Fly fishing in October/November - Tasmanian Northern Lowlands

Nick Voce
Some beautiful weather at this time of year has provided conditions that can only highlight the enjoyment of our favourite outdoor pursuits. Many of us will be encouraged to venture forth and pursue our fabulous trout.
Currently, the streams of the northern drainage are returning to normal levels after the high rainfalls of recent months. With the reduction of local runoff, water clarity should continue to improve, especially when the influx of water from the tailrace of the Poatina Power Station gets underway.
The season is shaping up well as an abundance of worms and grubs, is sure to provide trout with the necessary high protein food required during the times when insects are scarce.
 The chill of winter and the rigours of spawning often leave trout in less than perfect condition. High water levels wash these foods into the streams and provide trout with access to flooded backwaters in search of frogs and other goodies.
I have caught browns to 52 cm. that were healthy and fat with scuds (isopods) and water snails.
Excellent fishing can be had in Brumbys Creek, Macquarie River, North and South Esk rivers. The well known Toom's Lake, Lake Leake, Brushy Lagoon and (others)
to name a few, are all excellent at this time.
With changeable early season weather limiting choices for weekend and occasional anglers, the lower altitude of the northern district can offer more predictable and milder conditions compared to the mountain lakes. Rising fuel costs will mean thoughtful planning will be necessary for most of us.
Fish respond to changes in weather conditions and may be found actively feeding in the shallows at various times, especially during periods of high air pressure.
While tailing fish can at times be found close to the banks and in the flooded backwaters, there is always a chance of insect hatches, especially if it is warm and humid. Midge, stoneflies and mayfly hatches are common enough in the right conditions and you are always in for a treat if the trout start to feed on the surface.
Insects are starting to show in gut contents, mainly stick caddis and a few mayfly and stonefly nymphs.
Evening rises have been a little sporadic, although hatches of cockchafer beetles have brought fish to the surface when this has occurred. One fish contained more than thirty of these. They are identified as dark brown to almost in black in colour, about the same size and shape as a peanut.

Useful flies

Sub-surface flies.
Fur fly, Black and Peacock Spider, Brown Nymph, Shaving Brush.
Dry flies
Suitable dry flies such as the Royal Wulff, Parachute Black Spinner, Orange Spinner, CDC Caddis, and Red Tag.

Increasing your chances
As usual it pays to be cautious when stalking trout, as they will be extra nervous and alert in the shallows. At no time that I know about are they easy to approach. A times, they are exceedingly difficult Unnatural movement or even shadows will send them packing. Move slowly and make use of available cover such as high banks, trees and bushes etc.
Many fine anglers use leaders around 10 feet long, while others prefer much longer for a stealthy presentation especially in calmer conditions.  I believe that the use of the longest and finest (up to four and a half meters) is a big advantage where practical, because the fly line is less likely to be seen or heard landing by the fish. Long leaders take some getting used too, but I think that for the extra effort required, the payoff is extra fish on the bank.

Different strokes
River fishing offers much to anglers that enjoy walking, the pace is usually leisurely and patience is required.
Sometimes challenging and frustrating when you catch bushes or the wind threatens to blow you away, but very rewarding and enjoyable. Here are some approaches that are working at he moment.

Upstream-dry or nymph
Many will know the fish's habit of facing the flow. Fishing moving water can be achieved effectively from the bank when we position our selves behind and to one side of them and cast upstream with a nymph imitation. Takes can be rather subtle, and many anglers opt to hang a #12-16 brown nymph below a easily visible dry fly, such as a #12 Royal Wullf, taking advantage of it's buoyant nature.
The key to success is related to the maintenance of correct drift of the pair of flies, and the speed  that you set the hook when the dry is pulled under by the trout grabbing the subsurface nymph as it drifts along at the same sped as the current.
The take to the dry fly is obvious and requires a short delay before tightening into the trout as it heads back to its lie.

Fishing wet flies and streamers in rivers
At times, fish will be slow to rise to the dry or nymph, but a well-swum wet fly will attract attention at these times.
On dull days with few or no trout visible, persistence will pay off with the skilful use of a suitable pattern.
There are many useful wet flies and streamers but in my experience, simple fur or soft feather flies are all that is required.

Wet flies and streamers in lakes.
When conditions allow maximum visibility for the angler, it is a great to see fish swimming about feeding. I enjoy polaroiding whenever I can. There is always a chance to spot a catchable fish at any time the right combination of clear water and sunshine allows it. Lakes are great for polaroiding fish, but on windy and overcast days, we may be forced to adopt other methods.
 While "flogging" wet flies may not be the ultimate method, there is still the excitement of hooking up to the larger fish. When the weather is really rough and waves crash on the shores, I like to rug up and using a #7 weight outfit with 3 m of 0.2 mm nylon monofilament as leader, work the drop-offs with big streamers or marabou flies.
I love the feeling of connecting to fish between 1 and 2 kg, leaping and twisting on the end of your line. They are usually well hooked, as the take is savage due I guess in part to the gameness of the fish under the cover of grey skies and choppy, murky water.
 Nick Voce
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