Beneath Bogong

A short trip to the Bogong region of north-east Victoria didn’t disappoint, and how could it? Lying beneath the 2 kilometre-high summit of Mt Bogong and its snow-gum and alpine ash-covered flanks, are many deep valleys. And with alpine valleys, come rivers and streams. As Scott and I stood on the roadside, gazing in silent awe at the scene before us, wondering what lay in those valleys became too much to take. So we decided to drive high up into one of them, walk in, and find out.

Plenty of valleys, plenty of possibilities.

The mountain stream we arrived at didn’t disappoint. Working our way up, going run for run and pool for pool, we started to pick up some rainbows both on Stimulators and size 14 paraduns, dropping a nymph off the back when needed in the slower, deeper pools.

Our view for a few hours.

There were patches of more challenging fishing too, like when we found trout rising to small mayfly spinners behind and in front of boulders. A few fly changes revealed that a size 16 Black Spinner with the right drift, worked wonders.

A Stimulator-munching rainbow.

After that stream, back down the mountain we went – time for some lunch and a cheeky salad… well, not really; make that meat pies and iced coffees!

Then back to the fishing, this time checking out some water on the Kiewa River in the main valley. At first glance, it reminded us of the upper reaches of New Zealand’s Mataura, lined with willows, and with deep runs flowing into long, shallow sections.

It looked like perfect polaroiding water, so that’s what we did. Scott and I both walked upstream slowly, eyeing off every likely spot. It didn’t take long to spot the first brown, swinging back and forth, eating nymphs drifting past. Standing watching for a minute, I decided to try a dry fly: the water was too shallow to hang a nymph off the back, which might catch on a rock and spook the fish. The cast landed a metre ahead of the trout, the Stimi slowly made its way over a riffle and into the zone. Head tilted up, mouth open and I was on. Beautiful brown to the net!

Scott’s turn. Walking up to the next run, sure enough, there was another brown swinging, swaying and feeding in slower water. Scott got down low and with some Ninja manoeuvres, crept closer. He covered the trout with a para Adams… and on! The beautiful brown put up a hard fight before it was in the net.

Scott with a stunning brown from a slow section.

The fishing went on like this until we got back to the car. There was more walking and spotting, but also nymphing in the deeper pools we couldn’t see into. Extending the dropper and using finer 5X tippet plus a tungsten bead-head nymph, allowed the fly to reach the bottom in these spots and accounted for some nice fish.

One on the deep nymph.

It was just a short trip and with fishing and family time shared, it offered just a taste of what’s possible on the streams under Mt Bogong. I can’t wait to get back and explore; maybe some more sight-fishing down low, and scrambling over the boulders up high.