nothing short of phenomenal on the Meander and Mersey rivers, in particular, at around this time of year.

Angler Access

A reminder to all to take advantage of angler access points on our rivers. Continued negotiations between land owners and Anglers Alliance is improving access to the public every season. There is something like 30 access points on the Mersey River alone – that’s enough to keep the average angler busy all season!

Many of our major waterways are becoming access friendly, you can keep up to date by social media or installing the INfish app by IFS. This is a great resource that details waters in order from closest to furthest from your mobile device. Once you select your water, you can find out all manners of info from access and species to stocking and methods. You can even purchase a licence via the app. Highly recommended!


Of course there are the usual haunts, dedicated access points and convenient after-work locations but nothing beats planning a mission and exploring somewhere new. I make sure I fish a few new waters or new sections each season and love ticking off that uncertainty from my list. Some are scrubbed off immediately, vowing never to return while others spots become secret honey holes where memories are made.

It always pays to do some homework and even team up with a mate if you’re venturing out into the scrub. Pack a bit of tucker and a jacket, tell someone where you’re headed and go and get busy – it’s pretty awesome.

You could probably head out and dong just as many fish using lures or bait, but for me, this time of year is about the mayfly and the best way to imitate this little insect is by fly fishing – a method steeped in history, utterly obsessive and at times, very productive!

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