Snow, Pejar and Ningaloo

Snow Bullock Hill

Driving between Tumut and Adaminaby is always tough. If I didn’t have the welfare of a trailer-load of broodstock rainbows to carry to Caddigat Lakes I don’t think I’d ever get there. Right now, every creek is running to the top of its banks, the Eucumbene River is just a snake between two sides of the snow covered tundra. It is simply spectacular. Lake Eucumbene is steady at 38% but hasn’t risen despite the significant inflows, Jindabyne is at 81% and steady, and even Tantangara is steady at 36% with the Murrumbidgee running like an express train –  all of which means there are some significant outflows I guess. Anyway this wasn’t a fishing day, it was a stocking day and seeing superb condition fish swim off into their new home always gives me a buzz. Fishing reports from Eucumbene (Buckenderra) are of good size rainbows, but mostly from trolling.Snow Euc Kiandra 1
Snow Euc Kiandra tundra

Over the weekend I set off for the southern highlands to try and find a fish, but all we found was water with every lake spilling and most of them dirty – “chocolate” was Stephen’s description when he called me to say maybe don’t drive any further south. So he headed north and we caught up at the Goulburn Bakery for breakfast and then headed west towards Crookwell to look at Pejar Dam.

Pejar dam driving over the hill from Goulburn

Pejar dam driving over the hill from Goulburn

Oddly, and for no particular reason, I’ve never fished it and as I came over the hill and saw it stretching out through the hills I really wondered why. It looked amazing.  Instinctively at this time of the year we headed to the top of the dam where the Wollondilly River runs in – it’s little more than a small creek but there was a great flow.

The lake was murky at the top but cleared as we walked around to Grays Creek.  We saw a heap of fish to cast to, most in the backed up waters of Wollondilly Creek, including a couple of real crackers, but we didn’t hook up. Pejar Wollondilly

With hindsight I would have tried a Glo Bug given the behaviour we observed – but the penny didn’t drop in time, and I was too interested in covering every bit of what looked like excellent water to just hang a Glo Bug under an indicator – and it was too cold to just stand there and  ‘float-fish’. I wish I’d had more time.

PLEASE NOTE: I previously wrote that the river below the spillway “isn’t declared trout water so isn’t closed”. Cameron Westaway from DPI Fisheries advises: “Just to let you know, the Wollondilly river below Pejar is notified trout water. From the schedule: County of Argyle. The whole of the waters of the Wollondilly River, its creeks and tributaries upstream from its junction with, and including, the Tarlo River. There is some chat on the fly life forum ” Thanks Cam. The moral of the story is never believe an enthusiastic Irishman relying on hearsay!

Ningaloo sunset

Ningaloo sunset



Where’s Andrew?

Meanwhile, my good mate Andrew is in Ningaloo on his grey nomad adventure, ‘wading the flats’! He writes:

“In our escape from the cooler southern weather, Lynne and I booked 8 days at a Parks and Wildlife campsite in the Cape Range National Park, less than 100 metres from the sheltered Ningaloo Lagoon. I had heard about the opportunities for wading the shallow sand flats for trevally, permit, queenfish and perhaps the elusive bonefish.  As soon as we got there I went for a wander and it sure looked promising, with sand patches mingled with coral and rocky outcrops right at our doorstep.

The next morning was sunny, with amazing blue skies, and no wind. We drove to a spot a short distance from our camp where I rigged up with what I thought would be a likely looking prawn pattern and walked the 500 metres to a sheltered bay with a broad sand bar and deep channel on one side.

Schools of mullet swam in the shallows and darker, larger shadows could be seen patrolling the edge of the deeper water.

Version 2

I cast a few metres in front of the nearest shadow and it broke into four or five individual fish which chased my sinking fly. I was on!

In no time I was down to the backing as the fish headed to the deeper water. After 5 minutes and a number of blistering runs I beached a nice trevally. After quickly returning the fish to the water I cast out again at another fast moving shadow and was rewarded with another hard fighting trevally.Trevally 2

Then they wised up and that was it – none of the numerous “fast movers” I saw seemed interested in any of my offerings.

The next morning, on my way back to the beach, I met another fly fisher who after looking over my trout gear with a wry smile suggested a yellow and white fly pattern that had been working well for him – and that maybe I consider getting a nine or ten weight rod.

I landed couple of trevally that day fishing the same location, and spent the evening tying half a dozen of the yellow and white fly pattern shown to me that morning as I was going to explore the coast further south next day.Trevally 3

Again, the weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky and a light wind. I packed the backpack and Lynne dropped me off, promising to pick me up at the next car park 7Km’s away later that afternoon.

I had an amazing day, seeing turtles everywhere and landing 10 trevally and dart all of which were polaroided.

There was also one other hook up… I cast to a slow moving silver shape highlighted against the white sand. The hard take was immediate and in seconds 100 metres of backing was  off the reel. Then all went slack and I wound back the line back with my fly still attached sadly wondering, (dreaming?) could that have been an elusive bonefish?

Over the next few days the wind blew hard so it was a case of whale watching, hiking the Caper Range looking for fossils and the elusive rock wallabies and replenishing supplies in Exmouth.

I did have one more visit to the sand bar before we packed up, for one trevally and another spectacular run and bust off. Again, I will never know what might have been – Santa’s going to have to come up with a ten weight!”

Tight tippets all – lake Eucumbene charters are a good winter option- a half day from 10 until 3 and you won’t even get cold.

Steve (Snowy Lakes Charters)