The past 72 hours have been hours have been characterised by rising waters, and so it will continue tomorrow as the river goes up to 7000 MLD.
Essentially this is our first taste of real summer levels and fortunately it comes very late on as the end of February, meaning that we still have over 72% left in the lake with a drop of only 7% thus far since last spring.
This rise in height has upset the fish and aside from a few takes here and there, we have been struggling to put fish in the net. The boat fishing right now sucks. The bank fishing is considerably better but it really depends on whereabouts you are fishing. You have to know where the grubs are to give yourself the best chance of success.
The small streams are all fishing well. Great reports from right across the district but this info will be kept for those that either stop by the shop or phone. These small and fragile waters have been excellent but they won’t cope with the sort of pressure that being named on the www would bring.
So that’s it for now. A new report will go up the moment the fishing on the Goulburn improves. Remember we have one spot left for our NZ trip starting next weekend 9SUN 5 – SUN 12 MAR and we are offering a great deal for the lucky person able to join us at the last minute. We also still have two spots left for the Idaho/Montana trip.
Hope that this finds you well. While there isn’t much to say right now; I thought that I’d get something out quickly to save people the grief of coming up tomorrow and struggling to find a fish on the Goulburn.
Watch this space for news of any improvements in the catching department.
ALL PRICES INCLUDE SHIPPING WITHIN AUSTRALIA
- LAMSON SILVER GURU 1 II Was $379 Now $299
- LAMSON LIQUID 1.5 Was $199 Now $150
- LAMSON BLACK GURU 1.5 Was $330 Now $260
- LAMSON BLACK GURU 2 Was $349 Now $270
- LAMSON REMIX 1.5 Was $299 Now $240
- LAMSON REMIX 2 Was $315 Now $250
- LAMSON LIQUID 1.5 Was $379 Now $299
- LAMSON SPEEDSTER 1 Was $500 Now $399
WADERS AND BOOTS
- SIMMS HEADWATER BOOTS SIZES 10,11,12 Were $349 Now PHONE FOR PRICE!!
- SIMMS G3 GUIDE BOOTS Were $399 Now PHONE FOR PRICE!!
- SIMMS G3 WADERS Were $849 Now PHONE FOR PRICE!! SIZE MEDIUM ONLY
- SIMMS G3 GUIDE PANTS WADERS SIZE LARGE Were $849 Now PHONE FOR PRICE!!
- RIO PERCEPTION Was $129 Now $79 # 4, 7
- RIO GRAND Was $129 Now $79 # 4, 7
- RIO TROUT Was $129 Now $79 # 7
- RIO TROUT LT Was $129 Now $79 # 6
- RIO LITE LINE DT Was $129 Now $79 # 5
- RIO INDICATOR Was $129 Now $70 # 6
- SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS BONEFISH Was $129 Now $65 # 8
- SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS GPX Was $129 Now $79 # 2, 3, 7
- SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS TROUT Was $129 Now $79 # 3, 5
- SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS MASTER MPX Was $129 Now $79 # 6
- TEENY LA FONTAINE Was $99 Now $69 # 3
- CORTLAND 555 CONVERTIBLE DYNA TIP Was $99 Now $50 # 6
- CORTLAND TROUT PLATINUM Was $129 Now $79 # 5, 6
- CORTLAND 444 SL CLASSIC STEADY SINK 3.5-4 IPS Was $99 Now $50 # 8
- CORTLAND 444 CLASSIC CLEAR CREEK Was $129 Now $79 # 6
- CORTLAND PRECISION TROPIC PLUS FLOATING Was $129 Now $60 # 8
- NEW SPOTTERS FURY PENETRATOR Was $279 Now $150
- NEW SPOTTERS BLACK BRAVO POLARISED GREY THERMOPOLYMER Was $279 Now $99
- EX-DEMO SPOTTERS VICE Was $279 Now $99 A few marks on the arms
- EX-GUIDES SPOTTERS THUNDER PENETRATOR Was $279 Now $135
- TONIC SUNGLASSES TOP OF THE RANGE
- RENZETTI MASTER FLY TYING VISE WAS $1149 Now PHONE FOR PRICE!!
- WAPSI FLYTYING KIT Was $175 Now $130
- BLUE RIBBON NETS – Simply the nicest hand made nets around with fish-friendly rubber bag
JACKLIN GUIDE ASH/CHERRY TIMBER WITH AQUA FADE SOFT BAG Was $179 Now $140
JACKLIN MADISON ASH/CHERRY TIMBER WITH AQUA FADE SOFT BAG Was $179 Now $140
- AUSTRALIAN ARMY ISSUE AUSCAM BOONIE This is the robust hat that all of our guides have worn for well over a decade. Comfortable and robust – this hat will last forever. Sizes Medium and Large Were $29 Now $15 http://www.ozsurplus.com.au/our-products/clothing/hats-and-headwear/auscam-boonie-hat/
EX-DEMO FLY ROD COMBOS
- WINSTON BIIIx 9 foot 5 weight IN EC, with Hardy Ultralite Disc 5 Reel and Matching Teeny Line $890
- G.LOOMIS GLX 8 foot 3 inch 3 weight IN EC, with Waterworks Purist 1 reel and Matching Teeny Line $890
GUIDE’S CHOICE FLY PACKS 120 FLIES
YOU SIMPLY TELL US WHERE YOU’RE FISHING AND WE WILL PICK OUT 120 OF THE RIGHT FLIES FOR YOU. INCLUDES A FREE FLY BOX, A BOTTLE OF FLOATANT AND SHIPPING FOR $249
- 2017 New Zealand Trips only 1 spot left Week 10: Sun 5 Mar -Sunday 12 Mar
- 2017 USA Idaho-Montana-Wyoming Trip July 9-19 – only two spots left
Click here to view our latest Idaho Brochure
- NZ 2018 Taking bookings now
- DRIFT BOAT 2FOR1’s – come along as a pair but only pay the single person rate – Repeat clients only – FEB/MAR 2017 only – Sorry no Vouchers.
- Beginner’s Fly Fishing Workshops two days for $390!!
- Evening Rise wade Sessions available every day
- Evening Drift fish the last three hours of the day from one of our drift boats – fish the hatch
- School Holiday Specials to allow the kids to get a proper start in fly fishing without breaking the bank
- Fly Tying Tuition one to one sessions available daily
The fishing has continued to be good and the absence of any recent reports should confirm this for those who closely follow my reports. When I am flat-out on the river and unable to post, it means that I am on the river every minute of the day. A bit like when people go into flyshops and ask about the fly bins that are empty as opposed to the ones that are full. A lack of activity on this page means I am too busy to update. Take note newbies to this website.
The water levels have been a little up and down this past fortnight and this has had a much greater effect on the number of anglers fishing, rather than the number of fish being caught. The river did come up for a short period to what would usually be seen as lowest of heights that could be considered a summer river height. Then the rain was forecast for the start of this week and the river crashed again. I suspect it will come down again even further with a colder day today and the same forecast for the next 48 hours or so.
Big dry flies have continued to bring plenty of fish to hand, and for me it’s been more a gut feeling of when to switch out to smaller patterns. The good thing about this water level is that there are backwaters/reverse eddies, flooded areas under the willows on the outside of the river bends, yet also plenty of gravel bars, bubble lines and all the usual places that fish love to hold.
Even better is that the lack of velocity equates to more fish rising in places that 99% of fly fishers would walk right past and not even attempt to fish.
But to the previous statement of it being a gut-feeling on when to change out flies. I have a few rods rigged differently in my boat and this versatility has been paying off lately as we hit a hopper bank, then 500m later hit a bend of willow grubbers, then after that a mid-river gravel bar and so on and so forth. While you can’t do this while walking the edges, you can change out flies and approaches as you come to different pieces of water. Or you could just bash hoppers about and fish willow grubs beneath the trees.
Traffic on the river has died to nothing in the past week. In five drifts this week, equating to over 100kms of water floated, we’ve seen eight fishermen this week. That’s staggeringly low pressure for the height of the dry fly terrestrial fishing on one of the best rivers in the country.
Getting back to the river height, it’s also a perfect level for hatches of aquatic insects. Caddis and mayfly are out most evenings and some of the hatches have been epic. Spent spinner, grannoms, kossies, rusty duns, snowflakes. It’s been pretty good in those last couple of hours of light.
This wouldn’t be happening if the river was up at the typical 6000-10000 MLD that we usually see in February.
Sight fishing in the edges has been very, very good. The willow grubs are now well and truly going all along the river. Some great reports have also come from the Alexandra to Molesworth stretch, with fish to 6lb being caught. This is a big stretch of water best fished from a boat. But if you can find a way in at an access point and are willing to walk; you will find a few larger fish getting about in the margins.
When the river suddenly comes up, the fish have been foraging in close and eating all sorts of terrestrial critters inundated by the advancing water, or, other sub-aquatic lifeforms moving into the shallows as well. I won’t go into detail here as these are things we have learned through many years of hunting these fish. We will keep this info for our actual clients/customers who come into the store to support us.
Speaking of which our new private blog is all but ready to go. I will be emailing people on our mailing list in the coming weeks with news of how to access this service. If you are a regular and haven’t seen an invite from me within four weeks; it just means that you’re not on our mailing list. Please contact us if this is you.
But I digress. I have been smashing the fish this past week with my own big foam creations. Geoff Hall (our ex-business partner) has been enjoying similar success on his large cicadas ties. It seems that anything in the ball-park of looking like a cicada/hopper and fished with care and confidence, is producing great results. This will continue for the next month at least and opens the door for plenty of chances at larger browns as summer draws to close.
Speaking of summer’s end, our team in NZ have experienced a very cool summer with lots of snow and polarfleece days. But the fishing has been on par with other seasons, with most weeks seeing similar numbers caught to the corresponding week in previous years. The best thing about this is that there is plenty of water about and it is cold; plus there is less pressure than in other years, as many tourists opt to do the things that tourists do when the light isn’t conducive to sight fishing.
We have one spot left for this summer’s NZ trips in WEEK 10. SUN 5 – SUN 12 MAR. Bo and David will be guiding this week and there is one spot left fishing with Bo. If this sounds like you, please drop us a line ASAP as we are running out of time with the trip starting two weeks from tomorrow.
While speaking about the business, I should mention a few other things.
Our end of summer sale is coming to a close this weekend. All reduced items will be let go at a further discount, for in-store cash purchases this Saturday and Sunday only.
Reduced prices can be seen below:
* Blue Ribbon Nets Usually $169 – Now $129 for cc payment. $110 for cash.
* Polarised Sunglasses top of the range – Usually $279.95 Now $240 for cc payment. $210 for cash.
* Wading boots size 10,11,12 Usually $349.95 Now $285 for cc payment. $260 for cash.
* Waders Usually $849.95 now $775 for cc payment. $710 for cash.
* Ex-Demo Rods – WINSTON BIIIX with Hardy Ultra Lite Disc 5 original model and line. $890
Reels – Too many to mention – phone for more info
* Fly Lines – Too many to mention – phone for more info
* Renzetti Master Vise
We also have a number of other deals for guided trips and accommodation taken in FEB-MAR You can vie this information by clicking here to visit our website http://www.gvffc.com/fly_fishing_offers_nz_montana_drift_boat_trips_February_2017.htm
Our lakes have picked up since getting some cooler weather and while it is impossible to predict, we may actually see Autumn arrive in alignment with the calendar in 2017. These colder days are so incongruous with February, and that is giving us all some hope that we are going to get through summer without being belted by consecutive 40+degree days and with a lake still closer to full than to empty.
Look out next season if this all goes to the current script. We will have another cracking season and we could end up seeing them dumping water from the lake, with flood events downriver that mimic what would be happening sans lake Eildon being there. This has not happened for a long time and it would be a great thing for the river, and especially the native fish now making something of a resurgence in parts of the Goulburn down below Seymour.
Finger’s will remain crossed between now and then for normal or above average winter/spring rainfall.
I am now rambing a bit which is usually the sign that I need to wrap it up. Before I do I want to give a big shout out to long time client and all-around good guy (Operation Cleft) Michael Kirk for saving me from being bitten by a very large and angry tiger snake. I was at McMartins lane preparing a drift boat for the journey back to the shop and I must have parked over the top of what was a huge tiger snake. On about my third trip between the boat and tailgate, I stepped backwards and was only two feet from it; in thongs and shorts.
Michael yelled jump, which I did. I looked back over my shoulder mid-flight to see a five foot tiger head flattened like a cobra and a full 10” off the ground and sawying back and forth. The snake watched me for another 3-4 seconds and then disappeared under the boat and out the other side and into a grassy culvert.
If Michael hadn’t seen it, there is no doubt I’d have been bitten, as the snake was agitated and I was about to step on it.
This was in open ground in the car park. I had just driven in to pick up the boat and then driven back out and obviously parked the car over it. This is somewhere that I feel confident of seeing any threat from a distance as it’s bare earth. I don’t know how the guys getting about the long grass in thongs have the nerve to do it.
Thanks again Michael.
For those interested in our Idaho trip we are getting close to last calls. We can take a couple more people and ideally we could take a husband/wife pairing or a couple of fishing mates. This is an amazing trip and you can view the trip brochure here: https://indd.adobe.com/view/de4b3d30-149e-4a73-a363-92441d803c2f
and the trip page on our website here: http://www.gvffc.com/Services/USA_trips.html
Further to these two spots we are also potentially looking for 1-2 more people who know Bo and/or me to join what is a growing addendum to the main trip. This trip will run SUN 9 – MON 24 JULY. This is more for guys in and around our age group with a window of approx. 30-50 +/-. This age restriction can be overlooked if we already know you/get along. Bo and I have a couple of drift boats and an open agenda to fish anywhere during the aforementioned time-frame. It will also include heading into Yellowstone National Park for WED 19 / THU 20 / FRI 21 and three nights in Bozeman FRI 21 / SAT 22 / SUN 23 with day trips to nearby rivers like the Gallatin/Madison/Yellowstone during the day and night’s out in Bozeman before flying out on Mon 24.
Sing out if any of the trips/offers outlined above are of interest.
So we hope to see you up here in the coming weeks to take advantage of our special offers and deals. With cooler than expected temps and plenty of cold, clear water, and copious numbers of terrestrials; the next month is primed to keep offering up the superb fishing we’ve all become accustomed to this season.
All the best.
I’m sitting outside under a beautiful Japanese Maple on my front veranda typing to the sounds of the last Magpie’s warbles and the occasional cicada. It is a joy to be alive on a night so serene. Air temps are in the low twenties and you couldn’t paint a more relaxing picture. Ah the serenity.
The fishing has been outrageously good this week. Stupid fish numbers on big dry flies and it shows no signs of abating. Every week we wonder will this be the week that it slows; and sure enough the fishing continues to be excellent.
But don’t take my word for it. After all I have a vested interest in luring you up here 😉 My ex-business partner (now retired) who is in his mid-70s and can remember riding his bike to the river each night and kicking about with the likes of Bluey Powell, told me today that this is the best season he has ever seen. Big call from Geoff. And he’s seen it all.
So tonight I sat at my vise after a long day on the oars and knocked out another dozen rubber legged specials and tomorrow I’ll hit the river once again for another day stalking, hooking; and missing! some big browns.
For those of you that have been on another planet the past 9 weeks, I will spell things out for you. C.I.C.A.D.A.S That’s the word on everyone’s lips including the fish. Some of the fish have transitioned across to hoppers and many fly fisherman without a boat are hidden in behind the trees fishing willow grubs; but it’s the cicadas that are our bread and butter right now.
As fate would have it David took our entire indent order of them to NZ; or 150 dozen of them. Leaving none for the shop. We are now locked in daily battle to tie enough for our guide jobs; as well as a few extras for the store. But it is a losing battle as no one could keep up with the demand for them. I will have to remind David that he brings home at least 30 dozen from NZ each summer so how about helping a brother a out and leaving a few!?!?
I should move on to the willow grubs that are keeping the edge stalkers happy. Plenty of rising fish in behind the trees are eating these guys and the fishing for them has been fair to good. It’s probably a fortnight away from being gang-busters but then isn’t that always the case when waiting for various hatches/falls to come off. Nonetheless they’ve been important enough that I have a second rod rigged with them and pull it out as we approach certain areas from the boat. Of course from the bank the willow grub fishing is even better.
There’s been little point to nymphing anywhere in the whole valley as the sheer number of terrestrials has dwarfed anything else that is going on. Beetles. Ants. Grubs. Hoppers. Cicadas. Caterpillars. Jassids. You name it; its falling into the water at the moment. As a result most people on the smaller streams have been content to either fish a hopper or an attractor of some sort. The fish really aren’t that picky.
Best fish this week would have been around 4.5lb. I took photos of the fish with my clients camera so they may turn up elsewhere on social media. My boat in the background is the giveaway. Plenty of fish in the 2.5-3.25 range. Plenty.
The guys in NZ are doing very well with typical numbers of fish per week despite often times trying weather. I love it when people come into the shop and say that they saw David at the airport in Queenstown and that he (and his clients) weren’t getting any fish. David would win at World Series Poker every time is all that I’ll say about that.
I have two spots left for Idaho-Montana in July. This is going to be a tremendous trip, so please get in quickly if you are interested. Ideally we’d like to get a pair of fishing mates or a husband and wife team. Fishing experience or age is not an issue. We have had people from all walks of life and all ages and experience levels come on this trip in the past, and all have had a great time.
Further to these two spots we are offering one spot for someone to fish with Bo and myself, as we have our own boat and will be fishing each day sans a guide. We’re both guides so we just fish on our own. Anyone interested in this spot would need to fall within the 30-50 age bracket (+/- slightly) and would need to be able to cast/fish. Sof are you taking note?!
Please phone on FreeCall 1800 458 111 if you think you might be a starter.
Also don’t forget to get up for a drift this February. The fishing is really good at the moment and we have some deals going on especially on weekdays. Sing out for more info.
To finish, let me just say that I hope that this finds you all in good spirits and with some time up your sleeve. The carnage of the summer long weekends is now firmly in the rear view, and we hope that you can take advantage of the empty rivers and terrific fishing in the weeks ahead.
All the best and see you soon.
Yet another wonderful week has passed in what will be remembered as one of the best summers in the living memory of those who fish the Goulburn River. The cicadas just keep on keeping on and the fish are responding accordingly. There’s been too many ridiculously good days to count, days where the number of fish caught and released was at best, a guesstimated blur. For Bo and myself out on the boat, the days just all roll into one long montage of smiles, high fives and wild brown trout.
The reason for this amazing fishing is something of a perfect storm of conditions that have come together this summer. When you combine low water levels with lots of big terrestrials, the result is always going to be exceptional fishing. Now on top of the cicadas, you can add the recent arrival of the willow grubs.
Thanks to the weather gods who gave us plenty of spring rain and cooler January temps to boot. I can’t remember the last time the lake had only dropped 4% +/- by the third week in January. It looks as though we’ve got at least two more summers worth of water in the lake without even accounting for whatever rain falls in the interim. Great for the region, the fishery and for us as a fly fishers.
While Bo and I feel like we are living in our drift boats at the moment and only stepping out each day to shower and sleep; Werner has been stalking the edges and spotting fish in under the willow trees. Every time I’ve encountered him of late it’s been this ethereal, disconnected experience with his voice emanating from deep under the shade of the willow trees.
No sign of the man himself. Just his voice yelling out that he’s busted off three and got two in the net or something similar.
This sits well with the man known as ‘The Dude’ among his fellow guides. For those that don’t know, we joke that Werner is the embodiment of Jeffrey Lebowski and to be fair to the man, he does own the URL http://www.thirdlaziestman onearth.com; and as such willow grub fishing fits him to a tee. The reasons for Werner and willow grub fishing are three-fold. Firstly when willow grub fishing the car can be within 30 metres of you all day. Secondl you don’t walk more than 200 m in an afternoon; and last but by no means least; you are in the shade all day. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118715/quotes
Those of you with a predisposition for sight fishing to fussy fish, staying in the shade and never raising a sweat; should seriously consider the journey up to fish here right now. The next month and a half will see some of the best fishing for the season succumb to small foam fly patterns fished at at between 1-4 fly rods in distance. Eyeball to eyeball fishing at close quarters. Lots and lots of fun to be had.
And the wasps aren’t even out yet either.
While on the whole terrestrial tangent, it would be remiss of me not to make mention of probably the most reliable of summer trout foods – the ubiquitous grasshopper. While the small rivers are all fishing extremely well for those using all manner of hopper patterns; the Goulburn is still more a cicada party. Don’t get me wrong. You will get fish on hoppers and a few of you that I know have your own secret ties that are catching fish right now – but the real hopper action on the G is still a week or two of hot weather away. Of course YMMV. But we’ve been busy with the magic markers turning our hoppers into cicadas of late.
Beetles and ants are of course falling in all-day, every-day. But the presence of the much larger terrestrials has meant that imitating these guys hasn’t been super-important just yet. A picky fish in along the banks, may however require a change to a smaller fly to elicit a take and these guys should be somewhere in your fly box and on your list of choices.
Many of you will know that I am big fan of fishing both ants and beetles. But truth be told I haven’t had to fish one since the start of December. This may be the first summer that I don’t end up calling on these most reliable of fly patterns. That’s how good the cicada fishing has been. Hopefully the transition to hoppers and willow grubs is a smooth one, and I can save myself a lot of peacock herl as the need to replace beetle patterns from the flybox should be greatly diminished this summer.
But only time will tell on that one.
One thing I can usually skip at this time of year is going into detail about the evening rise. In essence this is because there usually isn’t one!! As previously stated these lower water levels are seeing a much bigger hatch of caddis and mayfly each day and last light can be very good. The smaller rusty duns are about, as are some kossies, and the spent spinner fall in the late afternoon sometimes has to be seen to be believed. As long as the river remains low’ish, there will be a hatch and rise of an evening.
The smaller rivers have all been fishing exceptionally well. There’s too many to mention here and in any case I wouldn’t publish the names of them online; but suffice to say that there are numerous options within a short drive of Thornton. Hopper and willow grub feeders have been the most frequently encountered fish; but don’t forget to give your attractor patterns a good run.
It’s pretty hard to beat a well tied Stimulator, or Royall Wulff or Humpy at this time of year.
The guys have had some solid fishing over in NZ despite the weather. The rivers started off low in early January when they arrived, but a couple of cold front’s has seen the air temperature plummet and also a bit of snow falling. As such they are in great shape and things look good for the new group arriving this coming weekend. Numbers of fish caught, something we keep track of as part of our licensing obligations to the Department of Conservation in Southland, are about the same as in previous years. So all in all. A typical start to our summer over there.
Those of you interested in a trip with us this summer can look to only two weeks that still have spots left.
- WEEK 7. SUN 12 – SUN 19 FEB
- WEEK 10. SUN 5 – SUN 12 MAR
Other than that it will be a wait until 2018, where the number of spots on offer will be considerably less than there were this year.
Also worth mentioning is our Idaho Trip. We are only looking for two more people to completely fill the trip. If this is on your personal bucket-list of fly fishing must-do trips and you have the time to come this July, then I urge you to come forward and let us know ASAP. We have heavily screened each individual attending this year’s trip and we have a wonderful group put together. You and a friend could round out the numbers and join us for a wonderful 11 days of superb fly fishing in Idaho.
For those still unsure about the trip – take a look at the video that our friends ovwe at WorldCast Anglers helped put together.
While spruiking our services, I should mention that Werner is available for languid half day (preferably) and full day (begrudgingly) sessions of sight fishing in the shade. Big, wild brown trout eating willow grubs are the star attraction and our resident Teutophile is available every day. Unless he doesn’t feel up to it that is!!
Bo and myself are always available with our drift boats at the ready. Commando sessions up high in the hills are also on offer, as well as streamcraft sessions and casting/beginner lessons. Call us anytime to discuss the options.
So that’s it for now. A reminder that our lakes have slowed right up over the past month of hot weather and as I tell everyone that books to stay with us, it’s the river that you want to be fishing anyway. It’s just that good at the moment. If you mush fish our lakes expect to encounter plenty of larger redfin and the odd yellowbelly; but the trout are hiding in the depths of the main lake and only really coming out late at night and in the wee hours of the morning.
Also due to popular demand, I am available to take people out taking photos of rising fish. Many of you have expressed not only kind words of praise for my close up photography of rising fish; but also the desire to learn how it is done. This is something that I enjoy helping people with and IMO the world is a better place with more fly fishing photos in it than less. So please sing out if this is of interest. BYO gear or you can use mine. Half day sessions of four hours available daily.
So after all that rambling I think that we’re done here. I hope that this finds you well and to those that support us I say keep an eye out for our new blog when it goes live in the coming weeks. We are about to completely change the way in which we deliver content and we are excited to be able to offer you the chance to be on the inside of what will be an interesting addition to what we already do. Bo and Werner are already having a ball writing content and I’m also looking forward to having a bit more fun with website.
It will be like winding back the clock to a time when we felt able to freely express our views and to share a lot more of what we are learning out there on the river each day. Hard to do when others just lift your information and pass it off as their own. The cut and paste mafia will be halted in their tracks!
All the best people. Stay safe this Australia Day and hope that you end up knee deep in the water somewhere.
Until next time…..
It’s been another solid week of fishing since the last report I posted here. Once again the talk of the town are the cicadas and their incessant song. People want to sleep guys. Why don’t you get a room while you’re at it?!
While some fly fishers have been perfectly happy to stay beneath the cover of the willows and chase the first of the ‘grubbers’; most of us have enjoyed the license to be able to blind search likely looking water, that cicada time offers.
The river has not been a busy place of late and other than a few boats to share the water with, and even then mostly on the weekends, we have not been running into people. As an example there are no cars at Gilmore’s Bridge right now and it’s a perfect day for fishing. Warmish, cloudy and still.
Speaking of the river, it has fallen away a couple of times in the past week and now sits at around 3500 MLD. This is a perfect level for all sorts of fishing and that extra couple of feet reduction in height means a lot less velocity in many key spots. This is seeing us raise fish to the fly in all sorts of places that are usually deemed too deep and fast at this time of year.
Great for us. Not so great for the fish who’ve never previously encountered anglers in aforementioned locales.
Drifting has been very good but to quote myself ‘it’s not been on fire per se; rather we have steadily put runs on the board, like two Test openers’. There’ll sometimes be an hour or more of no takes and then suddenly we get five of six in the space of fifteen minutes. Persistence and faith in your chosen methods and flies being the critical ingredient for success.
Walking the edges is really coming into its own, now that the willow grubs are starting to fish in places. Werner in particular has been watching the tiny grubs for weeks and will soon finally ‘officially’ acknowledge the willow grubs as having started. He is our groundhog and the jury is still out as to whether we will have a stellar grub season. I will defer to him on that in the next report.
The smaller rivers are all fishing well and you can thank the grasshoppers for much of what’s going on. I’ll be honest and say I haven’t fished the rubi in a while; the Goulburn just being so good. But our guides and many of our customers are coming in and reporting excellent fishing. I won’t publish whereabouts online but if you’re headed up and want to fish them, make sure that you speak with us first.
Oh and the place to be on the evening rises is on those smaller streams. It’s been very good in that last hour or so of daylight.
Quick update on our NZ trips. We’ve had some late cancellations for the trip starting this weekend and the following weekend and then after that there’s not a free spot until mid-March. If you have been considering this trip but as yet not been able to go, this is your best opportunity, as those who’ve cancelled have forfeited their deposits and as such the trip is discounted by a significant amount. Phone for more info but please get in quick. A week of guided fly fishing, meals, transport, flies, licences and accommodation for $3350 is the steal of the year.
There are also a couple of spots left for our Idaho-Montana trip in July. Please phone to discuss. Also the drift boat fishing is very good at the moment and we have plenty of availability in the coming week starting on Sunday.
Back to the fishing.
A lot of people are coming in and lamenting the fact that they are not seeing lots of rising fish. Well despair not because we’re not seeing many either. With cicadas and hoppers on the menu it becomes more about fishing the likely water rather than seeing them. If you must sight fish you should consider getting in under the trees fishing willow grubs.
Those wanting some solitude in the smaller rivers need look no further than their favourite stream’s headwaters. Everything from the top of the Big River right around this way to Marysville is fishing well. All you need is some floatant, a box of dries and the will to explore.
It’s been good to be on the river and drifting every day. Finding fish consistently at all the levels comes down to time spent on the water over many years, but Stevie Wonder could find fish all day long with lower river levels and plenty of cicadas about. This excellent dry fly fishing will continue even after the cicadas are gone as the hoppers are now about in big numbers and in any case, the fish are well and truly attuned to the larger terrestrials going in.
For those yet to do a drift with us this season I would say try and sneak away in the next month. It has been very good and Bo and I are available every day until February 26. Speaking of which February will also be very good and to encourage people to come up throughout the rest of the summer, we are going to offer ‘Stay and Play’ packages. Sorry. Stay and Fish’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Come and do a half or full day drift and we will throw in the accommodation for $99. Do two consecutive drifts on back to back days and get the accommodation for free.
This offer is for February bookings only and is not valid with any other deals/offer. Gift vouchers may not be redeemed for this package. It is also based on a single nights accommodation and excludes Saturday nights.
We hope that this finds you well. We are all so busy that we’re not having much time for anything but guiding and basic email/answering machine triage. Nevertheless we urge you to phone us if you need more info on any of our trips, offers or the fishing in general. While we may not be able to pick up then and there; we will get back to you that same day.
MOBILE: 0418 995 611
The fishing has been outrageously good these past few weeks and the secret that is now well and truly out, is that this is a cicada year par excellence.
It started about three and a half weeks ago with me tentatively fishing some big flies and having one of those sessions where the fish just eat everything all day no matter the presentation. While we have had a couple of poorer sessions since then, that’s merely a blip when you factor in that we have three boats out most days and we’ve caught and released hundreds of fish in that time period. I’ve had three days where we boated over 25 fish on big dries and it’s been so consistent that you begin to think that every cast could bring a fish up.
On top of this there’s been plenty of smaller terrestrials falling in, as well as some mid-afternoon dun hatches and the ever-present caddis. The fish are eager to eat from the top and we’ve completely done away with fishing droppers and the like.
There are some interesting local phenomenon’s other than the’ cicada hatch from hell’ going on at the moment. Stop by the shop to learn more about these events as we have only just figured the main one out and it’s a doozy. We have patterns to imitate what’s going on but seeing as how it’s taken weeks to figure out; it’s something we will keep for those that support us by actually coming into the store to get flies or do a guided trip.
Bank fishing is every bit as good as boat fishing right now. So many of the guys who can fish this river well are killing it. Cicadas are once again the main fly of choice and most people I’m running into have caught 3-6 good fish by the time I’ve drifted past them. Half the time I see other anglers, they have a fish on.
Having said that I only saw one fly fisher today while drifting 18kms of river, and there has only been 1-2 cars at Gilmore’s Bridge these past few days. It has been exceptionally quiet (YAY!) on the river when it comes to other anglers. And long may it continue.
It really is that good and I’m not trying to sell anything as we are all but booked out at the moment and in any case we are short-staffed as well, with guides now in NZ (and Merimbula lying on the beach!). But the fishing has been outrageous for over a month now with no sign of abating; low water levels and cicadas definitely equals heaps of eager fish.
Speaking of those that support us, we are about to introduce a new private ‘client only’ blog. This will be by invite only and will contain much more regular updates, weekly video reports and a private chat board for members to discuss fishing in the area or tee up fishing partners for a drift or leave a trip report for others to read. We are also going to do plenty of technical videos, including flytying and technical fishing films. That plus lots of fishing footage, as well as a regular look behind the scenes at our business and our guides.
Access for those invited will be free until the end of March so that people can get a taste of what’s on offer. From April 1 there will be a small annual fee to retain access to this service and members will also be invited to join us for an annual day of free of workshops, where all of our guides will be rostered on to run technical sessions on casting, streamcraft, flytying and much more.
We have given a lot to everyone over the years and we will continue to do so. But to especially reward those who have supported us and protect ourselves in the age where people just lift your hard earned content with the click of a mouse, we need to change the way we do things. There will still always be a ‘basic’ public report for those that just want to get an idea of what’s happening up here; but we want to continue to develop this little community of like-minded folk and retain the idea of GVFFC as a hub for information and sharing, as we move onwards into an even-more digital age.
Doing this has not been an inexpensive exercise. Building the new blog, purchasing camera equipment and paying for private video hosting, doesn’t come cheap. This is not even factoring in the time that it takes to produce the content. So we hope that those of you that have done a guided session with us and support us see value in doing this.
Part of this service will be that members can always contact one of us; even in the future when our business model changes and we may not be there in a shop for daily face to face contact with people. Member’s will be able to post a message or phone us to chat about any related to fly fishing. We will also offer a customised trip planning/hosting service. You tell us where you want to go and we will arrange everything including coming along with you or your group. We are already doing a little of this but it is something that we are finding is in more and more demand as people have less time and are unable to coordinate their lives to fit in with our scheduled NZ/USA/PATAGONIA trips.
The new website will go live in a few weeks’ time, at which point we will begin contacting clients both past and present, with a free subscription that will run until MAR 31 2017. On APRIL 1 (no prank) those that wish to retain this service can pay a small fee for a 12 month membership. This membership will not only include access to the website, but also to 10% off of all fly purchases and an annual Member’s Day to be held in November valued at $285. This will be a full day of mini-workshops with all of our staff assisting. The only fee on the day will be a small charge for lunch. All the workshops will be free to members.
So to quote the most recent Nobel laureate for literature – ‘The times they are a changin’. We hope that by changing up the way in which we deliver content, we can bring you more of it and of a higher standard.
Back to the fishing.
The smaller rivers have also been on fire but not with the same the low numbers of anglers. For some reason when the Goulburn gets above 2000MLD, the crowds tend to go elsewhere. And so on the smaller streams you are more likely to run into other people enjoying the very same thing that you are. That being said the fishing on them has been very good. Water levels are much higher than normal and the fishing is best the further from the access points you walk.
Be warned though. This is the only two-week period of the year where all bets are off on where and how you may encounter someone. People walking down-river, people camped where they’re not meant to be, people on lilos on the Rubicon!!
If you go into it knowing that this could happen; you’ll have a better experience. My plan of attack during this Christmas period is to leave the popular stretches of the smaller streams alone and head up into the headwaters with a three weight, a box of dry flies and some floatant. Eager fish, cool legs (wet wading) and some solitude. Pack a sandwich and make a day of it.
While some have reported willow grubs here and there, I have not seen any and I am deliberately banging lots of willows with my oars to see if any fall out. I think it’s the mark of just how good a cicada year it has been when you don’t give a fig that it’s almost January and not a grub has been sighted.
So in a nutshell I would say stick to the Goulburn and bash big flies around, or hit the middle/lower Rubi/Stevo from first light until you run into people; or jump up into the headwaters and lose yourself on the smaller trout that live in those waters.
David is now in NZ and awaiting the first week of clients that will arrive on JAN 1. We’ve got eleven weeks there this year and there are still some spots left for those not yet committed to a trans-Tasman sojourn. We still have spots left in high-season January left, as well as five spots in a week in mid-March.
Our July Idaho trip is nearly booked out but we are still looking for a husband/wife pairing or two fishing mates. This is a very special trip and we urge anyone considering it to get in quick as we want to lock it down as soon as we can. Please do not hesitate to phone me (Antony) on 0418 995 611 between 9am and 9.30pm on any day.
Getting back to the Goulburn, our drift boat trips have been very popular and we are looking light on for spots over the next two months; even with Bo drifting now as well. Please. If you are considering a drift this summer, get onto us ASAP. If you only learn at the last minute that you have the time to do one, phone and we will do what we can to fit you in. We are doing plenty of double drifts which gives the scope to start early at 6-7am and be off the water before it gets too warm.
Speaking of which, the past few days it was like fishing on the Mekong Delta. I’ve been half expecting Martin Sheen to come out of the mist in a PBR; that’s how oppressive the conditions have been. Three days ago we couldn’t see kayaks only 70 metres away; we could only hear the voices. Almost like in Apocalypse Now. The warm, humid air, thick with mist atop the cold water being released from Lake Eildon.
Thankfully around noon today those clouds gave way to blue skies, and while the sun had some extra bite from that point on, at least the damn humidity was gone.
The next few days will offer up some awesome fishing. I am completely free tomorrow after a cancellation, and so I will be in the shop tying flies until 1pm. Then I’m closing up and heading out to get some photos. Speaking of which I should mention that we will operate on the restricted hours of 9am-1pm until JAN 8. We are short-staffed right now and by 1pm there’s hardly anyone stopping by. If you are going to be coming by after 1pm, please phone ahead so we can either meet you and open up, or leave some flies out for you.
That’s it for now. We hope that you are out and enjoying the great fishing. It’s just been so good that I hate to think of anyone missing out on the opportunity to experience this ‘once in maybe a decade cicada year’.
Thanks also to Ricky, an Alexandra local who found my flybox of foam flies on the side of the road near Gilmore’s Bridge, where they blew out of my drift boat while ferrying clients back to the centre late at night. I really appreciate you giving them back to me even when others were offering you way more than the $200 reward that I put up. I am so grateful to have the flies that my friend Rob Merrill tied for me in the weeks before he passed away and will now keep them in a safe place at home. Not in my boat for others to lose.
I hope you (Ricky) have a wonderful New Year and that the $200 reward is well-spent as part-payment on an EPIRB for your new boat.
Until next time.