Inauspicious: “adjective – not conducive to success; unpromising”. We all know you can talk yourself into a bad days fishing, and there was a lot of this around on the Long Weekend. We’ve coined the term ‘wildebeest’ for the hundreds of opening weekend anglers we see migrating from spot to spot in the hope of finding the fish. And the net result of all this migration, factoring in the variety of levels of experience and whatever other variables we could think of to chuck in? Clearly there were not large quantities of post-spawn rainbows in the rivers, or for that matter, big numbers of resident fish naive after a winter of undisturbed contentment.
But there were fish. Within a few hundred metres of starting our walk from the Eucumbene tree-line to the Flying Fox, Stephen and I had both hooked and dropped good fish, and had seen a couple more (remind me why I fish barbless again?). Stephen spotted a cracker under a fallen tree at the exact same time as it spotted him, with the usual result. But then, that was it. It’s a tough walk/wade to the Flying Fox and not one I would ever recommend to old fellas like me. In low summer flows you can walk along the river edge almost all the way, in high flows its near on impossible, with the kind of ‘mid’ flow we had on the Opening Weekend, it’s just low enough to make you think you can do it, and just high enough to realise halfway up that you wish you hadn’t – the point where it’s always going to be easier to plough on than turn back. And so we did. At the end of last season that last bit of water had given us some good results but we plugged away at the pocket water, runs, and pools relentlessly, with every nymph and bug in the box, with no success. Not to worry. The walk up the hill from the Flying Fox back to Alpine Creek takes your mind of anything that might be concerning you! By the time we were back at the car we already had a plan.
The plan involved Bullocks Creek, Racecourse Creek up to the waterfall, and the upper Eucumbene, followed by a swing by the Providence Portal. Despite superb execution, we were no better off at the end of that second 3 hour session than the first. Plus hungry and thirsty. Just as well we had a car full of ham rolls and a flask of coffee. Back to the Adaminaby Angler to check in with Col, to see if we were the only mugs doing it tough. It’s always reassuring when you find you’re with the crowd, with no one finding much in the way of fish.
I had a quick chat with the Crazy Trout Hunters and even they had the same story from fishing the Eucumbene – with the exception they had actually landed the fish they hooked right at the beginning of their first session – but then nothing.
So, other waters? The Monaro has been a very slow start. Water flows and pool levels are pretty low. The Thredbo appears to have no more fish than the Eucumbene, and likewise the upper Murrumbidgee.
All the lakes had a slow start. I spoke with a troller who had fished Lake Eucumbene and Lake Jindabyne with only a couple of small fish, and one mid-size brown; and a crew who had been bait fishing and spinning on Tantangara and hadn’t caught or seen anything caught.
But, there are fish there, even if in small numbers. Some of the creeks we walked last year that had hundreds of fish were down in the tens. The warm weather does mean we will get early insect activity. Col said he was going to start fishing a dry straight away and I won’t be far behind him. He’s got some amazing new foam caddis patterns in the shop that will be absolute killers.
A bit of trivia. It’s the 200 year anniversary year for Schubert’s The Trout. For those struggling to catch fish, the strategy used in that video is always a good option!
Lake levels: Eucumbene has come up and is at 29% and holding with inputs from Tantangara and snow melt. Jindabyne is at 76% and coming up nicely. Tantangara peaked at 27% and is now at 24% as they run it into Eucumbene.
Tight lines all. I think what we need above all is nice steady rain. All the rivers are way off their best and a bit of active management would help keep things from getting worse.
If it’s all too tough I recommend a bit of a good Verdi drinking song!