La Nina south-east summer snapshot

Autumn has arrived and I have a moment to take a breath and reflect on the unusual summer that was.

For fishing, it certainly felt different. Easterly winds dominated, and rainfall was very good except for a few parts of Victoria. Temperatures were warm, but without any super-hot days. For most of us, bushfires and grassfires were mercifully absent. And it was the second wet and almost fire-free summer in a row.

The BOM’s summer rainfall map for 2021/22 tells the story.

On the water, there was plenty of it in the north-east Victorian streams; sometimes verging on an inconvenient quantity for actual fishing, although never for the fish, which thrived in numbers and condition.

Very healthy midsummer flows on the Acheron, were typical of eastern Vic’s mountain streams nearly everywhere.

One interesting side benefit has been the amount of water now in store. With high inflows and limited downstream demand, Lake Eildon is going into autumn at 83%, while Dartmouth and Lake Hume are well over 90%. Money in the bank for the future.

The only downside of this summer in the Snowy/ Monaro, was regularly having to dodge the thunderstorms!

Up in the Snowy/ Monaro, it’s been a long time since they’ve had a summer like this. I fished Eucumbene at 45% in early December, and came back in late February to 47.5%… and the level has risen since.

Brookies love cold water and plenty of it, so chunky fish at the end of summer tell the story.

All the main impoundments are similar, with Jindabyne stuck in the high 90s all summer and with full-grown trees and picnic tables partly submerged, resembling the scene of an endless flood! Only Tantangara has been kept as low as possible due Snowy 2.0 work.

Not bad ‘bidgee flows for the end of February!

Meanwhile, the Snowy/ Monaro streams finished summer looking more like you would expect at the end of spring.

Fishing for salmon in the surf near Princetown – some shelter from the easterlies.

In the salt, I was hampered in my summer sea fishing attempts by constant onshore easterlies: very fly-unfriendly! I did manage one good offshore day, but even that was cut short by the gathering wind. A pity, because salmon, kingfish and tuna numbers appeared to be very good.

There were plenty of EPs about this summer, including on the west coast.

Inshore and estuary fishing was great though, with the easterlies less of a problem if you picked the right aspect. The west coast, plus West Gippsland were good to me, with EPs, flathead and salmon about in decent quantities.

Andersons Inlet flathead on a Clouser.

All up, it felt more like a coastal Sydney summer at times than a southern one, but I’ll take that rain and lack of extreme heat every time.