The Murrumbidgee at the Outpost with hopper feeders on the bank!
A light breeze, the sun on your back, a good mate to push off the boat, and a first-hand tale of a giant brown. I am in heaven, it’s the dying days of summer, and I’m writing prose. Time to talk about the fishing.
We planned to launch at Providence after a bakery pie lunch and had expected the place to ourselves – selfishly. But what was this, a flotilla of Victorian registered boats and there at the lead was Royce in his easily recognised Quintrex with the massive black Mercury standing proud on the transom. Without hesitation I cut in behind their drift to get the intel. Literally as we pulled up and were exchanging greetings his buddy hooked up. Right at the boat, flies more or less on the hang. That was enough to get the fishing adrenalin pumping and Royce shared the knowledge one of his group had a 13lb brown at the taxidermist. Fat as a gook and in generally superb condition. Loaded with a few days’ worth of intel we headed down the lake to a scrubby bay full of standing timber.
With the lake at 56% it looked awesome and I knew just where the fish would be hiding. That’s the good thing about this spot, you can only really get there by boat and there’s so much timber the trollers are put off. We cruised around with the electric; had a couple of possible touches; and then got the treatment from a cracking rainbow that went aerial, showed its contempt and spat the fly on the third or fourth launch. Never mind, it counts in my book. Having driven every fish in the hectare of water into the depths we headed back to the Providence flats and fished towards the evening without success, but did see the guys in the other boat catch at least on what looked like a blade, cast and swung behind the slowly motoring boat.
At 5.30 we had an early and awesome corn beef dinner with veges back at Providence Lodge (http://www.providencelodge.com.au/) followed by pie and ice cream and waddled back to the boat to head off for the evening. Already, the evenings are starting to close in. We picked a bay with a favourable wind and had settled in for the duration, with fish moving nicely when the southerly became easterly with a bit of north blowing straight up the guts of the bay and the fish disappeared in a huff. “What just happened” asked John? We persevered and right on dark I caught a head lunging brown that took a bit of line before heading nicely towards the net. And then it wasn’t there anymore. “Ouch”, he said. But never mind, it counts in my book (still). We had an awesome adventure when we were emptying the boat that night. As the last box came out, it revealed a small brown snake had snuck into the boat. Well that caused some pandemonium I can tell you. Two boof heads (one, not me, a lot calmer than the other) leaping around with a landing net and a stick trying to save this thing that would try to hole our waders without a second thought – I wear waders so I don’t get snake bit – and then a lifejacket so I don’t drown in them. Invincible!
For those who know me you’ll know I must have been a bit sick when I say I didn’t get up to fish the first light roll call when all the best fish come in to the bank to check in, and look for an easy breakfast. Having spent a couple of days the previous week in hospital with a flu brought back from Myanmar I was weak and pathetic. So we had a late breakfast and headed up to the Murrumbidgee at the Outpost (http://www.theoutpost.com.au/). Here we redeemed ourselves with a good bag of browns and rainbows, mostly on hoppers and cicada patterns.
This one run under the tea tree brought 3 rainbows up to an elk hair cicada
Those guys are really tuned into the hoppers which are everywhere along the banks. We’d seen them on the lake the day before being completely ignored but the river fish were right onto it. Literally, first cast, bang – giant rubber leg hopper patterns that landed with a crash. It dawned on me recently that every time I catch a fish I feel this sense of surprise, like I really didn’t think it was going to work. It’s always been like that. Forty years, and I’m still surprised. I spent a fair bit of the morning in a state of surprise.
Before our short trip finished I wanted to fish Middlingbank, near Buckanderra. I launched the boat and headed off to Tri-Villa inlet which looked great. I fished for a bit but ended up lying on the floor of the boat next to the dog. My excuse was flu-lag; hers, who knows, resting in case she ever has to chase a sheep maybe? And then Tank Bay – the ultimate humiliation. My mate Steve Samuels said to me that if I see a bay full of rising fish, like really focused on midge or termites, walk away and find a bank where they’re not rising and maybe you’ll catch one. I should have listened. Two hours of target practice, with any number of rising fish to cast to – every cast -and just one solid take. There was a school of fish moving up and down. And Steve, I can hear him chatting on the other side of the lake, takes one for dinner that is stuffed with mudeye, midge, termites and ants.
Well, there you go. No shortage of fish, but they were tricky. We had a ball!
Lake levels remain excellent. Plenty of food, and a great mudeye moon this weekend so get down there and give it a go. The next trip is in 2 weeks by which time I will have cracked this week’s code!
Tight tippets all
Steve (Snowy Lakes Fly Fishing Charters – www.nakedtrout.com.au)