Big and small in the Goulburn Valley

This will sound like I made it up, but as I type, a flying ant just crawled across the keyboard – honest! It fits with today: a warm, still, overcast day in the Goulburn Valley, where every plant seemed to be in flower, and a flyfisher’s entomology lesson blitzed the river for hours on end. Caddis, mayfly (spinners and duns from giant Kossies to dainty caenids), stonefly, beetles and yes, flying ants.

The trout were ‘on’ today…

While the Goulburn itself was just a bit too hard to polaroid with the hazy sky and lack of direct sun, the Rubicon responded to the conditions just as we hoped. Most of the likely spots had a good fish or two present; occasionally polaroided, sometimes rising, but more often fished up ‘blind’.

JD making the effort.

It wasn’t easy fishing, with the trout seemingly changing from preferring little caddis patterns one moment, to liking mayfly patterns or small dark nymphs the next. Nymph or dry, drifts had to be perfect, which was a challenge given the river was flowing a bit faster than I prefer. Messy currents and an overabundance of too-fast water made sure JD and I had to think through every cast, but how rewarding it was when it all came together!

And the reward.

Today followed a magic afternoon on the creeks yesterday, a warm-up on mostly little trout along pretty-as-a-picture small streams. If today had the trout all fired up, under yesterday’s a brilliant blue sky, they were somewhat coy. Still catchable in that inevitable way of little waters with high numbers of competitive trout, but there were enough refusals and even ‘ignorals’ to keep us thinking.

Small creek rainbow.

Oh, and of course there were the log jams to clamber over and flies to retrieve from all sorts of vegetation that wasn’t quite where you thought it was.

Small streams keep you fit!

Yesterday evening was on the Goulburn itself; almost vast in size and space after the creeks. The evening played out as good evenings often do. There was initial impatience waiting for the shadows to lengthen, then doubts about whether we’d chosen the right spot, then a few rises and some relief; accentuated when the fish grabbed our first offerings (in this case, a Kossie Dun with a red Para Spinner 50cm behind).

The great big Goulburn. Hmmm, are we in the right spot for the evening rise?

Finally, came the ambition (greed?) for something even better and a last light canter up the river, looking for more/ bigger trout. We found them: I missed three which looked like beauties, JD missed one and landed a 14 inch brown. Still, we couldn’t be sure if it was the move or timing that brought the extra action? In other words, would we have been better off staying put?

Told you!

So there’s a short report from an area where it seems, for the moment, as if everything is about right: the Goulburn at 3000-odd ML/d, the natural streams high but not too high, water temperatures in the low teens, and the air warm but not hot. It could all change in a moment of course (especially the Goulburn which can alter at the flick of a switch) but yesterday and today at least, you couldn’t ask for much more.