Fly Fish Australia: Australian Fly Fishing Championships 2015

NSW team with Fly Fish Australia Patron  Janet Holmes a Court

NSW team with
Fly Fish Australia Patron Janet Holmes a Court

John Fisher, ACT comp fisher and Caddigat Lakes regular writes about the 2015 Fly Fish Australia Australian Fly Fishing Championships held at Adaminaby NSW from 26 – 28 November – ‘the Nationals’:

This year’s Nationals had 5 competition sectors located at Yaouk and Bolaro on the Murrumbidgee River, Buckenderra on Lake Eucumbene, and the Rodney George and Caddigat Dams on the Dixieland private trout fishery. The private trout waters were used this year to expose competitors to competition fishing on stocked rainbow and brown trout waters – the conditions experienced when competing at world championship events held in Europe.

The stocked lake fishing proved a success with fish behaving in a similar manner under competition conditions to those experienced in the Czech Republic for the 2014 World championships.  The fishing got progressively more difficult as the competition went on with catch rates generally falling as the sessions progressed. The bank sessions on Rodney George were particularly tough on the first day with 60 km/h winds, but despite this the majority of competitors still managed to catch fish.  The boat sessions were held on the larger Caddigat Lake where the fish were more responsive.

Overall the stocked lakes produced a total of 154 fish over the 5 sessions with most in the 40-50 cm range.  The largest fish was a 61 cm rainbow.  46 fish were caught from the bank sessions and 108 from the boat sessions.

The boat sessions on Lake Eucumbene proved much tougher and there were nowhere near as many fish measured.  The river sessions at Yaouk and Bolaro fished reasonably well but beats were tough toward the end of the competition, which is normal.

The overall winner of the event was Glenn Eggleton (TAS), with Jon Stagg (TAS) 2nd and Mark Bulley (NSW) 3rd.  The teams event was won by TAS, with NSW 2nd and VIC 3rd.

Fly Fish Australia expresses its thanks to Dixieland owner Rod Smith, and Caddigat Lakes fishery manager Steve Dunn for allowing use of this superb venue to run the competition and the generous stocking of competition waters.  The event was extremely successful with almost all competitors catching fish.


Bonnies Bay

From me: Now’s the time to squeeze in a quick Snowies lake fish before the Boxing Day rush.  It’s so quiet. The male of the species is pretty much grounded for the next week finalizing preparations for turkeys and last minute shopping so those lucky enough to sneak away have got the shores and rivers pretty much to themselves.  But not so from the 26th when the roads are nose to tail tinnies and the campsites boil over with arriving families. While I’ve mostly been hiding in Tonga and PNG, seeing out the fishing year managing tuna and consuming mahi mahi and swordfish, the fish tales from my cadre of spies make good reading.

Excellent Eucumbene polaroiding water

Excellent Eucumbene polaroiding water

The hot thing to do remains polaroiding for the good stocks of good size browns.  Any bit of water with a high bank, and some clay with a few yabby holes, and with the sun at the right angle and not much cloud, creates great visibility through the water for a good distance from the bank. Have a wander around during mid-morning and find some good spots for the following days for a variety of wind conditions. Whilst a good spotter can see a fish lying doggo next to a rock or in weed (fish that we mere mortals always spook), a lot of the time fish are really easy to spot as they actively cruise along looking for a meal. You just need patience, and you really need to try not to spook them – so use your lake craft. Keep a low profile against the sky; avoid fast movement; freeze if you see something; use your knees; don’t kick rocks into the water – all that stuff.  Then when you spot one, and if you haven’t spooked it, all you have to do is figure out how to catch it! If you’ve got no idea, start with a dry, something like a Red Tag that both you and the fish can see – you really have to try and get ahead of the cruising fish, get down, and lay the trap by putting the fly on the water. Sometimes you can cast near a cruising fish from behind and get it to turn but that’s a high risk strategy and often you’re better waiting the ten minutes until it comes past again as it works its beat – which of course it doesn’t always do.

I’ve has some good river reports for the Eucumbene and Thredbo with the last of the post-spawning rainbows coming out of the tributaries and hanging around the pools as pretend residents. And there are some superb fish amongst them.

Cheers, tight tippets and I hope you’re stocking is full of essential widgets and gimbles,