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Mick Hall takes advantage of the re-emergence of an old favourite moth. 
"Fly Talk" Issue 88 Freshwater Fishing Magazine - January/February 2008

 

 

Malcolm Gillies also had a version which he marketed.  The pattern is as follows:
Hook: Size 10-8 Limerick
Body: Grey chenille
Overwing: Brown partridge shoulder feather with centre stripe
Hackle: Tied full Rhode Island Red

Right:  Gillies' Bogong Moth - Circa 1960 - Commercially tied for J. M. Gillies

I thought I would do a little digging into the background of the patterns designed to imitate the Bogong moth and the earliest reference was in an Eastways Catalogue issued in 1906 where it states, ‘Eyed Flies, made from local anglers patterns.  These flies have been well tried, and proved successful as good killers in the Monaro waters, Jindabyne, Cooma, Moonbah, Snowy, Jackson’s Fancy, Bredbo, Creewah, Ti Tree. Boogong and Tarsus.’   Note the spelling  - a double ‘o’, yet a little further on in the same catalogue it is spelt ‘Bougong’.

In doing the research I came across a number of different spellings for this fabulous bug: ‘Bougong’ in NSW Rod Fisher’s Society Annual Report 1907/08, ‘Bugong’ in Mick Simmon’s Catalogue 1918 and again in 1933 in Hartley’s Melbourne catalogue, ‘Bubong’ in Rise Catalogue 1935 and finally ‘Bogong Moth’ in 1935 Alcock &Peirce catalogue where they were tied for ‘Great Lake types’ for the Great Lake in Tasmania but they have proven deadly in many Victorian waters.  By the picture they were very heavily hackled, almost to a palmer style fly but at least they got the name right.
 
By all accounts it would seem that Howard Joseland can be credited with the development of the first version of the Bogong Moth, for he writes in the 1906 Eastways Trout Catalogue, I generally use flies of my making, notably the ti-tree, red and black wasps, moonbah and bougong  (Eastways have had Mr. Joseland’s flies specially made).  It is a pity that he did not put his pattern to print.
 
M. E. McCausland states in his book, Fly-Fishing in Australia and New Zealand
1st edition page 162,
 
'Bogong Moth
These insects feed to a great extent on the honey in the black ti-tree.  When they go to water to quench their thirst in many instances they become stranded on the surface and are unable to take off.  The trout takes full advantage of these circumstances and will feed right throughout the day on Bogong Moths.
 
Tying for the Bogong Moth: Grey Chenille body, oak turkey wing tied in flat and barred rock rooster hackle.'

 
Now there’s a contradiction; our scientists say they hide during the day but McCausland feels they are in fact out and about and feeding face.
 
The pattern above is from the vice of to the great Reg Lyne but he also had another version which was almost identical and featured a large grey hackle instead of the barred rock.

Bogong Moth

For many years it seems to have gone out of favour with the flyflicker.  Way back in the heydays of Lake Eucumbene, the Bogong moth was a favourite fly on dark and at night.  I have often thought that the Muddler Minnow, which we fished high in the water column after dark, could have been taken for the Bogong moth.
 
On evening the Bogong moths would zoom in from the nearby hills like little spitfire fighter planes and scoot across the surface.  Some would not make it, for they simply dive bombed into the lake and there they would lie, struggling in the surface film.  Those big speckled brutes that inhabited the depths of Eucumbene would often slurp them down with gusto.  It was a fabulous sight to see.
 
Many feel that over the last decade or so the amount of moths migrating down from the north was not as numerous as in the heydays.  This, they say, was brought about by the moths being attracted to the lights of Sydney, Canberra, Cooma and even Jindabyne, taking its toll on the number of moths that finally make it to the High Country.  But this year it looks as if they are back big time.

The Bogong Moth
(Agrostis infusa)
 
There has been a lot of talk about the Bogong in recent times.  It has been a long time since I have heard so much about this fascinating little moth.  From the reports emanating out of Sydney it would seem that this year they are again in plague proportions.
 
Their lifestyle is a little unique; they start their lives up in the lower part of Queensland down into the upper regions of New South Wales.  Each year they migrate south to the highlands of southern New South Wales and on to the Bogong Plains in Northern Victoria to beat the summer heat.  During the day they hang out in caves and rock crevices.  Sometimes up to around 17,000 moths can jam into an area as little as a square metre.  In some of the larger caves scientists have found that over the eons dead moths have built up a layer on the floor that has reached a depth of 1.5 metres.
 
Bogong moths are, as you would expect, light sensitive and rest in the shaded caves during the heat of the day, only to emerge on evening.  They feed on nectar of flowers at night, with the flowering gum being a favourite target.  They are mottled brown in colour and have two spots on each wing.

Gillies Bogong Moth
Reg Lyne's Bogong Moth
Mick's Foam Bodied Bogong Moth
REG LYNE'S BOGONG MOTH - Tied by Reg Lyne - Circa 1940

The best early version that I came across was tied and designed by Dan Todorovic of Nobby Hopper fame.  Back in those heydays of early Eucumbene, Dan was a regular visitor to its shores and of course over the Christmas break the Bogong moth was very active at night.  Dan gave me his moth pattern and its description and you can see why I always thought the Muddler was an effective pattern over that same period (picture right).
 
Bogong Moth - Designed & tied by Dan Todorovic
Hook: Size 8 up-eye hook
Body: Clipped natural deer hair
Wings: Two golden brown black tipped feathers from the flank of the male Golden Pheasant, both tied to lay flat but slightly pitched, tent fashion
Head: Deer Hair tied Muddler fashion.

Well, you know me, one for always trying to recreate that wheel, or in this instance adding some newer innovations to a grand old fly.  I dare say if these new products had been around in the days when Eucumbene was really firing, we would have seen Dan playing around with this stuff too.
 
Mick’s Bogong Moth - As designed by Mick Hall
Hook: Partridge TDH The Dry
Size: 10-8
Body: Pale Blue dun dubbing
Wings: Green Ringneck Pheasant rump dyed dark brown and treated with Flex Cement
Overwing: Golden brown black tipped rump feathers from a cock ringneck pheasant and tied over the top of the first wing and treated with dark brown marking pen
Legs: Tan Sili Legs from Wapsie
Head: Brown deer hair tied Muddler fashion and clipped flat, as you would do tying a Turk’s Tarantula, which features a kind of flat, skinny head.
 
Notes: Tie in your first bunch of deer hair fibres and after spinning, add legs then tie in a second smaller bunch to finish off.  Care is needed whilst trimming to avoid cutting the rubber legs.  Remember, the legs should not be too short, give them the blow test, that is a gentle puff and if the legs don’t move, they are too short.  It is a practice thing.

Mick's Bogong Moth
Dan Todorovic's Bogong Moth

Mick’s Foam Bodied Bogong Moth – As designed & tied by Mick Hall
Hook:  Partridge TDH The Dry
Size:  10-8
Body:  White Evasote Foam coloured with a silver grey marking pen
Wing:  The new Enrico Puglisi Trigger Point winging material of march brown colour with a strip of black over, trimmed to just past the tail of the body
Head:  Brown deer hair tied bullet fashion
Legs:  Spirit River Mini Round rubber legs, tan

mick's foam bodied bogong moth - Designed & tied by Mick Hall

The foam is made/marketed by Darice and is called Foamies.  It is available at art and craft shops.  I picked mine up from Riot Art & Craft in Knox City Melbourne. 
 
Fishing Mick’s Bogong Moth
As stated, the best time to use this fly is just on dark and well into the night, on still water in most high country lakes.  Cast and retrieve slowly but with a gentle jerk every now and then to get those legs moving, which in turn imitates a struggling insect.  At times the take from a large trout fishing under these conditions can be vicious, so be on guard at all times.  This is not an easy thing to do when the fishing is a little slow but a big secret to fly fishing is concentration and keeping in touch with what you are doing.

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