It’s that time of year again. Over the next two months our rivers and streams will start to fill with mature brown trout heading upstream to spawn and the chances of catching a larger-than-average fish increase significantly. The fish are less wary, more aggressive, concentrated in greater numbers, and will eat pretty much anything that looks like a trout egg or that annoys them into a defensive attack. Despite the ongoing debate about the ethics of spawn run fishing I’m not going to pretend it can’t be great fun, and a reminder some of the best recreational salmonid fisheries in the world (for example Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead) are spawn run fisheries. Enough on that. If you’re getting ready to head for the Snowies be nice, suspend your sensibilities about having a reach (let alone a pool) to yourself, and enjoy the ride. There’s a discussion about limiting access to the river by car, with a car park potentially to be built near the Denison camp site – bring it on I say. Those who hog pools with their vehicles and camps are going a bit too far (in my view). If you need a guide for the Eucumbene river, Col Sinclair at Adaminaby Angler is the guru.
Whilst Jindabyne lake level is pretty stable at 74%, Eucumbene has lost its plug and is at 42% and falling as the Snowy River gets a good dose of environmental flow. So if you’re expecting what we had last year, think again – Eucumbene is a very different lake. Those guys in Jindabyne must have some political clout to keep all their water whilst the poor folk on the big puddle lose their fish habitat. Enough on that too.
There are good reports from both the Thredbo and Eucumbene about a few big fish showing already. We had some good rain three weeks ago and the fish got pretty excited. The portal from Tantangara has been running flat out, turning the lake downstream for several kilometres into a muddy soup, but that’ll settle quickly now it’s been turned off. Of course the consequence of that is Tantangara Reservoir is pretty muddy for a fair way up the bank from the lake edge. And there are some cracking rainbows that will rip the rod out of your hand – yes I’m using 10lb tippet this year having already been broken off by a giant leaping brown.
Eucumbene’s Providence flats have disappeared along with the water so there’s a whole set of pools and runs we haven’t seen for a few years – and of course you can only launch your boat at Anglers Reach or Old Adaminaby – and watch out for submerged trees, even in the river channels. If you are bank fishing in the mud be careful and watch out for rabbit and wombat holes full of soft sediment.
It’s still really warm, and the surface temperature of the lake is struggling to get much below 20 degrees which is pretty unusual, but the insects are staying active with midge hatching throughout the day, and the odd mayfly making an appearance.
If you’re fishing the top of the lake, use intermediate lines and at least one big Woolly Bugger. If you’re fishing more than one fly then maybe a black pheasant tail nymph or a Woolly Worm. Just make sure you’ve got the gear to get down to the fish. I’m not saying leave your floating line at home, but it may not get you where you need to be.
Caddigat Lakes have been fishing well. Mark guided two newcomers Marc and Matt onto their first rainbows – their smiles say it all. And Andrew once again showed he can always get onto fish no matter how tough the conditions.
My most rewarding catch of the month was a brown sitting on a weedbed at the bridge on Alpine Creek. I fished a few small creeks with Chris and they all looked great with a lot of small fish.