We’ve only recently returned from our annual trip to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and yesterday I pulled a few images to share with you all here. While we had the intention of shooting a lot of images on this trip, with me and my unfortunate fishing mates lugging 35kg of gear half way across the globe, the fishing was just so full on that the camera gear was left behind most days and the trusty phone or compact had to suffice.
Luckily the image quality these days from such devices is pretty good and so I do have several thousand shots to sort through in the coming months. The images contained in this report are but a mere sample of the ones that we will be sharing here over the coming months with the best ones set aside for publication at some stage. I have only accessed the images of three of the ‘point & shoot’ compact cameras on the trip, with the photos from another 14 yet to arrive; some of which have some pretty good photos on them.
In any case I should tell you a little about the trip. We spent 17 days over there this year and fished in three states; cherry picking the best waters at their peak times. Due to the size of this year’s group (a never to be repeated 19 people!); we were forced to spread out in week 1 just to be able to accommodate so many anglers and get the best guides possible. Twelve of the group stayed in Island Park with my business partner David and fished the waters surrounding the Henry’s Fork, while seven of us <50 years of age fished with me of the upper Teton Valley; giving us access to the South Fork of the Snake, the upper Snake over the hill in Wyoming and the Teton and its tribs.
I should mention something for those that only know of the fishing in Montana. Idaho is every bit as good as what can be found across the border in MT. I say this as when I was planning my first trip here, I too was under the impression that Montana was the be-all and end-all of fly fishing in the Rockies. However while inquiring about where to go and what to do during the lead in to the three months that I had up my sleeve for my first trip there, I ran into a fella that ran a flyshop who took me under his wing and gave me the good oil on fishing in that part of the world. Nearly everyone else said that Montana was the place to go to but this one guy, who I learned over the coming months was as experienced as anyone else in the industry, kept saying ‘come to Idaho and judge it for yourself’.
So I took his advice I arrived in Montana, spent the first night in Bozeman and then drove south across state lines to what is one of the most picturesque parts of the USA. Eastern Idaho is rolling hills set against a backdrop of towering peaks and has every kind of trout water imaginable; from spring creeks to huge tailwaters and everything else in between. The least fished corner of Yellowstone National Park is wedged into Idaho with trophy sized fish and the highest concentration of grizzly bears in the lower 48, in what is an over-looked area; and the entire region is abuzz with people out an about rock climbing, trail running, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing etc – all summer long. It is an outdoors-man’s dream and I haven’t even described the best bit for us anglers. It’s at elevation meaning that many rivers hang on and fish well when other parts of Montana are in drought and suffering from daily stream closures. Daytime temps in the mid-high 20s are typical with cool nights. Summer in the Teton Valley is wonderful.
I spent the vast majority of the three months I stayed there that first time in this very valley and it’s immediate surrounds. There are so many options for fishing that the mind boggles. As an example I will mention two rivers. The South Fork of the Snake River is a huge tailwater that empties out of the Pallisades dam and sends Gigalitres of water downriver to supply the farmers of Idaho and beyond with water for crops. It is huge. Immense. But it has tremendous numbers of fish and they are mostly easy to catch.
This ‘easy fishing’ comes down to two basic tactics that most employ when drifting it in July. Throwing foam at banks and to structure and also fishing ‘ the riffles’.
OK there is more to it than just that and very specific and sophisticated techniques are employed by some of the more experienced guides that I know who work on it every day; but for the most part the aforementioned methods are what people do during the month of July.
Throwing huge foam is fun. Particularly when you have the confidence to put it in risky places. Taking off the second fly that the guides usually tie on really improves the quality of your drifts but more importantly; it allows you to skip the flies under bushes, banks and into other dark recesses where fish seek respite from strong currents while also still looking out for a feed. I often fish out of the back of the boat all day and with the wind mostly blowing upstream on this river, this means a fair amount of time casting backhand. That is while drifting down and fishing the river-left, I will be casting across my body so that my rod stops at about my left ear on the back cast. Once you find your distance you can just do a simple wrist snap pick up and in one false cast, shoot it back within inches of the bank. After a while you can do this all day. But the best bit is when the guide moves the boat to river-right. It is then that a right hander has an advantage over the guy in the front. I’ll explain.
The wind is blowing back up river. The guy in the front is standing and bashing the banks. He is now conscious that his flies are travelling over the guide and the guy in the back. He is also having more trouble with drag as being up high (standing) and with an up river wind, his line is being caught and blown and requires a lot of extra mending. In the back of the boat though you can sit or more often stoop down to cast and change your angle. Casting downriver on about a 45 degree angler and from a lower position (no one behind you), you can literally cut under the wind and lay the line on a better angle for longer drifts. OK, it’s still the South Fork and you still have to mend, but it’s much easier to get in tighter and get better drifts.
Also it allows you to cherry-pick the best spots or as the guy in front often complains, you can ‘cut their grass’. On rivers such as this there is an infinite amount of great water. Being in the back you see everything that was otherwise overlooked or missed. The latter I mean in the literal sense as sometimes a fish will short rise or show interest on the first lot of flies but eat on the second pass. Think of that guy in the front as your own ‘Fish Finding Device’ – minus the sonar.
The back of the boat is also good for the following reason that I am sure the psychologists out there will analyse to my detriment. If you are out-fished you can say ‘Ah well I was in the back of the boat all day’ and if you happen to score more highly than your bud, you can ‘carry on like a pork chop’ all day, announcing loudly your mathematical calculations on what the front advantage is worth and how much you really killed the guy up front when the handicap factor was also taken into consideration.
But I digress. Huge foam refers to any of the flies in the Chernobyl family. Variations on the chubby theme still reign supreme for imitating the various stoneflies that are coming off or have only recently just stopped hatching when we arrive in July. Every year there are new patterns that show up in the shops – in 2010 it was the ‘Dog’s Puke ‘and ‘Cat’s Vomit’. This year we saw a heap more colour tweaks on the Chernobyls and a few patterns we’ve been asked to keep to ourselves.
The point is that we are speaking of huge flies. Sizes 4-6 is often used. The ones I tie up are more in the 8-10 basket and my guide always looks at me with a certain amount of ridicule each day. ‘Really? You might have noticed that we don’t have a lot of midge popping today’ is a pretty typical smart arsed comment. These flies with their huge wing of poly-something material float all day. If they drown they mostly pop back up and you and abuse the hell out of them and with 2-3X tippet, you can pull down any cottonwood that it happens to become connected to, after the occasional over-shot cast!
Even for those that are inexperienced at fly fishing, and we had a few this year, it doesn’t take long before the game becomes ‘who can put the fly in the most dangerous places, the most often, without losing it’. The guides love it when you take risks and pull it off and for my fishing partner and I it almost becomes the highlight of the day. Even to the point of over-shadowing the fishing results themselves. The ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from either James or myself, a signal to let the other (and the guide) know just what a gun they have in the boat with them on that day. ‘Did you see that? Just making sure. FIGJAM’.
But that is one of the best things about floating these rivers. Sharing the experience with a mate, having lunch on the water, watching an Osprey catch the biggest trout of the day just 30 yards from the boat and then watching a Bald Eagle trying to steal it, or even just the ‘friendly
sledging banter’ between mates that often reaches Kyrgios levels, makes floating in the USA a real highlight of my fishing year.
I still haven’t mentioned the riffle fishing. This is something else. My first trip to Idaho I stayed with the guy that I mentioned earlier. Once the group of Australian clients/friends that we took with us for 2-3 weeks departed for home, and once I had met my ‘partner obligations’ ;-) by marrying her during a calibaetis spinner fall on the Snake River below the Grand Tetons and she had also left for home, I had about a 5 weeks to fish on my own.
These five weeks of fishing were superb and near to the top of the list was the riffle fishing on the South Fork. My mate ran a fishing shop and nearly every day, at least someone that he knew, be it a guide on a rare day off work or shop customer with his own boat, was looking for someone to share the oars with. I fished the SF about 30x in that period, often just launching for the cloud cover period on a given day and hitting up the riffles. These riffles are something hard to imagine if you have yet to experience it. Forget the piss-ant riffles on our rivers or over in NZ. The SF is gigantic. Think 4-5 Goulburns across in places and 6-7 x the water volume! This creates enormous areas of shallow gravel, anything from a few inches deep to say 2-2.5 feet. When the PMD’s hatch, these riffles come alive with rising fish that you can wade and stalk.
I am not exaggerating. Think of areas the size of a Basketball Court to the size of a soccer field. Shallow and full of rising fish. These mayfly hatches can appear at anytime but when there is some cloud cover it can be epic; and the fish respond by throwing caution to the wind and occupying these shallow places where the little depth that there is, funnels the number of bugs per square metre into a dense mass of emerging and surface riding food.
It’s just a matter of finding some suitable water, anchoring the boat securely and then wading for HOURS! You can spend the whole day on 2-3 riffles and you mostly only leave because you have to eventually get to the take out point. Often one boat will pull away from a riffle and the next will arrive to begin catching fish immediately. Sometimes the fishing will slow up as the hatch wanes and the sun shines. Then just as quickly as it stopped, it will light up again and the fish will appear.
This is fly fishing very different to what most Australians’ would know it. Wading these stable gravel beds in nothing but a pair of sandals, a lanyard, a 4-5 weight rod and a couple of dry/emerger/cripple patterns is a lot of fun. The best fish caught on one of these bars by our group this year went 5lb. Most are in that 1.5-2lb class with a sprinkling of 3-3.5lb fish. They nearly all go ballistic when hooked as they head for the safety of deeper water or a deep cut/fallen tree nearby. Once they get below you on 5x they can be next to impossible to stop without getting in the boat and leaving the riffle. Hence deliberate bust-offs do occur.
Another thing of note is that these gravel bars have numerous species of trout on them. You could be fishing to a mix of rainbows, browns and cutties. Each with their own peculiar quirks in both eating and fighting once hooked. Catch 4-5 cutties in a row and get a bit lackadaisical about the ability of the trout to do you much damage and then hit a solid rainbow that has just shifted off the seam and onto the riffle proper and prepare to be smoked with ‘bleeding knuckles and a confused expression’ the only proof of what just happened.
I love this fishing and the South Fork has the largest acreage of this sort of water of any river that I have fished. Don’t quote me on the number of river miles but I have fished riffles from the dam down to Byington, a distance of approximately 40 miles, and it took three full days when stopping on a fraction of the better riffles along the way.
And that is only one river that we fish. The Teton alone has as many interesting features all wrapped up into an easily waded, easily floated, spring creek type deal that meanders across a wide, porous valley and then drops into one of the most stunning canyons in the region.
Then there are all the feeders streams and the nearby catchments in Wyoming and back towards Island Park. So much water in fact that it would take a lifetime to fish it all and that is not even taking into consideration the streams in Yellowstone National Park. It really is a piece of paradise.
So the first week and a bit was spent in this part of Idaho. The dry fly fishing was brilliant and on some days, a pair of anglers landed over 140 fish in a single day of drifting. I mention this not out of boasting and it wasn’t me that did this, but only as a reference for those wondering about the numbers of quality fish. Even the beginners did very well with some days seeing 40 fish in the boat for two guys that had the very minimal experience before the trip began.
Idaho is something pretty special and July is a great month for warm weather, fishing eating off the top and a huge variety of waters to choose from.
At some point in each trip we move base to a location in Montana. This usually involves a day of sightseeing and in our case we headed to West Yellowstone as some of the group wanted to get some fishing gear at the shops there and some wanted to go shooting. When in Rome and all that stuff. Others chose to tour Yellowstone National Park for a day or two with a couple of the groups getting pretty close to Grizzly bears while driving around. Then it was off to the Missouri.
The town of Craig is a tiny dot on the map that signifies one thing. You are amongst some of the best fishing to be found on the planet where the mighty Mo (Missouri) leaves the bottom of Holter Lake. The water having being cooled significantly as the result of being drawn off from well beneath the lake’s surface. Ok it’s not a bottom release system like here at Eildon and so it can get warm in July and into August, but the temperatures are a little less extreme on the cold end when compared to our tailwaters, and the bug life is huge as a result.
Think of a river that is 80-100 yards across with heavy weed beds that endlessly shift back and forth in the soft currents and think of hatches of caddis that get up your nose and in your ears and under your sunglasses. Now add to the mix a huge number of better than average fish that will rise in pods until the insect hatch weakens or a fisherman puts them down. It is one of the greatest rivers on earth and when you consider the fact that guys like the late Leon Chandler, who had the time and contacts to fish wherever he wanted whenever he desired, chose to fish the Missouri for months on end each summer; then you know that you have found somewhere pretty special.
I won’t go into all the detail of the fishing on this river because I have guests arriving shortly and need to run. But July can be a bit of a hit and miss month on the Missouri, at least from what we’ve experienced over the years. While we would love to go their earlier and in the fall, we’ve had to book this section of our trip based on what is most often the best times for dry fly fishing. All things being equal we get brilliant fishing and while this year had warmer water temps than in recent seasons, we still had some great fishing. But not enough to warrant a week there at this time of year. Hence next year we are back to the 10 day in Idaho-4 day in Craig formula which has worked so well in July over the years gone by.
This year some of us decided to drive the six hours! to the Bighorn and we fished three days on it after leaving mid way through the Missouri leg. Nine of us made the trip out there into ‘Indian Country’ and it was a trip well worth making. Most fly fishers are somewhat aware of the Bighorn. Gary Borger’s videos introduced many of us to this remarkable river that essentially cuts it’s path through the arid country of SE Montana. Without the dam that spills out cold, clear water into this river; there is no way a trout fishery of that calibre could exist. It is simply amazing.
I say this after fishing the Missouri in the days immediately preceding our arrival on the Bighorn. These two rivers would both be listed in the top five in Montana by most fly fishers; if not the top two! But they couldn’t be more different and hence why it was fabulous to fish them back to back and directly compare them.
The Missouri definitely had the bigger fish and stronger hatches. The Bighorn offered the opportunity to fish a variety of methods with gravel bar wading that the Missouri did not have. In fact we spent a whole day on only 3 miles of river, the first seven and a half hours on a half mile stretch fishing just two runs and two gravel bars; the latter containing an endless number of rising fish that were very hard to put down. The caddis hatch was strong and James and I were about 100 yards apart and every time we looked to see what the other was doing; each of us had a fish on.
Fishing a spent caddis pattern and I exaggerate not, I must have had 75 takes in about 90 mins. It was like an aquarium of fast flowing water over an extended gravel bar drop off that ran parallel with the bank, with anything from 5-25 fish between 5-15 metres away, visibly taking from the surface film or just below; it non-stop. While I probably only landed about 20-25 of those fish on the small barbless flies we were using, I dropped a heap on the take or not long after, got busted off by about five of them and missed perhaps the same number as I landed. It was sometimes a fish a cast and we were happy to spend our last day of fishing in such a stupendously easy place to catch fish.
Another point of interest in the area was the site of the famous Little Bighorn Battle where Custer finally ran out his self-ascribed luck. Those of our group that visited the site and took the tour all recounted an eery feeling about the place. The random scattering of headstones where the troopers fell, giving some indication of the rout that occurred there on that fateful day.
So there you have it. A brief write up on our trip that I do not have the time to proof read (so it is what it is). Anyone interested in doing this trip with us next year is urged to contact us ASAP as we have cut the places down to 10 for 2016 so that we can ensure the best accommodation in each area.
Speaking of next year’s trip, we have brought back the South Fork Hilton or overnight luxury wilderness camp out. This was a crowd favourite for the past 4-5 years but we had to drop it from the agenda in 2015 due to the group size. We are also putting together an additional 4 day addendum to the back end of the trip, for those that wish to come to the Bighorn as well. There is just no way to cram it into the trip as it currently exists without adding more time.
More info on the trips can be found on our website by clicking the link contained within this sentence. I hope that this impromptu write up on this year’s trip gave you some insight into the fishing that awaits you in the USA, whether you come with us or go on your own.
One question that I am often asked is ‘why should I go there when NZ is three hours away?’… or..’Is it better than NZ?’. And the answer is simply that they are very different fisheries. New Zealand is great for the whole solitude aspect and because of its large fish that eat dry flies. There is nowhere like it in the English speaking world and dollar for dollar it is a no-brainer.
However. The fishing in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming is out of this world. Lots of fish. Rivers that teem with bug life as opposed to the relatively barren, flood prone rivers of NZ. Also there is an incredibly diverse array of fishing options and techniques to be learnt and perfected.
It is social both in terms of the angling(drift boating) and in the evenings after getting off the water, with numerous restaurants and bars catering to the large number of guides and their clients in each location. Fishing from a drift boat is great fun and gives everyone, even the less mobile among us, access to all the water. There is fishing for fly fishers of all levels with beginners catching good numbers of fish and advancing their skills much more quickly than if they were to learn to fish here in Australia or NZ. Those of us with more experience can choose fishing that is more technical on a day to day basis. Such is the abundance of options that the guides have at their fingertips.
Add to this the scenery, the wildlife, the welcoming nature of the locals, the ability to have a wonderful meal and socialise with other fisherman of an evening; and you have some insight into why this region of the USA is rated so highly by fly fishers. Many of these communities that we visit have a 100+ years of fly fishing history and the communities contained therein revolve around outdoor activities. This makes for a pretty cool vibe on a fishing trip.
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Great weather and patchy fishing this past week – typical for this time of year. The good news is that we have a few more days like this to come before the next significant cold front hits.
I’ve been on the lookout for early spawning fish this week and there have been very few on the Goulburn. The view from atop the Pondage gates has been especially telling with only seven fish (yes only seven!) visible on Tuesday when I stopped by. The light was good enough to see the bottom clearly and there was enough cloud to keep the fish out and about, yet there were very few fish to be seen. The biggest fish there was 3lb with most in that 1-2lb range.
This is typical for this time of year and great news for all of us that worry about ‘our’ vulnerable fish. The other great thing is that the season closes a little earlier this year and although I think a June 1 closure would make a lot more sense for everyone, from fisherman to Fisheries Managers and everyone in between, midnight on Monday 8th June isn’t too bad.
Having said all that the fishing itself is patchy now. Still very good at times with some decent nymphing, streamer fishing and hatches, but there are some lengthy lulls in between. I think one of the main things to realise is that the water is now very low and that stalking skills, casting accuracy, fly selection and a wee bit of luck will be required in order to have success.
There are parts of the river that are fishing better and there are flies that are working well, but we will have to keep that info for those that stop by the shop for a chat, coffee and a map. Basically those that support us in some way.
Unfortunately we have been dealing with a person of low moral standing who thinks it’s ok to lift content directly from our websites and re-post it as his own, in order to start up a business in opposition to us! The silver lining of the recent back and forth with this person is that it has forced us to seriously reconsider our business model of always just ‘giving away everything for free, to everyone with an internet connection’.
While it won’t change who we are and what we do for people (we lent out numerous pairs of waders this week and a couple of rods to visitors who either forgot theirs at home/travelling without fishing gear and we let many people access the river through our property), we have to be a bit more careful of what we just give away online to everyone.
As such you can expect reports to appear more often next season, say 2-3 times per week, but they will be more generalised rather than ultra-specific and will include more photos. We are happy to let everyone that stops by the store know what is going on in great detail, but sharing everything online (flies/hatches/locations/times) has to stop so that we can protect ourselves and ensure that we are here for many years to come.
Also before we hit the end of the season I want to apologise for having to constantly advertise our trips and offers on our blog and FB page. Unfortunately due to the seasonal nature of our business and because we are a destination shop rather than one in the suburbs that is easily accessible to hundreds of passers by each day, the only effective way for us to let you all know about the trips we offer, is via these websites. We trust that you understand this and we thank you for your support.
If you are heading this way in the coming weeks we will be open most days from 9am-5pm but we can open anytime from 7.30am to 6pm if you phone us on 0418 995 611 and let us know you are about. Same goes for those that are in the area and find the shop door locked. There is so little traffic at the moment in the store that we are often somewhere on the property felling trees (we have 100 pine trees to knock down) or doing other maintenance work. As such the open sign may be out but the door will be locked for security reasons. Please phone 0418 995 611 and we will open up.
In fact if you ever think you will be stopping by I advise you to punch that number into your phone now or phone the shop and let it divert to the shop mobile.
Lastly we have very few spots left for our Montana and Patagonia trips in July and December respectively. We sent out a special offer to our mailing list subscribers yesterday to encourage those considering the Montana trip to pull the trigger and book.
The deal is as follows and is still valid:
If you book a spot or find someone else to book a spot – we will reward you with a ‘special gift’ as a token of our appreciation.
Rewards are as follows:
- book or find one person to book and we will provide you with a gift voucher for an evening rise float trip valued at $350.
- book as a pair or find two anglers to join us and we will provide you with a voucher for a full day drift for two people and two nights’ accommodation in our private cottage valued at $950!
There are no time-limits attached to the vouchers and there are no restrictions on when/how the drift boat trips can be redeemed. The accommodation component excludes Saturday nights and long weekends. Vouchers can be resold if desired.
Click here to learn more about our Montana Trip. Our ad goes into the new FlyLife issue due out next week and if the spots are not filled within a couple of weeks they will be withdrawn.
We would like to thank you all for your support over the past 12 months in particular and the past 20 years in general! You’d think after all that time that we might be jaded or pulling back, but it is the exact opposite with the search for a younger Director to join the company continuing and David constantly reiterating the desire to keep doing NZ, Swampy, Montana, Patagonia forever! Yes he is the Terminator.
We are also excited about the range of new workshops, services and trips that we are currently putting together for season 2015-2016. As part of this there will be a two day course designed to take those that did the two day beginner’s workshop to the next level.
Jumping back to a previous thought we are relieved that this idiot has been stealing our content as it has forced us to re-examine what we do, and in the process made us realise just who is important to us. This is great news for most of you. Those of you who come into the shop will have exclusive access to the information gathered by our team of guides and this will also mean less people fishing the better water, at the right time of day, armed with all the detailed information on methods/hatches/flies. This has been a long time coming and is mostly a result of feedback from regulars who responded to the news of this person taking our reports/images.
As part of this new agenda we will keep the shop open every day throughout the fishing season, even during our busiest periods when we are usually all on the river. This has always been difficult for us as a small business that relies on teaching/guiding to get by, and it means putting extra staff on to ensure that we can provide you with a high quality service. As stated earlier. Punch that phone number into your phone now so that you can grab us even if we are out the back working or you are arriving early/late outside the posted business hours. If we are here – we will open up.
Good night to you all. Hope that you are all well and that you get to enjoy what is left of the season. The winter closure is a long break from fishing in running water, unless you are coming to Montana with us (shameless plug!), so if you can get out onto the nearest stream for a few hours you really should. The countdown to the closed season has now started.
There isn’t a lot to report on at the moment given the fact that the river is low and the fishing fairly predictable. The best way to describe it right now is fair to good with occasional moments of excellence. By far the most exciting fishing is on the evening rises on those nights when the kossie duns hatch on last light. There have been some excellent browns caught and dropped this past week while fishing huge dry flies into the setting sun.
The river is at a great level and I personally prefer it around 1500MLD that it is now; as opposed to the minimum or riparian flow that it will be shortly. At 1500 there is just that little bit more cover and depth in the runs and on the gravel bars – you still have to approach things with care and be very deliberate in how you fish each piece of water.
One thing I find myself having to do regularly at this time of year is just slow down and think carefully about not only how to approach the water, but also how to deliver every cast. Where is a fish most likely to sit? Where should my line be placed relative to the fly to maximise my chance of a drag free drift or to ensure my flies stay deep and tumbling near to the bottom? There’s a lot more to it than chuck and chance it – something I prove to myself whenever I’m lazy and just going through the motions. This sort of seems counter-intuitive and one might think that this sort of care is more necessary in spring during a hatch with selectively feeding fish rising all about you. But trust me, it is equally important now when the hatches are winding down. You still have to do a lot right to have repeated success.
Without a doubt the largest fish that we are seeing are pre-spawn browns with plenty of wild fish, as well as pondage escapees, showing up in the mix. The rainbows are mostly small and to be fair there are probably 20 small fish caught for every larger one. Not terrible odds at all when you consider most have been catching 3-7 fish per session.
There is a hatch of midges and also duns to look out for. The former we are not too interested in just yet, as the mayfly are bringing enough fish up to keep us from bothering with #20-22 flies. These mayfly can come off at any time of the day, particularly when the weather is poor. Evenings on the cold, windy nights and the warm stills nights alike, can be equally good for the kossies. Look for pools or runs just downstream of shallow gravel bars.
Daytime nymphing has been consistent. Dry dropper rigs have been good but two nymphs has worked better for us. Those who swing by will be given the good oil on rigs/flies.
I’m in somewhat of a quandary at the moment as to how much to give away in these reports, due to the fact that we have a guy that comes into our store begging for info and asking for help with the most basic aspects of fly fishing, while all the while shamelessly lifting our content (reports and images) and re-posting them on his own recently listed FaceBook page (SEPT 2014) – passing them off as his own work and listing his services as a guide. He even goes so far as to state that he has worked on the Goulburn rowing drift boats since 2010; despite not even owning a drift boat.
To say that I am disappointed in being used in such a way is a significant understatement. Furthermore to see the images that we produce for our websites/blogs/Facebook just blatantly stolen by someone that has come into our shop on a regular basis over the past 24 months and taken up countless hours of our staff’s precious time in the process of his ‘intellectual property heist’ – is extremely aggravating.
As a result we are going to have to be a bit more careful with what we say and do online for the time being. I have been reluctant to post anything of late and when I do, I am far likely to say less than I would like to – as you can probably see courtesy of the big gaps in our reporting this season.
To rectify this problem we are now looking at ways in which we can protect our content and yet still let you, the good guys, gain easy and secure access to it. I don’t want to spend another season having to always watch what I say and code everything in cryptic language just because of this one ‘bad apple’. When we can figure out a way to do this we will let you all know.
But I digress. The fishing is ok as stated earlier and there are plenty of options for both the dry fly and nymph anglers. Another method coming into its own is the simple use of fishing streamers in the pools. If you can be bothered fishing after dark you have the chance of larger fish and decent numbers of them. Daytime fishing with wet flies has been good with the only proviso being please give way to those working up river. Swinging streamers into the bubble line that someone is about to upstream fish is not cool. In any case you are much more likely to catch fish in a pool with a streamer after a dry fly fisher has quietly searched it. Not quite the same for them after we crash through it with our weighted chooks.
So it’s a funny time of year. Many of us are aware that the fish are preparing to spawn, and that there are certain areas to avoid in order to not have a negative impact on the fishery. We ask that all of you that care about the fish and the health of the fishery, leave these trout to do their business in peace. A month of restraint is all that’s needed and you will be doing your bit to assist our fisheries to not only maintain their current levels; but also to improve with each successive season that passes.
Anyway I had better run. I wasn’t going to write a report this week as a result of the idiot who is stealing our content, but that’s not really fair to everyone else. We have always been extremely generous in the sharing of our hard earned knowledge and also our precious time. I can confidently say that we have helped thousands of fly fishers to have a better time on the rivers around here and have probably helped just as many that have never come into the store; the significant numbers of people who choose to just read and take what they need for their own planning purposes, but never stop by.
The local flyshop is a dying animal. Wherever we travel we notice small flyshops closing their doors permanently – with only the big or unique being able to stay afloat. As more of the big box stores gain access to the brands that the small shops and guides have helped to establish, it will only become harder for the small guy. This is being further compounded by manufacturers who wish to squeeze every last drop of profit for themselves by selling directly to the public. Add to this the constant increase in shipping costs, the taxes and duties applied to imported items and the inability of small shops to secure items at reasonable wholesale prices; and things look particularly grim for the smaller independent flyshops. Wherever they may be.
Yet there is one area in which the smaller shops have an advantage over their larger, more process driven brethren and always will. We the destination flyshops are the conduit for the information that every fly fisher so craves. We gather and share the knowledge that is so precious and often time-sensitive. Our guides are out there most days, on the water with clients or fishing themselves, always trying different things and figuring out what is going on. Collecting, comparing, analysing and then sharing. This is what we are so good at and why we are still around, some twenty years on.
If however, we cannot even hold onto one of the few things that are unique to us, our intellectual property, then what hope do we have?
Have a great weekend on your end and please scroll down and see if any of our trips interest you. We know that not everyone can afford to do them and we ourselves have to save all year long to get along to Montana – but if you can afford to go you will have an amazing trip with a really good bunch of people.
For the record I dislike having to promote particular services on our blog/facebook page but it’s the only way that we can remain viable and keep bringing you these reports/photos and helping you all to better fishing when visiting the area. We hope that you understand and occasionally look over our offerings both here and on the Calendar of Events page on our website to see whether anything there might be of interest to you or to someone that you know.
Thanks for your support and good fishing to you if you manage to make it out in the coming days. It might be wet out there tomorrow afternoon, but there’s strong chance of a good dun hatch in the evening for those willing to tough it out.
All the best.
TRIP OFFERS -CLICK ADVERT TO VISIT WEBPAGE
I’ll keep it brief as the fishing is good and we are flat out at the moment.
The river is low. 1500 MLD with clear water and mild water temps at around 13 degrees here at Thornton. Very different to the 9000 MLD and 11 degree water of a few weeks ago.
The Goulburn has not been busy at all. I have not seen a car at Gilmores the past few days and to state the obvious; this cannot continue given word is out that the river has dropped. When it gets busy is hard to say, as weather on the Melbourne side of the divide is most often the determining factor and the footy fixtures also play a part. I would put money on that this weekend is going to see a bit of pressure put on the region.
To my way of thinking of wouldn’t be bothered fishing early mornings. Yes there will be some fish on the gravel bars and staying in the shallows until pushed out by wading anglers, but the advantages of a later start us fly fishers, one that sees us fish through the afternoon, cannot be overstated.
I’m not going to go into all the details of the fly patterns and techniques that are working for us. There’s enough competition for fish when the river is <2000 MLD as it is and we will keep this info for those that stop by the shop. Suffice to say that the river is low and you must stalk your quarry carefully. While not rocket science it does bear repeating. Wade carefully. Close the distance between you and any rising fish. Go finer in tippet and try as best you can to match any hatch that is going on. Don’t be distracted by the millions of European wasps dying on the water. Stripes are mother nature’s warning sign and the fish have been snubbing these biting bastards despite their massive numbers.
While on the ‘be careful theme’ of the previous paragraph, a simple phrase should be shared. Quite simply. Less is more. Im speaking of course in terms of how much water you cover. One of the crap things about the river being this low is that the guys who fish quickly can frustrate as they pass on through; nonchalantly throwing a cast or two in each pool, run, bubble line before moving on, almost at a clip.
On one hand this is a blessing because if you go slowly and wait, the fish will often settle/appear – but exasperating when someone just walks through the water you are fishing.
This hasn’t been happening yet as the river only just dropped, but you can bet that if you are out early in the mornings that you will run into people doing exactly this.
Evening rises have been decent as has fishing after dark. Hatches of larger mayfly have been consistent and there have been quite a few caddis out on the previous two evenings due to the warmer weather. Tiny spinners have been falling in huge numbers in the middle of the afternoons. There’s also been a lot of black flying ants but very small and the fish eating them have been ultra-picky in regards to tippet size/presentation.
I won’t mention the small streams other than to say that there has been some good dry fly fishing and that outside of any sort of hatch or fall; fly selection hasn’t been critical. They’ve been fun, but the Goulburn is the main game in town now that the water levels have been pared back.
For those interested we have a few OS trips that we are taking bookings for. This week we include our latest advert for FlyLife’s 80th edition due out in a month’s time. If you are interested please see the ad below and click on it if you wish to learn more.
Hope that you can make it out onto the water somewhere in the coming days. While still a while to go, the end of the river fishing season is within sight. Always a sad thing to contemplate but still plenty of chances for good fly fishing in the coming six weeks.
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.