I love heading up to Khancoban at this time of year for the fishing, swimming and hiking. This area, on the western side of the Snowy Mountains and back over the border into Victoria, really does have it all. Summer trips here have been a regular pilgrimage since I was in nappies. I really do feel at home, and as I wandered around the caravan park, memories of Mike Spry casting on the grass with clients came rushing back.
But enough nostalgia; how about the fishing? Good friends Kiel and Bree were already up at our shack in Khancoban when I arrived with my better half Ellen. Kiel reported that the fishing on the Swampy Plain River below Khancoban Pondage was ‘going off!’ We unpacked the car and headed straight to the river.
We all set up with a nymph under dry with a long dropper. In fact I still had my head down finishing a knot when I heard Kiel’s signature ‘Yewwww!’ He was on. That trout spat the fly halfway through the fight, but he caught another one next cast.
Bree and Ellen both waded out and cast upstream, with a swing at the end of the drift. This technique is used to pick fish up when there are good numbers of caddis about. In no time, Bree had a fish and Ellen wasn’t far behind with her own lovely little brown. The session lasted a couple of hours with around 10 fish landed.
Through the rest of the week, we fished the Swampy morning and evenings, then smaller streams during the heat of the day. These streams, including the Nariel Creek, were fishing fantastically. A single dry fly did most of the damage, including size 14 Lime X Stimulators, Black Wulffs and HiVis Parachute Adams.
The evening rise on the Swampy was incredible, with most fish on caddis and Kosciuszko duns. Swinging a La Fontaine Caddis pre hatch proved to be a winner, with many solid fish to hand. Then, with so many trout rising during the hatch, it paid to switch to a Kossie Dun and target the larger fish.
Meanwhile, some members of the Calder Fly Fishers came up to Khancoban for a trip I’d help them organise a few months earlier. The guys were keen to spread out and take in as much as they could over their three day stay. They reported good fishing on the Upper Swampy around the Geehi Flat on hopper patterns and other terrestrials. Mark Hobbs also had great success using a size 16 Iron Blue Dun during the hatch on the Swampy.
The highlight of the trip was taking client Jack to some secluded alpine steams up in the high country. Some of the creeks in this area are to die for! Jack’s first fish of the day was a lovely brook trout. The next day also produced some amazing fishing, all on hopper patterns. I think Jack will be back up this way very soon!
Last season I said the fishing couldn’t get any better on the mountain streams up here, but this year has topped it. If you haven’t fished the area, put it on the ‘must do soon’ list.