Mother Nature must have noticed my last article, because the mayfly hatches are close to their beguiling best on a number of our local lakes.
After a week which promised bad weather, we’ve so far mostly kept the rain and gales to harmlessly after dark, with the days cloudy, humid and with not too much wind. Perfect dun weather (theoretically!) and so it has proved to be this week at least.
Hatches have been very good at Moorabool, Newlyn and Wendouree. If you want to be certain of not missing any of the action, you need to be on the water by 11am, and stay until at least 4pm. However, the most reliable slot is 1pm to 3pm.
As for the reaction of the fish, it’s been pretty good. I saw duns at Wendouree early this afternoon, and fish on them. Although regulars are complaining that frantic seagull activity during hatches is putting the fish down, I’ve had enough firsthand reports of good fish caught to note that this lake is presently well worth a visit on a dun day.
Newlyn has been steady for at least a couple of weeks, and today was no exception. Not huge hatches, but enough to get trout of all sizes – from stockies to beauties – up and at ‘em.
Moorabool has had some enormous hatches (even sometimes under the ‘wrong’ conditions), but the trout reaction has been unpredictable. Some days, enough seriously big fish get up; other days all you can find are stockies.
Ironically, Hepburn, which has been one of the most productive Central Highland lakes generally over the last few months, has so far failed to deliver on the mayfly front… well, at least in my case. It could be duns are hatching somewhere on the lake which I haven’t found yet, or I’ve been there on the wrong days, or they’re simply late starters this year?
Hepburn aside, it’s shaping up to be a memorable mayfly year up here. While some anglers have done well fishing nymphs, I’ve so far stubbornly stuck to dries (mainly Possum Emergers and Shaving Brushes) and I’ve caught enough trout not to seriously consider nymphing… yet. It’s worth noting that there seems to be no rationally-deducible reason why the Shaver works one day and the Possum the next – but that’s how it certainly seems, at least for me. Confidence-bias or reality? Who knows!
Anyway, if you see a nice cloudy day coming up without too much wind, pop up for a ‘gentleman’s hours’ cast if you can. And don’t be bothered by a bit of rain: it won’t hurt, and may even help.
Dun hatches can be frustrating, confusing, and exciting; but mostly, they’re fun, and the very definition of the flyfishing experience.