GOLD ON THE GOULBURN

High temperatures and high water had me thinking of the gold that lies in the Goulburn. As I was driving up the dry dusty road, watching the crickets and hoppers dancing everywhere, I was getting excited about the jumping trout food and the fact I couldn’t see any cars parked by the river. It was only mid morning yet the temperature was already in high 20s.

I loaded up the rod with a trusty black & green Stimulator. The river was pumping down, but it was so clear. The sun was high enough to light up the water so I made my way upstream looking for trout. However the first couple of hundred metres produced no sign of a fish. Maybe the day wasn’t going to be as promising as I thought.

Big hopper feeder water on the edge of the Goulburn.

Likely water for a big hopper feeder on the edge of the Goulburn.

Then, as I poked along the bank a bit further, I found a good trout sitting in amongst a fallen tree, where a half-submerged stump was creating a perfect lie. It was such a great spot for the big brown. The surrounding clutter was such that it only allowed me to use 60cm of leader dangling from the rod tip. I placed my fly as close as I could to the fish while my other hand clung to a small tree. From a distance an observer may have thought I was some overgrown ape stretching for a banana.

With the rod tip hopefully blending in with the branches, the Stimulator touched the water. The trout rose immediately, and in the next moment I was locked onto a 3½ pound brown. With 8.2pound tippet and the drag screwed tight, I managed to land the fish – with some luck, maybe some skill, but mostly luck!

Caught with just 2 ft of leader out the rod tip.

Caught with just 2 ft of leader out the rod tip.

After the slow start, the ‘G’ proved to be well and truly alive, with multiple trout landed – probably due to the high number of hoppers and crickets about and the trout really looking for them. It does make fishing this river a lot easier when the hoppers are out in force. Presentation doesn’t have to be perfect: so long as the fly is in the vicinity of a fish, it is likely to take.

The day wore on, the sun got hotter and I started to feel like I was slow cooking in my waders. One last fish in the net and I decided to call it a day. Despite a few battle scars from the blackberry bushes and a couple of failed attempts climbing trees, it had been a very satisfying day.

A good finish to a summer's day.

A good finish to a summer’s day.

Fishing these rough, tangled edges of the Goulburn may not provide the most relaxing day of fishing and you’ll lose more browns in the snags than you’ll land. But writing this just a week or so away from the opening of the Vic trout season, it’s a challenge I can’t wait to accept again when next summer arrives.