I will have to be brief as we have had a long week and I’m feeling seriously beat. Thankfully our guide jobs for tomorrow were all cancelled (not really but we do need to catch up on office work) and we now have our first lazy day around the shop since the season opened. Any hiatus however will be short-lived, as the madness continues with multiple bookings Sunday and into the week.
The weather this past week has been typical of spring. Patches of sun and warmth, light showers, cold snaps, wind, dead-calm, thunder; every possible variation of the ‘four seasons in a day’ descriptor. That being said it has been perfect for fishing with enough cloud to keep the fish in the shallows and out feeding; yet with enough afternoon warmth (e.g. yesterday) to ensure good hatches and plenty of rising fish. We are quickly leaving the beginning of the season behind and moving towards the better fishing of mid-spring.
Looking ahead to this weekend we have perfect weather forecast and a lot of options on the Goulburn. I’ll try to run you through what I envisage as being the best choices for those of you that like throwing artificial flies in front of fish.
First off let’s get the ugly stuff out of the way ;-). Streamers are working well and some decent fish have been caught using techniques that employ the use of large sinking flies. Several emails with photos that weren’t really usable on this site (too blurry-overexposed) appeared in my inbox this week, nevertheless I am attaching one that was taken of a fish carefully placed on wet grass alongside the river for a photo, prior to being released. This will give you an idea of what people have been hooking using sub-surface presentations of larger flies. Not big big. But solid fish.
That being said the vast majority of fish caught this week have been taken on slim bodied beadhead nymphs. The water has been very clear and as a result we have had to scale back in size use more natural looking patterns. Hence the copper john black and variations of the pheasant tail have been best for us and our clients. Gold and black beads have produced equally well in the past few days.
Dry fly wise it’s pretty simple. You need something to match the grannom that is getting about in greater numbers each day as well as a decent caddis tie. I am fishing both at the same time and while denying myself any action that would otherwise be forthcoming had I been using a nymph, the 2-3 fish per 60 minute session while using dries only, is an acceptable rate of return given that we are still early in the season and most fish are not really coming up to the top just yet.
Evenings rises have been really good most nights, with duns taking centre stage and hatching en masse in that final twilight act. Think 14-16 Bushy’s Emergers in grey and you will be in the hunt. Shaving brushes have also been good also and many are fishing more traditional patterns like your standard Adams. Fishing two dun patterns about 18″ apart has been a pretty good approach with the key being to remove your barbs to prevent a catastrophic tangle in the failing light.
So while things have improved markedly in the week since my last major report, they still have a ways to go and we can all take solace from the fact the best is still yet to come. Like I said in my opening weekend report, this is a terrific time of the year to be a fly fisher. The air is literally buzzing as we move full steam ahead towards the best hatches of the season.
The river has remained steady at 1000 and then 500 MLD for some time now but it came up to 1000 MLD yesterday. While there was no message update on the daily recorded message today, the river has definitely come up. It started to get some colour at about noon (according to the guys that were out there at the time, with leaves and twigs suddenly appearing in the drift – I was back here on the property), but I have no official confirmation of the height change as GMW have not updated their phone line. At a guess it appeared to be around 1700-2000 MLD which is a terrific level for fishing, but it did have some colour in it as of 4.00pm this afternoon when I last saw it. That should drop out pretty quickly but the river is definitely slightly up on yesterday, so keep an eye out on the levels or phone us before heading up this way.
We have an amazing week of weather on the way for the beginning of the school holidays. Temperatures of up to 25 degrees are forecast and the fishing is going to ratchet up a few notches in the next 72 hours. More caddis and mayfly with terrestrials beginning to also appear. Did anyone say beetles? They are all over the place right now.
We still have some accommodation available through the school holiday period and we have instructors and guides free every day. Drift boat trips are resuming as of right now due to the increase in water releases from the dam and we are open for business every day.
Oh and a big thanks to the staff and students of Scotch College (see some pics below) for a memorable week with us. We have been working with Scotch (and many other schools) for a long time now, and we have to say that it is a real pleasure to have them visit us. The group this year was an exceptional one and several of the guys got fish on the evening rise last night to top off a great week of instruction.
If you are a young fly fisher keen to convince your Outdoor Ed coordinator to add a fly fishing option to your school’s ‘Activities Week’ program, please pass on the details found on this page http://gvffc.com/Services/high-school-fly-fishing-activity-week.html and tell them to contact us. Our program is affordable for all and we can run sessions from as short as an hour, to as involved as a full five day week; and everything in between.
We have a great team of full time professionals, committed to working with younger fly fishers and providing the best service in our industry. Our programs are not only educational but a lot of fun and we have the only facility of its kind; comprised of destination FlyShop located on two fabulous fly fishing rivers, private lakes and man-made stream as well as the best teaching facility in the country.
Hope that you are all well and that you make it out on the water this weekend. Sing out if we can be of any service. Both David and myself are itching to get back out in the drift boats now that the river is at a conducive height. It’s been about a week since we were on the oars and both of us are regressing into a catatonic, cabin-fever type state. Ok that’s a bit dramatic but we are available and would love get some of you out and floating in the coming week. This kick in temperature is going to kick-start things in a major way.
UPCOMING EVENTS @ GVFFC SCHOOL HOLIDAYS SAT 20 SEP – SUN 5 OCT INCLUSIVE
Great deals for you and the kids
Our school holiday specials, also known as our ‘Father & Son deal’, works like this. The adult pays their own way and up to two kids aged 18 or younger can come along for no additional charge. This makes it a great way to spend some time outdoors with a those that you care most about, giving the next generation an introduction to fly fishing in the process.
Call Free Call 1800 458 111 or 0418 995 611 for more information.
Two day fly fishing workshops
These two day workshops are designed to take folks from complete novice to new fly fisher capable of independent progress, in just a single weekend. Only 9 spots per workshop with with a ratio of 1:3 (guides:participants). $390 per person for the two full days instruction. Also includes lunch both days and use of all gear.
Get in quick as these discounted group workshops are only run every 5-6 weeks.
Learn More @ http://gvffc.com/workshops.html or call Free Call 1800 458 111 or 0418 995 611 for more information.
Only 2 drifts left
We only have two days remaining for our annual visit to the Swampy Plain River in the shadow of Mount Kosciusko. A full day of floating this wonderful tailwater with David Pickering on the oars and guiding you to the best that the Swampy has to offer.
The dates that remain are THU 13 and SAT 15 NOV and the boat can take two anglers, so you can either come on your own or share the experience (and cost) with a mate. This is not a regular day of drifting but rather a huge day that runs 9.00 am – 9.00 pm (subject to the angler ‘s wishes).
Phone today to secure one of the few remaining spots or discuss the options. Learn More @ http://www.gvffc.com/Services/swampy.htm or call Free Call 1800 458 111 or 0418 995 611 for more information.
DEC 6-13, 2014.
Only spots left! A wonderful trip to one of the world’s best trout fisheries with shoulder season rates and a fabulous mix of fly fishing on offer. Browns and rainbows, dry fly and nymph/streamer fishing, a terrific lodge with great meals and exceptional guides – all make for a terrific Patagonia experience.
All fishing gear is provided if required, including SIMMS waders and boots, Winston rods and Hatch reels, meaning you can travel light or add this to a bigger trip without having to worry about dragging all your gear around with you. Only two spots remain.
Phone us today on Free Call 1800 458 111 or 0418 995 611 for more information.
Only 6 spots remain for 2015
Week long trips to the world’s best brown trout fishery. Large fish, dry flies, great guides and exceptional fishing. Seven nights accommodation, six days of fully guided fishing, all meals, transfers, fishing licences and flies; are included in the price of $4050.
Only six spots remain from the 50 originally offered. Week 9: SUNDAY 1 MAR – SUNDAY 8 MAR (2 spots) & Week 10: SUNDAY 8 MAR – SUNDAY 15 MAR (4 spots).
Learn More @ http://gvffc.com/nz.html or call Free Call 1800 458 111 or 0418 995 611 for more information.
IDAHO & MONTANA
SUN 12 JULY – SAT 25, 2015
A terrific fortnight of fishing in eastern Idaho and south-west Montana, with a mix of guided drift boat fishing and unguided wade fishing. Our group, comprised of 16 anglers, stays a week at a lodge in Idaho and then another week in Montana, fishing a collection of the world’s most renowned dry fly rivers in both locations. We have secured the very best guides and accommodation available in both locations, courtesy of our large group and because we book 12 months in advance.
Bring a friend or allow us to match you up with someone. This is a tremendously enjoyable trip with exceptional fishing for fly fishers of all skill levels.
Learn More @ http://gvffc.com/Services/USA_trips.html or phone us on Free Call 1800 458 111 or 0418 995 611 for more information.
NEW ONLINE SHOP
Open for business
Our new and updated online store is now up and running with a great selection of premium quality flies at competitive prices. PayPal and regular checkout are available for your convenience and complete peace of mind. Many of our flies are unique to our store and we only sell flies that we ourselves use as full time professional fly fishing guides.
Visit our store today by clicking here http://www.theflyshop.com.au
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Free Call 1800 458 111 or (03) 5773 2513
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GVflyfishing ============================================================
Our next two-day beginner’s fly fishing workshop is not until Saturday 18th – Sunday 19th October, 2014 but we are taking bookings now.
Just a couple of pics from the entomology/streamcraft session.
Hope that you got out for a fish. It was a beautiful weekend of spring weather.
Well we’ve had a bit of rain these past few days but finally the sun came out at about noon and we have a few consecutive days of decent weather on the way. It feels like we’ve had a bad run of weather, such is the short memory from the winter just ended, but it really has only been a couple of days.
The river has been dropped as a result of all this rain bit it’s hanging in there @500MLD. While this means that we won’t be drifting it in the next few days, it does show a reluctance to just drop it down to nothing. Not sure why this is, but be thankful that it’s sticking above the minimum riparian flow.
Weather wise the next few days are going to be pearlers. Saturday looks wonderfully warm; a perfect spring day if you like. We will see a decent hatch the next few evenings with Saturday morning looking like a great shot for fish chasing grannoms. It really is exciting to sit here, barely a week into the season, knowing what is just about to happen on the Goulburn. I’m stopping my typing for a moment to rub my hands together in evil anticipation of what’s to come.
The fishing has been slow this past week which can be expected due to both the time of the season and the state of our fisheries here in Victoria. Leaving the political aspect of this statement to those naive fly fishers who think there is anything to be gained by creating a dialogue with Fisheries Victoria, I shall focus on the other reason things have been tough.
It is still too early in the season. The hatches are just starting up and while we could see our first glimpse of good dry fly action in the next 72 hours, we have to be realistic about where we currently stand. A week into the season and not yet half way into September, my internal clock that was set by the past 18 seasons guiding here, tells me that we have a ‘ways to go’ yet.
Duns will show up on dark most nights in the coming weeks and during occasional periods of ugly weather during the day, but the real big thing on the Goulburn that happens this month, is the beginning of the strong caddis hatches that will be well and truly in full swing by October 1-5.
The aforementioned event really is the first notch in my ‘Goulburn Dry Fly Calendar’ and you need to be prepared to drop everything and hit the river when it starts up. That first week or so of caddis hatches can be sublime, with the fishing ‘in the surface’, rather than ‘on it’, at times being ridiculously good.
If you are heading up this weekend however, here is what you need to know. The small rivers are a write-off or near enough to. The Rubi, while fishable with Czech Nymphing methods, really is still too high and my drive up into the hills tonight after work confirmed this to be the case. The water at the confluence of the Rubi/Royston is flying. Similar stories coming in from places like the Taponga (mad bastard who went up there) and many of the streams out here on the river flats are flowing high and discoloured. This doesn’t leave many options if you are looking for a river to fish within day trip distance of Melbourne.
In the past there have been a few cynical people who have accused me of listing the Goulburn as the best option because we have a business here. While I understand this level of paranoia in the internet age where folks say that 9/11 was a Zionist plot in which the CIA was complicit, I still have to laugh out loud whenever this is thrown about. To those that have such thoughts I respond with the obvious. You’ve got it all wrong. We started this business and built this building – at this ‘particular’ location – because – (DRUM ROLL) – the Goulburn is here.
Flowing lower and warmer than the surrounding streams in spring and higher and cooler than the others in summer; it is essentially drought proof when compared with most other rivers in SE Australia. Even other tailwaters don’t compare to it outside of some short windows of opportunity. The Swampy can warm to 27 degrees in summer and have 175,00 carp take up residence from the Murray below. The Tumut can run as full as an oil pipeline, spitting drift boats out the other end like an aqua-bazooka and the Mitta is narrow with lots of carp and a much smaller lake above it meaning less insurance against long, hot summers. It also suffers from being the Victorian system most abused in regards to environmental releases of water for the Murray system.
The Goulburn River below the lake is a rare beast and it is for this reason that we set our stall out in this place. The reverse flow regime mentioned earlier creates a fishery that is very consistent and works from the time the season commences in September, right through until it’s June ending.
The point that I am eventually meandering towards is that the Goulburn is a rare beast on the Australian fly fishing scene. The first 30-40 river kilometres down from the Pondage Wall is excellent water and perhaps the best trout river in the country. It could be a world-class river (I hate that phrase but it is apt here) with a bit of help from Fisheries. Nevertheless when you compare it to what we have elsewhere across the state, it truly is a wonderful river.
Pick your times, avoid long weekends, fish Sunday’s rather than Saturdays if weekends are all you have, ask for assistance, fish carefully, use the right flies, heed our advice and I guarantee that you will have many successes this season and see many interesting things.
Yes some of the main bridges were very busy on opening day and it is for this reason that none of the guides here wet a line. Cameron, James, Werner, Bo, David, Annella and myself were all about but we didn’t fish. A mere 32 hours later these same places were empty (mid-afternoon Sunday) as folks took off early for Father’s Day. Yes it can be busy at certain spots and at certain times, but don’t just do what everyone else does. If in doubt, stop by and ask or drop us a line on the phone.
My advice for this weekend is simplicity personified. Head out with the right selection of nymphs (hint = ask us), a few parachute tied duns in grey #14-18, a decent grannom pattern and have fun. There’s no need to get too technical just yet. 10-12 foot 4-5 x leaders, reasonable presentations and drifts should do it, but you have to put the time in and work the water methodically. Nymph the gravel bars but don’t just use an indicator – fish a dry with nymph suspended below. The river is shallow and the fish are already at that stage where they will come up and eat something from the surface from time to time. Best to have an ‘bet each way’ – as Werner the deranged gambler would put it.
I will add some pics tomorrow of the water clarity just to confirm that nothing has changed overnight. Given the management of the water levels in the Pondage and how little rain actually fell relative to how long it was falling, things should stay the same for tomorrow and into the weekend.
Right now I can hear the chorus of a thousand frogs on the lake that sits just outside of my office window, the first snakes have appeared (the first dogs in the district have been bitten) and the Magpies are going absolutely stupid. Spring in all it’s glory and a great time to just sit back on a trout stream and take it all in.
Hope that you can get out this weekend. Sing out if you need any info or help. You can always reach us in the shop. If it rings out it will divert to my mobile.
PS – if you really long for more reports, updates and photos then please visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GVflyfishing for regular updates during the trout fishing season. Even if you hate Facebook, set up an account with a dummy name (takes 2 mins) , set it to private and use it only to surf the huge amount of fishing information that is posted there from hundreds of writes on a daily basis. I often add photos from the river, both riverscapes and fish while actually out drifting and/or guiding. While I will endeavor to add as much of the FB stuff as possible to this blog, it’s just not possible as updating FB takes seconds from the phone whereas these posts and updates to the blog take a little more mucking about which is not always possible when out with others.
Hopefully fortune is favouring the brave souls that came up this morning in the pouring rain. Proper report to come either this evening or tomorrow morning.
A tough day on the water yet great fun. Perfect weather, a few bugs starting to hatch and the sound of running water. You just can’t beat it. Enjoy. Lot’s of reports to come in the days, weeks and months ahead. Don’t forget to follow uson Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GVflyfishing as this is what we update most often.
This will be the briefest of pre-season reports as it’s nearly 4pm Friday and I haven’t had a single minute to myself since getting up this morning to compose this and wait for it…there goes the phone again.
There have already been 40-50 people in the shop today so that statement will answer the main question that most will be asking. The good news is that 90% are heading home tomorrow afternoon for Father’s Day commitments, meaning that Saturday night sortie or Sunday visit might be the ticket for those anti-social fly fishers out there (read all of us).
Starting with the weather we have more of the great weather of the past fortnight forecast for tomorrow. Today was glorious and the rivers are in great shape. Hatches of small grey duns were observed earlier this afternoon at Gilmore’s Bridge and a few fish were spotted in the shallows eating nymphs. It all looks rather promising.
I took some photos of the rivers last night for our Facebook page and have included them here. The Goulburn is at a perfect 1000MLD and has been up for over a week now. It is set to stay at this level throughout the weekend. Yay. The fish will enjoy the extra space and should be more likely to sit in the runs and riffles feeding for longer periods; particularly at first and last light.
A few caddis popped off last night and the odd riser slashed at them. We also saw some large pale duns around a #12. It’s definitely worth hanging about until later in the day when the sun begins to set.
We have our drift boats out on sections of the river that receive little to no wading pressure and so we will have some more info to publish tomorrow along with photos and reports from those through the shop.
We are all eagerly awaiting the opportunity to throw at a river fish again; even if it means streamers and nymphs. The opening of the trout fishing season is a special event and we hope that no matter where you are in the state or how busy your schedule is, that you manage an hour or two on moving water.
Off now. There’s a couple of cars pulling up to the shop and I haven’t even put all these boxes of stock out on display or filled the fly bins. So much to do and so little time.
Have a great opening and see you all soon.