Rod Allen said to me, “It’s the devil whispering in your ear”, and it’s true. She says in a hissing tone, ‘it’s that time of year’ and I obediently tie on a Glo-bug. That high-vis orange monstrosity; works like a magnet drawing fish from deep under a bank; 2, 3, 4 trout chasing it down a riffle, blind to reason, powerless against that PowerBait of all flies. Come on, it’s less than a handful of times each year, the chance to practice playing and landing big numbers of fish – and it’s so much fun when it works!
But not this opening weekend. Our local Fisheries Officer said it was the quietest he can remember in terms of fish caught. But the rivers were pumping and I agree with my mentor that we need half the flow to find the fish. I was fishing three AA split shot and not touching bottom. I fished the Eucumbene and it was a long way beyond being crossable. And despite being a beautiful day, the river rose as the snow melted and had gone over the banks in a few spots at Kiandra by mid-afternoon.
I walked in upstream from Sawyers Hut and caught one fish for the first session, a beast of a 4lb brown. And that was pretty much it for the day. Col saw a huge brown lying on a sandbank that cruised over after his Woolly Bugger, stopping short and lying up three feet from the bank. Then it suddenly spotted the upright predator and spooked up the pool.
The Crazy Trout Hunters were checking out the other side but didn’t do any good on the Snowy River Arm of Lake Jindabyne. The Thredbo got a bit of attention, but no reports of any fish. Having seen dozens of trout just a couple of weeks ago under the Thredbo River road bridge, I’m putting it largely down to conditions. More or less everyone agrees rainbow numbers are down but they are there – just wait until it’s fishable.
Meanwhile, the lakes have been cooperating. Eucumbene looks amazing at the moment. Well up into grass that hasn’t seen water for over two years. I saw worms in two feet of water, and there are several types and colours of grub coming out of the ground and the cow muck. On Sunday morning, I had my first half-dozen rainbow session for a very long time. Not sure where all the browns are though? A few weeks ago, that’s all there was. I had a good evening session on midge, and small Woolly Buggers did the damage during daylight – green with orange bead, and metallic flashy black with a tungsten bead.
We’re going to get more spring rain but come November, keep any eye on the rainfall. If we get a week with none, the rivers should be really fishy. If you can’t wait, my advice is big nymphs and lots of shot. Ignore the devil whispering in your ear!
Lakes levels are looking wonderful. Thanks to good inflows down the Murrumbidgee (which I should say is also running very high) Tantangara is going up despite the Portal running flat out. Currently at 19%.
Lake Jindabyne is creeping up and almost at 65%.
Lake Eucumbene is almost at 35%, last seen at that level on 1 May 2018 before reaching a low of 18.5% on 1 September 2018.
My lasting memory of the weekend is of the bushfire ravaged countryside. There’s no quick recovery from this one. The ground has some green cover, but not much – despite the rain. It’s very unstable and the river is still carrying some colour.