Today I crossed Gilmore’s Bridge on five separate occasions while shuttling boats and cars about the place. I saw two cars only the once and a single car every other time. The river is looking superb and is fishing well, but the few people up here are on the smaller streams. Go figure.
Sing out if you are coming by the store in the coming days. We have a huge weekend planned with a two day workshop fully booked out but we will have someone in the shop and a drift boat available as well should you want to go out for a float with us.
Below is a photo of the best fish for the day. Taken on a dry fly of course! Well done to Michael on getting his fly into the right spots all afternoon.
Ciao guys and sing out if you are thinking about Montana. Bring a mate with you and we’ll reward you in a major way – as we have to fill these new spots to make this trip work.
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Free Call 1800 458 111 or (03) 5773 2513
There are only two spots left for our upcoming trips to the USA. Click here for more info. Attached are a few more pics to ‘persuade’ you into giving in and joining us. If you need more motivation just think of your poor friends left behind in Oz, having the same old conversations about the lack of snow on Buller or arguing about which of the Ballarat lakes they are going to flog in the wind and rain; while you are wet wading and stalking fish on dry flies!!
Just a head’s up to let everyone know that the river is down to 3000 MLD and is fishing well. Guide jobs today revealed plenty of fish in the shallow runs right throughout the day, as well as the odd fish picking off duns in the afternoon. Quite a few small caddis about as well. Evening rises have been good without ever reaching any lofty heights. The big duns are just around the corner.
Things will only get better as the river stabilises at these lower levels. Hope that you can make it out sooner rather than later and please let your fish go. Our rivers are not stocked, nor managed in any meaningful way. Each fish that goes back has a chance of spawning and sustaining these trout fisheries that we all value so much.
Click the links for more info or go to the fishing report below. Another set of links can be found below with pics from the trips interspersed throughout this update.
What a summer it was for weather. Perhaps only one true 40 degree day and a significant cooling off at the end of February, with the odd warm day thrown into the mix every 4-5 days since Autumn’s arrival. It is safe to say though that we are well and truly into normal fall weather patterns; with cold nights and beautiful mild-warm days lining up in a row in between the odd cold event like we are experiencing now.
Before speaking of the fishing I should say that everyone here is stoked to learn that young Luke Shambrook was found alive and well after an ordeal that lasted for the entire Easter break. It was amazing to see the reaction from the local community in particular, and the wider community in general, to what was every parentrs worst nightmare. It bears stating the obvious that it was extremely fortunate he was located today, before having to spend another night exposed to the elements. This is the coldest night we’ve had in a while and I hate to think of what it would be like to be out there in wet clothing right now.
That being said I want to say a few words about the how the summer fished for those that didn’t get up here and also because I didn’t do a lot of reporting on the blog (mostly Facebook).
The fishing throughout January and February was excellent. As good as last year, although we had to scale back the size of our dry flies (we were never going to see back to back cicada years). Last summer was truly phenomenal for those huge cicadas that are the size of a small hawk. This year we mostly fished smaller varieties of terrestrials; including hoppers, crickets and other attractor patterns to bring up our best fish. It was a terrific couple of months of fishing to larger browns on big dry flies and some of the takes are constantly replaying in my dreams at night. There were some exceptional captures, some cruel losses at the net and many that were missed on the strike or lost in the first second or two.
All in all a lot of fun was had.
Sometime in January the willow grubs got going and persisted through until the end of February in a major way. Not like the huge falls of them in 2007-2011 but I would say that it was the best summer out of the previous four. Some days we would see a lot of fish on them; at other times the river would appear dead yet we could just confidently fish a grub pattern into likely pockets and boom! I vividly remember stopping my boat to offer Werner and his bank-bound clients some cold water from my esky, only to be told to keep away as they had been catching fish along the big open bank we had found them fishing on. The nearest willow trees were 300 yards upriver from them. I think they’d caught eight without having moved more than 300 yards for the afternoon.
This fishing continued with a few peaks and troughs until early March. Of course the best days were the ones that started hot and humid with a brisk wind developing throughout the day. Sometimes the wind wasn’t happening until about 2pm and this saw us stagger the start times of our guided sessions to match the conditions. Many guys were hitting the river way too early and were already on their way home or crying in their beer by the time the fishing started. Unless there are Caenids around (think November), you will never see any of us on the Goulburn early in the morning.
Another interesting thing that happened this summer that we haven’t really noticed before, was that the European Wasps suddenly started hunting in the willow trees along the river. I think Werner was the first to actually observe it, but the wasps were eating the willow grubs. This seemed to happen all of a sudden and while I am not suitably qualified to delve into the details, I can relate to you what we saw. It actually was alarming to enter under a canopy of willows with the drift boat for fear that we would simultaneously agitate a few hundred wasps. Something that would be very dangerous with the river flowing at 9000MLD.
It got to the point where I wouldn’t even go close to the trees as every day I was killing 20-30 wasps that had somehow fallen into my boat and were walking around on the floors. Even more would be flushed out each evening as I hosed down the boat in preparation for the next day’s drift. Thankfully tonight’s weather will begin to sort the little striped bastards out.
The river has been very high for most of the fishing season and this has made things difficult for those that are less experienced and those that like traditional fly fishing. Unfortunately for the aforementioned demographic of folks the river is still high and will remain so for the next few days at least; but it is on the way down. From our perspective we are still experiencing terrific dry fly and sight fishing with fish averaging just under 3lb. Cricket patterns have replaced the grasshoppers of last month and we’ve often had to resort to fishing tiny dries and unweighted nymphs to sighted fish. This is happening more and more with each passing week.
Hatches are on the cusp of going off but are still less than stellar due to the unusually high water releases from Eildon Lake. The bugs are under no illusions as to what is going on- the longest flood in years- and they will not hatch en masse when the river is this high. The good news is that we’ve done some sampling this past week and there are a lot of bugs prime to hatch once the river levels fall away. There were a truck load of large mayfly nymphs, think kossies, so now is the time to start tying these critters. Once the river gets to 2000-4000 and below the hatches will strengthen significantly (don’t forget about our evening drifts). Once it drop below 2500 we should see superb hatches accessible to all.
Nevertheless there has been some reasonable evening fishing of late for those willing to risk the likelihood of getting skunked. A few of the regulars in the shop have reported reasonable success fishing yellow sallys in the smaller sizes to the sputtering caddis hatch that occurs near dark most nights. Duns are a strong chance at last light.
This all leads us to the smaller creeks that I will not speak about here on this public blog. One in particular has been fishing exceptionally well. The others have only been fair. I can’t elaborate here as it will drive a stampede of people to them given the Goulburn’s height at the moment.
I will say that all the small streams are very low and cool. Water clarity is excellent and the fish are eager to feed, as the clock ticking down to spawning time draws down.
To illustrate this I should mention that on last week I stopped in at Tumbling Waters at about 6pm, as my kids wanted to skip pebbles in the main pool where everybody swims. A weather front was all but upon us and a few duns were hatching and perhaps 5-6 fish were rising when we arrived. Within 25 minutes an ant fall started and the two main pools (including the one just down from the bridge) had about a dozen fish rising in each. So much for it being fished out, when you have two dozen rising fish in the middle of the local swimming hole that sees about 50 people a day stop and eat lunch, swim and throw a lure.
Point being is that any sort of hatch. Any sort of fall of terrestrials. Anything edible at all is going to see these eager fish feed and feed well. A lot of it will come down to technique and fly selection so craft up some long fine leaders, grab a good selection of tiny dries and use all of your streamcraft skills to battle with these eager but cautious feeders.
Drift boat fishing continues to be good with sight fishing options up and down the river and the start of the hatch fishing all but upon us. Most nights we are finding rising fish and by placing the fish between us and the setting sun; we are getting a reasonably long rise. This will only improve in the coming weeks.
I should also mention that we have a heap of trips coming up. Firstly there is our Montana Trip which was booked out early but the lodge have just given us some extra spots to fill if we can. Do you want to fish with us in Idaho and Montana this coming July? We have up to five spots available with singles, couples and groups welcome.
The first week is in Idaho staying on the banks of the Henry’s Fork and the second is on the Missouri River in Montana with the chance to fish Yellowstone National Park for the final 1-2 days of the trip.
Please get in quick as any spots we cannot fill will be relinquished to the lodge in the coming weeks.
SOME USA TRIPS PHOTOS
We are also taking bookings for our Patagonia Trip (early December 2015) New Zealand Trips running January, February and March 2016. More details can be found on the relevant pages accessed via the following links:
SOME PATAGONIA TRIPS PHOTOS
SOME NEW ZEALAND TRIPS PHOTOS
We are also running some beginner’s workshops in the coming weeks and we urge anyone wanting to do one of these weekend courses to get in quick. They are extremely good value with two full days of instruction at a 1:3 ratio for only $390. More info can be found here.
So things are looking interesting up here in the coming weeks. April is a brilliant month for fishing and the good fishing can persist on through well into May. It can be a crap-shoot as to when it slows down but April is always a safe bet for plenty of perfect autumn weather and light wind days.
We hope that this finds you well and that you survived the Easter carnage.
See you around.
KEY REASONS why you should learn to fly fish with us:
* only $390 per person for the 2 Day Workshop
* only 9 participants per workshop with three instructors. Ratio of 3:1 = more individual attention
* all our instructors are full time professionals who teach fly fishing every single day
* we have the best teaching facility in the country
* GVFFC has been teaching fly fishing full time since 1994
* we have taught thousands of people to fly fish over the years. We can teach you too
* we have a fully stocked flyshop and only sell gear that we ourselves use. Beginner’s combos start at $299 for a good quality, ‘ready to fish’ rod, reel, line, leader, fly package and are available for purchase every day. Other options also available.
Can’t find a suitable date for a our beginner’s workshop?
To book or for more information phone us on Free Call 1800 458 111
First off we will add a new fishing report to this page later tonight. I have been on my own all summer long, hence the lack of updates on this site (if you follow us on Facebook you would be seeing regular updates as it’s much easier for us to post there). In any case our the rest of our staff will be back this weekend and so normal services will resume.
Now to the reason for this post. We are clearing our floor stock/demo Watermaster and the first person in will get a Kodiak Package with upgraded oars and large K-Pump (Value $2200 USD + shipping + duties/G.S.T.) for just $1995 AUD!!!!!
We won’t be re-ordering stock until the new trout season, so this is your only chance to grab a bargain. Boat package alone would cost in the $3500 area if you were to order direct from the USA (due to shipping costs, the weakness of the dollar and the various taxes that are applied to items worth more than $1000 AU).
Phone us on 0418 995 6111 if you are interested.
PS- the initial offer/package (yesterday via Facebook) was dearer; with PFD, extra fins and electric pump included. However someone asked us to split the package as they already had a Watermaster but wanted the other goodies. Hence the heavily discounted price of the boat package here. Photo of actual boat at page bottom.
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.