Snowies – my choice, Lake Eucumbene this weekend

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For those trying to squeeze in a last quick trip to the Snowies before the festive season and all those important family commitments you could do a lot worse than giving Lake Eucumbene a go.  Alright, she’s had a bad spell and you can’t expect a bag full of rainbows but the water is right in the grass and the fish are loving it in close.

Trout are creatures of habit. If the food is in the wind lanes offshore that’s where they’ll be – and I suspect once they’re in that habit they stay there for a fair while even if there’s no food there. Until they’re really hungry and go looking for something else. Sometimes they can be snapped out of it by a really full on hatch, but even then, like every one of you, I’ve seen really good hatches and not a fish in sight – then on the next night they’re everywhere.  In my article on cicada lake fishing in the current issue of FlyStream magazine I talk more about this – about fish being so tuned into cicada that they’re on station waiting for the hatch before a cicada even hits the water – like the trout down at the farm – “it’s feeding time”.

David Brown Trout

That’s what it’s like at the moment on Eucumbene. The fish are on the edge of the lake waiting for the grassy food bowl to deliver some morsel.  Where’s the evidence I hear you all saying?  Well, last week David (my French baker mate) came down for a 2 hour session on Eucumbene – yes, he was desperate.  I’d been staying at the Outpost on the Murrumbidgee, enjoying some fantastic river fishing on that spectacular bit of water with Andrew (old Uni mate) and his son Chris. David met us there before we headed off to Middlingbank and to stay the night at Buckanderra Village.  Buckanderra makes it so easy. We put our gear away in the cabin, cruised down the concrete boat ramp (now that is a luxury on Lake Eucumbene), launched the boat, and headed across the lake to find a wind friendly shore.  Now we could have driven to Middlingbank and walked but hey, that’s what the boat’s for right?  We split into two – Chris and Andrew headed one way, David and I the other. The plan was to fish buggers along the shore line, casting from 30 to 60 degrees, working each spot with 3 or 4 casts before moving along a few metres. Anyway, it worked, and as David got the best results I’ll tell you the first fish he caught was a 2lb+ rainbow, the second a mighty brown that broke off his 8lb tippet, the third a very near 4 lb brown (finger pressure on the weigh net got it over the line). And he was back to bake bread at Autolyse for the good folk of Braddon in Canberra after his two hour leave pass expired.

No such thing as an ugly rainbow

The other little hint, and trust me I’ve well overthought this, is that the Col Sinclair’s Adaminaby Angler tinsel “Xmas tree” black bugger caught a few fish.  Now I reckon this creature of a fly is giving the dragon fly feeders something to look at.  You know, those pesky high speed torpedoes that zone in on dragon flies, launching themselves skywards causing coronaries along the bank.  I think the bling grabs their attention. And if you’d have seen the creature that broke off David – the way it left the water, you’d be convinced too.  It took the fly off the surface on a fast strip in 6 feet of water, was well positioned parallel to the water at 3 feet in the air, did a double somersault with reverse pike and landed on the line and crack it was all over. Now that was a dragon fly feeder.

Don’t expect a bag full of rainbows, but there’s a fair pot of gold for those who persevere to the end.IMG_0191

Forty eight hours earlier, on a planet far far away, we fished Tantangara. Desolate, windswept, raining, 20% lake level with a 100 metre mud scar we still managed to catch 3 nice fish. Hot tip: as the lake level stabilises the bankside vegetation will quickly re-establish and this is going to fish well in the New Year – put it in your diary.

Tight tippets all