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Adam Moore on bank of Goulburn River
FLIES FOR 'JUST ON DARK'
Mick Hall's 'Fly Talk' Freshwater Fishing Magazine
100th Issue, Collectors' Edition 2010

Above: Adam Moore on the Goulburn
waiting for the night action to start.

Back in the old days when I was living down in the “Big Smoke” you would really look forward to Daylight Savings.  It meant that if you could get away from work just that little bit earlier you had time to head up to the nearest river for the evening rise.  For me, the two closest rivers were the Yarra up around Warburton and the Goulburn around the Breakaway.  It was always a bit of a rush but more times that not it was very rewarding.

 

If the traffic allowed you would normally be on the water with a bit of time to spare before the action started.  It was a time to sit and watch and hope that nobody else wanted to share that stretch of water that I had selected.  Selfish thoughts maybe but I just wanted the evening to settle down around me and watch nature come to life for their evening activity.

 

One would always live in hope of a fabulous hatch of Kossie Duns that would bring every fish in the river up feeding on the surface but when you live so far away from the water, you have to take pot luck.  Those evenings that you did score by being in the right place at the right time were securely locked into the depths of your memory bank.  They are never forgotten and we dream of striking it rich again one day.

 

So let’s forget those one in a hundred quick trips and talk about what really happens.  Not long after that sun has dropped low down on the skyline, we see the first fish make a splashy type of rise; it is normally only a small trout but at least it is a start.  It reminds me of penguins returning to their rookery at night; first there is just one or two that come in to the shoreline as if to check out the lie of the land.

 

It is not too long before a second fish leaves some rings and a couple of swallows start dipping.  We live in hope that the wind dies away as the sun starts to sink below the skyline.

A few more swallows start to zip around over the surface but at this stage it is impossible to see what they are taking.  Another ten minutes and the Snowflake Caddis start to dance around the willows or other selected riverside vegetation.  Slowly larger fish start to touch the surface as more and more bugs come up to play.

Midge are around all season and often they account for those rises where you cannot see a thing on the water and should never be discounted, as on some waters they account for the highest drift forms in the system.

Right:  Caddis on the Rubicon

Caddis on Rubicon
AK Midge Emerger
Mick's Emerger - as designed by Mick Hall

Hook
:  Mustad C49s
Size:  16
Thread:  Flat White Super Thread by Spirit River
Body:  White Super Floss stained olive
Wing Buds:  Pearl Crystal Flash
Thorax:  Olive Rabbit

This is a good early evening pattern, especially if you see a lot of Swallows dipping and the occasional trout boiling near the surface and that telltale rise-form where the top half of the tail breaks the surface film as the trout rolls over.  Fish it just under the surface, watch very closely at that point where the leader enters the water and strike on any draw down of your tippet.

Right:  Male chironomid (midge) an all season staple

Moths and Beetles tend to join in on the evening action; Caddis start to skit across the river and if there is a hatch of duns, that will help bring up more fish.

 

So what we have is a real smorgasbord of bugs playing around and the fish seem to be taking anything and everything.  Then to make it worse, you get a lot of one timers; they rise once and then they are gone.

 

Constant changing of flies in the hope of finding the one that works more than once takes up most of the evening and before you know it, it is all but over with just a few fish steadily rising.  

 

It’s then time to put on one of those flies that have that magical touch “just on dark”. 

There are three and all Caddis patterns.  They are tied with parachute hackles to sit low in the surface film.

Male chironomid (midge)
Page 2 - the Flies and Patterns