To coincide with the launch of the excellent book, In Season Tasmania – A Year Of Fly Fishing Highlights, co-author Daniel Hackett takes you on a journey through the World Heritage-Listed region on northern Tassie.

For more info on In Season Tasmania – A Year of Fly Fishing Highlights, check out www.riverfly.com.au

In the vain of true Aussie bushman-ship, the story of the Walls of Jerusalem and upper Mersey River system in northern Tasmania is stitched together by the intertwined histories of high-country horsemen, tougher-than nails 19th Century trappers and resilient pioneering families.

Classic early huts, oozing Australiana through their split timber walls and moss-encrusted shingle roofs, are scattered along the course of the Mersey River valley, whilst descendants and friends of the original cattle families still run their beasts into private parcels of high-country grazing land adjacent to “The Walls”.

This alone makes this valley and its people a valuable piece of living Australian history, as one of Australia’s last remaining stands for Banjo Patterson’s iconic “Man from Snowy River” ideal.

Today, the upper Mersey system contains some of the wildest rainbow trout in the world – indeed, anglers from across the globe now head to Tasmania for its wild fisheries.

For the travelling fly fisher, The Walls of Jerusalem and Mersey River system are a true hidden jewel. The destination was put on the fishers’ map during the 1950s when a bag of rainbow trout fry was dropped from a plane through the gloom of atrocious conditions.

The target of the airborne trout was Lake Adelaide – but after fruitless fishing expeditions to Adelaide, someone had the idea to check in the lake next door – Lake Meston, the headwaters of the Mersey River system, deep in the Walls of Jerusalem World Heritage Area.

Lo and behold, Meston was teeming with large, wild rainbow trout, mingling in acclimatised synchronicity with the native galaxia of the deep, gin-clear lake.

Today, the upper Mersey system contains some of the wildest rainbow trout in the world – indeed, anglers from across the globe now head to Tasmania for its wild fisheries.

Lake Meston, Lake Youd, Junction Lake, and the boisterous river that flows between them contain only rainbow trout, something rare and unique in the Tasmanian fishery, which is typically dominated by wild brown trout.

For the fly fishers who don their packs for the six- to eight-hour uphill hike into this area, shelter is found among the “triple R” trappers’ huts – with “triple R” referring to the RRR stamped on their beams, a subtle mark attributed to the Reed, Ranicar and Riley families who built and maintained these pieces of constructed history.

Fly Fishing through The Walls of Jerusalem is, for many, merely a catalyst through which to experience the region, which is recognised as a premium walking destination.

For me, beyond the wild rainbow trout and bush huts, it’s the ancient rainforests of The Walls that keep calling me back. Stately pencil pines, funky pandani grass trees and Australia’s only temperate deciduous tree, the myrtle “fagus”, call this country home.

From late April through to May it’s the awesome sight of myrtle yellows, golds and flame reds against the dark greens and rough browns of pencil pines, back-dropped by craggy mountain peaks, that burn an indelible impression onto anyone lucky enough to visit this captivating slice of World Heritage Heaven.

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