Perfect Fly Fishing River


I’ve been fishing for the best part of five decades now and if there’s one lesson I’ve learned over the years that I’d like share with you, it would be don’t give up too quickly.

Time and again I see people go fishing and after a little while of not catching much they give up, throw their hands in the air and declare that the fish just aren’t biting today. Well maybe that’s true some of the time but it’s been my experience that a lot of the time the fish will actually bite, if, and it’s a big IF, you can show them something that they want to eat.


This little lesson was rammed home to me recently on Woods lake in Tasmania. A mate and I were fishing from the shore there and as we made our way along the bank in the late afternoon light we could see trout splashing and leaping everywhere. There was a massive rise going on and it looked like we would have no trouble landing a few.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what didn’t happen. My mate, who is a very experienced lure fisherman tried every lure in his box and could only manage one tiny little trout and a couple of halfhearted nudges. The fish simply weren’t interested in lures and there wasn’t much he could do about it.


Luckily I had my fly rod with me but for the first half an hour or so, I couldn’t get a so much as a sniff either, despite all the action happening right in front of me. All I could do was keep changing flies to try and find something that worked, so that’s exactly what I did. After about five different flies I finally landed a little brown. It wasn’t a very big fish but at least it was a start.

While I probably could have kept casting that same fly and fooled a few more of the little fish that were leaping about, I decided to keep swapping flies until I found something the bigger fish would eat.

Several changes later I hit pay dirt. I found myself hooked up to one of the big, beautiful buttery coloured browns this lake is famous for. We spent a bit of time grabbing some photos to remember the experience, then I was able to land two more before the daylight finally melted away and we had to head back to the car.


Now I’m an average fly caster at best, so you can imagine how stoked I was to land three fussy Highland Browns. You can also imagine how disappointed my mate was to have landed only the one fish with so much action happening. It wasn’t his fault and If we didn’t have the fly rod there to show otherwise we could easily have given up and gone home empty-handed. Luckily we had some patience and plenty of perseverance and that’s what really made the difference.

The point of all this is not to try and prove that fly fishing for trout is more effective than using lures. On another night it might well be the lures which did the trick and the fly could have missed out.

What I do want to illustrate is that you shouldn’t give up too quickly. Just because the first or the second or even the third thing you try doesn’t work, keep persevering and trying different things and you might just find what they want. When you do, you can quickly turn a quiet trip into one to remember, so stick with it.




Do you have any tips to share for getting local fishing knowledge you can share with the rest of us? Let everyone know through the comments section below. Thanks.

Dave Magner

Dave is a keen and experienced lure and fly angler who has travelled and fished right across Australia and New Zealand. He particularly enjoys tournament bass fishing, chasing freshwater species from his kayak and bluewater pelagics from his boat.