In all the hustle and bustle and time pressures building up to Christmas, the chance for a sneaky fish was just too good to pass up. So, with son Scott we headed to the Steavenson. The Steavo receives a massive amount of angling pressure being so close to Melbourne, and so it was both highly unusual and incredibly pleasing, to have a Sunday with not a car to be seen at any of the access points. Adding to that, the day was one out of the box. No wind, clear blue skies, pleasantly warm—but not too hot, and the river running clear.
While many people were no doubt negotiating crowded shopping centres, full car parks, and racing from store to store, we were smiling like Cheshire cats—and tying on caddis dries.
Once on the river the fishing was good, but not frantic. There was enough action and associated missed opportunities to keep us nicely entertained for a few hours. Scott did really well with an extremely tatty and dishevelled fly that looked somewhere between a caddis and a dun… and was very disappointed when he lost it. As is usual, after losing it, we discovered neither of us had anything that looked like the wonder fly.
While Scott was cranky about the lost fly, funnily enough I wasn’t. Despite it being near Christmas and all that ‘goodwill to mankind’ stuff, I now thought: a) I didn’t have to watch him catching all the fish, and b) I didn’t have to listen to his commentary when landing each one! I was also happy that the fly loss might bring him back to my level.
But this wasn’t a contest. Father & son fishing together? Of course, it wasn’t a contest! It turned out the lost fly didn’t really matter anyway. The ‘normal’ caddis Scott replaced it with continued to work sufficiently; in fact the trout kept favouring Scott’s fly over mine. Fishing mojo is such a fickle thing.
Caddis dries turned out to be the best on the day. In the spirit of Christmas, I did try a Royal Wulff for a few pools and runs, given the red and greenish livery of this gaudy fly. But with little trout interest, I went back to the caddis. The exception to the caddis, was a short period when we noticed a few mayfly coming off and Scott tied on a tan dun which worked well.
No really big trout were caught but the usual smaller stream rainbows with the occasional larger one were great fun, and a better brown – caught by Scott of course – made for a great day on a river that we had all to ourselves. While we didn’t ‘sleigh’ the fish (ho ho ho) Christmas had come early.