Thunder, lightning, earthquake – all in a Snowy Mountains day’s work

A beaut summer evening on Lake Eucumbene - there's more than one kind of rainbow at Providence

A beaut summer evening on Lake Eucumbene – there’s more than one kind of rainbow at Providence

It was all happening in Adaminaby on Saturday night – and I’m not just talking about the fishing!  When I was fishing at Frying Pan on Lake Eucumbene in the early 90’s I fished an evening rise against the advice of the rest of the campsite who all sat around the fire telling lies – because of a forecast thunderstorm. As it got progressively darker the lightning got progressively closer until I decided enough was enough and I should head back to camp. The buzzing I could hear wasn’t midge, and the glow along my carbon fibre rod was pretty much Star Wars light sabre quality. I dropped the rod like a hot potato and trotted for cover. I picked up the rod the next morning and more or less convinced myself it had been paranoia so didn’t talk about it much.  Until last Sunday that is, when Col told an almost identical story based on his experience at the mouth of the Eucumbene River of his rod rings “glowing in the dark”.

So, on Saturday night a series of storm cells were ripping in a north to south direction and I had a charter booked.  It rained all the way from Canberra to Cooma and then the sun shone and the sky was blue. My spirits lifted.  I watched the radar and a new cell looked like it was going to hammer us at about 6 pm. I phoned my weather guru in Ballarat who studied it on a bigger screen and predicted it would slide past Providence.

When I got to Providence at 5.30, Trevor and Jim were waiting so we chewed the fat and waited a bit longer and talked about the weather and watched and sure enough it all seemed to be sliding past us – so we launched the boat.


The plan was to drift with the sou’ easterly breeze along the southern shore, using the electric to poke around the bays and petrified gum trees, casting into the deep water channel with sinking lines and three fly rigs, a mix of Woolly Buggers, stick caddis and nymphs. The wind blew and then didn’t, from first one direction then another and the fish played possum. The rain came in a deluge but then cleared and the wind blew harder.  Casting right at the shore Trevor got a follow from the bank with a big sub surface boil. We drifted across the flats as the wind got a bit more south in it and in the next hour caught two rainbows and a small brown.

Then we set off for the cliffs under Mount Denison to fish it with the electric, changing from sinking to floating lines and black muddlers. Here the water drops straight into 4 to 5 metres of water and the fish sit right against bank. First cast and Trevor gets a massive hit but the hook didn’t set. There was a real sense of optimism that this was going to be an interesting next hour.  That is until fifty metres further along the bank the sky lit up.  We counted – reaching 10 before the thunder came.  That’s okay I thought, could be hanging around Tantangara in the valley. Another flash not long afterwards and the count was nearer five – that got us motivated and we were safely back at the car before the next big bang.

I love fishing in a bit of wold weather, but lightning is a different story, especially when you’re holding a 9 foot 6 inch conductor in your hand. In this case, just one hour from being a good night’s fishing.Trevor and brown

I was back in Adaminaby by 9.40 and pretty much from then until the early hours was constant grumbling thunder from every direction with occasional torrential bursts of rain.  I eventually fell asleep but then woke up when the whole house started shaking.  It took a few seconds but I finally realised it was an earthquake. The windows rattled for a minute or so longer, the dog growled, Cristina refused to wake up, and so I went back to sleep. Geoscience Australia reported:

N of Cooma, NSW.  Magnitude: 3.6 Depth: 7 km
Date and Time:  31 January 2016 @ 04:39:14

Tight tippets all

Steve (Snowy Lakes Fly Fishing Charters)