“I’ve got to do a bit of work in Tassie in the second week of April,” said Max, “Want to join me for some fishing afterwards?” It was a tempting offer, but Tasmania’s not exactly a balmy place and I’d never fished there as late as April. Would it be too late?
Well, as it turned out, not for the northern rivers at least! Based near Deloraine, Max and I split our time between the Mersey and Meander. At 0.76 m on the gauge at Meander, the latter was flowing perhaps a little high. However a 3 pounder on the hopper third cast of the trip and Max backing that up with a 2 pounder a few minutes later, soon suggested that both the river height and the time of year were going to be just fine.
If anything, the Mersey proved even better. At 0.5 m on the Kimberley gauge the river was idyllic at several different bridges – clear and very comfortable to fish. Mayfly featured here more than hoppers, though Max still managed a burst of good hopper action and overall we were both surprised at how plentiful and active the hoppers were along both rivers, at least after the morning sun had warmed things up a bit.
The mayfly action too was inclined to be best after midday, though we always managed quite a few fish in the morning searching with a bigger Adams, Stimulators and nymphs (small Cadillacs and Shock Tactics were best.) A smaller single Adams or Orange Spinner was good in the afternoon; or else various foam hoppers along the best hopper banks.
It wasn’t easy fishing, as in hurl a Royal Wulff and nymph up any run and brace for a take. You had to think about flies, nymph depth (if used at all) and especially perfect drift. The fishing on the Mersey in particular reminded me of Montana in this respect: no dead drift, no take. Mends and reach casts were employed often.
We were undeniably fortunate with the weather. Mild, light wind days with temperatures peaking in the high teens, water temperatures around 12 C and frosts staying away (just) helped keep the bugs and the trout happy. Even so, not every hour was trout heaven and we had inexplicably quiet patches among the gold.
Still, chatting to guide Christopher Bassano, he expects this quality river fishing every April. I was surprised how similar it is to the north-east Vic/ Snowys fishing you can get at this time of year, given the area is about 500 km closer to Antarctica! Looks like Max and I have another event to cram in to future autumn calendars…