Final 2014 Snowies Blog

I was lucky to get 2 nights on Lake Eucumbene this week before heading off to Myanmar for three weeks of business, and a bit of a break. I will even pack a rod and may blog if WiFi access permits, and if I can figure out how to swim a woolly bugger for some local species, maybe even a mahseer.

Lodge from the lake

Freshly flooded grass

So, two nights, and with lake reports all good I spent a night at Providence Lodge, and another at Buckenderra. The lake is still rising, and the water is in freshly flooded grass.

Geraldine in a hatch

On a grey old night I fished with Geraldine and Terry at Providence, taking their new tinny across the flats to a nice sheltered inlet with a favourable breeze, which promptly dropped to no breeze.  The hatch was extraordinary. First came the nano midge, clouds of them; then the swarms of caddis; and then the giant black midge. Add in all sorts of incidental insect activity including Christmas beetles, stoneflies, and gorilla-moths and you can imagine the evening rise. The lake was literally carpeted in hatching, crawling, and dying insects and their body parts.  But, could we catch a fish?  I hooked one leaping rainbow, last cast of the night on a prototype wet. But that was it.

After a 10 pm dinner at the lodge (they’re very accommodating of late night fishers) and 6 hours sleep I was back on the lake. As I drove to the lodge boat ramp a fish rose 2 feet off the bank. I grabbed the rod, flicked out the prototype still tied on from the night before and a 3 lb brown exploded onto it. But that was it. Two hours of hunting the banks, with plenty of in-close fish to cast two but I couldn’t replicate the story. One fish teased me relentlessly, picking off the best of the detritus from the previous night’s rise.  Rise 1

Rise 2
Rise 3

Then the Loch Euc Monster swam into view before morphing into a kangaroo.

Nessy1

Nessy2

Nessy3

Nessy4

Nessy5

Dawn is a special time to be out and about on Eucumbene. The light, the cool air and mist, all create this wonderful atmosphere. A couple of chaps out in their Quinny were drifting the flats and I know they would be covering plenty of fish. I wanted to be out there soooo bad!

Loch style at dawn

I headed to Buckanderra, phoning Steve Samuels on the way, and told him about the previous evening’s midge rise.  His advice was to run away, fast.  He’d spent an evening trying to catch zoned in midge feeders at Middlingbank last week and ended up storming off to find a bank with no rising fish, where he nailed a bag full on a stick caddis.  At Buckanderra I set up my mobile office full of good intentions of an afternoon’s work but instead chatted with another fisherman who’d been at Middlingbank that afternoon. He’d seen fish but not caught any.

Anyway, my last fish on the big lake for the year turned out to be a cracker.  I fished Tank Bay at Middlingbank and sure enough the midge rise was sensational. But I didn’t run away and fished various stick caddis and midge patterns for a healthy bag full of fish in excellent condition and seemingly as comfortable in flight as they were in the water. A great end of year result after a year of mixed success.

Rainbow 18-12

If you’re heading to the lake be patient and persevere. If your fly isn’t in the water you won’t catch fish. If you listen to the doom and gloom merchants you’ll go home unhappy.  Keep at it, you can fish four hours and all the action can be in the last 20 minutes. It’s unpredictable and you have to take the chances as they come. Flies not to be without on the lake are black beetle, stick caddis, midge, and small black and olive woolly buggers (both olive and black that is). And support your local Snowy Mountains businesses – don’t turn up with everything pre-bought and expect to get advice from the locals – you need each other!

Tight tippets all and have a great festive season and 2015. And I hope you find your tackle dreams under a tree somewhere,

Cheers, Steve (and Briggsy the wet kelpy-dog)

(www.nakedtrout.com.au – Snowy Lakes Fly Fishing Charters)Briggsy the wet dog

 

Oven ready - for each one cooked, another was pardoned!

Oven ready – for each one cooked, another was pardoned!