Otways Spring Fling

Spring in its full glory makes me want to talk about renewal, life bursting forth, refreshing the soul… all those things that sound like phrases from pulp fiction (the original kind).

However for a few days most years, the clichés become real. If you’re lucky enough to be outdoors when there’s that perfect mix of sunshine, warmth (but not too hot) preceded by enough rain to prime the ecosystem (and did I mention no wind) you’ll know what I mean. And if you’re really blessed, you’ll be outdoors with a flyrod in your hand, and maybe even somewhere like the Otway Ranges in southwest Victoria.

The Otways in full spring attire.

The old saying down the Otways is it rains for half the year and drips off the trees for the other half – ideal for keeping little trout streams flowing, but less so for angler comfort. So to enjoy two bluebird days back to back is a rare treat.

Definitely bluebird (blue wren?) conditions!

Then again, perhaps because it’s so long since Max and I last fished the Otway streams in perfect spring weather, we’d forgotten that the rain we like to complain about can in fact help the fishing in some ways: clouding the water a little, bumping up the flow, and shrouding the surroundings in the sort of light that makes everything (even predatory humans) look like just another tree.

It’s hard not to stand out when even the shadows seem lit up.

Under uninterrupted October sunshine though, the rainforest seems to glow and while the streams truly sparkle, the clear water and sharp light appears to make the trout a bit jittery and unpredictable. Or is that angler-talk for the trout not being as easy as we thought they might be, so let’s think of reasons for that which don’t involve our fishing skills!

Despite being regularly humbled, we still caught trout; even a couple of nice ones (by small stream standards).

Anyway, patches of tough fishing aside, it’s been nothing less than a blessing to spend the last two days wandering up clear creeks lined with vivid green grass or lush rainforest. Soon it will be hot/cold/ wet/windy again and that’s okay. But at least I’ve managed to bank a bit of ‘perfect’ to go on with.