Snowies Fishathon

Will with Col's bow

Will with his own bow
The post Xmas fishing week was hot and dry. The grass was crackling underfoot – the mown lawn too spiky to walk on barefoot. Young Will from Murrumbateman was keen to catch his first trout and I admit we resorted to hard body flies. With success. The best boat fly technique was to sneak up on likely spots with the electric and cast at the bank for browns. There wasn’t enough wind to get any kind of drift with the drogue.Boat on shore with brolly
First fish of the trip

“Happy New Year? It’s the beast from the east”, Col said about the easterly winds that have persisted in the high country since Xmas. Trout we all know don’t like change.Boat with Briggsy

The lake drops, the wind changes, the sun shines on a cloudy day – anything that in their small brain could be a signal to a predator, or leave them stranded, sends the fish into a spin and so they sit on the bottom and sulk. And so it’s been in Eucumbene. The lake has dropped a metre vertically since December, and the beast has been relentless, and occasionally quite strong, and it’s rained a lot.Boat on shore
We’ve had frost at night, and days when the maximum temperature has reached 8 degrees C. So we’ve had to work hard for fish. But as always when you work hard you’re more likely to get rewarded. Whilst the campsites were emptying during 3 or 4 days of rain since the New Year, we were getting cold and wet and catching some superb fish.

Stephen's first fish of a great few days!

The first fish of a great few days!

Stephen came up from Sydney for a few days. He’s a nut fisherman and drove up overnight so he could be on the river at dawn – remember when we used to do that? I joined him after a long breakfast (by which time he hadn’t caught anything) and we hiked down from Kiandra Bridge to the pools below the Suicide Hole sliding down the wet grass on our backsides. Steve hasn’t done much river fishing so I pointed out some likely spots (like that tussock overhanging the undercut bank) and I’d follow him up the river shortline nymphing the water he’d left behind. That spot under the tussock got a beautifully delivered nymph under a dry which promptly disappeared and (“STRIKE”) the line shot up through one pool, and then another before a 4 lb brown came to his net. We worked the river all the way to the bridge, and then further up for a steady stream of smaller fish.

Euc brown Selwyn

Fat bow

Not finished for the day we put the boat in at Providence and fished the flats for a couple of small rainbows on stripped wets.

The next day we fished the Murrumbidgee, again in the rain, wading through some hard water that was quite coloured – but that didn’t stop some nice browns and rainbows smashing the dry, a small Stimmy. And the average size was a lot better than this time last year.

And then back to the lake at Providence where I fished some dries blind. There wasn’t a rise in sight but I needed to stop casting hard for a bit and had a rod rigged up with dries so flicked that out close to the boat and immediately brought up a fish.  I got organised and tied on a Claret Carrot, a Red Tag, and a massive NZ bluebottle as an indicator on the point so I could see where to look for a rise – and then caught a 3 lb brown on it. It seemed we could do no wrong.

The next day we spent poking around the lake in the bays and along lee shores and again fished the flats at night, blind-dry fishing, and caught a steady stream of fish, small and large – there’s a small cohort of 40 to 50 centimetre rainbows that are really, really scary.Boat brown on blowy

Boat bow

The next night Col and Paul came out on the boat and they both caught fish. Paul comes to Eucumbene every year but doesn’t fish a lot – and broke a 3 year drought.

The fly of the week is the Claret Carrot fly, tied on a size 12, and fished dry on the lake. Which of course leads me to speculate that the occasional brown beetle we see on the water is what is making the fish look up.

I’m off to Tonga next week but I’ll be back in Adaminaby before the end of January. Don’t come to the Snowies if you want boring!

Tight tippets


P.s. a whole blog and not one mention of a woolly bugger – which doesn’t mean I didn’t use them or catch fish on them!