The weather has been sensational. A true Snowy Mountains mix of howling gales, pouring rain, snow down to 1100 metres, with plenty of sunshine and still days. A typical October where the weather like the fishing can be a bit of a lottery. The first thing I should mention is the rainbows in both rivers and lakes. One of the few criterion we have for assessing fish stocks between years is the fish trap for the Gaden Hatchery on the Thredbo. This year it was better than last, but still down on the average. The hatchery still relied on captive fish to top up their requirements for stocking demand. Apart from that it’s all anecdotal – and once again the anecdotes are mixed. The Thredbo River is certainly holding fish but catches are sporadic.
The Eucumbene River appears to have less fish, but they are there for the committed. The weekend before last I fished under the Tantangara Reservoir dam wall in the Murrumbidgee and saw several fish darting around as I stumbled through the drowned tussocks, accounting for 2 small browns and putting a bend in my new 3 weight J Fisher 10’6″ nymph rod. Tantangara has been providing some good reports of rainbows and browns whilst the upper Murrumbidgee has apparently been disappointing thus far with a big group from the Southern Highlands giving it a good work out for very small numbers. Lake Eucumbene is still showing signs of robust brown trout stocks with big fish close in, but the rainbows are still few and far between. We’re all hoping they show soon, and a late evening ant hatch last Saturday night was a sign of optimism – it certainly had the Southern Highlands guys deserting their pre dinner drinks and nibbles at Providence Lodge in favour of a rise on truly glassy water as the last of the light drained from the sky.
Caddigat Lakes has been a mixed bag too. Despite strong stockings over winter including a good batch of ex broodstock fish our guests have struggled. Last Friday I fished the big lake from the boat. There were good fish marks showing on the sounder but they were tough to hook. The anchor came up with what I can best describe as 5 kg of mulch full of bloodworms. If the fish are head down into that perhaps it’s not surprising they’re not taking our diverse offerings. The mulch comes from the heavy rain we’ve had this year washing in detritus from the catchment. As this continues to decompose it will hopefully provide excellent habitat for all the food trout love.
Talbingo has provided a few surprises. Anthony caught the nice brown below (from an undisclosed and secret location) along with a smaller brown and a kilo plus rainbow. The dragon flies suggest mud eyes are already making a show.
Despite all that I’m still champing at the bit for my two big trips in November. I’m thinking up every plot I can to improve the odds and every fur and fluff donor animal in the household is in hiding!
Tight tippets everyone – Steve (Snowy Lakes Fly Fishing Charters www.canberraflyfishing.com.au)