What a great weekend, freezing mornings, blue sky windless days, and pink diamond sunsets. Classic Snowies early winter. There have been plenty of reports of good browns being caught by boats trolling – from the top of Lake Eucumbene all the way to Middlingbank (suggesting they’re later moving up the lake than normal). Generally, flyfishing reports have been mixed across the region. On the Eucumbene River, the brown trout spawn run has been different this year; slow to start with fish moving quickly through Providence Flats into the tree line and up the creeks. Fish holding in one hole one day, and then moving on the next. Plenty of fish are being caught, but they’re not as dispersed through the lower stretches as they have been for the last few years and if you’re not on the right hole, you might miss out, so keep moving and keep the flies down deep. The exclusion of vehicles from the river banks has been a huge success but as they say, “regulation breeds innovation” as these chain driven tuk tuks show. My order is already in!
BUT, snow today (Tuesday) down to 1,000 metres and 10 mm of rain in the catchment should get the trout moving out of the lake and into the river before the weekend. So don’t be dispirited if you haven’t got into them yet, maybe try again this weekend – expect crowds and be nice.
The Thredbo has also had mixed reports and by all accounts, its much quieter – although the fish are there for those who know the river well. The trap is now in at the hatchery so fewer new fish will be running. Reports are that Paddy’s Corner has been a little less reliable this year.
So, with all this as a backdrop, I headed off with my team in search of some interesting water away from the crowds. Nothing new, nowhere I hadn’t fished before, just a bit of variety. The great thing is even though we haven’t had a lot of rain, we’ve had enough so most creeks are running well. And remember, if they’re in even the remotest way attached to a lake, then fish will have moved into them.
So we drove west, past Selwyn, had a look in Three Mile Dam and picked our way through some beautiful water. Travelled ‘lightly’ across frozen swamps; lost (temporarily) both Chris and Stephen in waist deep bog holes near different streams; fished in snow; and started and finished both days with iced up runners. Small resident fish nailed small dries in snow melt and bigger fish smashed nymphs and glo-bugs and dived under deep undercuts. And not a single creature perished in the midst of all this fun. On two days in particular which went into extra time, I found myself forced to dream up what I imagined to be fine new text message excuses for lateness. “Up creek, but paddle now found, home soon”; “Runners iced up – would you believe!”. The strange thing was neither of these messages drew any comment at all from the recipient who was rugged up back at the cottage in front of a roaring log fire – rapidly depleting timber supplies.
On Snowy lake levels, Lake Eucumbene has been on a steady trajectory downwards since late April, dropping from 46.5% to 41.5 % in 6 weeks. Jindabyne is down a sniff at 74.8%, and Tantangara is up on new ground at 23.8%. If there was one place I would be bank fishing right now, it would be Tantangara. Interestingly, this time last year it was at under 20% but then started rising to over 70% by late October after the heavy rains – I can dream all winter about seeing that again.
Tight tippets all
Steve (Snowy Lakes Fly Fishing Charters)