New Year’s Fish

Like many of us, my fishing plans for the New Year have taken second place to the unfolding bushfires in eastern Victoria and southern New South Wales. But then, the last two days of almost wintery cold and light rain around home proved enough to drag me away from fire maps, forecasts and checking on friends, and out onto the water.

Misty Moorabool, with maybe a tinge of smoke from out east.

Often, it’s Moorabool Reservoir, just up the road, where I head for a cast when circumstances don’t allow for something more adventurous. Even when the fishing there is less than spectacular, it’s truly a lovely place to visit, surrounded by forest and requiring a significant walk through quiet glades just to get to the lake.

I sometimes step out of the car feeling a bit tired or flat, but by the time I’ve wandered a few hundred metres down the paths through whispering redwoods and surprised a couple of wallabies, I always arrive at the water in the right state of mind.

One of the locals.

2019 has been a fortunate year for rainfall in our little ‘bubble’ as one friend calls it, and Moorabool is quite high and clear for early January. In fact, were it not for the calendar, I could have been persuaded yesterday and today were the end of winter.

A decent level for January.

It would make sense that the trout have been refreshed by the current burst of cold weather, which has now gone on for long enough to drop the surface water temperature below 20C. But in fact, everything has seemed just a little subdued; the odd distant smelter, the odd rise; and the odd caddis, midge and dun. It’s taken a lot of casts to catch a fish.

One on the damsel nymph.

Mudeye shucks on the lake edge suggest there is likely to be a decent emergence on the next fine night, so maybe that’s when things will really hot up. Then again, you never really know with Moorabool. Perhaps it would be too perfect if such a pretty lake was also predictably prolific.

A hint for the next dry evening?