By any measure last week’s Snowys trip with Phil was a beauty. Good company, a variety of good digs (especially Providence Lodge), great food, and of course plenty of fine fish. But for me at least this was a training exercise, a dry run. I used to play a lot of tennis and you always play your best and learnt the most when playing a better player – a few days with Phil is like that. This week I was with Andrew and Chris. Andrew is a very good fisherman who “does a bit of fly fishing”; Chris, hasn’t fly fished before but has diligently spent the early summer learning the basics of casting by flogging a line on Sunday mornings in a muddy Canberra lake under my “expert” tutelage. The mission then was to get Chris onto his first fish; catch both rainbow and brown; and of course for something more substantial than junior burgers. We arrived on Lake Eucumbene late on Friday night launched the boat and headed for a likely looking bay with the westerly wind in the right spot, a 5 metre strip of glassy water with a nice ripple beyond. Now this is what the boat is for – as well as lugging tents and related miscellaneous paraphernalia. No time to mess around setting up, the sun had already dipped over the horizon, and we were straight into it. The bay had plenty of rising fish. I buddied with Chris, and Andrew wandered off on his own adventure. We fish dries and pricked a couple of fish on tentative takes, whilst Andrew got into a nice brown further along the bank.
There were a lot of sub surface boils and a heap of caddis fluttering around so I hung a Hayes’ stick caddis 200 mm off the dry which did the trick almost straight away.
As they do, the fish wandered off to chase yabbies or to sleep and dream of mayflies and we ate cheese and tomato sandwiches and drank tea. The first smidgin of pre-dawn light was at 5. A stiff sou-wester and a heavy dew, and sheets of ice on the waders – I knew we should have slept in them. Another brew and we were back on the water, gliding through the petrified timber between Anglers Reach and Providence to a small bay that forms when the lake reaches 50%.
Here there are always browns right against the edge. But it’s shallow and you need the electric motor to fish it properly. The breeze pushed us around nicely and we fished both banks and the deep soak gully dripping two fish before we spooked the third and watched it bolt for deep water. We headed north on the main lake again and found a bank with the wind shearing along it at the perfect angle, bringing food into a nice wind lane no more than 5 or metres offshore. By now Chris was fishing well and dropping well-presented flies right into hot spots when he surprised us both by hooking into a much larger fish. There’s a point in every fly fisherman’s career when you realise that catching a trout is not a battle of strength, it’s a battle of wills. In this case Chris held on for grim death, subconsciously believing it to be the former, and the fish won out over the 8 lb tippet.
Anyway, Chris now has his first brown, his first rainbow, has fish out of both lake and river – and we’ve got three more days to go! After a couple of nights “enjoying” nature we’ve checked into Providence Lodge (at the first sign of rain). Another great dinner, the view hasn’t changed – and the lake is rising over fresh grass again. Great rooms, breakfast and dinner all included at a fantastic rate; I’m not sure fishing was ever meant to be this comfortable! Call Christine on 02 6454 220 for booking www.providencelodge.com.au. Specialist Snowy lakes flies are available from Col Sinclair at Adaminaby Angler – come and support these great local businesses!
Tight tippets! – guided lake charters www.nakedtrout.com.au