So it’s been a while between post as life has been getting in the way of my ability to get out there and flick some lures around. Between getting married, work and needing to attend plenty of other events has seen me be able to count on one hand how many times I have had a chance to go for a fish since the beginning of the year.
The last major trip I got to do was a week on the Murray River at the start of March, but that story I will leave for another day. This trip was a result of mate of mine Simon, who posted up some photos to Facebook of himself with some solid pre spawn Brown Trout that he had caught the week prior. It got the juices flowing and a plan was put in place to get down there asap.
I took 2 days off work as I had weekend commitments and invited my wife’s grandfather Phil to come along for the trip. My original plan was to camp, but I was told by Phil we should have a heater, so booked a room at the Snowy Mountains Motel in Adaminaby. We left Nowra at around 7am and made good time arriving at Adaminaby at 10.30am. We pulled up at the local shops and spotted 2 guys in fishing gear. We got talking and they mentioned that the fishing had been very tough. They had spotted a few fish, but couldn’t get them to chew.
We then made our way over to the local tackle shop to talk to the owner Cole about where to go & what to use to try and increase our chances of landing of these beautiful fish. We left with some local knowledge and some Rapala F7’s in spotted dog colour. We continued our drive into the Kosciusko National Park until we reached the turn off to Providence Portal. Never being here before, we followed the verbal directions from Cole and found the right track to take us down to the mouth of the Eucumbene River. As we descended the banks of the dam where water once would have lapped at the shores, we could see cars dotted along the banks of the shallow river as far as the eye could see. We knew we were in the right spot at least!
We followed the advice of Simon as to where he had been fishing the week prior. We parked near the mouth of the river and walked our way down towards the dam, casting Rapala F5’s and F7’s. I was using a Daiwa Sol II 2000 loaded with 4lb Fireline Exceed and 4lb leader. We didn’t have much luck so moved upstream in the other direction. It took some time before I eventually spotted some large orange shapes which was a school of about 5 fish holding tight at the base of a rapid, looking to move upstream. I put cast after cast into these guys without a glimpse of them being interested in my lure. I then changed over to a glo bug and nymph rig in the hope of changing their minds, but again no interest. I spent the next 30 mins trying to get these guys to bite, but it just wasn’t happening.
We pushed on heading further up the river to a large pool. We ended up being on the wrong side given the position of the sun and even our Spotter polarized glasses weren’t allowing us to see far into the water. We got the head of the pool and change sides which gave us the ability to see directly into the water. It didn’t take long to start seeing fish, they were everywhere and extremely spooky. We cast at everything we saw and still no interest, it was starting to get extremely frustrating!
In this same pool I saw 2 of the biggest trout I have ever seen, be it real life or photo. Sitting here typing, I’ve pulled out a tape measure and from where I was standing at the time they would have been 90cm fish….huge! Of course they weren’t interested in eating my lure and would dart off with the slightest movement I made.
At this time, we thought it best to head back into town to grab some lunch and check into the motel. A quick stop at the local bakery for some massive burgers with the works, drop our stuff off at the motel and we were back on the road heading to Providence Portal again. This time we parked further upstream, as far as the track would get us without some better tyres and maybe a suspension lift on the FJ to get us over the muddy feeder water course. After having a pleasant 11 degree celsius day, you could feel the change in the air as the sun started to fade and the coolness creeping in. We tried the pool immediately in front of us where you could see the trout’s backs breaching through the rapids. I continued with the glo bug and nymph rig sending it through the fast moving water for no result. I then moved towards the middle of the pool where the water was slower moving but had a nice bubble line hugging the opposite bank. It didn’t take to long after the move and I finally felt the twitch in the line that I had come here for! A couple of little runs and out first fish was in the net. It had picked up the olive nymph at the bottom part of the rig. A nice little Brown that usually would be legal, but with the spawning season at this time of year didn’t make the cut of 50 cm minimum length(http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/news/all/2014/trout-spawning-season-starts). It was still nice to get off the donut and after a couple of snaps the fish was back into the water.
Our spirits had been lifted and we were straight back into it. With a few fish eating off the surface and others leaping out of the water, I busted out the 6wt fly gear to see if that would be more successful. We fished well into dark and unfortunately weren’t able to raise another one. We packed up and jumped back in the car to head back to the motel for a warm meal, as it was now reading 4 degrees celsius.
We planned to get up and be out on the water by 6.30am, but with a bit of re-rigging to our gear it wasn’t until that time that we were jumping in the car to leave the motel. It was a frosty -5 degrees celsius as we left the motel, with ice covering the surrounding farm lands and my car. My washer fluid lines had also frozen up, so we threw on an extra layer to keep us warm.
We ummed and arghed about where to go next as we had only planned a short trip of an afternoon and a morning fish. We decided that we would give Providence Portal another go as we had seen and caught a fish there yesterday. We jumped out of the car to very cold conditions walked over to the river and started casting. It didn’t take long before ice started forming on the guides which then would freeze the braid to them. Something a little different! We walked up and down the river and still no fish.
Another mate of mine had suggested another place further upstream called 4 mile. We went deeper into the Kosciusko National Park until we found the turn off and head down a fire trail to find the river.
We made our way along a ridge line that eventually dropped down to the river. This place looked pristine with fast flowing crystal clear water, large pools and beautiful country side. We jumped out and started walking downstream. Once again we were faced with no activity on the fish front. We didn’t see any fish moving through the water, but it was still a spectacular place regardless.
Being on borrowed time, we made the call to try somewhere different. This time following the advice of Gavin the owner of Tackleworld Nowra to try Denison which is a free camp area positioned on the high water mark along the Eucumbene. This was our last chance to try and catch a fish as the clock was ticking and I needed to get back to Nowra, then drive to Sydney. When we arrived, there were cars everywhere with people fishing in almost every head water and pool available. Not wanting to intrude on anyone we found a spot to make our own but weren’t able to find any fish. We moved downstream to a place where I had spotted about 8 fish lying to the side of some fast moving water. Again we peppered the fish with everything we had to no prevail. On the other hand 3 blokes from Canberra in the pool up from us were pulling in good sized fish every 5 minutes with the occasional double hook up. From what they said, it didn’t matter what they tied on, they were eating whatever they offered. Everyone else was looking on with envy as no one else could produce fish. I guess that’s why it’s called fishing! For anyone heading down there, the last photo of the ute is where the guys were pulling fish after fish. Plans are in place to be back down there in a fortnight!