Four seasons in the Grampians

By November in Victoria, my attention is normally starting to swing away from the lakes towards the streams. However over the last couple of days, the opportunity has come up to do some fishing in the Grampians while I tend to some other commitments. I had a quick go on some small streams, before memories of my last trip drew me back to the lakes.

Sun before the storm at Fyans.

At Lake Fyans, it started bright, warm and windy. A good fish and I spotted each other at about the same moment, and I caught a smaller one later. But overall, the action was a bit below par, so after an hour or so, I packed up and headed to Bellfield.

Fyans rainbow.

That was when the weather really started to go downhill. First the wind (which was blowing fair-sized trees over), then showers, and finally today, some serious rain and cold.

Weather closing in at Bellfield.

But if that sounds unpleasant, there was significant compensation in the actual fishing. All along Bellfield’s shore, schools of galaxias are weaving through the fallen timber. And sure enough, good rainbows are onto them. I only saw a few fish actually smelting, but I watched one fish charging around about a metre down, right under my rod tip and totally oblivious to me as just another upright shape. It was proof of the (mostly) invisible carnage going on, and incentive enough to search the likely spots carefully – even if I couldn’t see a fish.

The few fish visible smelting on top weren’t a true indication of what was going on underneath,

Most good trips also have that little bit of heartbreak, and mine came when a monster smashed the little Wooly Bugger, and dived into the timber. Although I was ready, this was one fish I simply could not stop with 9lb tippet; like some sort of  southern mangrove jack! I pulled as hard as I dared, something down deep gave way, and briefly my prize was free. Then another lunge, and the hook broke.

Notice something missing?

Fortunately, the fishing kept going even as the rain teemed down and I managed another good trout, although not the trout. Sitting here typing in Halls Gap while I dry out, the ‘other’ fish are already blurring into each other, but I can recall every detail of the one that got away.