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Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre

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Must Hav
e Dry Flies for Spring Fishing the Goulburn

So you are standing on the banks of the Goulburn somewhere between the Pondage and Alexandra. It is sometime between early October and late November and there are fish rising all around you. What do you do? Simple. Tie on one of these babies and join in the fun. OK its not that easy but here is a comprehensive list of commercially available flies that catch fish consistently throughout this fabulous spring period. About the only thing I haven't done here is make the cast and hook the damn thing for you so I expect lots of good red wine mailed to me in appreciation! Cheers
Antony
1. EMERGING SPARKLE PUPA (CADDIS)
  Rating: Riseform: Boil/Bulge

This is a real ripper of a fly. A few year's back during a typical low water October we happened to hit a huge caddis hatch that went for well over a month. Some afternoons I was getting over twenty fish with 27 the best and Mick catching 25 the following day. All thanks to this little fly that originated in the mind of the brilliant Gary LaFontaine (RIP) :-((. We modified the original by using a different halo material and altered the body colour and used a bent hook to really imitate the caddis pupa's tuck position while free drifting. We hope Gary would have liked it.....

2. CDC WING LITTLE OLIVE SEDGE EMERGER (CADDIS)
  Rating: Riseform: Boil/Bulge
 

This pattern came out of a book (Caddis Superhatches) and although is more of a pain to tie than the previous pupa pattern it is nevertheless very effective and another that should be carried. This is the only fly recommended here that is not available commercially.The small halo at the rear of the fly becomes highly reflective when wet and the smaller CDC wing is great on fish in slow water. Can be tied in a heap of colours but this is our favourite one. This pattern needs to be regularly dried and so loses a few points for the maintenance factor. The wing makes a good sighter in most types of water.

   
     
3. X-CADDIS (CADDIS)
  Rating: Riseform: Boil/Bulge or Classic Rise
 

 

A great fly that absolutely slays them on the Goulburn. Tied in very small hook sizes this pattern accounts for lots of fish every spring and would be one of Geoff Hall's favourite's. The trailing shuck and small elk hair wing are features. The parachute hackle can be left out of this for a more effective fly in very slow water although refusals are quite rare when they are on caddis near to the top i.e. actually taking the emerging to adult stage and also when chomping on adults. A great each way bet this fly allows a solid imprint of size, shape and colour to be presented to the fish thanks to its low riding characteristics. Five out of five.

   
     
4. HEMMINGWAY CADDIS (CADDIS)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise
  A great tie available the world-over. Anywhere you have caddises which is pretty much everywhere you have freshwater! This pattern works well when adults are skittering across the surface or have just hatched and are drifting. Often caddis drift for long periods before flying off to the safety of the streamside vegetation and this is a great fly to be using at such a time. Variations in colour ca be made although the size should be between fourteen and sixteen. A reliable fly all spring and throughout the summer.
   
     
5. ELK HAIR VARIANT (CADDIS)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise
   OK here is another good pattern that has a very high score down here at Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre. This fly was brought into the shop by a sales rep who couldn't get rid of them and we got them for a great price hoping to try them out ourselves. They have since proven to be a must-have pattern and both Geoff and David swear by this little pattern. The chenille body actually gets waterlogged and often causes much of the fly to hang beneath the surface with the wing flush in the film. More an emerger than a proper dry fly the way that it sits, yet takes are often very much classic dry fly in nature.
   
     
6. YELLOW SALLY (STONEFLY/CADDIS)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise
   This is a pattern given to me by a client from North America many years ago. It has sat in my fly box looking very pretty but never tempting me to fish it. That is until last season when I pulled it out and it accounted for literally dozens of fish in the first couple of weeks fishing it. This example here has probably caught twenty fish and is the original one given to me all those years ago. My online research tells me that it is a stonefly imitation but it kills them on the Goulburn during our spring caddis hatches. Low riding its key features are swept back wings, a red butt and parachute hackle/vertical wing. A good each way bet when heaps of bugs are coming off.
   
     
7. SLOVENIAN SEDGE (CADDIS)
  Rating: Riseform: Slash/Leap
 

This sedge pattern is a good Goulburn river fish taker. The shaggy appearance and low riding body make for an affective fly when fish are crash-tackling grannoms dopping down the river. In the smaller hook sizes this pattern can imitate a variety of caddis species and in smoother water I simply trim back the 'hackle' so that the fly is less bulky. A bit of gink will ensure that it floats in almost any sort of water. It works well on its own or as an indicator. The body colour can be varied to match your local insects but we seem to have most success with beiges and tans. A must have pattern that elbowed its way onto this list via a number of years of consistent results.

   
     
8. ROYAL STIMULATOR (ATTRACTOR)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise or Slashing Leap 
  A classic fly that would have earned a five star rating if it was a summer fly list. It being spring it only got a paltry four! A truly brilliant pattern. Must have fly in a variety of sizes and colours although this version, the Royal, is pretty damn hard to beat. Floats all day, almost indestructible, highly visible and the fish love it in all sizes. Fished in tandem (click to see the sliding indicator rig) with a beadhead flashback pheasant tail nymph and you have the the Goulburn's deadliest combination. Carry at all times in sizes ten to sixteen.
   
     
9. PARACHUTE ADAMS (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise  
   A classic pattern that is famous the world over. The original Adams was a great pattern but the parachute version is even better. A dun imitation with few equals the white wing is highly visible in most conditions. This fly is worth having in sizes twelve to twenty and the smaller ones will fool all but the fussiest of fish in slow bubble lines and backwaters. A must-have pattern whether you are fishing any river from Thornton to Queenstown to Bozeman.
   
     
10. PARACHUTE ADAMS HI-VIS POST (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise  
   This fly is simply a close cousin of the standard parachute adams. Ok who am I kidding? Its the same fly with a different coloured wing post! This pattern should once again be carried in all the same sizes as the original white posted adams above. The beauty of this fly is that it is very easy to see on those dull, dreary days when duns often hatch. Even in the darkest part of a choppy run this fly stands out like a little beacon of hope amongst the gloom. Great for those whose eyesight is not what it used to be as well.
   
     
11. BUSHY'S DUN GREY (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise  
   Most of you will be familiar with this tie. This fly is one of our top sellers and has been for over seven years! A truly brilliant pattern that has earned its five star rating with years of results on the board. The parachute hackle makes for an ultra-low riding body giving the fish a great view of the size, shape and colour of the body. A more subtle wing than the adams makes this my first choice when grey coloured duns are on the water drifting. I cannot speak highly enough of this fly and it has often made the difference between going fishless or having a stellar night.
   
     
12. BUSHY'S DUN RUST (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise  
 

 The rust coloured version of the same fly featured above. Another classic and one that we always carry in sizes twelve through sixteen. Again the same great characteristics of the fly above but in a darker colour.

 

 

 

   
     
13. NO-HACKLE RUST (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise  
  This pattern scores highly but loses a star not because of its effectiveness but because it gets chewed up very easily. These no-hackle duns are brilliant fish 'deceivers' but they are very easily damaged by teeth and forceps. Nevertheless in slow, smooth water where the fish gets a great look at the fly the no-hackle is the pick of the flies. A rusty dun imitation it should be carried and reserved for fussy fish that refuse a parachute hackle version or for that fish of a season that you find sipping rusty duns in extremely slow water.
   
     
14. SHAVING BRUSH (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Boil/Bulge
 

Versions of this fly have been around forever and I remember Geoff tying up versions in 1996 (of course he didn't have a name for them) and bagging out on Arthur's and Little Pine over in Tasmania. The smaller version in a size 16 should be carried on the Goulburn and fished with confidence through that early part of the evening hatch. A reliable pattern that catches fish often enough to make this list.

 

 

   
     
15. RUSTY TAILRACE (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise  
  The always reliable rusty tailrace dun. "You're a good fly. Yes you are! Yes you are!" Just in case you cant tell I have a real soft spot for this pattern. Developed by the guys in the early years of our business this pattern just keeps on keeping on and should be carried from opening day to closing day. Hell I would even take a few ice fishing in Canada they are that good. A good imitation of one of our most prolific mayflies. I carry it mostly in fourteens, sixteen's and eighteens and it very rarely lets me down. Five stars all the way.
   
     
16. SULFUR (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise  
 

A comparadun tie that represents a species of dun that occurs early every year on the Goulburn. Larger sizes work well with twelve's and fourteens needed to imitate this large insect. Low riding but a good floater this fly loses some marks because of the fact that the hatch is not a consistent one and therefore the fly doesn't work for long. However it should be noted that when this hatch is going on you should fish the Goulburn without them at your own peril.

 

   
     
17. GIBSON'S THORAX DUN (DUN)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise or Slashing Leap 
 

One of Bruce Gibson's exquisitely tied dry flies for tassie this pattern has found a home here for kossie dun feeders on last light. The colours are totally wrong but the size and shape are not. Factor in that these bugs occur on last light and usually in fast water and you have a fly that works very well despite some handicaps. A trimmed hackle beneath the hook with buoyant tail fibres this fly floats high and dry and should be carried from late October onwards.

 

   
     
18. ORANGE SPENT (SPINNER)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise
 

It wouldn't be a complete list without a spent spinner. I have left off the actual spinner tie (Macquarie Red) because I have a lot more success fishing with the spent on the Goulburn than the actual spinner pattern. This fly has all the key elements. Splayed out wings that sit flush in the film and unlike many commercial ties they are correctly sparse. The colour is perfect and in a size fourteen they should always be close at hand, especially on warm evenings when that sun is starting to drop in the afternoon sky. Four stars from me.

 

   
     
19. GOULBURN GRIFFITHS (MIDGE)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise
  You sexy beast! Simplicity is everything sometime and this fly is about as simple as they get. They take about 90 seconds to tie when you are going and they work as well as any other pattern out there. A midge ball pattern they can be trimmed to represent various stages of the hatch if needed. But as they are will account for many larger fish through the season. Often those tucked away in hard to reach places rising to no-see-ums and very hard to tempt with anything less than a great cast and accurate imitation. A fly that works wherever we go in search of trout both here and abroad.
   
     
20. RUSTY ANT (TERMITE/FLYING ANT)
  Rating: Riseform: Classic Rise or Slashing Leap 
 

Did you hear that? Was that thunder? Soon we will be getting our regular spring thunderstorms and with it will come these flying ants and some of the best dry fly fishing you will ever see. Every fish gets onto them and having a suitable imitation will make the difference between insanity and a few fish. I have seen people lose the plot in thirty minutes of fishing to these ultra-picky feeders. Carry a few of these around and be prepared. Just make sure you are not waving your rod around near me when the lightning starts!

 

   
 

 

 

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