Godzilla El Niño and NSW hatchery report

Remember Lake Eucumbene at 25%?

Remember Lake Eucumbene at 25%?

Bad news from Snowy Hydro has to be good news for FlyStream readers fishing the Snowy Lakes – at least in the short term. The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 4 October that Snowy Hydro is preparing for an El Niño season that will extend well into 2016. I’d already heard the media calling it a “Godzilla El Niño” earlier in the week and in response the Snowy Hydro’s commercial strategy is apparently to bank its water now, and generate power later on when it’s more valuable.

During the last big drought water reserves in the Snowy Hydro scheme fell to their lowest-ever levels with river flows into the scheme at a 100 year low. So with the current forecast, they’re saving the water for a not so rainy day meaning lake levels will be higher for longer and we might avoid the barren post-apolcalyptic landscape of the last decade. The picture above was where the lake ended up in the last drought, around 3 kilometres north of Middlingbank.

The Bureau of Meteorology says “the tropical Pacific ocean and atmosphere are reinforcing each other, maintaining a strong El Niño that is likely to persist into early 2016. Tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures are more than 2 °C above average, exceeding El Niño thresholds by well over 1 °C, and at levels not seen since the 1997–98 event”.  In other words it has all the potential to be a shocker and if the reality is as dire as the forecasts (which on BOM’s past form is debatable) some of the rivers and streams that have started to bounce back in the Monaro and southern highlands may suffer.

There’s positive news from Gaden Hatchery who report they’ve met their target for trapping spawning rainbows, and overall egg production. A total of 792 rainbows were trapped, and the screens are now out of the water allowing any further late-run fish to find their way upstream unimpeded – which was no doubt good news for the October long weekend fishers. There are now around 250,000 salmon eggs, 150,000 brook trout eggs, 500,000 brown trout eggs, and 1.2 million rainbow eggs in the hatchery. Good work guys!

Steve Euc River

I’ve had mixed reports about the opening season weekend. No huge catches reported but several good pre and post spawning fish were caught in the rivers. Certainly not the bumper catches of the past but perhaps an improvement on recent years. In the lakes, especially in Eucumbene, it’s the browns that have been providing a lot of fun. One report of a group fishing soft plastics accounted for more than a dozen browns up to 7lb. I’m only reporting that because it shows they’re there and because they were released (well most of them!).

We’re hosting the National Fly Fishing Championships at Dixieland in November and popped in over 2,000 fish up to 500 grams last week to give them a bit of a head start – we know they like their little ones!

Tight tippets all.

Steve (Fly fishing boat charters on the Snowy Lakes: http://nakedtrout.com.au/stuff/charter/)