The wild brown trout

To me the wild brown trout is the ultimate fly fishing challenge. Since its introduction to Tasmania in 1864, from eggs of English wild stock, the Tasmanian wild brown trout has remained disease free and uncontaminated. It could well be claimed to be the purest strain of wild brown trout anywhere in the world.

The most exciting fly fishing test is dry fly fishing to the sighted, feeding fish. Be it rising to the local hatch, clear water polaroiding or shallow water tailing, the wily brown is always a challenge.

When you get it right and the fish is drawn to your fly like a magnet, you say to yourself, this is easy, only to have the next fish come to the same fly, balance it on its nose and refuse your perfect offering as not good enough.

My home fishing territory, Tasmania, is predominantly a wild brown trout fishery of world quality. The majority of our waters, rivers and streams and creek fed lakes or lagoons are self sustained populations. Of the balance, the vast majority of highland tarns and non-stream fed waters are managed by the introduction of wild local area fish transfers not farmed fish.

A group of South Australian friends learn the art

SA mates

From left to right — Rebecca, Tom, Jane, Jason, Paul & David head in for lunch after the introductory casting and morning fishing sessions.

Note the nice kg+ brown Jason is carrying, having just caught his first ever on the fly — dry at that.

The venue here was Currawong Lakes, an ideal location for group workshops. With Jenny looking after the catering in excellent lakeside facilities side it enabled me to concentrate on the casting and fishing requirements for the day where six were looked well after.


In the afternoon, as skill levels grew and with increased insect activity, more fish came to the fly with yours truly netting Rebecca’s first, in this case a very nice rainbow.

It wasn’t just the anglers making firsts. It was the first time I had seen Robin Redbreasts taking hatching duns off the water in the same way as the swallows do.

In fact Jason had one come so low over his emerger pattern it actually created a ‘false rise’ imitation with the wind from its wings.

Fishing tales • First timers • Flies • Dry • The fish • Wild Brown Trout •

Fly before food


That is dedication and determination for you.

Ernst, along with his friends Andrew and Jen, was staying at our Cliff Top Cabin where we had had a short tying session the night before.

Determined to get the copper bead-head nymph right Ernst is so engrossed in the tying job, his fresh, done to order, breakfast remains untouched.

As you can see below, he also had some great fishing times over the three days.


Deadly Dragon (flies) of Tasmania!


I know that the dragonfly is a very territorial insect, but this was a rare chance to capture one actually devouring an intruder.

You can just make out the poor Blue Damsel partly hidden by the light brown reed in the foreground being cleaned up, so to speak.

If this was not unusual enough the other day, another client was fishing a dual rig with a dry hopper pattern on top and a small bead head nymph under when, as he cast up stream about 30 feet or so, a ‘big’ dragonfly attacked the hopper in flight, caught it and flew back past us carrying both about four to five feet off the water.

It was only the eventual drag of the fly line going downstream that pulled it clear of the dragonfly’s clutches.

I had just about focused with the digital when it let go.

I was wondering if any other fly fishers have seen such an action by a dragonfly?

I know of swallows, etc. picking up or swooping on dries, but never an insect do this.

Great team action


Next up it was husband & wife, Andrew and Jen, who not only shared a lovely stretch of water, but Jen is proudly showing her first up wild brown to Andrew, who not to be out done follows up a few minutes later by proving to Jen what she can do he can match it!

This is one of the delights of guiding and/or teaching couples, they can share the experience, some great fishing and enjoy together the lovely environment which is Tasmania’s wild trout fishery.


Good things come to those that wade


So says the Tasmanian Tourism fly fishing ads for this lovely island.

Well that certainly is true for this group of four good friends who had a fly fishing workshop recently with Red Tag.

Donna and Gail, above, and Netti and Sue, below, enjoy the challenge and the cool waters on a warm summer’s day.


All had success with the wild browns and a taste of one or two for their hard work at dinner time.


Sue gets her first wild brown on a Dark Brown Mayfly emerger, above, and Netti, below, breaks her duck with this nice stream fish on a Pink Bum Grasshopper.


Max makes top rod


It is always great to see young enthusiastic fishers getting into fly fishing, so it was a pleasure for me to give Max, 12, a few hours coaching the other day in order to help him get the basics before he was heading up to Arthur’s for a trip with his dad and a mate of his dad’s next day.

Well as luck would have it ,the teaching day was windy with very few fish showing and although Max stuck to it and seemed to get a good handle on things, I was a bit disappointed for him not to have christened his new Pro Angler Wizard outfit.

After a couple of days I got a call from Max to say he not only christened the rod but did it in style with five to hand for the day — the best effort of the group.

Dad reckoned his grin was nearly as big as the fish — well done Max! Here’s to many more tight lines in the future.