Over the past month I’ve had to cancel two fishing trips to the high country: in the second weekend of November due to wet, cold conditions, and then again in the first weekend of December with more rain, cold and enough snow to close the roads and make one think about getting the skis out of storage.
Finally, this past weekend the weather gods gave us the nod…just!
To say that my good friend Dale and I get a bit excited when driving over Falls Creek and down to the upper Mitta Mitta valley would be an understatement. A decent amount of recent snow still clung to the highest peaks, underscoring the severe cold which had hit this region just a week or so earlier. And yet simultaneously, haze and the smell of bushfire smoke confused our senses. Such a paradox!
When we got down to the valley, we observed several CFA units active in the area. At this point, we realised a third cancelled trip in a month could be a chance, this time due to bushfires in the vicinity. Evacuation was looking like real possibility, though thankfully, it didn’t occur.
Okay, enough about our crazy weather and a bit about the fishing. The rivers and landscape are in excellent condition, bursting with life. Bugs were out and about; all sorts, from caddis, to duns to beetles. Little hoppers are already about in good numbers; we patiently await their maturation. The trout were keyed into the heathy hatches and were pretty much active from morning to dusk. While there was no feeding frenzy, we were able to pick up several fish each session, some of which were in that magical kilo range.
Despite the consistent insect activity, we picked up at least 50% of out fish on small weighted nymphs. The most effective dry fly was the ever-effective Stimulator. It seemed to outperform our attempts at matching the hatch. Higher up and into the more remote parts of the river, the Stimmy still reigned supreme but we could afford to step up the size. Trout in this wilderness area seem to be either on and smash big flies and nymphs or be totally missing in action.
All up, a delightful trip. Six hours from home but worth the long drive. And if your mate is gifted with the ability to talk non-stop, almost without taking a breath, the long drive is a breeze.
I will keep an eye on the weather, but come rain, hail, snow or bushfires I will be returning to this beautiful part of the world ASAP.