It was a warm, sunny Sunday – rare for the unusual summer we’re experiencing. My colleague Ross at The Flyfisher and I planned to go and chase some wild trout in the streams above Marysville.
The goal was more about a confidence boost than anything. While Ross had enjoyed early success with his cod endeavours, he’d quickly learned why they’re sometimes called the fish of 1000 casts. With a recent lack of cod catches, it was time to ‘brain’ some trout, and more importantly, to restore faith in our abilities.
With my new 7’6″ 3 weight Orvis Recon 2, I was excited to get into it. While I had christened the rod previously, I didn’t feel I’d got the most out of it with the old line I was running. So, for this trip I’d got my hands on Scientific Angler’s new Amplitude Smooth Creek Trout fly line; hopeful this would be a rod/line perfect match.
Sunday morning came and we made our way up a dirt track until a locked gate meant we’d be doing the rest on foot. We put in a few kilometres until the temptation of a cool, clear mountain stream below became too much. We found a gap in the dense bush and slid down to the water. The previous 48 hours had seen a dump of rain in parts of Victoria, so we were relieved to see the flow running clear. Conditions seemed almost perfect.
I laid out my first cast with the newly-matched rod and line and couldn’t believe the difference. The slightly over-weighted Creek line loaded the rod perfectly at close-range trout distances. Roll-casts and mends now required less effort and I could easily get the fly where it needed to be.
The fishing was slow to start with, and doubts about the conditions (and our abilities!) started to creep in. Maybe we were fishing secondhand water? Maybe the river was still dropping from the downpour and the fish weren’t feeding?
However, as we made our way up the valley further, our doubts were put to rest as the first fish came to net. A victim of the Duracell Jig Nymph dangling below my little Stimulator. Yes! We’re on the board!
This set the tone for the next few pools. Ross got another one shortly after. The fish were definitely more interested in the nymphs as another four trout fell to the dropper.
After Ross landed several more beautiful wild fish, he decided he was going to persist with the dry fly and as the heat of the day increased, he was rewarded as the trout started looking up. With more close-range dry fly takes, the fun really began as we watched fish tracking back to smash a Swishers PMX off the surface.
The right thing to do now would have been to cut off my dropper and fish the dry fly in its pure form. However I’m stubborn and slightly competitive, so I left the dropper on in the hope of landing a bigger fish. A few nice rainbows resulted but not quite that small stream trophy I was hoping for.
After we lost count of fish, and our shins and knees were starting to feel the effects of constant collisions with logs and boulders, we decided we’d had enough fun for the day. A slightly risky and maybe a over-ambitious exit had us scrambling up a dead tree laying down into the valley from the track above. I wisely let Ross go first to check for hidden dangers!
But once we were up on the track, we walked back to the car with relative ease – definitely a better option than scrambling down the stream, over logs and around boulders.
Once back at the car, we drove to a campsite further downstream. Here the river opened up a little bit more – the perfect spot for a quick dip, and a cold beer out of the fridge to celebrate a return to form for Ross, and a great day for both of us.
Our suggestion? Find a mountain stream, push into the headwaters, and have some fun!