Over the Christmas break I was lucky enough to head to my caravan at Thornton. The plan was to get away from the Christmas chaos back home and stay at the caravan for a couple of nights of solitude, sneaking in some morning fishing before my husbandly duties called. I’ve only fished the Goulburn on one other occasion in the past couple of months so I was pretty excited to hit my beloved water.
At the time the river was sitting nicely at 3000 megalitres a day, with plenty of food hitting the water. The talk of late has been about the cicadas so I was eager to find out what all the fuss was about. With limited time to fish, I hit up some of my favourite backwaters hoping to find some trout and I wasn’t disappointed.
Most of the big fish I found were holding in reverse currents, sipping down small spent insects and grannoms (caddis) which made fly selection a little tricky, but fun nonetheless. Over the two mornings I ended up landing seven trout with the biggest around the 2½lb mark and smallest in the 1 to 1½ pound range. Most were caught fishing a single unweighted nymph, which I let sink and then added a few twitches to get the trout’s attention. This is my favourite method for backwater fishing: I don’t like casting twice to backwater trout and nine times out of ten you’ll get the fish to take subsurface flies first go.
I didn’t totally give up on the dry though. I landed a couple of nice trout using a size 18 caddis emerger pattern and lost a couple of good fish on the ever-reliable Yellow Sally – unfortunately I opened the hook both times. I also found some trout holding in the deeper currents which I tried to bring up with a cicada pattern. Most came for look, only to then cruise back into the depths.
In summary, the Goulburn River is fishing really well with many anglers landing fish on cicadas (I’m the only bloke who can’t get them to take!) and small caddis imitations. There is plenty of food about, with most trout taking spent insects and small grannoms in the morning, and then most likely moving onto bigger terrestrials in the afternoon. There are also a lot of grasshoppers on the move, so hopefully in the next week or two they’ll really hit the water and we’ll see some of the hopper fishing we experienced last season.
Happy fishing to everyone and enjoy the rest of the holiday break.