Monthly Archives: December 2012

A great sunset makes the day end well


The lift and flick the haul and heave, the mesmeric rhythm of cast and retrieve, the setting sun the orange light, the rising moon the coming night. Does it get any more relaxing than this?

So far so good the holiday break has been both social and fishy.  With the exception of the lead up to Xmas day (which was wet and cold) it’s been very warm and dry.


Long days on the boat have been substituted by long evening sessions through some magnificent sunsets and well into dark. We had two afternoons with great sound and light shows as the thunder and lightning rolled in from the mountains to the west.  We’d optimistically thought dodging the bolts was an option – the first we gave up before even starting – in torrential rain; the second afternoon half a dozen casts into it at Providence before the rod tips started to buzz disconcertingly. Although late that evening near Yens it was superb.

The wind held up, and the rainbows came right to shore to pick up the rain washed-in goodies. And the post storm smells reminded me of Africa – a cleansing, fresh, earthy flavour you could taste.

Tantangara has been fishing well. I’ve had two sessions in the last week, one with Col on the western shore with a brown and a couple of rainbows– cut a little short when two snakes swam past in the early dark forcing an early retreat; and another last night on the eastern shore with a south easterly blowing where almost every cast was to a fish – or after dark to the sound of a fish.  The midges were huge threatening to carry us off, but I’m pretty sure the slurps were for caddis which came off the water in good numbers. As the moon came over the hill (at about 9 pm) things slowed down, but then picked up again but differently. The slurps turned to the gloops of bigger fish than the one to two pounders I’d been catching all evening – they seemed to be mopping up the moths and beetles I’d seen earlier on. Coming back late in the evening there is a lot of wildlife around – within a few hundred metres of home last night a family of wallabies on freshly mown verge, rabbits, a fox, and two feral black kittens – so drive slowly.

Some good fish have been coming out of Caddigat Lakes but in quite low numbers. Syndicate members Justin, Maddy, Mark and Harry gave Snaggy, Spring, Kidney and Dixieland dams a good workout over a couple of days and caught some excellent fish but the warm water seems to have put most of the fish into deeper water during the heat of the day. Maddy caught her first rainbow hanging a nymph under an indicator; and Justin and Maddy spent some time casting to two fish sitting nose to nose in a shady spot – one grabbed the fly but subsequently spat it out – meanwhile the other continued to hold station presenting another opportunity. Several flies and several casts later without success the fish moved away – presumably not happy at all the attention. When the wind blew through the trees next to Snaggy, gum beetles peppered the lake and one particular fish took to swimming along the surface open mouthed to hoover them up. I saw it with my own eyes and later on so did everyone else.  It still wouldn’t look at an artificial though.

I spent half a day in the Rodney George pulling out weed and clearing some casting spots so hooked can fish can be brought to shore and the lake is clearing slowly after the rain. The weed we pulled out is chock full of damsel fly nymphs. They were literally all over my arms as I pulled the dense clumps of weed ashore. Briggsy was seen snapping at bees and one (or more) decided to sting her resulting in an allergic reaction and trip to the vest for anti-histamine and cortisone jabs – will she learn I wonder.

Ho, Ho, Ho. Tight and festive tippets all you little fishing elves (now all your hard work is done)!

Calm before the holiday storm……

Twas the week before Christmas and all was still calm, the birds tweet for real and the sun warms the grass, the poet’s inspired by the tranquility of the day, drinking his coffee and scratching his (head for inspiration).

I can’t being to describe how beautiful a morning it is in Adaminaby. Even though I know it’s only a few hours from being an oven down here, the dog’s walked, fed and asleep, the cat’s given up his morning owner attacks and now just watches the World go by, and its 45 minutes until my first tele-meeting – and I caught fish last night. And of course this all changes on Boxing Day when the town’s population trebles overnight. Good for the economy, not so good for the nerves.

When I set off from Canberra yesterday afternoon the Pajero was laden with who knows what. Stuff, for two weeks, and the animals. Unloading is always easy with a fishing trip at the other end even if it all ended up in two disorganised piles. One in the house and one in the boat shed. I can sort that out later but the evening rise waits for no man.

I didn’t get to Yens Bay until 8ish but it looked grand. A light northerly put the ripple 10 metres or so offshore and it was still warm enough not to put a coat on.  Briggsy found a smaller dog to tear around with for 10 minutes while I sorted out my leader and chose flies and then I was into it.

Dragon flies dotted the water with their tales laying a steady stream of microscopic eggs; midges hatched off but not enough to ball-up; caddis moths spun around in small clouds; xmas beetles plopped noisily on the water; small brown beetles seemed to emerge from everywhere; and the odd bogong moth flapped and spun furiously trying to avoid a watery grave. It was a smorgasbord for trout, no doubt.  But, whatever was feeding the fish they weren’t much interested in the food on the surface, they were down a few feet.

Of course trout will always take the easiest food, it’s in their interest to feed efficiently and it was pretty clear that the sheer volume of activity sub surface was keeping them there in preference to the top of the water.  I fished a stick caddis and a small black nymph and soon had a few plucks with an ultra slow retrieve. As dark came on, after 8.30, a few fish came to the surface and I landed 3 and missed as many. I watched a sipping midge feeder take a Christmas beetle and then a few seconds later, just a short distance away one of two bogongs disappeared in a slurp. I waited for the other one to go down but it was still there ten minutes later as I left in pursuit of another riser 50 metres down the bank. The point is, the fish weren’t fussy about their diet last night, there were plenty of them, and they were in top condition.  The light was failing as I took an iPhone snap (without flash) – but you get the idea – fat-santa-belly rainbows.

A couple of little snippets from town. Col has finally got his sign up at the Adaminaby Angler – and it’s really cool – and Briggsy the dog likes it too – in the picture for scale.

And the Big Trout is still in her spawning colours; putting the “rainbow” back after the renovations requires scaffolding, time, and the right temperature, so maybe February. Wouldn’t be good to have her all covered up when the hordes arrive for their annual break.

If I don’t write again before Xmas have a safe and happy festive season. If you’re driving be nice to other drivers even if they’re not nice to you. Better late than never!

Tight tippets and don’t be strangers – pop in any time, there’s plenty of fishing to do.

(P.s. Caddigat lakes have been well stocked for the break! And I mean well stocked.)


Xmas beetles and other bugs

Christmas beetles are the star turn at Yens Bay this time of year.  The first sign they’re in the air is when the gulls start to duck and weave in mid flight, maybe 20 or 30 of them in the same bit of air space.  Then the dive bombing bugs and then, if you’re really lucky one will find the gap between your neck and collar.  For those of you who are fans of “The Mummy” you won’t be surprised to hear these little fellas are members of the Scarabaeidae family – but don’t let that worry you too much.

The snowy bugs are mostly shiny brown and about 15 mm in length unlike some of their coastal cousins (there are 34 known species in Australia) who can be quite ornate.  Their lifecycle is biennial in cooler climates and involves some frenetic breeding aggregations (hence all the flying around which is good for genetic diversity) around this time of year for the half that hatched; followed by egg laying in the soil, and various stages of grub development (four “instar” stages of a distinctive C shape called “curl grubs”).

Adults tend to feed together, often on the same branch of the same eucalypt tree and they fly around a lot at dusk and at night, often covering several kilometres.  Bright lights attract them as you probably know.

So when they’ve broken free from their soil homes, often after rain, they buzz around the lake and of course some don’t make it. I haven’t had a chance to read Fred Dumford’s book yet but word is there’s a great Xmas beetle pattern therein.

Back to fishing at Yens Bay and the first cast of the night brought in a nice pound and half rainbow on a midge pupae which was promptly released with the expectation the evening would bring more reward for effort. But of course it didn’t. A few half hearted plucks and a ripping take but no more landed in a short session right on dusk.  At least it looks like there are a few rainbows around.

Xmas beetles aren’t the only bugs around, there are plenty of damsels all over the Caddigat Lakes.  Mainly blue but a few goldy-browns too. The fishing has been reported as a bit hit and miss but we’re stocking twice before Xmas – some mid size fish and some fry.

Col Sinclair’s back from New Zealand.  Pretty observant fellow.  He’s been watching rainbows working in pairs with some interesting video to back up his tales.  Whilst we’ve all seen fish in pairs (or more) doing their dance at breeding time he’s been watching some cooperative behaviour in other circumstances.  First, a fish appearing to try and help his hooked buddy; second fish appearing to work cooperatively to herd bait fish; and lastly some interesting fly pattern avoidance from fish caught and released one day, then inspecting and refusing the same fly the next. For an animal with a brain smaller than a pea who knows what’s driving all that.

Good news is the Pajero’s back from the chop shop today all fixed up. Apologies to cancelled charters but we’re ready to go again now.

Tight tippets



Australian Fly Fishing Team Fund Raiser

Danny Spelic and Mark Bulley Fund Raiser (click to download)

Contact: DANNY SPELIC: Mob: 0400 867 989 or MARK BULLEY Mob: 0402 487 323






DONATION: $295* per person per day (min 2, max of 4 people per day)

(Additional tax deductible corporate donations are most welcome through FFA)

*Accommodation, Food and own transport to the fishing base are not included


Danny Spelic

Team Gold Medal Winner – 2012 Commonwealth’s

Individual Silver Medallist 2010 Australian Fly Fishing Championships

Individual Silver Medallist 2010 Australian Fly Casting Championships

FFF Certified Casting Instructor

Mark Bulley

Individual Silver Medallist – 2011 Oceania’s

Australian World Team Rep – Norway 2012

Top 10 finish last 3 of 4 Aust Champs

Team Silver Medal Winner – 2011 Oceania’s


Across the top


Every once in a while I get the opportunity to drive between Adaminaby and Tumut on the Snowy Mountains Highway without being in a rush.  The first trick is not to get hung up fishing the Eucumbene River until at least the Kiandra Road Bridge.  That’s a good place to start.  In just a couple of months the landscape has gone from snowdrifts to crackling tussock but the river is still running strong, the pools still deep with eddies swirling vigorously.

Thereafter the road tracks the river all the way to the Mount Selwyn turning and beyond and every pool begs a dry to be drifted through it.  This is of course mostly small fish country but don’t get too complacent there are some good fish too. There are small creeks too. Dog Creek, Powerline Creek and Yarrangobilly Creek at the picnic area where I have never failed to catch a small brown on a Royal Wulff.

I was traveling across with Kennelly to the trout farm at Tumut (work of course).  He insisted on flicking a Celta through every pool on an embarrassingly large telescopic fishing rod perhaps more suitable for kingfish. Whilst the fiddly fly fishing in creek results went my way, of course the bigger water rainbows went his.


Of course the really remote water is hidden in the valleys where only experienced and prepared bush walkers should go.  There aren’t many places that beg to be fished but when you look over the Black Perry Lookout on the way down the mountain to Tumut – those valleys are begging. Imagine the deep secret pools, waterfalls cascading cool spring water in long shallow runs with undercut banks through a dense forest canopy. Browns growing old having never seen a fly.

Now you’re talking!

The return trip was less fun. Zipping up the Hume towards Yass and Canberra and a 110 kmh tyre blow out and shred on Cristina’s Suzuki with the temperature at 39 degrees tried the nerves! Still waiting for the Pajero to come home from the chop-shop.

Tight Tippets!

Fly Fishing and Accommodation in Adaminaby