VOLUME 30, ISSUE 7. February 2024

David Blackwell battling the elements on Lake Ada during a club trip to Tasmania in December 2023.


Next Members Monthly Meeting

Our February Members Monthly Meeting is at our usual venue, The Freeway Hotel in Artarmon, on Monday the 12th February 2024, kicking off at 7:00pm.

Our guest speaker will be Kurt Lehmann who is a long time fly fisher and early member of the club. Kurt will be discussing his pursuit of big trout, both in Australia and New Zealand.

Please view further down the Flyrodder for the details.


Next Members Monthly Fly Tying 

The Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will held on Monday, 19th February 2024 at our usual venue in the Green Room of the Henley Community Centre, kicking off at 7:00pm. 

See further details below under the Monthly Fly Tying segment.


President's Report

Denis Hill with a gorgeous Mataura River brown from the February 2023 NZ Trip.

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

President's Report February 2024

Welcome back everyone and best wishes for 2024. Contrary to the weather forecast going into summer, we have had plenty of rain, the rivers and the fish are all doing well and we have a number of upcoming events for you to take advantage of these great conditions.

Our Big River trip is full, but there is the Mitta Mitta trip and we are currently in the process of organising three new events.  We will send out notifications as these events are open for booking on our website, but I want to talk about one of these events and have you mark it in your diary. This year our club is organising the CFA (Council of Freshwater Anglers) Interclub Event. The event will be based at the Black Gold Cabins in Wallerawang, starting at lunchtime on Friday the 5th April and ending at lunchtime on Sunday the 7th.

The Interclub program involves a fishing competition, a casting competition (for those who would like to) and the chance to meet and socialise with members of our club and multiple other freshwater fishing clubs, both fly and lure. The fishing competition will start at 12 noon on the Friday, this first session will finish at 10am on Saturday. From 10 am to 2pm on the Saturday there will be a BBQ lunch, raffles and for those interested, the casting competition. The second session of the fishing comp will start at 2pm after the BBQ and finish at 10am Sunday, followed by brunch and prize giving. While the structure of the weekend revolves around the competition, it is the social aspect that makes the event. So don’t be put off by the fact that there is a competition aspect to the weekend, it's a great chance to fish two evening rises in the company of fellow anglers. So put the dates in your diary.

We will update you on the other events as we get organised, the Committee had Christmas and January off, but we are back in harness and you will have more details of these events soon.

Tight Lines,


Denis Hill


From the Editor

Jason with a bass from his canoe taken on a surface fly.

This is my first issue of the Flyrodder as Editor - something I have approached with a mixture of enthusiasm and trepidation. 

For this first issue, I would like to thank John Brassil, Graham Partington and Bob Hart for taking the time to submit their trip reports, which are well worth a read. Thanks also to David Caddies for his insights on casting, which he contributes faithfully for every issue. I attended my first casting practice in January, and was impressed by the way in which David breaks down the technicalities of casting into simple, bite-sized pieces of information. That's the trait of an excellent teacher and I encourage all members to attend his sessions because you'll get a lot out of them.

Most of all, I would like to express my gratitude to Gavin van der Wagen. Gavin served on the Committee and as Editor of The Flyrodder for the past 10 years, during which time he also organised numerous trips for members. When Gavin asked me to take over as Editor, I couldn't refuse, and I'm very grateful for the time he has taken to show me the ropes. So thanks Gavin - from me and all the other members who have the pleasure of knowing you.

As Editor, I hope to do a decent job for members and hope you enjoy reading future issues of The Flyrodder. 


Jason Hemens - Editor



Last Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker Report

Our December Members Christmas Meeting guest speaker was our previous and now returned club member Gordon Dunlop. Gordon was our first club Treasurer in 1994 and one of our founding members. Gordon presented on his lifetime of salt water fly fishing, covering everything from flathead and whiting in Lake Narrabeen to just shy of 50 billfish across the world's deep oceans.

You can view this meeting video and indeed all the previous presentations on our Members Private Video Library on YouTube. To view them please Login to our Sydney Fly Rodders Website; click on Members and select YOUTUBE CHANNEL, as per the picture below.

We have many wonderful videos in our Private Members Video Library, in fact they're all wonderful and informative, plus you can view them at your leisure!

The following are some photos from the Christmas Members Meeting:

Our El Capitano, Denis Hill, kicked off precedings

Our Treausurer and numbers man, James Webber, cracked another accounting joke to raptuous applause

Our wonderful supporters, Brett and Cherie from BWC flies, enjoyed the evening's precedings

Gordon Dunlop talked about his passion for salwater fly fishing

Now that's impressive!


Next Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker

Our February Members Monthly Meeting is at our usual venue, The Freeway Hotel in Artarmon, on Monday the 12th February 2024.

The Meeting will kick off at 7:00pm, but come along earlier and enjoy a pre meeting drink with fellow attendees. The doors will be open from 6:00pm.

Our guest speaker will be Kurt Lehmann who is a long time fly fisher, an early member of the club, and now works for the Sydney Water Police. Kurt will be discussing chasing big trout, both in Australia and New Zealand.

So come along and enjoy another great presentation.

For those unable to attend the meeting we will be recording the presentation and then uploading it to our Club Members Private Video Library on YouTube. 

You will also be able to view all the previous meeting presentations that we have recorded, and view at your leisure.

Many of our attendees arrive a bit earlier and have dinner either before, else the bar staff will deliver your meal order to our meeting room and you can enjoy your meal, and or drink, whilst the meeting is underway. The food is good value for money and the company is priceless!! So come along and have a relaxing and entertaining meeting where you can meet other members and pick up on useful snippets information that is shared amongst the group.

Our Meeting is normally held on the 2nd Monday of each month, unless it is a public holiday; in which case it will be delayed a week. 

There is ample parking in the parking garage under the Freeway Hotel, which is accessed from Dickson Avenue (at the back), just off Reserve Road, in Artarmon.

The address is 115 Reserve Road, Artarmon 2064 (for GPS). 

Looking forward to catching up at the meeting.


New Members

We had eight new members join our club in in December and January.

We extend a warm welcome to Andrew Ball, Chris Clarke, Majid Horiye, Paula Newbery, Gordon Noble, Glen Olney, Sam Oxford and Mark Skacel.

We encourage new members to join in on the many activities that we run as this is a good way to meet other club members and also to improve your fly fishing skills and most importantly to have a great time.

Looking forward to meeting you at our Monthly Members Meetings and at events throughout the coming year.


Last Month's Casting Practice Report


This report spans the end of year period and the new year, as the Flyrodder took a short break in January but casting practice didn’t.

Casting practice knows no rest. We try not to miss a date and it proved to be popular notwithstanding the festive seasonal duties which can tend to push out worthy activities like fly casting. So, attendances were in the usual range of 12-15 members enjoying fine weather and the opportunity to chat and cast.

A decent turnout for the January casting session

Jason Hemens, our new Flyrodder editor, was in attendance in January for his first practice with the club, honing his roll casts and generally soaking up the vibe of what goes on at casting practice. Welcome Jason and the several other first-timers. He was wielding a nice-looking camera, so I suspect he may embellish this report with some relevant pics. I suspect he may by now have been influenced by ex-editor Gavin as to the imaginative use of captions to the pics, so watch for some creative writing! I often suspected that Gavin deliberately mixed-up pics and captions, but he always denied it.

Those members unable to perform a roll cast by the end of the session were humanely dispatched

Some members made attempts at Bronze level (Casting Skills Development Program on FFI website) casts and were generally well done. To be continued.

Craig Symonds impressed by sporting an actual FFI Bronze badge pinned to his hat, having reached that goal last year and formally joining Fly Fishers International. I want to think that I’ll see the Gold one there in due course. Per ardua ad astra. Other club members have such FFI qualifications but haven’t joined FFI and that’s fine. I joined not for the badge but, as a member, there’s so much on the FFI site that interests me about casting, teaching casting and fly tying, not to mention reams of information about all forms of fishing gear and techniques. Including lots on saltwater. 

The wizard at work with his magic wand

As well as the usual layouts on the grass to enable demonstration of the Bronze level casts, we have been delving into what kind of straightforward exercises can we do to kill 30 minutes in the park without getting bored or wanting to make long distance casts just to see if you can. There is a school of thought that goes like this: “Do the thing for long enough and you’ll get very good at it.” So, does practice make perfect? Most of us don’t practice at all, so maybe it’s a moot point. Most fishers just hope to get more distance and accuracy as they go about fishing and then rest on that. I think that strategy can work, up to a point. My intention at club days is to enhance fundamental learning and use those skills as a base for other techniques which let you fish all the water, not just the open areas. Fly casting is not intuitive – it’s a skill which needs development and maintenance, a lot like golf. Golf is pretty easy really, because they seem to do it on a surface which is not even moving. 

"What do you mean you can't cast a tight loop like this using rope on a 3 weight?"

I know casters (of decades experience) who can’t and won’t roll cast. That may be because it is even less intuitive than overhead casting. Typically, early attempts disappoint and it never seems to get any better unless you are shown how and do some work on it. I think the smart money is on learning the roll cast as the first thing you do when you pick up a fly rod. Case in point: a new member came to January casting practice with a new set of gear which had never been used: ie. that member’s first casting experience. After some guided practice in how to make the rod and line move side to side (not yet overhead), then listening very patiently to an explanation and demo, they bravely stepped up in front of the others and knocked out a classic 38’ roll cast on first attempt. On the grass! And it fell pretty straight. I’m not saying it’s all easy from here, but some guidance, a positive attitude (ie confidence) and a bit of practice will do wonders.

The secret to a successful roll cast is all in the set up

Instant success is not what does it for me: it’s really seeing that moment when the learner (of any level) sees a better result than before because of a deliberate, thoughtful, action. Cause and effect has kicked in on the back of success. Knowledge has advanced!  It might not yet be perfect or even good, but the lights are now on and things will happen. That’s when practice makes perfect. You need to have, and recognize, the breakthrough moments. If you are practising seriously but don’t see results, you may just need a breakthrough, not more of the same.

Members of all levels of experience took something away from the session

Next practice day we’ll expand on a practice drill for roll casts, advance the needed moves for double hauling and pursue some Bronze and Silver level casting skills. If you’ve been coming for the last few months, you need to be there in February to reinforce. If you haven’t, come and pick it up – we always start with the basics.

See you there


Our next Casting Practice will be held on 11 February 2024.

See the following section for further dates and information.


Club Monthly Casting Practice - Details and Event Schedule.

SFRC MONTHLY CASTING PRACTICE  9am Sunday 11 February 2024 

Reminder: Leave your 9 – 10’ trout leader with the 5X tippet at home. Bring one which is 8’ – 8’6” and terminating in 8 or 10 lb tippet. This session will suit DT or WF floating lines, for the single-handers. Two-handers, bring what you got. 

Start time is 9am:

HOWEVER: If you wish to have a go at being evaluated for any one or more of the casts in the Bronze Skills Development Program and you would like to come earlier than 9, send me a text message to that effect on 0434 671 085 and I’ll be there to set it up, from 8am. Coaching and demonstrations will be going on after 9, but with not much opportunity for individual evaluations. Early notice would be appreciated, but don’t let that stop you from a late practice on Saturday to see if you’re ready! 

All members are welcome to join in the club’s usual monthly practice session. If you want to know everything about the club’s casting practice sessions, read the whole blurb in the Flyrodder magazine.

WHERE: Timbrell Park, Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock. Go to the western end of Henley Marine Drive, past the cricket pitches, baseball nets and just past LIvvi’s coffee kiosk and kids’ playground area. There is an open area opposite where Ingham Avenue intersects with Henley Marine Drive which we usually use. It is not part of the sports fields. If conditions there are not suitable on the day, we will be just opposite, across the canal, or anywhere within sight that I can find. 

If you can’t make it this time and want some good practical instruction to guide you, check out this site: https://www.flyfishersinternational.org/Learn/Learning-Center-Resources/Fly-Casting/Casting-Instruction

I don’t know if that link works for you. Google FFI flyfishing and delve around. Most stuff is open to non-members. 

David Caddies 

So come and give it a try, as there is so much to be gained by attending these sessions. And they are Free!!!

For 2024, we have moved to the second Sunday of the month, except for May as it's Mother's Day, therefore casting will be on the 1st Sunday in May.

So put these dates in your diary for 2024:

11 February 2024

10th March 2024

14th April 2024

5th May 2024

9th June 2024

14th July 2024

11th August 2024

8th September 2024

13th October 2024

10th November 2024

8th December 2024.


Last Months Fly Tying Meeting Report

There was no fly tying held in January. The next one will be on the 19th February 2024

These are wonderful sessions with our fly tying guru Dave, so even if you are thinking about tying, and wondering about the benefits, please come along and give it a try as we have plenty of fly tying equipment, and you don't have to bring a thing; apart from yourself that is. Or you can just come and watch. Give it a go as we all commenced our fly tying in this manner and Dave will teach you the correct techniques and various tricks to make it a straight forward process. Then you'll kick off the best way and buy the appropriate equipment that suites your needs.

As Dave says "Learn the core skills and tie any pattern you like!"


Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting

Our next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will be held on Monday, 19th February 2024, from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. The doors will open at 6:30pm to give you time to set up for a 7:00pm start.

Dave Wilson will be tying a Sedgehog Bibio. According to Dave, 

Apart from being a popular lake pattern it is also the perfect pattern on which to learn a couple of special tying techniques. In place of traditional deer hair, we will be using fur cross-cuts which require a special technique - used also in tying Sloan’s Fur fly. We will also apply a cross-cut hair hackle and we will use dubbing also made from the same cross-cuts. While 'Zonkers' (longitudinal cuts) are used in many patterns, it could be argued that cross-cuts are more versatile and useful. We are blessed with a fur coat from Vinnies and will be putting it to good use!”

We normally have experienced tiers to help and look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

For those who don't have a vise, we have ample spare one's available.

We particularly welcome first timers and all levels of fly tiers as you will all learn something from these wonderful sessions.

If you would like to just come and observe, then please do so to see if this is for you. You'll be surprised at how "easily" you can get into tying your own flies.

The venue is the Henley Community Centre in Hunters Hill, and we meet in the  Green Room on the right as you enter.

The venue address is: Crown Street, Henley, NSW 2111. As you turn into Crown Street, from Victoria Road, take the first left and drive down a bit of a bumpy road, and it's the last building about a 100 yards down the drag. There's parking off the track and walk through a small road, but it's a short walk to the front door.


Tassie Trip Report - December 2023

Stunning river scenery from the Upper Mersey    

by John Brassil

A motley crew of 12 drifted into the Blenheim Pub in Longford on the Friday evening of 8 December 2023. They were joined by 4 other fellow Sydney Fly Rodders. Some had arrived by horse and dray others by ferry and others by flying machines, the latter having threatened to hijack the adventure by strikes over pay and conditions. But luck was with them all that day (well almost all) and they gathered for a feed and sage words from a local guru on how to catch the much-heralded wild trout of the NE corner of the former convict colony of Van Dieman’s Land. It turned out that one of the 12 (Steve) contracted the plague in one of the flying machines which reduced his fishing to three of 7 days. We stuck him in quarantine quarters and went about our mission. Yes, this adventure had a real early colonial feel about it, based on the fact that our headquarters was in restored ex-convict cottages on a large free-settler farm on the banks of the Macquarie River.

Typical Woolmer’s Estate Cottages    

Old Blacksmith’s Shed

Our guru was Jason Garrett Jnr, renowned river guide who gave us the low down. We think though that one of his prophecies was more wishful thinking. “You must leave your Euro rigs at home, the fish will be surface feeding”, the guru chanted.  Lucky some of us weren’t listening because it turns out only a very small percentage of an estimated 250+ fish caught on the lowland rivers were caught on dries. The rest on nymph under dry/indicator, or on Euro style rigs. My own dry score was 8%.

So, you say, how were 250+ fish netted in just 6 days?  Prior to a storm that blew in on the afternoon of day five, we enjoyed joyful weather on the lowland rivers. Mid 20s, low humidity, sunny with some cloud. Some hardy souls ventured to the highland lakes and most enjoyed good conditions. However, two of the party, Bruce and David B, unfortunately selected a frightful day to visit Lake Ada which resembled the North Sea in a blizzard, but still netted one lovely brown. 

North Sea conditions on Lake Ada

David Blackwell with bounty from the North Sea


My own experience of a full and sunny day on Penstock Lagoon resulted frustratingly also with one 60cm brown caught on a black spinner that David B had lent me. Talking with a few other bank anglers and not hearing any whooping from the 8 boats drifting the lagoon, it seemed we weren’t alone in our frustration. Denis and Steve (before the plague) also found the highland lakes tough, netting a few decent fish but it required all the guile you could muster – and a lot of luck.

John Brassil with the solitary Penstock Brown

Warwick among the reeds at Penstock

Steve Higgins with a lake beauty

There was a huge selection of lowland rivers with intimate idyllic fishing sections.  You could choose from the South and North Esk, the Liffey, St Patricks, Lake River, the Meander and Mersey rivers, amongst others. The latter two are tailwaters below man-made lakes, fed from the Western Tiers and Central Highlands. The braver amongst us ventured to these lakes and above to the headwaters and were greeted by stunning scenery. I personally had little luck on the upper catchment of the Mersey River below Parangana Dam, despite being floored by the amazing scenery. And no further luck befell me on the lowland Mersey where the farmland diminishes the charm a little. Our esteemed El Presidente, fished Huntsman Lake (Meander River headwaters), for 4-5 good-sized browns as well as spooking the customary half dozen.

El Presidente Denis Hill with a Huntsman brown

Warwick and I fished the upper catchment of the Meander, just below Huntsman Lake on a beautiful sunny day. We both joined the Meander Swim Club – the rocks being among the slipperiest I’ve ever encountered. However, in the time Warwick walked the 400m back to the car to change rods, I had caught 5 small browns in pocket water and had my swim. Warwick, caught a couple further upstream. I ventured further up a dry wash-out to rejoin the river and found what could only be described as idyllic. It should have handed over fish, but I wasn’t good enough. The whole section up to Huntsman Dam looked like great water and needs to be explored at a future date. I did have an up-close and personal visit from an echidna who took a liking to my boots while I was changing rigs.

Upper Catchment Meander below Huntsman

My new Buddy helping me to change flies – Meander River

That afternoon, the Meander looked good just above Meander village but we chose to fish upstream of the Cheshunt Rd bridge. We struggled and only got another one each. The river looked nice but we clearly were not offering the right incentive because others in the group who fished this section later had good success.

The South Esk was my nemesis. It’s a long drive to the upper catchment. To be fair, after Warwick and I successfully took 6 each, 30cm browns using euro and dry/dropper on the North Esk on the way to Upper Esk, our enthusiasm was waning. We tried the northernmost public access spot on the Upper South Esk, a beautiful location, but no fish obliged. After that, we only gave the South Esk a cursory and unsuccessful fish further downstream. Others, including Mark B, Denis and Steve, as well as James and Freddy, had successful outings at the Griffin Campsite and nearby spots on the South Esk near Mathinna taking plenty.

Upper Catchment of South Esk

Mark Bransgrove with one of 12 from Griffin Campsite on South Esk

Max tried a different experience at the other end of the South Esk near Evandale throwing dries into shallow weed beds and landed 6 browns. Chalk some up for the dry fly – “yee ha!!”, I hear the guru chanting!!  Unfortunately, the South Esk proved to be a challenge for Bruce taking a fall down a bank, then spending a lengthy time in Launceston General before being cleared with just severe bruising.  And it was impressive bruising as the photos will show. Thanks to Max for nursing Bruce through this ordeal.

Bruce Auty experienced a bruising encounter on the South Esk – Ouch!

Max Beyer with one of his 6 on dry on the South Esk

St Patricks was kind to David W and Mark B who netted 5, I think near the Myrtle Park campground. But the day before, Graham had to fight off the locals in the popular Nunamara beats. I didn’t fish it despite drooling over a number of Youtube videos prior to the trip. It looks tight and willowy, just my kind of water, but next time I will spend some effort finding a way into the lower catchment below Nunamara for that experience.

David Webster on St Patricks

The two rivers that fished most consistently for just about everyone in the group were, the North Esk and the Lake River. One simply had to go to the public access areas on the North Esk to get a bagful on euro and dry dropper. Those lucky to fish it before the rain on day 5 were rewarded with an average of 6 each, 30cm but feisty browns.  Some including Kevin, David W and Mark B got some even bigger.  The fishing was a combination of faster moving channels below riffles and slower riffle pocket water. It was easy to forget you were on farmland as so many opportunities were presented. We went back on day 6, after the rain, and it was an entirely different proposition and we worked hard for a couple, making long casts and mending to the opposite bank to find softer water out of the raging channel. You may have noticed that, as yet, I have not mentioned a rainbow. That’s because the only one I saw in 7 days was the one after the thunderstorm. I didn’t survey others in the group, but I think rainbows were scarce.

Kevin with a decent North Esk brown      

John Brassil with North Esk Brown 

For Warwick and I, the find of the trip was the upper catchment of the Lake River.  No public access spots other than one miserable looking section in the lowlands not far past Cressy on the Macquarie Rd.  We went there on the first afternoon looking for close-to-home water, only to find two spinners and unimaginative water. So, we back tracked and headed south on Lake River Rd and upstream. The goal was what looked like, on google maps, a reserve about 20km south. Arrived to a locked gate.  We then went a further 3km south to Connorville Rd, surely a public road as it was named on the map? Another locked gate, but we had passed a little way back, a pullover with no fence and only 100m to the river. Sure, there were signs saying no fishing, private property, but we read that to mean on the other side of a fence which was running perpendicular to the road.  At this stage we only had an hour, before we had to head back to the guru at the Blenheim hotel, so onto the river we went. I fished euro in the faster channels downstream for zilch, while Warwick pulled 3 nice fish out of pocket water fishing upstream. We made a mental note to return at some stage during the week.

That sign? With the Lake River 100m away

Warwick Reader taking one out of the Lake River

In the spirit of club camaraderie, we shared the location with the group and the next day, a group of three, caught over 20 fish upstream using euro and dry/dropper. So, after giving the river a couple days rest, we returned, again with the question of whether we were accessing the river through private property. Over the next 4 hours, and only fishing 500m of the river, we netted 21 fish including 9 on dry dropper out of one run in a bend of the river no bigger than 2 pool tables. We nicknamed it “Golden Pond”.  Yep, and nothing was taking dry flies. To say the river is stunning and isolated is an understatement. We were greeted by echidna, platypus and deer and fishing a clear quietly running river under a canopy of gums.

John on Golden Pond, Lake River  

Another small brown from Golden Pond

The real kicker of this story was, that as we were leaving, a ute pulled up. He was a shooting contractor employed by the owner and he informed us that we had crossed private property. It was all amicable, but that answered our question, and now the owner knows that some anglers have been there. It turns out that the owner has a private deal with a guide, to use it with prior arrangement. We duly apologised and left and shared that info with the group. I don’t believe anyone went back there during our trip. It is a pity, as it was one of the nicest and most productive locations I have ever fished. Personally, I would like to make contact with the owner (known only as Roderick), if I was coming back to the area.

A Lake River Euro Fish

Dry Dropper on the way, Lake River

Not to be deterred, we headed further up the catchment, looking for other locations with public access. We drove probably another 20km out to Millers Bluff on Little Den Rd, and found a bridge allowing access to the river in National Park.  We were at this stage quite high in the catchment. The water was faster and bouldery and bank walking difficult.  More dedicated souls would have tried but the sun was low and it was past beer o’clock. The water did look fishy though – but that’s a question which will need to be answered by the Feb 24 Tassie group perhaps.

In summary, what a great trip. Thanks to James for making all the arrangements, including the night with the Guru – who generously shared some great local information other than his tongue-in-cheek Euro thingy. The trip was made all the better by the great social get-togethers every night. Everybody was happy to share their successes and failures and this made the decision where to fish the next day easier. The power of the collective Sydney Fly Rodders!!!

River levels were just right, except on the final day post thunderstorm. I didn’t hear of any snake encounters. The weather was super. I suspect that the SFR group heading down in Feb 24 will have more luck with dries, and perhaps less luck with snakes - but be prepared for anything.

Warwick and I netted a total of 47 fish over the 4.5 days we spent on the rivers and lakes – we were stoked. This report may sound like it was easy fishing. This is not true. I think everyone in the group had to fish smart and be prepared to vary it up.  We had sections when we got doughnuts, but the fish were there for those who were prepared and good enough. I think the learning opportunities provide by the SFR club and the sharing culture in the club has produced some well-prepared anglers with the necessary skills and river craft to take on new water. That was evident in the group of Tassie Dec 23.

Tight Lines. Again, thanks to James Webber for his initiative and support. I’ll get around to posting our fishing locations on the club website before the Feb 24 trip.

Long Plain Trip Report - November 2023

by Graham Partington

Photo credits David Major - except for the one with the finger over the lens!

The fishing at Geehi had been great, but the story when we arrived at Long Plain was that the fishing had been difficult. Luckily that story did not prevail over the coming week. There were plenty of reports of ten or even twenty fish hauls on the Murrumbidgee, the Eucumbene and the Yarongabilly rivers.

Only about a dozen people turned up at Long Plain, rather than the twenty-four who had registered to attend. This was probably just as well as it left plenty of water available without crowding. The attendees were rewarded with good weather apart from a deluge on Tuesday afternoon.

My objective was to fish at the Blue Waterholes. I had on several occasions read about the beauty of the Blue Waterholes area and there was mention of fishing there. I presumed the fishing was not very good, because it was not a spot that the Flyrodders seemed to visit on the Long Plain trips. Even so, before the trip, I made the decision to fish at Blue Waterholes. Decision made; the next step was a search of the internet for more information on the fishing. There was a video from Tom’s Outdoors of two lads fishing at the Blue Waterholes and pulling out bucket loads of trout. This was both good and bad news. There were plenty of fish to be caught, but this kind of publicity would be likely to up the fishing pressure.

Graham kindly points out the waterfall at the top left of the photo

We were blessed by a beautiful fine day when David Major and I set off for the Blue Waterholes. To get there you head up Long Plain Road and take the turnoff along Blue Waterholes Trail. There was a lot of road work going on to improve the Trail and I have subsequently learned that the current Blue Waterholes campground is to be closed and turned into a car park. So, if you want to enjoy fishing at its best and in relative seclusion go now.

And it is well worth going. David and I began to walk from the campsite towards the river and as the view opened up we knew this was going to be something special. It was stunningly beautiful and when we got down to the river it was crystal clear. The river is called Caves Creek. It starts underground and then runs to a spectacular waterfall about 3 kilometers downstream.

The crystal clear water was breathtaking - sometimes you had to look away and gather your emotions

We planned to walk downstream and fish back and we soon saw a couple of trout sitting in the middle of a pool. The temptation was too great to ignore, we cast towards them and successfully put them both down. We saw plenty more fish as we walked downstream but stuck to our resolve to walk on and catch them on our way back. Eventually, we started fishing and we looked set to create a world record for spooking fish. Deciding against the world record we considered it better to catch some fish. A good day’s fishing ensued.

The fish were very line shy and the route to success was to cast into the faster water.  I was casting to a shoal of about twenty fish sitting in almost still water in the middle of a large pool. The casts were targeted to land about five meters upstream, it needed to be that far to avoid spooking the fish. Multiple perfect drifts of a dry fly were contemptuously ignored, so I added a nymph as a dropper. Now as the “invisible” fluorocarbon line and nymph drifted between them, the shoal split in two and floated off to either side, then floated back together once the line had passed.  After that I concentrated on the faster water.

Although very line shy the fish did not seem to be so shy of people. Perhaps this is because they regularly see people who are not fishing. The track to the waterfall attracts a fair number of hikers and the track requires wading the stream multiple times. Later in the week I was standing in the creek about to cast and looking to my immediate right there were six trout sitting entirely unconcerned just a rod length away.

On our return to camp, our report of good fishing at Caves Creek was greeted with some skepticism. As it turned out, in earlier years a few Flyrodders had fished there without success. Nevertheless, some people did take our advice and had a great experience. Some said it was like fishing in New Zealand, which I guess referred to the clarity of the water and seeing the trout, rather than referring to the size of the fish, although a couple of big fish were landed. Others said it was their best day’s fishing ever.

Picture postcard stuff

The river is full of fish, which seem to be all rainbows. They were mostly taking nymphs, size and type of nymph was of little consequence, and occasionally a fish would take the dry fly. Mostly the fish were caught in the faster water. It was not impossible to catch them in the stiller water, but impossible comes close to being the correct description.

It is a colossal understatement to say that the water was very productive. I returned later in the week with Brian Horton.  We started fishing above the waterfall and soon came to a pool with a section of faster, deeper water about a meter wide and nine meters long. Brian had the first cast and caught a fish, I had the next cast and missed a fish, Brian then caught another one and I broke one off. While I was tying on a new dry and dropper, Brian caught two more fish. Then we more or less caught a fish every cast, the fish were coming so quickly we lost count, but we soon had ten or twelve fish between us and it seemed like we could go on catching them ad infinitum. Eventually, we moved on because it was so easy as to almost become boring.

The Long Plain trip was a great trip. The fishing was good, the weather benign, and the evenings around the campfire were a very pleasant end to the day, but Blue Waterholes was the star of the show.


NZ South Island Trip Report - November 2023

by Bob Hart

Prior to my arrival, New Zealand had very heavy rainfall but thankfully all the rain had finished when I arrived. 

On our first day we fished a small river near Wanaka. We normally don't set the world on fire with a typical release of about 3 fish. However, on our first day we released 6 rainbows from 2 to 3 pounds. Not too bad, when you consider that we only fished the river for half a day. In the latter part of the day we drove to Twizel, which was to be our base for the next 5 days.

Fish on!

Since some of the rivers were not firing as usual, we decided to fish a couple of man made lakes. Fishing lakes is really quite exciting, as it reminds me of bone-fishing the flats. We waded in the shallow margins of the lakes looking for trout. One does not have much time to cast, as the fish are constantly on the move looking for food. So it is, “10 a‘clock, cast”. One only has 2 or 3 seconds to deliver the fly in front of the cruising trout- most exciting! The icing on the cake was that Ian is an official casting instructor (FFI), and taught me speed casting. A definite advantage when fishing the lakes, where a fly-fisher has little time to present his fly. 

Anyway, we were lucky enough to release 11 fish on one day and 10 on the other two. We had great success on one river in particular, The Twizel River, where I released 11 browns. Other rivers were not that good, but we released 6 to 7 fish, mainly browns. The heaviest fish weighed 5 1/2 pounds (we caught 2 of that size) with many in the 3 to 4 1/2 pound bracket. Loads of fun on a 5 weight rod!

Are there any small trout in NZ? Another cracking fish for Bob

Although I brought my 6 weight Sage XP, I did not use it at all. I decided to try my 5 weight Sage XP (even with nymphs). It worked perfectly, and from now on I will use a 5 weight except if I go up in the mountains, where you can expect heavy winds. Ian let me use his magnificent New Zealand made Epic 5 weight rod loaded with a double tapered line. Besides having a fantastic finish (5 star all the way and one of the best), the rod cast like a dream. I must admit I had to get used to the double taper line though. However, this line lands like a feather - a most delicate landing to say the least, and is deadly for trout - even spooky ones in quiet or smooth water.

To sum it up, a magnificent holiday!


Interclub Meeting in April 2024

Our club is hosting this Interclub Meeting, scheduled for April 2024, with the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers.

This is a heads up to save the date in your calendar, as we would like to have as many members participate as possible. It's a team event but more sociable and about having a good time.

As we have more information to hand we will provide members with updates until all details are finalised. It's always an enjoyable event.


Mitta Mitta Trip - May 2024

This will be our 11th annual pilgrimage to Mitta Mitta.

It will be in on the Saturday, 18th May 2024 and out on the following Saturday, the 25th May 2024; so 7 nights all up at $525.
We will be staying at the “Pink House”, the Caravan Park and a Unit behind the General Store, all a close walk to the Mitta Mitta Pub and Bistro; plus Murphy's House a 2 minute drive from the pub. So just a short trip to quench your thirst or dine at their fabulous and reasonable Bistro.

Every attendee has their own bedroom.

You can take your own food and drinks, or you can eat at the Mitta Mitta Pub or a combination. Many members eat only at the pub. 

Further up the road, about 30 K’s, there is also a good pub at Eskdale (which you pass through) and also an IGA and fuel. Mitta Mitta has a very small and limited general store and fuel.
The local dairy farmers allow us to fish on their properties, so we have access to many spots without competition!
There are many river options to fish, including the Mitta Mitta, Snowy Creek (runs right past the pub and caravan park), Lightning Creek, Wills Creek, Little Snowy Creek (near Eskdale) etc.
It’s about a 7 hour drive and 646 kilometres away.
I will provide more information to the attendees as required and then prior to the trip.

Should you have any questions then please don’t hesitate to call or email me.

Else Login to the website, select Events and go to the May 2024 calendar and select the Mitta Mitta trip and make your booking to secure your spot.


Gavin van der Wagen



The Mitta Mitta Pub and Bistro, with the General Store Accom just to the left out of picture

The Pink House across the road from the Pub

The Mitta Mitta River from a farmer's property

The stunning Snowy Creek upstream

Some of the friendly locals who always come to greet us

Snowy Creek near the confluence with Lightning Creek

A magical evening on the Mitta Mitta River

Autumn colours on Little Snowy Creek at Eskdale

This is what we find there


Sydney Fly Rodders Facebook Pages

We run two SFRC pages, one is our public page and it posts events and activities of the club. It also shares posts from other pages like CAS, DPI on things relevant to the places and areas that we fish.

I post some fly tying every now and then and share links to events I find that might be of interest to followers. This page is a little like our Web page, it showcases the club to attract members and provides details of club events. It has about 450 people following the page and any post will be seen by between 180 and 240 people.

We added another page. This is reserved for members only and cannot be seen by anyone outside of the group. You will need to send a request to join. Any member can post on this page and it is a great opportunity for members to put up a post or two about anything fly fishing. I would like to encourage members to use this page to post fishing reports or photos of flies that you tied. Being connected to other members you can ask for some casting or gear advice, or organise a short trip when you suddenly have some spare time.

There are also hundreds of other groups; bream on fly, carp on fly, bass, trout....areas like alpine trout, Sydney Kayak Fishing....fly tying groups, buy sell swap fly gear pages and individuals like Aussie Flyfisher, Sydney Flyfishing to check out. 

Phil Burton


Sydney Flyrodders Instagram Page

The Sydney Fly Rodders are now on Instagram. Many thanks to our Member Maddie Chew Lee, who offered to set us up and apply her significant experience with marketing and communications in particular within the social media space. 

Please follow the site and add your comments, and lets grow this platform for the club. It will also attract new members to the club.

Below is a snapshot of the site. We aim to sync (in particular look and feel) the Instagram account with our Facebook account and also our new Website, which I talk more about in the preceding section.


Sydney Fly Rodders WhatsApp Group

We have an Exclusive Group on WhatsApp for our Members, which is a great way to communicate informally and to share ideas, seek advice and also to plan and seek interest for impromptu/planned fishing trips.

I can highly recommend this to members. We have arranged a number of trips now from a weekends bass fishing through to a casual and social Sunday morning or afternoons fishing at Narrabeen Lake or Hen & Chickens Bay etc. And there could even be a BBQ thrown in for a social get together afterwards. This will happen on most if not all occasions.

Should you wish to be included in this group, then please email me to request your inclusion, quoting your mobile number which is required to link you into the Group. You will need to download the WhatsApp first if you haven't already done so.

Please contact me for inclusion.

Jason Hemens

Editor, Flyrodder



The End