Snowy Mountains Tantangara Reservoir (again)

There is still snow on the far hills.

The weather forecasts available for the Snowy Mountains are excellent. My personal preference is oddly not BOM but because they give me 10 days of clear forecasts.  It does seem odd using a Norwegian service to plan my trips but at least they know about mountains and cold weather. The last four trips to Tantangara have been planned to coincide with weather predictions of wind strengths of 2 metres per second or less, and each has been an amazing day, starting with the morning fog burning off the lake, ending with the onset of the evening chill. There is a lot of wildlife and it struck me, as I watched the Brumbies idly grazing, rabbits hop to their burrows, a giant black cat (spotted by Mark) slinking between boulder piles, and a mission focused cream-furred dog trotting along the tree line, and a wedge tail (spotted by Col) landing on a rabbit, as we fished for trout, what a relatively lifeless place (in terms of big creatures) it would be without our ferals. But there hasn’t been much chance to contemplate this because the fishing has been outstanding. This week’s trips have focussed on the water impacted by the high flows from the snow melt and the fish have been co-operative, if not super abundant.

There are a lot of browns in the catch, with rainbows still doing their work up the rivers.

There have been times when it’s goes quiet, and then we’d find a patch where there were fish and we’d get several contacts, and boat a few in short succession. My first cast in one spot where the water dropped off a river shelf hooked the best fish of the day – before it took advantage of my long distance catch and release special offer, then another fish hooked up on the second cast – again not getting it to the net; before landing one on the third cast. Then maybe half an hour before we touched another.

Col milking it!

The boat has been the key, covering ground quickly and efficiently, and moving if it didn’t feel right or we weren’t catching fish. Hanging flies caught most of the fish. They just don’t seem to want to chase the fly. Fly of the day yesterday was a size 16 brown pheasant tail nymph with a tungsten bead – fished 1.5 metres under a small indicator, with a weighted black Woolly Bugger a close second. There is so much good looking water and I can’t believe I’m not going back until after the October long weekend.

These 1 to 2 lb fish go like rockets on the surface, whilst the bigger fish lunge deep.

A report from Danny Spelic’s trip to Jindabyne suggests there is widespread good fishing with some excellent browns caught from the boat. I know Danny’s a big fan of the new-age Wooly Bugger variations (e.g. Shrek and Magoo/McGoo) so I suspect they won’t be far from his mix of successful flies.

Lake levels are all doing what they should be. Eucumbene rising at 37.42%; Jindabyne rising 76.83%; Tantangara falling at 30%.

Which reminds me to remind you that the rivers open on Saturday 30 September. Be relaxed about it, there will be a lot of people right through the Snowies and Monaro rivers. The best time of the weekend will be Monday afternoon as the crowds head back to home and work on Tuesday.  So, hope to see you on a river somewhere!

Tight tippets, Steve

(Snowy Lake Fly Fishing Charters)