Matt and I hit the road running. The plan was to reach the upper Mitta Mitta River late that evening, leaving behind a week-long heatwave and above 40C temperatures. The intense heat had been almost surreal and it felt a little strange heading to the north-east. A fire along the Hume Highway hampered our progress and delivered a sobering reality check…and no chance of reaching the river for the evening rise. No matter, we still had a few full days ahead of us. Eventually we set up camp in warm but pleasant conditions, the heat tempered by an altitude of around 800 m above sea level. It’s always cooler up there.
My thermometer read the water temperature at 19 C which is excellent for January and flows were low but acceptable with more than enough oxygenated runs and defined bubble lines. The fish chose to sit in deeper water where you would expect them to be in these conditions and on the first morning we enjoyed very good fishing to healthy browns rising to dries but also willingly taking weighted nymphs. We left the fish biting and headed off to the upper reaches which over the past few very wet years had been nearly impossible to fish due to higher flows. These upper reaches can be rewarding with a good chance at big fish but the fishing here can be at times perplexing to say the least. After an hour or so of quiet fishing and a smoke haze we decided to cut our losses and head out. The upper-upper Mitta was delivering one of those days! We went back downstream to no hatch that evening unfortunately but we still managed a few nice fish.
The next day was bright and warm. After a good breakfast we hit the water again and decided to fish a stretch that contains high banks and some great pools and runs. The sun was positioned perfectly at our backs for polaroiding. Within minutes we spotted a great fish cruising the opposite bank. We crouched and waited. Soon enough the fish returned and settled under a fallen tree which formed a bridge between the bank and the water. The big trout was darting left and right taking nymphs and occasionally sipping off the surface. Matt cast perfectly. The trailing nymph proved too much of a temptation for the fish which engulfed it willingly. Pandemonium followed. The trout leaped high several times before darting downriver with Matt following and applying enough pressure on the fish to keep control without snapping it off and keeping it above the perilously close cascading run. Matt eventually turned the fish and soon after had it safely in the net. The scales tipped at just under 3 1/2 lbs.
The next equally impressive pool revealed another good trout. This one sat in more open water and rose consistently. We couldn’t work out what it was rising to so I decided to tie on a size 14 Parachute Adams. My first cast was slightly to its left and drifted by. No damage done. My second cast was on the money, the fly drifted within the trout’s range and without hesitation it turned and ate it. Strike, and he was on. After an excellent tussle this fish also came to the net. Another great fish at just on 3 pounds.
With the early afternoon sun now beating down and polaroiding a little more difficult, we decided to head to a little stream not far away. I was keen to see how this little gem was fishing. Within minutes a beautiful 2 pounder came to a Wee Creek hopper. Meanwhile, Matt spotted a 3 pound plus fish sipping off the surface but in an impossible lie. A big trout for such a small stream. We fished on and enjoyed excellent fishing to more typical small browns. What a fantastic day!
Our last day, we decided to pack up camp and have a look at the Snowy Creek. I was interested to see for myself if indeed the rainbow population had crashed (as some had reported on various forums) I am not very familiar with this stream but the fishing was good. I’m happy to report that we had no trouble at all catching fat healthy rainbows to just over a pound. Content, we broke our rods down, packed up and headed home. Considering the time of the year, the low flows and the heatwave, what a great weekend we had.
PS: We’ve just uploaded Matt’s video of the trip to FlyStream’s Video section.