Snowies update (before and after a two week break)

Another epic Providence sunset.

I got a phone call on Monday to ask for a few ideas. Jim was staying at Crow’s cabins on Lake Eucumbene’s western shore at Cobrabold. I had to tell him I was just back from a work trip to Tonga and Fiji so didn’t know anything – other than the lake was rising quickly so surely it had to be good. Jim shared the woes of a group that had been there the week before that left with no rainbows and just 3 browns, all of which had been slabs taken well after dark. We then talked for an hour about why it was like this. The short version is to persevere, there are fish, and amongst them some good browns, even if the rainbow stocks are down at the moment.

Keiths first rainbow.

Winding back the clock, I had managed a final day on the river with Keith right before I headed off overseas. Keith has appeared in blogs before, but mainly because his middle daughter, Iris, is very good at catching fish – and he is not. So, he left her behind in Washington DC and came on his own to improve the odds. Sure enough we found a bit of the Murrumbidgee with a few playful fish and he caught his first rainbow on a dry, and then we got more – on the Bidg, Euc and at Yarrangobilly. Heaps of fun. Plenty of duns.

On my first day back in the country I caught up with Stephen at the Spit Bridge near Mosman to try and get a few pics of paddle-board kingfish flyfishing for an article. Not a chance. Strong winds, with heavy rain forecast. So, we headed down to the beach on the Saturday morning and tried our luck from the sand. Not a chance. In the first ten minutes at least twenty kayaks cruised past close enough to stick the rod tip in their ears, a small tinny nosed in and out from the shore, and a giant floating waterslide/trampoline/slippery-dip dropped its anchor and drifted back across our flats and the adjacent drop off. Stephen’s daughter was the only one willing to persevere. But she really most enjoyed the amazing hatch of little black star fish that she collected by the handful!

I was so glad to get back to Canberra and head to the Snowies. There were some reasonable reports of evening rises so I headed to Providence where I chatted with a husband and wife team who were seeing a lot of fish but not connecting. There were a lot of dragonflies zipping across the water laying eggs. As I was chatting a series of fish did full leaps and somersaults to grab them – enough to stop me talking and get me fishing.

I headed towards the portal and walked west along the bank, with a strong south easter pushing small waves onshore.  A Carrot fly and a midge quickly got me onto several browns before I ran out of water and walked back to the start of the ‘drift’. The light was almost gone so I switched to a Woolly Bugger and in the next hour hooked and dropped four fish; all of which were on for several seconds before spitting the barbless hook.

Providence brown.

Similar stories from Buckanderra which seems to have some of the better fishing in the lake right now. No shortage of browns but very few rainbows – and a haunting familiar story of hooked and lost fish. I suspect they’re browns which often don’t self-hook on wets as well as rainbows. Fishing is definitely getting interesting.

Anyway, ten days to Xmas and I’ll be in the mountains for two weeks. If you’re out and about be safe and watch out for summer storms which can be brutal. There will be plenty of dry fly action on the lake. There were midge and caddis this week, and mudeye husks on timber along the shore. Terrestrials will start to feature, especially beetles and termites, and don’t forget your favorite mudeye patterns, and a Dishingtons Deer Hair if there are moths around. “Not a chance” hasn’t got a chance!

Lake levels are all positive. Eucumbene is heading up at 46.2%; Jindabyne down just a touch at 87.8%; and Tantangara still heading up ay 40.3%. Expect the heat wave to increase demand for electricity so don’t be surprised if Eucumbene and Tantangara start to come down soon.

Reports from all rivers have been mixed. A few people have had some excellent fishing but most have said they’re struggling a bit. The best reports have come from the less fished rivers and creeks. The fish are often smaller but it can be awesome!

That’s all until after Xmas so have a great festive season.

Tight Tippets

Steve (Snowy Lakes Fly Fishing Charters)

p.s. This is our neighbourhood raven – named Ned Stark. It fell out of its nest three weeks ago and declines to fly – thinks its a chicken. Its parents follow it around – feeding it and clucking discontentedly at its unnatural interest in humans.