Australian Fly Fishing History

Featured 2

Australian fly fishing began in the late 1820s. The first article on fly fishing, “A Day’s Fishing on the Plenty”, appeared in the Hobart Town Magazine in March of 1833. The author caught mullet using a ‘red hackle’ or ‘fern fly’. The red hackle fly is shown in many of our images (as above).

James Youl came from Symmons Plains in Tasmania’s northern midlands. In 1864 he developed the technology to transport trout eggs from England. They hatched in the Salmon Ponds at Plenty on the Derwent River outside Hobart, and their offspring were eventually distributed throughout the southern hemisphere. We are catching their descendants today.

In 1867 a prosperous grazier named James Cox acquired up to 300 brown trout. He placed them in specially built holding ponds on the grounds of his imposing 1830s home, “Clarendon”. The house still stands on the banks of the South Esk River, close to the original Symmons Plains home of James Youl. The Australian Fly Fishing Museum occupies Clarendon’s shepherd’s cottage. We believe James Cox would have approved.