Snowy Mountains Lakes – Mid December Report

A grey afternoon at Buckenderra; after the wind, before the rain.

Four seasons in one day

I’m looking out of my window at mist-shrouded mountains after a night of thunderstorms and heavy rain. When we left home yesterday it was 28 degrees and windless; when we launched at Buckenderra on Lake Eucumbene an hour later it was 16 degrees, and nor-westerly driven white caps were smashing the eastern shoreline. I felt underdressed, but not as much as Peter, who’d worn shorts. Nonetheless, the western shore was sheltered with some good current lines and eddies, so we turned left, drove for a couple kilometres or so, and drifted back to the boat ramp – never more than 50 metres from shore – using the electric to ‘anchor’ in good spots, and to move quietly through the bays. It rained, blew, the sun came out, and it glassed off – all in three hours.

I didn’t sign up for this!

We saw a lot of rising fish; more than I’ve seen in a while. There were more midge popping than I’ve observed this season; but the flies of the moment were a big stick caddis and a small brown nymph with a gold bead. The fishing was excellent. It would have been nice if we’d landed all the fish we hooked, but the semi-submerged scrubby bushes defied many of our efforts. Peter hooked good fish on consecutive casts right next to a large bush a metre or two from the bank, and lost both, even with massive tippet and his best attempts to muscle them out of the shallows. Anyway, the message is to fish heavy tippet, 2X or 3X, and hang on tight; it works when it works.

A scruffy old stick caddis fooled this fella.

Where’s the Eucumbene River gone?

Lake Eucumbene now starts at the road leading to the Eucumbene River at Denison camp ground. There is no river left to fish to the left of the road. The lake is very shallow so you have to walk past Gang Gang Creek to get to enough water to bank fish comfortably, and presumably to catch good frogs – if the size of a number of brown snakes is any indicator.

Be aware, and watch your footsteps.

Meanwhile, motivated by reports of some big rainbows in Three Mile Dam, I went up for a look around the high country lakes and local creeks with Keith and his apprentice flyfishing daughter last week. Plenty of small fish, but none of the leviathans sought – although Keith did get a big fish boil under a big dry. The brookies were around in numbers but the high country hasn’t really warmed up yet, so the food supply is a bit light on and the fish are on the lean side for now.

It seems every bit of water has fish in it at the moment.

Snowy Lake Levels

As we head into the silly season, all the lakes are fishing well, other than during the infrequent hot still days. Just pray for a bit of wind. Lake Eucumbene is at 67.5% and still rising steadily (and more than 20% higher than this time last year); Lake Jindabyne is at 96% and steady; Tantangara Reservoir is at 47% and falling like a stone; unlike the Snowy 2.0 project costs reported in the Guardian as rising like a king tide, having increased in cost from $2 billion to $10 billion.

Not sure you need the net for these brookies, but they are great fun.

A quick note to report a fish kill at Black Lake on the Monaro, the subject of a recent article here on FlyStream. Details are sketchy, but a lot of dead fish have been seen by Fisheries hatchery staff and anglers over the last 2 weeks. Fisheries are investigating, but if you’ve seen or heard anything that might assist, please report to the Fishers Watch Phoneline on 1800 043 536.

Back you go to try and grow.