A bit more about us, this blog and our services
1. Who are we and what do we do?
We are an enthusiastic team of guides that have been teaching, guiding and running fly fishing trips since 1994. In an industry full of part-timers and fly-by-nighters (thank youFacebook/Instagram!), we are full-time professionals who do nothing but teach, instruct and guide fly fishing 365 days a year.
We cater to fly fishers of all levels, from beginner to expert, and we run trips on all local rivers in the Eildon/Thornton/Alexandra/Buxton/Marysville areas. We are also expert drift boat guides, having run boats down the Goulburn River on a daily basis since 1994, as well as regularly taking people to the Swampy Plain and Tumut rivers in N.S.W.
We are licensed to guide in New Zealand and we run trips to the South Island through the months of January, February and March each year. Further to this, we lead trips to Idaho-Montana, Patagonia, British Columbia, Los Roques and more. Our guides are also members of the PFIGA – the Professional Fishing Instructors and Guides Association of Australia, and we hold certificates in First Aid, Working with Children and Swiftwater Rescue.
Our blog (this one you are on) has evolved from what was one of the first fly fishing websites in Australia back in 1996, to an ever-growing online resource for fly fishers. It is home to a large archive of fly tying instruction, technical articles, fishing reports and a lot more. We also have an online shop and we sell our own specialist fly patterns, many of which you won’t find elsewhere.
The blog has two parts. The free to all section, which outlines all the details of our services, accommodation and trips. This is complemented by the private area for paid members, a place containing all the latest information on the fishing as sourced from our team of guides and their daily outings.
Member’s receive the following benefits:
• Access to online fishing reports and technical articles written by the guides
• Videos including fishing reports and instructional how to’s (flytying/fishing) created especially for members
• Regular photos from the area and from our fishing trips
• Detailed trip reports and daily blog updates from OS trips like Montana – NZ – Patagonia
• Private forum/bulletin board to interact with other members and our guides
• All guide’s phone numbers for up to the minute information on the fishing or help with any questions relating to fly fishing
• 10% off all fly purchases
• Free yearly ‘Member’s Day’ of mini-workshops valued at $250
• First offer on spots for trips (Swampy, Tumut, NZ, Idaho-Montana USA, Patagonia Argentina, Los Roques Venezuela, British Columbia Canada)
Memberships are priced at $149 per annum and you can sign up here.
2. Do I need to pay a deposit and what is your cancellation policy for guided trips?
We require a credit card to secure your booking and we make a 50% charge to it at the time of booking. Specialty trips i.e. NZ, Montana, Patagonia, have their own specific deposit requirements, which you can read on our booking / cancellation policy page.
Please read our Cancellation Policy before making a booking. ;-)
3. Do I need to make advance reservations for our guided fly fishing trip?
In most instances you can simply phone up on the day and book a guide. However, we would advise you to book ahead of time wherever possible, to ensure that you don’t miss out. During the peak fly fishing months, we will often be booked out for at least two weeks in advance, and sometimes even longer. As such we recommend booking your fly fishing trip as far ahead as possible.
4. How many other fisherman will be sharing my guide?
If you make a booking on your own, it will just be you and the guide 1:1. We will not be pairing you up with anyone. If you book with a friend the ratio will be 1:2. If your group is bigger than two, we will put on another guide or allow you to bring the third person at a reduced fee. If you are happy to have more people per guide and we can work out a specific rate to suit your needs and budgets. Drift boat trips are for a maximum of 2 anglers per boat. If your party is bigger, we have more boats!
5. Can I bring a non-fishing partner with me on the drift boat?
Yes. Non fishing partners are more than welcome and they will also enjoy a drift boat trip trip almost as much as you will. Platypus are plentiful and the scenery is beautiful. Non-fishing partners are advised to bring plenty of sun protection,a camera, and a book. Fees for non-fishing partners are: Evening Drift – $50, Half day -$75, Full Day – $95.
6. Who will my guide be?
Unless you specifically request a guide, guide allocation will not occur until the day of your trip. We do our best to match clients with the guides best suited to the experience being sought. If you ask for a certain guide, we will schedule you with them, unless they have already been requested by someone else prior to you booking. At times, allocated guides may not be available (due to illness or personal reasons) and in those instances another equally experienced guide will be provided.
7. Will I have the same fishing guide every day?
Not necessarily. Bookings prior to yours may mean that a specific guide is not available on the dates or on some of the dates you have requested. On top of this, the day to day schedules are always changing as guides that are here one day, can be working interstate or overseas the next.
Many of our clients like to fish with different guides each day because they learn different things from each one. If you would like to fish with the same guide each day, please let us know that when you book your trip and we will endeavor to set this up for you.
8. Where and when do we meet?
Most of our guide trips start at Thornton and so we usually suggest meeting about 15-30 mins before the scheduled start time. Full days and late afternoon sessions can see us ending well after dark. This can make for a very late departure when fishing in high-summer, and an after midnight arrival home if you are traveling the two hours back to Melbourne.
Please let us know when you book your trip if you need a shorter day or earlier start time. Please remind your guide of any time restrictions on the day of the trip, so that he can choose an appropriate stretch the river/activity that will work with your schedule.
For trips to the Swampy, Mitta Mitta and over destinations, your guide will discuss the meeting arrangements with you beforehand. For the Swampy we mostly meet at Khancoban Lakes Resort (caravan park) or below the dam wall at Khancoban Pondage/Swampy Plains river. For the Mitta Mitta the main meeting point is Eskdale Hotel.
Your guide will confirm this with you in advance of your trip.
9. What if it rains or the weather is less than ideal on the day of my trip?
Rain has never been a big issue for us due to our location and the number of blue sky/fine days we get each year. Nevertheless, fly fishing is an outdoor sport and some of the best fishing occurs when the weather is less than ideal.
If we determine that the conditions will prevent a good day on the water; your trip can be deferred or a full refund given. If we determine that it is worth heading out, then we expect that you will trust our assessment and do the booked session as planned. It is in neither our/your interests to run a trip that will be miserable and unproductive; but we know the local conditions and will make the call based on our experience.
It has become necessary to stipulate this, as many folk are making a judgment call based on the weather in Melbourne, when the conditions on this side of the Great Divide, are often a world away. It is not uncommon for Melbourne to be cold, wet or windy, while at the same time we have perfect conditions for fishing.
Cancellations due incorrect reading of the weather are especially frustrating when we could have filled the spot 10x over, and a last minute change of heart by a client means a cancellation and no booking at all. Because of this, we have had to devise a cancellation policy that protects both our business and our guide’s livelihoods. This Cancellation Policy is strictly enforced and we ask that you simply phone us for a chat, if you have any concerns about the weather.
We want to ensure that we have both happy guides and happy clients, so any judgments in regards to the weather are made by us. It’s what we do and we do it well.
10. What is included in the price of a guide trip?
The guided fishing trip fee includes the guide’s time, use of fly rods if needed on a replace if broken basis ($90 to replace a tip as of March, 2017), transportation to/from the shop from local accommodation (if required), all flies/terminal tackle and a great day of fishing. All trips include cold drinking water. Lunch is provided on the full day trips. Fishing licenses are not included but are required. They are inexpensive and can be purchased online here.
11. Where will we fish?
Many people choose the water they want to fish well in advance; either because they wish to learn about a certain waterway or they wish to return to scenes of past glories! Still more leave it up to us, preferring to allow the guide to determine the best location on any given day.
By the time you arrive at your preordained meeting point, your guide will have had a chance to talk with other staff members and he will have the latest information on what areas are are best on that day. We advise you to follow the guide’s recommendations, but do not hesitate to let him know if you have any particular agenda or expectations for the day.
12. What should I do to prepare for my trip?
If you have some fly fishing experience, the best thing you can do to prepare for a guided trip is practice your casting. If there isn’t any suitable water near your home or office, then go to a local park and cast on the grass. Practicing on water is best if possible. If you are a beginner then don’t practice your casting! We want you teach you the correct techniques right from the very start.
13. What do I need to bring for my fly fishing session?
Beginners need only bring a hat, sunglasses, appropriate clothing for the weather (no bright colours) and a belt for holding up waders (that we will provide).
For those that already fly fish, all you need is your normal trout fly fishing gear! A five weight is the recommended all round rod. If you have a four it will be perfect for the smaller rivers like the Rubicon and a six is great for throwing large hoppers and double fly rigs from the drift boat. A seven is too heavy for local conditions and will greatly restrict your ability to make delicate presentations at close range. If you do not have the correct gear, please let us know so that we can supply it for you.
If bringing your own, you only need a floating fly line, preferably something olive, green, grey,brown or any dull colour. Breathable waders are great for autumn-winter-spring but thigh boots or hip waders are much more comfortable from November through March inclusive (warmer months).
If fishing from the drift boat during the summer months when the temperatures are hot, light pants or shorts and sandals are fine. If you prefer shorts you will need plenty of sunscreen. We recommend that you always have a hat, polarised sunglasses and waterproof sunscreen. Be prepared for cool mornings/evenings and hot days. A lightweight sweater/vest and a lightweight raincoat should be included in your day pack as a precaution if there is any chance of rain. Clothing should be subdued colours as much as possible. No yellows or whites etc. This includes hats! Bright colours = less fish.
A small day pack is worth taking with you to carry personal items either in the truck or boat. A personal water bottle or camelback is well worth having for extended times on the river. An esky/ice box is taken with us on the boats, so there are always cold drinks on hand. Wading boots with cleats cannot be worn in our boats as it will damage the floors. Sandals such as Tevas/Keens/Simms are best.
At the shop your guide will discuss the fishing options available to you, and review your equipment at your request. If you require help in setting up gear or purchasing new items, please let us know beforehand and organise to come in a bit earlier than your scheduled start time, as setting up equipment can be time consuming. We have a fully stocked flyshop and can provide you with anything you may need.
14. Where do I find out about local fishing conditions?
We run the longest running fly fishing reporting website in Australia. For Members, up to date reports can be viewed on this blog. For non-members you can phone us for a brief report. The current river level can be determined by phoning 03 5770 8128. This message is recorded daily.
If you have any further questions or just need some personalised advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us by email or phone.
15. Can I keep the fish I catch?
We have a strict catch and release policy meaning that any fish caught while being instructed or guided by us, must be returned to the water unharmed. Trout in Australia have a hard enough time as it is, without us knocking them on the head. As a result, we decided early on in our business to commit to a total catch and release policy, to ensure the sustainability of the fishery. This benefits not only all of us at this moment, but also the generations of anglers to come.
All guides carry cameras and a photo makes for a much better souvenir than a dead fish. The beauty of this being that the fish swims off none the worse for wear, to hopefully one day spawn and replenish the streams for future generations of fly fishers.
To book or for more information phone us on Free Call 1800 458 111