Brumby's Caenid mornings
by Adam Scurrah
One of the most challenging fly fishing situations one can find themselves in is during the developmental stages of fly fishing. Combine this with a size twenty two fly and trout almost as tricky as those tailers at Little Pine and you have yourself a certain recipe for frustration and you begin to question yourself, "what am I doing here at 4.30am?"
Fortunately as the sun begins to rise it also answers the above question. It opens the page on what fly fishing is all about. Through squinting eyes and circling mist you see the first rise (or sip), then another then another and so on until it seems that every fish in the river has woken with the first rays of light.
Whilst it may appear that every trout looks to be rising ten times a minute and they are, it is easy to think on your first few trips that this fishing looks easy but once you have experienced the Caenid hatch, this theory will be blown away along with past experiences fishing the dry fly.
Caenids are a member of the Tasmanocenis genus and are a mayfly. Spinners are blackish-brown in colour and only around three millimetres long with transparent wings with the dun having whitish wings. These mayflies are similar in appearance to the Baetid mayfly and are often confused by visiting anglers.
Caenids will begin to hatch at Brumby's by November with the hatch thickening in early December and continuing on until late February or early March. They will begin to hatch before sunrise so it is essential that you are on the water at first light which in mid-summer means a 4am alarm.
Ceanids hatch in the millions so that equates to a lot of trout food which in turn equates to a lot of trout feeding on top.
Brumby's creek is located about 35 minutes from Launceston near Cressy and sits at the bottom of the Western Tiers. Its is essentially a tailrace fishery consisting of three weirs. It was altered from a small river in the 1960's by the HEC and receives clear cold water from great lake through the Poatina power station. Before being turned into a tailrace fishery the fishing was considered first class with good hatches and foraging fish with fish up to four pounds common and in excellent condition.
Today's fishing seems similar to that of the 60's with fish up to four and five pounds still common with good hatches and plenty of tailers.
The best fly fishing is found above the first weir at fisheries lane. This area is restricted to artificial lures only and fishing from moving boats is prohibited. There is a small area near the car park and toilets where small boats and canoes can be launched. It is recommended that only canoes and small boats be used as larger boats will put down fish for anglers fishing from the shore, maybe a restriction allowing electric motors only would be a good idea. Caution should be taken when boating on brumby's due to the weirs and the water is cold and flows strongly.
Brumby's resembles more of a lake than a river or creek, at fisheries lane and has dense weed growth which creates good hatches but mainly not as thick as those found on the Macquarie due to the cooler water, but in turn the cooler water allows hatches to continue throughout summer once the other waters hatches have subsided.
Access to fisheries lane is achieved by going over the first bridge after Cressy and following the road for about three kilometres until you come to a signposted gate on your right hand side. Open and close the gate and follow the road down until you come to the river. Follow the road until you get to the large pine trees near the toilet block being careful of sheep on the road. Once here walk or boat up the river for the best fishing spots.
Fortunately not to many people fish this early in the morning so you should have plenty of options on where to fish. If you have access to a canoe or small boat this is the best option but if you do not there is still great fishing to be found but you may just have to put up with boggy wading.
The old river bed is deep and gives the fish cover and fishing the edges of this gives good rewards but be careful you do not wade into the deep holes and the river bed itself.
In front of the car park you are likely to see dozens of fish but the wading can be hard and the fish finicky but it is very hard to walk past large rising fish. If you keep walking past the fence line you are always likely to see rising fish in between the pin rushes and willow trees and sometimes find fish right in close between the shore and pin rushes but these are easily spooked so walk slowly and carefully. Past this area you will come to a large open area that is like a lake. The fish in this area feed like lake fish and cruise about looking for their food, it pays to wade out to a likely spot and stay put waiting for a fish to come within casting range, generally this should not take too long.
The area above this in between the island and the shore fishes like a fast flowing river and the takes here will be fast and is generally a good fall back if the fishing is tough elsewhere. Further on around the bend is deeper but contains good fish. Fishing around the island further up is challenging as the fish sit in shallow water but you normally are able to polaroid your fish in the crystal clear water before casting to them. If you keep going up the river you will find large broadwaters which can produce good fishing but generally there will be enough fish in the previously mentioned areas to keep you going. Further on is another large broadwater you will have passed on your drive in. Many people park their car here and fish and it contains some fantastic sight fishing opportunities but be warned the fish once hooked will head straight for the many pin rushes located in this area.
Canoe and Boat fishing:
Once you have launched your canoe or boat there is an endless opportunity for fishing. The best area being in a place we call prettyland located in between willow trees directly opposite the car park. Behind this area on the other side of the river is also a good spot to find many trout. Futher on opportunities abound with rising trout everywhere it is difficult to name a better location than another but just exploring will no doubt allow you to see hundreds of fish. The area below the car park towards the weir is recognised as having the huge fish in it and it is possible to hook six and seven pound fish here
Riseforms, Water levels and Weather:
One of the essential ingredients to success is working out what stage the fish are feeding on. You will be able to discern whether they are feeding on the nymph or adult stage by looking at the rise forms of the trout. A large plop with the nose coming out of the water means they are feeding on the dun or spinner stage whereas a back and tail rise probably means they are intercepting the nymph as it rises to the surface to hatch. It is also vitally important to pick the weather. If when you wake there is the slightest breeze get some more kip and maybe give the duns or the dragonflies a go later in the day, as any wind will ruin the hatch and if you are like me a 4am start has to be rewarded with good fishing.
Bright days also seem to end the hatch earlier as the spinner seems to get burnt by the rising hot sun, but even on a scorching hot morning you should get two to three hours of compelling fishing. Also important is the height of the river.
The fishing is at its best when the river is running full and has been running full for some time as the trout and the fly both seem to like stable high flows fortunately at this time of year this is nearly always the case. An ideal days fishing will comprise of a mild overcast morning with no breeze and the river running full.