Sight Fishing To Tailing Trout


Sight fishing to trout is one of the most exciting forms of fly fishing available and Tasmania offers a diverse trout fishery which features many forms of highly visual sight fishing.

Shallow water (flats style) polaroiding, mayfly and mayfly spinner hatches, sea tout chasing bait in estuaries, windlanes, terrestrial hatches and wonderful tailing trout are some examples of Tasmania’s trout fishery.

One of my favourite forms of sight fishing is targeting ‘tailing’ trout. This is a highly visual form of fly fishing where trout are found feeding in the shallowest of water, often having their whole back exposed as they hunt food.

Although this feeding behaviour is most common in spring, tailing trout be found throughout the season, with food like stick caddis, frogs, tadpoles, snails, worms and scud on the menu.


One of my favourite patterns to fish when targeting tailing fish is the stick caddis. The stick caddis forms a large part of any Tasmanian trout’s diet and they are found in all types of water.

Muz' Sticky Caddis

Muz’s Sticky Caddis is perfectly suited to tailing fish or cruising trout feeding in shallow water. Being light, it lands softly so as not to scare these super wary fish, can be easily suspended under a small dry and is an excellent representation of the natural insect.

The local trout just love to feed off the surface and from early in the season (August) right through to seasons end fish can be caught on dry flies. While normally not large fish, trout found in the Tassie rivers are spoilt with prolific hatches of various mayfly species, midges, caddis and terrestrials like grasshoppers, beetles and flying ants commonly on the menu.

Muz's Messy Wulff

Three Flies that I like to fish from the Manic range of patterns on lowland rivers are both the Black and Brown Quill Spinners and Muz’s Messy Wolf.

Muz’s Messy Wolf is just a buggy looking type of pattern that lends itself perfectly for drifting down a ripple when searching a likely run. I like to fish this fly in small sizes #12 & #14 in tight streams and creeks where the small resident fish love to ambush food drifting down a likely run.

Quill Spinner Black

Quill Spinner Brown

Small mayflies like Caenids and Baetis hatch over many of the lowland rivers and streams throughout spring and early summer. These hatches are at their best early in the morning with fish found feeding heavily for the first few hours of the day.

Both Black and Brown Quill Spinners in small sizes have proven themselves as excellent patterns for me to use to target fish feeding off the top during the morning hatch.