Most of you that come in the shop will know that I am rather precocious when it comes to taking on the personality of a salty fishing guide at a relatively young age. Twenty plus years of dealing with droughts, bushfires, bank managers and the public; will do that to even the gentlest, zen-like creatures out there. I like it when there’s no one around up here and I have the fish all to myself.
So to have write a report, one that is likely to bring up more anglers with which I will ultimately have to contend with for space; is kind of a chore. One that you know you sort of have to do, but you’re going to resist it until given no other choice and even then you are going to let everyone know that you are doing it begrudgingly.
I joke, but then that’s how it feels after being cheated of several weeks of spring weather that would have brought some decent hatches just as the masses were too busy with footy and the wind down to winter. But suddenly the fishing is hitting top gear and people are starting to wake up to this fact. I’m just hoping that the Spring Racing Carnival distracts a lot of people so that I can get my fill of catching before the ‘guiding work’ kicks into overdrive.
Selfish? Maybe. Honest. Definitely.
All jokes aside I just want to make the point that the fishing has been superb this past 5-6 days and those of you who postponed visiting, have seriously missed out on some of the best fishing of the season. Morning hatches have been outrageous, with many veteran Goulburn anglers coming in bleary-eyed and white knuckled from dawn sessions on the caenids. Pronounced see-nids and not kay-nids. It’s ok. I used to say the latter as well.😉
The fish have been rising in big numbers to the millions and millions of these tiny critters that hatch on the cold, clear-skied, still mornings. We have the patterns and know the hatch well enough to help those struggling to elicit a take. Size is important but getting the drift right is perhaps even more so. Trying to get the fly to arrive at the same time as the fish is about to rise is key when there are so many bugs on the water.
Those of you who have experienced this hatch will understand. Sometimes a fish rises every two seconds and if the fly drifts through just as he has taken something, actually scratch that. If the fly arrives at any other time than when the fish is on its way up; then it’s see-ya-later see-nid.
Simple in theory. A little more to it in practise.
These hatches usually persist until the first real wind comes up, which usually equates to about 10.30-11am on those days that they hatch in great numbers. However some hatches went for most of the early afternoon this week and I often saw upwards of 15 fish rising in the pool above Gilmore’s Bridge as I drove over it. That’s literally a minimum of fifteen rise forms at any one time, each time I crossed the bridge at 90km/h.
Tiny mayflies aside, it has been all systems go on the caddis front. Plenty of bugs getting about from mid-morning onwards and even some grannoms dopping up the pool centres and positioning themselves over the riffles, where the impetuous adolescent trout live and jump, in their mostly futile attempts to intercept one.
It has been fun.
Late afternoons can be very productive as well, with numerous things going on bug-wise. I fished my first ant fall of the season a couple of days ago and it was pretty good given it was the first warm belt of weather we’ve had. Small dark ants and rising brown trout equals fun in anyone’s language.
Evenings are once again a smorgasbord of bugs and I would like to pay special thanks to the mayfly (all stages and species that showed up to help), caddis (both emergers and adults), the Dobson fly, the grannoms; and also the midges and especially the ants that made my Saturday night possible. Umm I must be forgetting someone. Oh yeah and a big shout to all the entomologists who painstakingly identified all of these bugs in the first place and to God for making the rocks under which they live. Thanks for the cold oxygenated water and all the workers who built the dam at Eildon Lake; without which none of this would even be possible.
Sorry. Poor attempt at Academy Awards acceptance speech humour and I’ve probably just offended most of Trump’s supporters; not to mention the nuns at my old high school. But then this drawn out Spring is kind of maddening. Just when you think it’s going to happen, there’s another cold front on the way.
Drift boat trips have been very limited due to the river levels that we’ve been seeing so far this season. This is because we have to avoid other anglers as much as possible and this severely restricts where we can go. I am out floating on Thursday and Friday and I’m looking forward to testing out some new variants on our tried and tested streamer patterns. But having said that, I won’t be surprised if we and up fishing dry flies at times to sipping fish in the flattest of pools. That’s how many fish have been up and feeding.
We have had to reschedule our Swampy Plain River float trips due to the huge releases from the dam. As such we have a few spots left as per the table below.
Our lakes are fishing extremely well with rising fish showing all throughout the day. Caenids have been hatching en-masse in the mornings and keeping the fish happy until at least noon on the calm, still mornings. There’s also plenty of damselfly activity which is making for some interesting, if not challenging fishing.
For those looking for a place to stay on their upcoming trips, don’t forget our cottage and unit. Good value and a great base from which to raid the local streams. It’s also a terrific spot to bring the family with both being comfortable but the unit having a pool fence on the deck, a trampoline in the yard and pet friendly area.
Hope that this finds you well. I thought that it would be remiss of me to not update the report earlier than scheduled, given how good the fishing has been. If it were me on the other end of this relationship; I would want to know.
Enjoy the river if you get out there and please take note that I never mentioned nymphing until the penultimate sentence; and even then it was only to denigrate it.
It’s a special river that Goulburn.
The fishing has been very good this past week, with the Goulburn rapidly clearing with each successive day without rain. We are now on the cusp of some of the best spring fishing, with good water temps and an ever-increasing level of insect activity to be seen from one day to the next.
These are exciting times for all fly fishers and the first six weeks of the season can be now seen as a distant anomaly; one that had the positive side-effect of extending the closed season for a month and a half. That is how much of an impact the weather to date has had on the fishing pressure on the river. I’ve not seen a person on the few drifts I’ve done and other than a few people right on evening at Gilmore’s Bridge; it’s been a ghost town.
This is great for fishing if not for business, and to say that we’ve ‘enjoyed’ having the place to ourselves, is a huge understatement. It’s been phenomenal to fish anywhere at any time without even considering who else may be about. But this cannot will not last as the word will get out in the next two weeks and the weather will keep improving, which will further turn people’s minds to fishing once more.
I would advise that you make the most of the time that you get from now on, as things are just getting interesting and we will see a very much condensed period of hatches as all the required elements come together at the same time. There is going to be some superb fishing in the days and weeks ahead.
Morning caenid hatches (see photos in previous report) are back for those early birds out there. This is something we have documented over our 22 years here and something most fly fishers would be completely unaware of. These tiny duns #20-24 hatch in the pre-dawn period and at first light and almost immediately turn to spinners, mate and fall spent on the water. The action is fast and furious and the sheer numbers of insects emerging has to be seen to be believed. Hundreds of thousands of them come off on these cold, clear sky mornings and they fall in huge sheets of food for the fish to pick from the film. Fishing to a fish that is rising 20x a minute only 20 feet away can be infuriating and yet completely engrossing.
Stop by the shop if you need flies and suggestions on tactics/locations. We have been fishing these hatches for a long time and as such we have developed plenty of strategies to improve the odds of success.
Caddis will hatch at any time of the day with mid-morning through mid-afternoon the peak times and then again on last light. Emergers are important, as they always are when any hatch is happening, and you would be well-advised to carry a selection of colours in #16-18. Duns are happening in dribs and drabs during the day but last light is seeing numerous species of Mayfly hatching and there have also been some late afternoon spinner falls. Think rust and #16.
There are plenty of beetles around in what is the eight week of their appearing again this season. But as yet I’ve not noticed any fish on them. No doubt when the river rises in level these guys will become more important but when this will happen is hard to say.
While I like the river at 1000 MLD or higher, many prefer these levels where nearly every square metre of water is wadeable/fishable. But irrespective of your position on this, there is only one absolute truth when it comes to river levels on the Goulburn. You never know when it is going to change. There are so many different stakeholders when it comes to releases from lake Eildon and it could change suddenly at any given point in time. While unlikely when the rest of the state is green with water sitting on the paddocks courtesy of mother-nature; an environmental release could happen at any time.
In brief. If you like these lower water levels and if you want to fish the Caenid hatch; get out there now and make the most of your opportunities.
Before jumping to the smaller rivers I have to mention that we have the following events an trips happening soon;
- Beginner’s Workshop tomorrow SAT 15 – SUN 16, OCT 1 spot left. Bo is leading the group.
- Swampy Plain River Drift Boat trips with David. Just two days left – MON 24 and TUE 25 OCT
- Spring Primer 1 Day Workshop SAT 22 OCT Werner and Bo running it.
- New Zealand Trips JAN-FEB-MAR, 2017
- Idaho Montana Trip JULY 9-19, 2017
I won’t bleat on about these but if you are interested please phone us on FreeCall 1800 458 111 to discuss the details.
The smaller rivers have all held their own given their flow rates and water temps. Don’t ask David as he will just say you’re flipping mad for even trying unless you’re Czech nymphing or similar. But then he is 72 y.o. and spends a third of his year bouncing between NZ, Patagonia and Montana! But ask the rest of us who have to take it when and where we can and we will say that the smaller streams have offered a decent chance at a few fish; but you have to work for them.
Getting nymphs down deep in those sorts of flows is not what I would call fly fishing in a zen like state. It’s more akin to a cardio workout while balancing on slippery bowling balls, all while hoping that a fish is stupid enough to be looking up long enough to eat one of your offerings.
So be warned. It’s a lot of effort for little reward right now. But the conditions are not far off being really good for dedicated nymphing techniques and it will be worth checking it out when you drive over it and taking not of the height off your favourite markers.
There are other creeks offering similar fishing to the Rubi but once again I won’t mention them here. Stop by to ask any questions as there are just some things that should not be posted on the internet.
Our lakes have been fishing very, very well. Then again it is October and this is normal for this time of year. Fish are eating midges, spent spinners and damselfly. The guests staying on our accommodation have been having a ball in between sorties onto the river.
If you are interested in staying with us this Spring/Summer; please click here to learn more.
So that’s it for the time being. Hope that you manage to get out for a fish this weekend. I’m going right now myself.
See you on the water.
Just a short report, but I figured those of you waiting for the hatches to start would take a brief but timely update over a detailed and delayed one.
The river is still discoloured but the real fishing has begun. This morning’s hatch of #22-24 Caenids was epic and it has been a few years since we’ve had lower water levels at this time of Spring; it’s usually been up and hooting with releases from the lake. There should be some great fishing over the next week despite the fact that the river still isn’t clear.
Hope to see some of you up here in the not too distant future!
Just a reminder that you can now book both of our wonderfully comfortable accommodation options directly through the STAYZ website.
Alternatively you can phone us on FREE CALL 1800 458 111 to discuss the options.
Antony, David and the GVFFC Team.
The phones been raining pretty consistently the past 24 hours with requests for updates on the status of the rivers up this way. So here goes.
The Goulburn is still at the lowest flow rates but it is filthy. Now when I say filthy, I don’t mean discoloured or a little off; I mean it looks like a freshly ploughed paddock! It looked much the same a week and a bit ago and I was shocked by how quickly the water clarity improved, given a decent break in the rain; but as it stands it is dirty and it looks as though there is another significant dump of rain on the way in the coming days.
All things being equal it should remain pretty ugly for the next few days at least.
Having said that we are all catching fish on our daily guided sessions and of our own each evening. Daylight savings starts in the morning and this will give us more of a chance to fish on our own each night, as most of our jobs are done by 5pm. So expect more photos and info in the coming weeks as we get to finish work, wrap up whatever else needs doing around the shop and still get two hours on the river, as opposed to the 45-60 mins max we’ve been doing in recent weeks.
There are however, some decent hatches coming off through the day, and further to that the evenings have been pretty consistent. Definitely enough action to warrant a visit for a day of walking the river.
The smaller rivers are producing enough fish to keep people happy. At least that’s what I’m hearing. Without going across to the dark side of high stick nymphing, I am having fairly limited success on the 15-20 minute sessions I’ve been getting on them. So the report is that most folks are connecting with a few, but I’m not doing all that well fishing methods different to what common sense may say is required. But then I’ve always been one for making things more difficult than they need to be. Just ask my wife.
Take solace from the fact that these rivers are clear; but conversely also factor in that they are very cold and running hard. If you do come up to fish them, stick to the inside bend gravel bar drop-offs where the water slows up that 20% and get your nymphs down. Reverse eddies have also been good for a fish or two.
Definitely not setting the world alight at the moment. Had a fish come up and eat my thingamabobber the other day; so a sliding indicator rig with stimmie could also be employed in the not-so-fast water. There’s a few stonefly and Dobsonfly getting about so this dry fly option might not be as silly as it first sounds.
All the best, take care and don’t forget to subscribe to our mailing list to stay up to date with all of our offers and information.
PS – as always drop by for the latest info or phone me directly on 0418 995 611 and keep an eye out for upcoming news of some dramatic changes to this blog.
Actually that title is not entirely accurate as we are happy to have as much rain as possible, given that our summers are always long and any extra rain now, means an extended season on the smaller rivers and a later start to the low-water, summer stalk and snake-athon!
We didn’t get a lot of rain where I was last night, but evidently we did elsewhere. The Goulburn suddenly dirtied up this morning and is still discoloured. Only time will tell as to whether we get the predicted rain and the river stays dirty through the end of the week; so keep in touch via this page or on the phone for more details as conditions either improve/deteriorate.
We have people in our accommodation at the moment but no scheduled guiding jobs for tomorrow. As a result I’m heading off for a fish.
See you all on the river and tight lines to all.