The river has just dropped to 4000 MLD and we have rearranged the work roster to put a boat on the river over the next few days.
Sing out if you wish to do a drift as we only have the one boat available on SAT, SUN & MON.
Half days, full days and evening drifts available.
Mobile: 0418 995 611
The river has come down to 5000 MLD over the past week with some rain across the inland areas of Vic seeing a slight reduction in the need for full scale irrigation releases. This initially scrambled the fishing a little bit, but it quickly bounced back once the fish re-established their pecking order. This occurred within about 48-72 hours of the drop in level.
I struggled on Sunday with an experienced angler in the drift boat with the fish being a little shy and also not in the ‘usual’ lies. In hindsight i think that perhaps we over-thought things on the day; and given some perspective I can see that the fish had indeed settled pretty well by Sunday afternoon as we did have three takes/drops on top of the landed fish. It’s just that some of the regulars were not on the job and so we returned with a sense of being let down.
That same day there is little doubt that the banks were not back to their normal self as Werner struggled to find fish in the edges for his workshop guys; whereas in the days and weeks prior they were thick on the ground. So to speak. The other workshops groups were on the smaller waters and they encountered good numbers of actively feeding fish all day.
The past few days have been overcast with patchy sunlight and warming with each passing 24 hour block. Today is very warm with a bit of breeze and the reports of grubs have been filtering back in from the few people fishing and from our guides. Lots of rising fish along the edges today with a few good fish also falling to un-weighted sub-surface flies.
Willow grubs are still the ‘whispered words’ among those in the know. Some were fearful that the recent cooler weather and heavy rain would herald the end of them for summer 2014-2015; but thankfully these fears have proven to be unfounded. The grub activity late yesterday afternoon and today has been very strong and with another week of warmish weather on the way (see screenshot from BOM website below)- it looks like we are set for more of the same when it comes to the ubiquitous willow grubs of the Goulburn Valley.
The good news is that there has been a return of the evening rise and if the river stays at this level, or even better, drops another 1000 or more, the hatches will be superb. Those with evening drifts that they postponed would do well to keep an eye on the water levels in the coming weeks.
While the bureau forecast all sorts of rain for last week and indeed some places were on the receiving end of said predictions; we got away relatively unscathed. As such all of the smaller waters are still in great condition, coolish and fishing well. Can’t say more than that on an internet fishing report.
On our end we have some spots left for our upcoming weekend workshops (see details here) so if you know someone wanting to learn, this could be the perfect opportunity. A detailed list of all our upcoming trips can be found on our Calender of Events Page located here. We also have some March accommodation specials on remaining weekdays. Phone for more info or check our Facebook Page.
Hope that this finds you all safe and well. It has been a cracker of a summer in terms of the fishing here in and around Thornton. We’ve really not had any 40 degree spells of weather, and with cooler nights already here, it would appear that Autumn conditions are just around the corner.
It’s been a rather difficult month on this end, with three of our staff in New Zealand and more work than we can handle back here in the Goulburn Valley. While this is a great problem to have, it does mean that fishing is a long distant memory for me, as I am on the river drifting every day, trying to keep up as best I can.
The flip side to all this whining about nearly 50 days on the river in a row, is that I am showing people a lot of great fish and providing many with opportunities that they would never otherwise get. And while I must admit that this is a lot of fun, I’m also sort of fishing by proxy and seeing a lot of great action that most anglers that fish the Goulburn will never, ever see. It’s like watching a great fly fishing DVD every single day!
Hyperbole aside, the fishing has been exceptional as many of you will no doubt be aware. The backwaters are ‘crawling with fish’ and the average size is tremendous, with 3lb (plus/minus a quarter of a pound) browns making up the majority of the fish being seen and caught; with shots at 4-5lb fish happening most days. This is remarkable fishing for mainland oz in the middle of February.
While stalking skills have been crucial to success, the sheer number of fish has been guaranteeing many inexperienced edge stalkers the chance of a great trout. Werner has had guys out in recent days that have hooked 9 fish in a half day session and my guys in the boat have been getting chances at 8-12 fish in a half day. These are sighted fish mind you – not the ones that we raise while blindly searching a fly.
Of course it’s all about terrestrials right now and we have everything you can imagine out on the water. Spiders, wasps, leafhoppers, ants, beetles, cicadas, hoppers – and willow grubs.
What were localised patches of them has now grown to a full blown infestation along the river. Banks vary from day to day, with some firing in the mornings and others in the late afternoon. The key to superb grub falls is heat and wind. Two environmental factors that tend to coincide around 1-6pm each day, with enough breeze occurring by about 3pm on even the calmest of days.
I won’t go into the details of stalking the edges here, as I have written about it hundreds of times on this blog and on our website. You can search for it if you like. Those needing some assistance with techniques, locations and patterns can stop by the shop for a chat.
There is no doubt that this willow grub fishing is a special event and it results in some of the best fish that we see each season. But you shouldn’t ignore the great hopper fishing that is happening at the moment. I am not fishing grubs all that much with my clients, as we are usually on the wrong side of the willow trees, drifting impotently by, as the rising fish that are safely tucked in on the bank side of the willow stands do their thing.
I mention this as most will no doubt have a case of grub-‘itis’ at the moment and fair enough. Just don’t discount the other opportunities that are out there.
I should briefly comment about the water clarity as it’s something that we just take for granted when the lake is full. I’ve recently guided clients from British Columbia and Oregon – all of whom have commented on the water clarity. We can see the bottom down to about 12-14 feet in parts which is outstanding. Oh yeah. That water is cold with 11-12 degrees Celsius the norm; feels like 5c when you dip your head in on a 35c day.
Evening rises on the Goulburn are largely a non-event and it is definitely a case of pick your moments/locations carefully. A good game plan is small stream if you are up here early. This is when they are at their coolest and it’s nothing to see 7-9am caddis hatch or a few small spinners falling. High noon and the afternoon belong to the Goulburn and then once again the smaller rivers are worth fishing for that last hour or two. If you had to choose two of the three sessions outlined here; I’d advise with the morning/afternoon over the afternoon/evening. Just my 2c.
The smaller rivers also have some brilliant hopper and willow grub fishing and it should be stated that there are a heap of ‘ever-growing in size’ crickets about right now. Some fly fishers are fishing them with great success.
I’m running out of time to write this brief update as people are replying to the shutload of emails that I replied to today. I think that you get the picture though and you can always drop by if in the area for further info.
I should mention that we have some spots left for our ‘Beginner’s Workshop’ running this Saturday and Sunday after a late cancellation. $390 for two full days, small group sizes, a big lunch and use of all gear. This really is tremendous value. Sing out if you’re interested or click here for more information. Also it looks like my drift boat client for the afternoons of Sun-Mon will have to pull out. Drop us a line (Free Call 1800 458 111), text ( 0418 995 611) or email (email@example.com) if you wish to go on the list to potentially grab a spot. You can read more about these trips here.
I hope that this finds you well, having fished up here in recent times. It really is the best time of year to ‘snaffle’ a big fish on dry fly at close quarters. I can happily report that there are great times ahead with the grubs now in full swing and the rest of the terrestrials also doing their thing.
All the best and hope you manage some time streamside this weekend.
We have to close tomorrow from 9am – 2pm as I have to run one of our guides to the airport and we are short-staffed. If you are here between 7.20am – 8.45am I will be serving in the shop. We will reopen by 2pm.
Apologies for any inconvenience caused but there’s nothing we can do as our previously arranged transport just fell through.
Sing out if you need anything. I can be reached on 0418 995 611.
Just a few pics and nearly as few words because I’m so time-poor at the moment.
Don’t adjust your screens on the first fish. It was the largest specimen on our recent Patagonia Trip. Next years dates have just been listed and 10 of 13 spots went in two hours. Visit our website here http://gvffc.com/patagonia.html from more info and get in quick if you are keen to join us. QANTAS just slashed their prices to Buenos Aires by around 30% so this may be the time to be tempted.
The Goulburn has been fishing terrifically well and the quality dry fly fishing will continue for some time to come. Terrestrials are accounting for the vast majority of fish, but the most successful anglers have been those able to adapt things going on beneath the surface when required. Wink. Wink.
Willow grubs have produced some of the most extraordinary dry fly fishing in years, with big fish eating grubs from early morning until almost dark in some places. It has been very consistent, especially on the warmer days with some wind.
Stalking fish has been the key and I would say that at most only 20% of the fish we have been catching have been raised to the fly blind. I am seeing an average of 15-25 fish per drift and guys walking the edges are seeing MANY, MANY more. Unfortunately finding them and catching them are not always inextricably linked.
The smaller rivers have also been very good of late although last weekend they did see a lot of foot traffic. That should die down now and remain relatively quiet throughout February; traditionally our slowest in season month for angler numbers.
I don’t want to harp on the negative but it’s worth punching Fisheries phone number 13FISH or 13 34 74 into your mobiles just in case you see folks doing the wrong thing. We had a few incidents over the long weekend that warrant this message being put out there. Also Alexandra Police Station can be reached on 03 5772 1040 should you encounter idiots on jet skis and starting fires on 35 degree days like we did last weekend.
That aside it’s been a very consistent summer thus far and these cooler temps are no doubt keeping the smaller streams online. While we would like some more heat on the Goulburn to get the larger terrestrials on the wing each day; I have to admit that 20-25 degrees sure beats 33-40.
Hope this brief report helps you to plan your next sortie up here. Don’t forget to visit our Calendar of Events Page for more info on all that we offer.
Cheers and all the best.
PS – Check out the photo of the young 10 year old fly fisher. He got that fish out of a Goulburn River backwater within a couple of hours of picking up a fly rod for the first time. Best 10th birthday present ever and we can’t get the smile off of Werner’s (the guide) face.
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Free Call 1800 458 111 or (03) 5773 2513
Just a few pics that were emailed to me this evening from the guides in NZ. A variety of waters being fished and sizes of fish caught – with low water conditions making things tougher than usual until this week.
I will add more pics as they filter in to me here back in OZ. Don’t forget that we are taking expressions of interest now for 2016 with ads to go out in FlyLife and on social media at the beginning of March.
Visit the dedicated New Zealand Trip Page on our website to view the dates for next summer and sing out with any questions that you may have.
Sorry people but I’ve no time for a detailed report. We are all out every day and the fishing has been superb. A great level for both edge fishing and hatches. Lots of bigger fish about on dry flies. My only two spots available for float trips this week are on Monday and Tuesday, which coincidentally are going to be cracker willow grub days. The rest of the week the boats are booked solid. There’s just not enough hours in a day; or days in a week at the moment.
Drop by for more information. While I will have ‘some’ time to occasionally post a few pics and a few choice words about the fishing in the next 6-8 weeks; we are so heavily booked that I am not going to get the time to do the detailed reports that many of you have grown accustomed to. So for now, a few pics will have to suffice.
Get out and enjoy the fishing. It’s as good as it gets right now.