Most of you will now be aware that the Goulburn has been reduced to a mere trickle. The drop occurred ahead of schedule, with rain falling across much of the state causing a dramatic reduction in the amount of water being called for by irrigators. This has seen the Goulburn cut back in flow from around 2000 MLD at the time of our last report two weeks ago; to today where the river is at its lowest point – 130 MLD and easily waded for most of its length.
Make no mistake though, the fishing for the most part, at least when it comes to the larger fish, is no easier at this time of year. Yes the fish are condensed into a smaller area but as a result they become much more easily spooked. This is because the number of anglers getting about, particularly on the fine weather days, explodes when compared to when the river is running higher. More flies, lures and baits in the water will of course result in more fish being caught. Pretty simple really.
Most of the larger fish will feed after darkness descends at this time of year and there is a noticeable shift in the average size of fish caught in May, with many of the 3-4lb browns encountered in the summer now reluctant to feed during the hours of daylight; at least on the days when people are walking all over the river bed. This is normal and something we see every season. Add to this the ever-closer act of spawning that is so closely related to various environmental triggers that occur around the end of this month (mostly photo-period but also water temperatures and other factors) ; and you are going to see less and less of these larger fish up and eating off the surface.
That being said there are still enough good fish out there and we are still rolling the odd one while on the river guiding. Mostly from the drift boat and as a result this limits how much water we have access to because at these lower levels, we can only drift certain sections and even then only after doing a quick reccy to ensure that we are not going to be running over dozens of fisherman. But using methods usually associated with larger fish will definitely put you in the hunt. Just don’t expect to get these specimens on #18 dry flies right now.
The smaller fish of course <2lb are very catchable and around in decent numbers. There have been some cricket score catches of late, as sometimes happens when the river first crashes, and it has kept even the beginner fly fisherman pretty happy with plenty of takes or bumps to keep things interesting. You really have to adjust your flies and methods as you move along the river if you want to make the most of your opportunities; but that 30-45 minutes of re-tying knots to adapt your rig to suit the water you are on, can often be the difference between a few fish and a dozen fish for the session.
The smaller rivers are completely blown out at the moment. More rain overnight has seen everything between here and the Black Spur discoloured. In any case they have been dangerous places to fish in recent days (today included), as the number of tree falls has been huge. While today started off relatively calm, it’s now blowing hard and I would suggest that you wouldn’t want to be fishing under eucalypts as the risk is very real at this time of year with winds such as these.
In any case they will need a day or two to get back to being worth fishing.
The shop is of course open throughout the next month and we have a good selection of all the relevant flies in stock. Over the past few days we’ve seen a few hatches of smaller mayfly which has brought some of the smaller to mid-sized fish up to the top. I’m also sitting at the vise tying smaller tungsten nymphs and a streamer pattern of ours as quickly as I can manage it.
For those interested in continuing to fish throughout the winter, don’t forget about our private lakes and onsite accommodation. From $198 a night and sleeping up to four people, it is exceptional value when you consider that fishing on our lakes is also included for the duration of your stay. It’s also a great fall back for those fishing the river or up at Eildon.
Also don’t forget to check our clearance page to check through the list of available items. There’s no fancy pictures of the items so please phone (rather than email) to discuss any questions that you may have.
Hope that this finds you well and hope that you are able to get out for a few more sessions before season’s end. Last weekend was super-busy but if you can sneak up during the week you may be in for a pleasant surprise. We’ve only had one pair of anglers in so far this morning and I don’t think anyone came in yesterday.
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Free Call 1800 458 111 or (03) 5773 2513
Once again we come to the end of another week where we are left scratching our heads and asking what the hell is going on with this weather. It’s been a strange April thus far with temperatures as high as 27 degrees Celsius recorded on Wednesday and more warm weather on the way for the coming week. In fact one could be forgiven for thinking it was mid-spring rather than mid-autumn and you can only wonder what is in store for us in the weeks and months ahead.
At least we can take some solace (not) from the fact that we are not alone in our unusually dry/warm weather patterns. Our fishing friends in Montana-Wyoming-Idaho are already speaking of their snowpack being seriously diminished, when usually there are still more storms to come. Warmer than usual temps are causing rain, rather than snow to fall, and it looks like it’s going to be a dry summer in the Rocky Mountains as well.
Getting back to the Goulburn Valley the good news is that the folks at BOM are saying that we can expect a return to normal rainfall patterns for the approaching winter and spring. This is sort of the very least that we need to get things on track for next summer. The rain up here effectively stopped last July and we had no winter or spring rain after that point. So things are very low in the small creeks and Eildon has lost half the water that it had in it when we started out this season. That’s still a hell of lot of water but if we don’t see the forecasted rain falling; we will see a very different fishing season in 2016-2017.
The rivers up here are all holding out well. The Goulburn is obviously the best of them but it has been a tad inconsistent. This week we’ve had days were we’ve caught as few as three fish and days where we’ve caught as many 13. You really have to be able to read the water and select your flies and methods accordingly.
Hatches were good earlier in the week but crappola last night in that cold wind. There were only tiny size 20 rusty duns in limited numbers on yesterday’s rise bit on other nights emerging caddis and mayfly have been about in good numbers. Well good enough to get some decent fish rising late on.
There is definitely a change going on at the moment with fish beginning to knock back certain flies in the past 48 hours. Whether this is ‘the change’ that we see every year as aquatic insects once again begin to outdo terrestrials, or whether it is just a temporary response to the conditions of the day; still remains to be seen. Suffice to say that by week’s end and 4-5 days of weather in the 25 degree mark, we will definitely know where we stand.
The smaller rivers are very light on for water. We didn’t get any real rain yesterday and today it is back to blue skies, so the creeks and streams will have to keep waiting for the real autumn break. But they are fishing well to a variety of methods. This means that there are plenty of places to wet a line and a great chance of actually catching some fish.
This week we have drift boats available every day for those wanting to go for a float. The weather is going to be fabulous so if you have the time you’ll be in for a very relaxing day at what is a very pleasant time of year.
While speaking of what we have going on in the coming months, it would be remiss of me to fail to mention our Beginner’s Workshops. If you know anyone looking to get into fly fishing please send them our details as these sessions are hard to beat. At $390 all-inclusive for the two full days of instruction with all gear and lunch provided both days, it’s a real steal.
With the river at 3500MLD a lot of different options now come into play. Hatches will increase in intensity, duration and regularity in the coming weeks; as will the number of method that will catch fish from both boat and bank.
If you need any assistance please don’t hesitate to phone us at any time. We are here to help.
All the best to you all and hope that you make it out onto the water this weekend.
PS – one last pic of a sunset this week taken with my phone….
Autumn is well and truly here and it arrived with a jolt. David often jokes that he has missed the past x number of summers (as he is away guiding in Southland NZ with the weather very rarely gets over 27c), and so it was to be this year also. March was hot right up until two days before David returned and it has been cool ever since, with wonderfully cold nights. He is a lucky prick and to hear him whine about how hot and humid it was at Easter!! has really reaffirmed how tough a gig it is rowing a boat every day through JAN-FEB.
So we are now into typical Autumn patterns with cold nights and mild days. High pressure systems that drag their heels across the landscape and give off 3-4 blue sky day for every 1-1.5 cloudy/drizzly ones, line up one after the other. There’s the smell of wood fires burning in the heavy afternoon air and the full brunt of the sun is off-set by the smoke from the fuel reduction burns being conducted on the surrounding mountains. It has to be the most peaceful time of year to be up this way.
The rivers around the place have all kicked into gear with the smaller creeks fishing well despite being terribly low. This is perhaps an exaggeration as they are just at typical April levels, but they have cooled down to the point where you can catch fish from first light until nightfall. Hatches have returned and there are still crickets about to ensure that the fish will still eat some larger offerings. The water is crystal clear and the it pays to go longer and finer. Scaling fly sizes down is also a good rule of thumb and don’t discount black ants as we are seeing quite a few of them from day to day.
Perhaps most interestingly from a fly fisher’s perspective, we are seeing an increase in the number of aquatic insects making the journey from stream’s bottom to water’s surface. These hatches of caddis and mayfly will continue for some time and once again the general rule is that we will be going smaller with each few weeks that passes.
On the other hand we have the Goulburn which is starting to see a slight draw down in terms of water levels. I won’t get into the politics of the water and how it is mismanaged (and will be in the future – eff me you should see what they have planned!) but suffice to say they effed up in spring with their environmental (vandalism) releases; then panicked and scaled it back in JAN-FEB; then had an epiphany as a result of having more water than they thought they would have (as a result of their JAN-FEB reductions), before ramping up the flows for MAR-APR.
But now with the end of the irrigation season fast approaching we are seeing a deliberate and incremental decrease to the releases Eildon into the Goulburn River. This combined with the rather steady nature of the flows is offering us some pretty happy fish and some pretty decent hatches. This is not planned by water managers of course. But you take anything you can get when you live on an unpredictable tailwater like the Goulburn.
There are many people sight fishing the edges of late and doing quite well. While the focus for many edgewater fisherman has shifted to beneath the water’s surface; there are still plenty of opportunities for those that prefer to fish dries; with a few patterns proving themselves to be better than others. And while there has been a definitive switch by the fish to target smaller, aquatic insects on the smaller streams; our Goulburn fish are still pretty happy to come to the top and crunch big foam stuff. It’s just been a case of trying to read the water; if not each individual fish. I say this with great confidence because out of the most recent 50 or so fish we’ve caught this week, nearly all were sighted and stalked before being fished to.
It’s worth noting though that the river is now at one of those great heights where there’s just enough water to keep fish on gravel bars all day, yet not so much that the hatches are impeded. There’s enough water to allow fish to seek out many of the backwaters and eddies, but not so much as to force them in there and so they will also sit in the bubble lines in the main flow. Nymphing will work. Throwing streamers will bring results. And the dry fly fishing is solid. It’s pretty good for everyone right now.
Those of you after more detail in terms of the when/where/what should stop by the shop for advice. If you swing by and the door is locked, please phone us on 5773 2513 and let it divert to whoever is around. There is always someone on the property and we can usually be back in 5 mins give or take.
We are not going to be putting a lot of the critical detail on here as we have some rather unscrupulous people around that use our info in a way that negatively impacts the fishery. Hopefully we can secure this blog with access being restricted to Members Only by the start of the new trout season . Then we can again add more detail on the fishing including video reports and more special updates. More to come on this later.
Before we go we want to mention that we are now offering spots for next summer’s New Zealand trips. Please phone to discuss the options as we don’t know how many more years we can offer this service in its current form. David isn’t getting any younger and I have a young family; so my advice to those returning or wanting to do the trip for the first time is simply this. Don’t wait too long. If you are mulling it over please contact us to have a chat to see if we can’t help you to decide.
We also have fly fishing workshops running fortnightly from next Saturday 23 Sunday 24 (still spots left). If you know anyone that’s wanted to learn to fly fish we urge you to send them the details and get them to attend one of these workshops. You can have a fishing buddy after a single weekend, as we get people up and running pretty quickly with a great program and some terrific instructors. This workshop is also a great fit for those that have done a bit of fly fishing but never really made the breakthrough to achieving consistent success. $390 for two full days of instruction including use of all gear, lunches both days and small groups of 1:3.
Our cottage is now listed on STAYZ for those looking to check available dates and stay with us in the coming months. If you’ve not stayed with us before you’ll find the cottage a great place to sneak away to throughout the cooler months. Having access to our private lakes for the duration of your visit makes it a very attractive proposition and it’s definitely a winner with any non-fishing partners as it’s very comfortable, private and peaceful. We have instructors on-site should you wish to brush up on your skills or go for a drift down the Goulburn.
Further to that guided sessions are available every day for fly fishers of all levels. Learn streamcraft from scratch or just perfect a certain technique. Get some help with your casting or just do a hand’s on entomology session. We have the staff to help. Also drift boat trips will also be available for the rest of the season with options to fish the river right through until the season closure. We are even going to offer short 3 hour sessions on Lake Eildon in the winter; chasing fish along some favourite cliff edges and rocky shores using streamers.
That’s it for now. Don’t forget to check our clearance page to see a bunch of specials that I/we are letting go. I just went through my personal rod racks and am clearing anything that hasn’t been touched in 12 months or more. We also have some shop items that need to be cleared so take a look if you are interested.
Also it’s worth mentioning that we are now on Instagram! While we don’t use social media ourselves, we are going to give it a go as a way of keeping those of you that like the area, a chance to see some of our better photos as we post them. You can follow us by visiting our page by clicking the image below.
We hope that this small update finds you doing well. We are now in the midst of the best weather of the year and some of the finest fishing of the season. It’s just a great time of year to be wading a river throwing flies. I think I might just have to sneak out this afternoon for a quick fish.
Once again I am under the pump and so will be forced to keep this brief and to the point.
The river is up to 7000MLD (Yippeeee) and the fishing has been excellent. Well to be more precise, the sighting has been excellent and the fishing has been patchy but good. The fish are now back into their regular spots (and have been for about eight or nine days now). This has made for some superb edgewater polarising for those in the know.
Terrestrials are the go with just about every land borne insect you can imitate worth a try. While the big flies are still working, it can pay to scale things back and go for a more finesse infused approach. Evening rises are not as good as they were ten days ago but those willing to look may just get lucky as we are still seeing a pretty strong dun emergence on dark and afternoon spinner fall. There have also been spinners about in the mornings (wink,wink!).
As to nymphing I have not found it necessary and there is too much water on the gravel bars for this method to be fun. Lobbing thingamabobbers and double tungsten nymph rigs tends to get old quick. Especially when the whole lot come barrelling back at you at warp speed courtesy of the 7000 MLD!
Those able to find fish along the edges will spend countless hours stalking, cursing and changing flies while the river remains at this height or any height >5000MLD. The fish haven’t been easy but you can fool about one in every three through the patient application of every small fly in your box. Yes it has been tough at times. Some people have also reported that the fish have been eating sinking grubs in preference to the floating ones, so it’s that time of the year again.
One word of warning is that the wasps are out (luckily a lot less than last year) and have taken up in the willow trees along the river. This could spell the end of the willow grubs but equally important is that this is a warning to be careful when fishing in these spots. If the willows you are approaching are literally ‘humming’; give them a wide berth. I love catching a 3lb trout as much as the next guy but I don’t love it enough to risk 55 bites to the face, neck and arms!.
I had a few days off from the boat late last week due to a back tweak and when I got back on the river it was up to 7000MLD. The contrast to my previous drifts at <5000MLD were staggering. Lots of fish literally thought dead had shown back up in their spots and on some days were feeding all day; and out in the open. Great fun but challenging in terms of finding a fly that they will eat. This is further compounded when I have folks that don’t fish all that often and whose casting is therefore not as accurate as it might otherwise be. Once these fish see even a hint of drag they are definitely not eating the offending fly anytime soon. They may even spook outright. Sometimes they sort of do neither but just refuse to even look at the smallest, most innocuous of flies on the finest of tippets while continuing to rise. Yes trout suck and so that is why we have to do all we can to ensure that our presentations do not. Suck that is.
I haven’t time to put many photos up on this report but I would ask that anyone still waiting for photos from recent drifts to please email me so that I can follow up. I have countless photos from the past six weeks to sift through, so knowing who hasn’t received them would be a big help.
FWIW we are opening up our 2017 NZ trips for bookings to all from this point on. Please sing out if you need some information. Also we have a Beginner’s Workshop for Easter that still has places left. If you know anyone wanting to learn to fly fish, please direct them to the workshop page on our website.
So the Goulburn is fishing well at the moment. The small streams out this way and down to Narbethong are also producing good numbers of smaller fish on dry flies. The rivers running into lake Eildon are a mess; warm, low and full of carp. I feel sorry for those heading up that way with a plan to encounter some good fly fishing this weekend. They’ve been poor for a long time now other than some short stretches of water high up in the catchments.
All the best and hope that this finds you well.
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Free Call 1800 458 111 or (03) 5773 2513
What a tough month on the Goulburn? We’ve been out drifting every day and it’s hard to recall a more difficult time on the river. Consistently low levels of 4000 MLD or less has seen many of the fish move away from the places they usually inhabit and occupy exactly the opposite positions. This is puts them out amongst the boat traffic, and with little water in many of SE Australia’s rivers at the moment, there has been plenty of watercraft on the river to spook the fish.
I tease you not. We are seeing ‘outdoor educators’ from as far away as Sydney on our rivers running programs for kids in kayaks and rafts, this on top of all the local operators makes, for some pretty spooky fish on the old Goulburn River.
So for the past month we have been ‘earning’ our keep by finding the fish that others can’t find or catching the fish that others can’t catch! This summer it has been a real learning curve for us as well, despite our 22 seasons of full-time guiding on the river. Probably not the sort of thing that those that find the Goulburn a daunting proposition wish to hear. But there are some opportunities out there to be had for those willing to work hard and break some of the previously adhered to ‘rules’.
There is little doubt that these lower water levels have had a major (negative) effect on the the number of larger fish that we are seeing along the river this summer. While this sounds counter-intuitive to most fly fishers, it is a fact that a percentage of the fish stocked into the Pondage in high-summer end up in the Goulburn; and with the river staying at under 5k and never hitting the 8000+ level of ‘normal’ years, we just are not seeing as many of them. That being said we are fishing guides and so we can’t just throw our hands in the air in despair; we have to adapt and devise methods that will work consistently. What is it they say about ‘necessity being the mother (‘or brother or any other sucker’- Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 1998) of invention’?
This has led to some innovative if not simple tweaks on our regular methods and flies that have made enough of a difference to matter come days end.
Walking the banks is definitely trumping fishing from the boats this season, at least when it comes to the numbers of fish caught. Being able to walk the edges and watch, wait and stalk has provided most fly fishers with plenty of opportunities on any given day. With the river now at it’s highest point in a long time (5000MLD), there exists an opportunity to fish both gravel bars and backwaters; runs and willows. Fish can be found in all sorts of places and it’s nothing to change rigs 10x in the course of a day as you move from inside corner willow lined banks to gravel bar drop off, to steep edge grassy run to backwater. Definitely a lot of fun and there’s enough fish about to make it worthwhile.
While evening rises have been <<mostly>> epic this past couple of months, the bump in river height up to 5000 will put a slight dent in things for most. Some very windy nights down in the Breakaway have pushed the spinners and caddis off the water and the duns are mostly showing up on the cooler weather events, making for some challenging fishing on last light. Of course some nights are just better than others and even with less than ideal conditions we have seen some exceptional hatches and along with them, some very solid rises. But it’s pretty difficult to read what will happen from day to day and there is no way I’d be putting the farm on catching a super-hatch with the conditions as they stand.
The smaller rivers are hanging in there and offering up some decent opportunities for a half dozen or more fish on most sorties. We can thank the cooler than average nights of the summer thus far (excluding this week just gone!) and that little bit of rain we got near the middle of the month.
So fishing wise things are holding up rather well up this end of the valley. The small streams spilling off this side of the divide have been spared the worst of what was being touted as a return of a wicked El Nino, mostly as a result of some cooler than expected nights and some moisture being drawn down from the north that delivered us 3-4″of rain over the course of a few days. Hopefully we can see some more of that before our version of an ‘Indian Summer’ arrives.
Those looking to drift with me will find the best value in an evening or half day trips at this point in time. While I would be more than happy to take your hard-earned on the full day!!, I’ve definitely found it best to try and pick the peak time of the day and avoid the dead spell in the morning and early afternoon. Sing out if you are looking to book a time as I am pretty jammed up until David returns from New Zealand in a month’s time.
Speaking of which I should mention that our NZ dates for next year are now up online CLICK HERE. If you are a returning/past NZ Trip participant contemplating a return in 2017, I urge you to please take a look at them now and begin the process of choosing some dates. As always this year’s clients get first option to choose their preferred dates but we are taking expressions of interest due to demand as of now! We have scaled back the number of weeks in 2017 which will put a little more of a squeeze at the back end in March, but essentially the same format will remain.
On the home front autumn is all but here. We will quickly transition from hot, windy days to mild, calm weather and a return of daytime hatches. To coincide with the return of the more comfortable weather, we have scheduled a bunch of Beginner’s Workshops for the coming months. Exceptional value at just $390 for two full days of instruction in a group 1:3 with lunch, drinks and all gear supplied. If you know of anyone wanting to learn or even if you are self-taught or an occasional fly fisher wanting reinforce what you know or get back up to speed; please contact us to arrange a booking. More info can be found here.
Last but not least we have a few ‘End of Month Specials’ running as of today and ending Sunday (or when we exhaust our stock). Buy a Scott Radian 3/4/5/6 rod and receive a $250 voucher to put towards a reel, line or anything else from our shop. Free shipping included in the price. We are also running a special on Guide’s Choice Fly Packs. An assortment of 100 hand chosen local patterns in a tough fly box and express posted to you for $220. That’s $300 worth of flies, plus a fly box with free shipping. This deal is only available because we just had a bunch of back-ordered flies show up two months late and we have tens of thousands of flies in our store-room! We are also offering 10% off all reels, lines and landing nets with 20% off all SPOTTER Sunglasses in stock. Offer ends Sunday.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading our report and about our offers. Have a nice weekend and hope that you get out on the water at some stage.
Mob: 0418 995 611
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Free Call 1800 458 111 or (03) 5773 2513
It’s been a real mix of fishing opportunities up here this past week. The Goulburn has seen some ups and downs with great fishing on Tuesday afternoon followed by heavy rains that turned the river the colour of concrete less than 12 hours later. Yesterday it cleared up and we again had some amazing fishing; today we are back to solid rain. While definitely not the norm for the end of January; it is nonetheless a most welcome respite from the heat that we usually expect to be belted with at this time of year.
This water falling from the sky means that we are in for some stellar fishing opportunities in the coming weeks. Many of our smaller streams have been fishing well even before the rain; they will only be better once things settle again. Also the Goulburn has been difficult at 3000-4000MLD. The crystal clear flows combined with the lower water levels and the unusual amount of boat traffic has made for very spooky fish. Of course there are times of day that you can fish when the fish are not so on edge and when the boat traffic (mostly kayaks/canoes/punts) subsides, but I am speaking of the main part of the day when most of us are out their sight fishing.
Our guides have been out walking the banks every day with at least one on foot and me in my boat looking for fish. Bank fishing has trumped boat fishing for numbers and opportunities whereas boat fishing has allowed me to find some great fish for my clients, even on the most difficult days, simply because we know where the vast majority of the fish are at any given river height. Knowing the river so well we know which banks to scoot by, which ones to scour; which ones to blind fish, which ones to polaroid. On top of this we know exactly which flies to persist with and when to change out. And all of this changes depending on the river levels, weather and hatches. I have spent huge hours on the water this season with barely a single day out of my drift boat in months. As a result we have had some pretty awesome fishing and I am supremely confident that I can put my clients in front of a number of good fish each session. You can’t always say this about tough tailwaters like the Goulburn but we’ve had a lot of success .
Getting back to the first point of the previous paragraph I should say that the edge fishing has been consistent and the best of the willow grub fishing has come from walking the banks. While not a great willow grub season thus far, there are some wonderful patches of them in the various sections of the river, but you must search them out. They certainly aren’t everywhere. But seek and ye shall find some good opportunities for testing out your weird and wacky willow grub imitations. I have mine perfected in that I stopped the hunt for new materials a few years ago with a lifetime supply of the foam safely tucked away in my tying box. But it’s always interesting to see what others are tying up to fool these, at often times picky fish.
One of the difficult things to overcome at the moment is the amount of heavy weed around the edges when the river is low. In the slower sections of water this is severely hampering the opportunity for sight fishing or blind fishing the banks. This is due to the very high levels that were sustained throughout Spring to provide for the various environmental (vandalism) releases that were made. During this period the weed beds grew bigger than I can ever recall seeing them, and now that the water releases have decreased and the level of the river has come down, these weed beds are like floating grass mats that clog up the edges and push currents back out into mid-river. Often taking the fish with them.
This is both an annoyance and an opportunity. Those unable to recognise that this has occurred will no doubt be left disappointed as they fish the same water in the same way. Those of us fortunate enough to be out on the water every day or to have access to our reports, will see it as simply a chance to fish slightly differently. A seasonal anomaly in the way that a downed tree in the small streams may affect your favourite pool until the next spring when the rains dislodge it and return things to normal.
Hatches have been better than expected. Some Caenids at first light since the river dropped is seeing spinner falls from mid-morning onwards. Keeping flies small and tippets light is the key to success on these guys. Oh yeah. You have to find them hatching first. Hint: look for slower flowing sections of river with a silt bed. Some of our best fish this week came from fishing these tiny #22 spents in the mornings.
Caddis continue to figure in the lives of the smaller fish. We don’t fish them that often as we are always on the hunt for the 3-4lb fish, but if you just want a few runs on the board and twilight is near, don’t discard fishing adult caddis patterns in and around the willows. Dun hatches have been coming off through the day but they are sporadic requiring timing, luck and the right flies. Some evenings have been epic. Last night was unbelievably good.
Terrestrials once again are the best option. I have been playing with my standard ties as well as a couple of new patterns. One of which is quickly earning a place in my main drift boat box; discarding an old favourite in the process.
The word in from our team in NZ is of some great fishing. One of our guides (Cameron) injured himself a couple of weeks ago and it looked touch and go that he would need to be replaced. But he has since come good and has been finding some solid fish for this clients.
While the next few weeks are fully booked we do have a couple of single spots left towards the back end of February and a couple more in March. If you are considering this trip I’d urge you to contact us ASAP. We lost a number of bookings from returning clients who had to pull out at the last minute and this has seen some opportunities arise in what are peak weeks; weeks booked since back in March/April of last year. Phone Free Call 1800 458 111 for more info.
While on the subject our USA trips are both now booked out completely and a new trip with a different itinerary for 2017 will be added shortly. We believe that this changed offering will attract both return and new clients in equal measure. Think the South Fork/Henry’s Fork/Teton/Snake in Idaho, then Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, followed by the Bighorn River in Montana.
Lastly in regards to our business we should mention that we are offering February Specials to get people thinking about the great fishing on their doorstep in the coming month. The terrestrial fishing is going to be excellent in all our rivers and as we now have a second drift boat guide trained up; we now have a boat available every day in February!! The deal we are offering is book any full day session – drift boat, guiding, teaching – and we will offer you either 1. the opportunity to bring along a second person at the single person rate or 2. The accommodation at $99 a night. So bring a second person and halve your costs or stay in our cottage and stay for the evening rise or bring the family at a greatly reduced rate.
This offer is only valid for February and is subject to availability. The fishing is going to be good and there are many options so please get back to us ASAP via FreeCall 1800 458 111 to make a booking. We are not up to speed with our emails at the moment so phoning is the only way to guarantee that you reach us in time to secure a date.
Getting back to the fishing there are a ton of options for fly fishers of all levels at the moment. The Goulburn is fishing well on most days with a bit of a slow patch somewhere during the day. The smaller streams are holding up remarkably well courtesy of an unusually cooler January. Most evident in the evenings when the sleeping has been much easier than in previous years. This has meant that we’ve been doing well on most outings and even putting beginners in front of plenty of fish.
Some of the upper sections of many of our streams have been fished quite hard and this is no doubt due to the sharing of their details on social media. Second week running I find myself chastising people for their lack of self-control. Sharing the details of every stream, creek and watercourse via the internet with strangers, is a sure way to see everything ruined. I am not trying to keep them for myself as I pretty much only fish the Goulburn these days; so leveling an accusation of self-interest at me just won’t stick.
While it is my personal view that there should be places that are the preserve of the fit, the adventurous and/or the lucky; this is only my opinion. Much more important and relevant to my standpoint is the fact that I know just how important these sections of river are to the overall health of the fishery. These places are often the slots where juvenile fish thrive before falling back into the water on the valley floor as they grow.
So please think twice before talking up the small rivers and writing about them whether it be on a blog, facebook or forum. I know they are great fun and the smaller fish that reside in them are eager and sometimes make for cricket score sessions; but they are fragile and should be respected as the nurseries that they are. The combination of mass communication of GPS coordinates is making it tougher and tougher for the trout of our tributaries to get by.
Once again I find that I’m being side-tracked as a result of trying to write this as the phone rings non-stop and people come into the shop. Suffice to say that by next Monday the fishing in the valley will be fantastic and we are offering some great deals to coincide with the arrival of February.
Hope to see you up here and all the best.
I just checked our blog and noticed that it has not been updated for the past month! While this is unheard of at this time of year, there are some very genuine reasons for my reticence to share too much info with the broader www. Without elaborating I will say that until I can find a web developer that can assist me to make the information on this page available only to genuine customers/clients/supporters through a subscription service; then we will have to remain a little cagey with our online reports.
Of course, as always, those stopping by will be treated like long-lost relatives and given all the assistance they require.
To the fishing. The Goulburn has seen some incredible fishing this past month. The river stayed low at around 3000 MLD for such a long period that the fish were as spooky as many of the spring creeks that we fish on our OS trips. For the first couple of weeks that it sat at 3000 MLD the fishing was outrageous. I mean average anglers were catching 10-12-15 fish per day. As the weeks of consecutive blue sky days rolled on, the fishing got harder. So much so that I actually saw a fish spook as a result of me lifting my oar from the water from about 80 feet away. I’m not joking. We were all sitting in the boat and just one roll of my wrist sent a fish scampering from nearly a full fly line away. That’s as spooky as it gets.
Then the river came back up and the easy fishing was banished to the memory bank. It fished very well the day that it came up with fish poking into the margins everywhere. The following days it went back to how many know the Goulburn to be. A difficult SOB. We were still having 5-6 chances per session but most days that only equated to 1-2 fish landed. I had a few short sessions during this period and I always managed decent numbers of good sized fish; but it required very accurate presentations, most often deep under the trees. Something that most occasional fly fishers struggle to do.
The willow grubs have been around for about 5-6 weeks and are definitely more prevalent in certain river bends. Finding them requires a bit of walking and perseverance (and perspiration given the heat), but they are there to be found for those willing to look. I could go to any access point right now and walk either bank both up and downstream with confidence of finding willow grubbers. Hence I feel confident in saying it doesn’t matter where you go. If you are patient and willing to explore you will be rewarded.
Grasshoppers have been around for over a month and we have had some stellar fishing using patterns imitating these critters. Colour has been important and a selection of magic markers in the right colours is as important to have as the right pattern. Sometimes more so. We also have a few little tricks up our sleeve when it comes to fishing this summer event. Stop by and ask if you are in the neighbourhood.
While hatches have been somewhat restricted of late due to water levels, there are some goings on that the vast majority of the anglers that visit here are unaware of. A few Mayflies are coming off at first and last light and there is one other daytime event coming off with enough regularity to make it worth preparing for. On top of this we have enough caddis in the trees to keep the smaller fish occupied on most warm evenings. So while the emergence of aquatic insects may be somewhat diminished at this time of year with 5000 MLD coming down; it is not bad if you are aware of what could happen and when.
A lot of the fish in the edges have been eating subsurface and will not come to the surface. No matter how delectable a morsel is put in front of them.
As such we have been forced. Yes FORCED. To make sub-surface offerings to these fish. I kid, but we always try to bring them up to the top and then put maximum pressure on them from the get-go to get them into the net while they are still fresh. It also means less fish lost down deep in the timber. We are talking 2x tippet and an all-out tug of war in an attempt to keep them thrashing on the surface where we can immediately slide them into the net. Like Bream fishing in the racks for those that throw hardbodies in the estuaries.
It would be remiss of me not to mention that there are a couple of untoward things going on at the moment. This time of year sees all sorts of people coming to the region and while I don’t want to be judgmental of people as a whole, I don’t mind being judgmental of the folks that are doing the thieving. Last Sunday my clients and I came across a campsite that had just been pilfered, and we retrieved two boats that had been stolen from said camp; minus the motors that they took. That’s right. They stole the boats from the camp and ran back upriver in them to the car park (loot on board) to where their cars were parked; then stole the motors and pushed the boats back out into the river.
Apparently the police managed to lift some fingerprints so hopefully they can catch up with the scumbags involved.
One of the clients that was with me when we found the boats actually had his car broken into the night before and his air compressor stolen. I’ve also heard from many people in the past three weeks that have had items stolen ranging from beer in their camp eskies to fishing rods in their cars. I would not be leaving anything of value in my vehicle at the moment.
While speaking of the negatives we should mention the number of snakes getting about. Right across Victoria we are seeing the results of having no rain since July. What little water is about is attracting snakes in huge numbers ala the drought years, and you do have to watch out. I’m not joking but a few of our guides have gone out on the Rubicon lately and seen more snakes and fresh skins than they could ever recall seeing before. Also I’ve seen snakes crossing the Goulburn nearly every day that I’ve drifted it. We even had a Tiger Snake in our bathroom last week.
The purpose of the previous paragraph is not to spook people. Quite the contrary. We all know they are there and we all fish regardless. I mention it so that you always think to look for them; even when you’re sweating and tired, four hours into a session on a hot summer’s day! It’s easy to switch off when you are simply ‘beat’ but hopefully this reminder ensures that people take the time to be careful.
Which leads me into the perfect segue for touting our New Zealand Trips where there are no snakes at all!
We’ve had an unusual year in that we have now had five people have to pull out of their trip due to illness, injury and pregnancy! As such we have a few holes in our booking diary that look like this:
- WEEK 7. SUN 14 – SUN 21 FEB 1 Spot
- WEEK 8. SUN 21 – SUN 28 FEB 1 Spot
- WEEK 10. SUN 6 – SUN 13 MAR 1 Spot
- WEEK 11. SUN 13 – SUN 20 MAR 2 Spots
The trip price is $4150 for the full week and includes everything except the airfare. The single spots available in week 7/8/10 represent cancellations that we are trying to replace, so that we can refund the people unable to join us. As such we are offering a special bonus for anyone that books one of these spots and an exceptional bonus for someone taking the two spots in Week 11.
Phone FreeCall 1800 458 111 if you wish to discuss any of the details. There’s some decent deals on flights at the moment, which may help seal the deal for those contemplating a trip to NZ this summer.
Also in regards to our services please be aware that we have one spot left for our Beginner’s Workshop running this weekend from 9.30am tomorrow. At $390 for two full days of instruction with a 1:3 ratio it’s a great way to get started in fly fishing. Also drift boat trips are going out daily with some availability this coming Sunday and during the week.
The smaller streams that we so often avoid mentioning are offering up some good fishing. Water temps are an issue at times and you are best to avoid the middle of the day through the afternoon; but there are quite a few options for those seeking to test out their favourite three weight outfit.
Once again those stopping by will be helped. We can’t put up too much info on these creeks as they are finite resources that cannot take the pressure that an inadvertent slip of the tongue would cause. It’s actually disappointing that so many people are now blogging and facebooking about the smaller streams. Streams that cannot handle the attention of the ‘kill and grill’ brigade. To those doing this and giving GPS coordinates to the masses I say this; is it worth destroying these places for the short-lived celebrity on social media that you’re getting?
Hence the sticker below.
For those heading to Montana with us in July it’s great to see a return of the decent rain and snow in some of the catchments. It’s looking like another cracking summer over there and as all dates for 2016 are now full, we will be adding a new trip for 2017 in the coming month.
Speaking of OS trips David reports good fishing in NZ with plenty of dry fly fishing. I can tell what is going on by the photos that are arriving back here at base and also as a result of the various fly orders that Dave is putting in. We’ve been tying willow grubs all week to meet with his demands across the Tasman; so summer is well and truly there. I only wish that I could sneak over in February myself; it will depend completely on how the bookings work out on this end.
I’m getting quite excited about my drift tomorrow, as I will get to try out some new fly patterns that I’ve only just knocked up today. I get minimal time to tie these days, so I’m always modifying what I have in the field using scissors and permanent markers. But today I actually had the time to go through my materials and tie up some patterns I’ve been envisaging this past fortnight. Flies to combat the numerous fish that closely inspected and thereafter rejected many of our favourite flies.
Hopefully we can turn some of these picky fish into eaters come tomorrow.😉
To those awaiting photos of fish from the past month I want to say that I finally found my point and shoot camera that is so often the thing we use to get a quick capture of the moment. I have found about 100 photos which will be promptly sorted and sent. Apologies for the delay but I’ve been out almost every day for the past two months and I’ve had little time in the office.
So that’s it for now. If someone knows a web developer familiar with WordPress that can assist me in making this blog private for members only; please get in touch with me.
All the best and hope that you get out for a fish this coming weekend. It looks like being a cracker with mild temps and perfect light for sight fishing.
All the best until next week.
Goulburn Valley Fly Fishing Centre
Free Call 1800 458 111 or (03) 5773 2513