Eucumbene – the lake is “half full”

Dragging big wets in front of the Portal

Dragging big wets in front of the Portal

After the last big drought we had a little party when the lake cracked 50%. The water was covering fresh ground every day, drawing out the worms and grubs and bringing the fish in close.  This was the first time I’d seen the light green coloured larvae that look like an overgrown maggot which proved frustratingly difficult in the match and catch department. Anyway, I’ve got a short memory and after growing used to lake levels in the high 50’s and 60’s and having the Providence flats available to drift across at my convenience, when the lake hit 50% (this time on the way down) my heart momentarily sank until I remembered there are still of course several hundred square kilometres of lake to the south. There’s also still a lot of water in front of the Providence Portal, but you can pretty much walk across the lake in front of the van park and lodge (although I’m not suggesting you try). Once agan the fishing reports are mixed.

The browns are featuring heavily in the catches of both fly fishers and trollers, but the rainbows are sulking. Don’t be caught out with too light tippet however, they’re stalking around and some of the 3 to 4 lb fish are treachorously hard hitters. The moon’s been coming up early for the last week and with hot days, water temperature still over 20 degrees, and no cloud cover things have been tricky, but this Saturday the moonrise isn’t until 9.30 so there’s a good hour of full dark where the fish will be in close (that’s a HOT TIP!!).

A-Stephen fish

Meanwhile, last weekend I spent some day time on the Eucumbene River and evening on the lake fishing with Stephen. First thing to note is that we had the place to ourselves.  It was hot, and a strong westerly blew through the gorges, but the fish were obviously hopper feeding and came up willingly to anything that resembled food – Elk Hair Caddis, Stimulators, Wulffs, etc.

Apart from the strong cold sou-westerly that came out of nowhere on the lake, right on dark, it was idyllic.

That's a deep hole - not part of the plan!

That’s a deep hole – not part of the plan!

Stephen spent Sunday walking some of the same water with the same general results.  He writes: “When I got back to the car some Sydney fishers said they had got a good brown that previous day downstream from the bridge. I left them to have the lower pools and fished up.

A-fish on bank

A-fish in net
I can’t believe I haven’t put more time into that stretch of water. Its absolutely amazing. maybe only the third cast and I was on to a half pound brown, beautiful golden colour with super bright spots and a fun fight for a little guy. The next brown was maybe 40 metres up. Then I spooked what I thought was a monster fish at least 4 lbs – anyway next time. In that pool itself I threw out a cast into the tail of the run and within seconds, right before my eyes a dark shape cruised over from about 3 metres away, slowly and more importantly right before my eyes it opened its mouth and sucked in the fly….  awesome to see that close up! I think I only waited one second before striking and next thing it was going deep left and right and then swam straight into the net – only about 1.5lbs but one I will never forget. A-River boulders

Further upstream was insane and not for the fish I was catching but the fish I was spooking! It was waist deep and the wind was blowing a gale straight in my face which made accurate casting pretty frustrating. Czech nymphing through here would be out of this world. Without a word of a lie I spooked at least 4 really good fish that would shoot out of a crack as my foot went over the crack.
A-big pool
As my fly drifted down a bubble line a shape literally detached from the bank, drifted to my fly and again just inhaled it from below. I get blown away by seeing this up close. I don’t know how I kept my cool as it turned back to its home but strike and I’m on again, this time to a much better fish. He went crazy and almost had me running down to the next pool but I managed to keep him in check and even better into my net!”
That’s all for now. Don’t wait until Easter, get out there now and beat the rush.
Tight tippets all