I’ve signed up to fish in my first flyfishing competition in May this year on the Tumut River. Stewart Dick – who regularly writes for this blog – convinced me to register a couple of months ago and I’m really glad he did, as it has been great having something to work towards to improve my fishing.
With the Easter long weekend coming up, Stew and I were planning to head down from Queensland to the New England region in northern NSW to find some trout and for some competition practice. Unfortunately at the last minute, Stew fell sick so I ended up driving down by myself. While it would have been good to have some company, what ensued was still a fantastic weekend of flyfishing.
I left early Saturday morning from Brisbane and drove five hours to the Deepwater River, arriving around midday. It was the closest river to Brisbane I could find that’s stocked with trout, so I thought it would be a good place to start. While the scenery was beautiful, after two hours fishing Deepwater, I hadn’t seen a trout.
I had heard good things about the fishing around a small town called Ebor, another two hours from where I was, so I decided to get back in the car. Unfortunately at this time of year it gets dark around 5:30pm, so by the time I got there it was time to find a camping spot and get some sleep.
The next morning I was on the water by 6am. I was unfamiliar with the area so using Google Maps, I looked for streams that crossed the road to find some access points. Unfortunately, many at the intersection of the road had ‘Keep Out’ and ‘No Fishing’ signs clearly posted, but I soon found an option on the Styx River, parked the car and set up the rod.
The fishing started slowly, but by about 9am the activity increased and I ended up catching several fish. The Styx was a lovely river, but on the section I fished, the trout were very small. In my four hours there, only one fish was over 25cm and the majority were under 15cm. A great morning, but I wanted to get onto something a bit bigger.
Sometimes we like to think the further off the beaten track we go, the better the fishing will be. In my experience, this is not always the case with some of the best fishing being in the most obvious and accessible locations. With this in mind, I decided to give the Guy Fawkes River a go. It conveniently passes through Ebor so access is very easy.
I started under the bridge on the Waterfall Way as it enters Ebor. There is a stretch of about 500m of river that snakes its way upstream through public land before entering a farm. I took three hours to fish this stretch and pulled out a number of 30cm+ trout along the way. It was absolutely fantastic fishing and the three hours went by very quickly. However, just after lunchtime, the Easter crowds made their way in and I soon found myself sharing the river with five other anglers.
For the rest of the weekend, I fished as much of the surrounding area as possible, but I couldn’t keep myself from continuing to coming back to that same stretch of Guy Fawkes River – three times over two days. While the first session proved the most productive, the river delivered again and again with fine fishing. I think one secret here was being on the water early in the morning, before the crowds arrived.
Monday lunchtime, I packed the car and made the long drive in the Easter traffic back to Brisbane. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend away, not only getting in some great practice before the Tumut competition, but also discovering how good the trout fishing within realistic reach of Brisbane. I look forward to heading back to New England at the next opportunity.