Monaro Fly Fishing seasons opens in the first weekend of October (spring) and closes early June (autumns end).
The Monaro can offer the privilege of four seasons in one day! Be prepared for conditions similar to highland areas found all over the World.
SPRING: October-The temperature of the land, air and water starts to rise from an average of 12.8deg Celsius in September to 16.0deg Celsius for October, as this is the second month of spring. It’s still very cool in the mornings with frosts and fogs around early in the day waiting for the sun to cut through and warm the air , inspiring the insects to do their thing and bring the trout on, which are less weary. Fishermen have almost been forgotten from the previous years season . The fish are full of fight as the cool waters are highly oxygenated.
The fogs lift early and by mid morning the caddis first, then the mayflies start to hatch, bringing on the first of the morning rises .The waters are still very clear allowing for midday polaroiding to cruising fish. By the time the evening comes around the black spinners are swarming above the stream , chasing the odd female and stirring the fish into action again for the last of the day. Later in the month on warm still days, termites can swarm in their thousands, prior to thunderstorms, falling on the water bringing all the fish out from where you swear there were none. This typical occurrence can happen through into November and will test your ability and nerve as this sort of activity brings out the trophy fish of the Monaro.
LATE SPRING: November- The temperature rises another couple of degree to an average of 18.6 Celsius. It’s still cool in the mornings but worth the effort to find the previous nights Caenidae’s lying spent on the still back waters. Large fish can be found mopping up with their mouths half out of the water cruising, sipping and sucking in these small black mayflies.
The fish are quickly learning ,becoming spooked by the first unnatural intruders into their environment. Leaders must become longer and lighter, sloppy presentations and splashy pickup’s alerting any educated fish of danger.
Once the temperature has warmed mayfly hatches continue to occur sporadically throughout the day, occasionally all day. Polaroiding between hatches usually gives good results finding fish cruising a beat or sitting in a feed line rising occasionally. On cooler windy days you may have to rely on caddis hatching also small olive Baetis mayflies #18.
Throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn Black Beetles and ants can produce rises drifting along the banks and feed lanes. Midge activity seems available all season in various conditions.
Sometimes frustratingly, throughout the season the rivers seem bare of life until evening when the spinners always seem to produce something to save the day, (on these days a bottle of wine with lunch while lounging on the bank is called for to promote rest and relaxation!).
SUMMER: December/January– It’s starting to get hot through the day averaging 21.6deg C in December & 22.8 deg C in January, to a midday heat ,on rare occasions, of up to 32deg Celsius. Morning and evening times of the day are most the most comfortable and productive during the summer periods.
The larger mayfly hatches start to back off a little but the Caenid’s are still happening early in the morning.
Terrestrials critters are crawling and clumsily flying , falling on the water . Brown trout love these snacks and will rise when they seem to be feeding only from the aquatic stages of insect life. Damsel flies buzz above the water, stirring the fish to sometimes jump clear out after these large form of food, I have witnessed fish over 5lb on many occasions carrying on as such. Polaroiding and actively searching for feeding fish finds some type of action throughout the main part of the day
February- The summer days are still with us but the heat of the day is becoming so much more friendly to fish and foe. Autumn will soon be here and the water slowly cools through the month , and the fish respond to the more comfortable change.
Grasshoppers have grown in numbers and size and the winds can carry them in numbers onto the water. On good days like these the best fish in each pool will be up and rising to kicking hoppers.
Towards the end of the month the larger mayflies hatch again bringing with them the sound of rising of trout .The evening spinners are back in larger numbers bringing rewarding fishing for the late fisher.
AUTUMN: March- The fishing only improves for the rest of the season with the cooler nights and days allowing the water to hod more oxygen and revive the fish to their best. Longer leaders and a quiet approach are the way of the angler now.
Carefully stalking and polaroiding to cruising and stationary fish brings good results to those whom have taken the time to sharpen their skills. The fish become selective more so towards the end of the month. Flies that are easily inspected on the still pools of the Monaro will be rejected if not recognised as part of the food chain. This is exiting fishing for all experienced fishers showing the best the Monaro has to offer in terms of catching cagey, educated, wild fish.
April– Not so many fisherman walking the banks and the fish become a little less cautious. Still the fishing is just as good as the previous month. The bigger fish are out more cruising and feeding, the spawning season is only two months away and maybe they’re storing food and looking for a mate. Water temperatures have dropped and the fish are in their best condition. Polaroiding is at it’s best as the water clarity is clear making it easy to see fish before, and after the have seen you!
Hatches are slowing for the larger duns but the smaller Baetis are in larger numbers requiring delicate presentations on light gear.
May– Fish are now schooling up in preparation for spawning time swimming around larger pools in packs, occasionally being hunted out by the very large males whom dominate the pool. There’s good polaroiding for nymphing fish and their aggressive behaviour is usually their demise. The fishing lasts until the end of the month , the end of the season is nigh upon us.