Snowy lakes, and river opening report

Lake Eucumbene backed up water to the old bridge pool.

River season opening

It’s Sunday evening and I’m looking at a sky pink with bushfire haze. Earlier, I’d watched the volunteer’s fire engine roar through downtown Adaminaby as I sat, in just a T shirt, exhausted after two days of river fishing, trying to drink coffee and eat a late lunch outside the bakery and contemplating the fast-approaching El Nino summer. However, 36 hours earlier I’d been with Stephen (Flyboat Fishing Charters) and Travis, standing on the banks of the Eucumbene River at dawn on day 1 of the NSW trout rivers fishing season.

Opening day dawn madness. The moon hadn’t set, the sun hadn’t risen, and it was minus 4C!

Each year, as they creep on, I wonder whether I’ll be able to do this annual marathon, but I keep coming, and even the young Turks I drag along are starting to complain and not be quite as energetic as they once were. The very short version is that the fish were plentiful, mainly rainbows hanging around post spawning; the river was a nice height (not too low, not too high, just right!) and over 8 kilometres of Eucumbene River, we were able to catch one or two fish from most good-looking pools and runs. Similar reports from the Thredbo, and excellent fishing also reported on the Monaro streams and the Snowy River. All round ticks. Good fish and still dumb!

Beautiful rainbows.

But what next? Well this weeks’ rain will change things. First, a lot of fish will take the hint and drift (or be washed) back to the lake; second the first decent rain for months will freshen the rivers and make them super attractively fishy for the next few weeks.

A couple of notables. Stephen, after catching plenty of fish short-line nymphing, with the sun on the water and an odd fish rising, decided to tie on a Royal Wullf and promptly landed a decent rainbow first cast, and then plenty more including a couple of browns which had been absent most of the morning.

Pocket water fish from the gorge.

Our day one travels ended up on the lake, on the boat. As we were in our normal Buckenderra cottage, we headed towards Rushy Plains and ended the day with a great session on the Black & Gold – and thus a neat segue into the lakes report.

Stephen logs another Black & Gold rainbow from Brookwood.

Snowy lakes fishing report

Lake Eucumbene is at 63.8% has been creeping up in daily 1/100ths of a percent for the past few weeks. Not the usual spring thaw 1% leaps, but better than the alternative. Water temperatures are high for October, between 12 and 14 degrees depending on when and where, and warm enough for early mudeye hatches and midges by the billion. Stick caddis are already working well; Steve Corrigan reported a 6 fish session last week fishing a sticky a foot under an indicator. We caught rainbows that were disgorging 6mm snails, with what felt like very full bellies.

Lake Jindabyne is at 69.54%, a steady decline over the last 12 months from its big spill. The lake has been producing the best big browns. The speculation is that, as the yabbies retreat, they bring the big fish in close. Sounds good to me! I don’t know why Snowy Hydro is dropping the lake, but it seems to be deliberate. Maybe they’re doing maintenance? Conspiracy theories on a postcard please!

Tantangara Reservoir is at 10.18% and is still impacted by Snowy 2.0 works. I spoke to one group who’d gone up and then gone back to Eucumbene. It’s a small lake right now.

Travis’ successful first opening day on the Eucumbene River.

The next few months will be great, especially on Lake Eucumbene which is better than I can remember it in my 30 years of fishing there. Don’t go near the place without midge (hook size 16), stick caddis (size 10), and mudeye patterns (size 6), and a little stash of Black & Gold buggers (or anything similar with a tungsten bead and a bit of bling).

Top of the lake fishing, with access from Denison campground, has a lot going for it.