Monthly Archives: April 2013

ANZAC Day Adaminaby


ANZAC day is well supported in Adaminaby. Over the years I’ve been able to attend many remembrance services in Sydney and Canberra, some at dawn others at 11 am, but the most memorable have always been the smaller services. Narooma, Huskisson, Gosford, HMAS Cresswell,  Cooma, Honiara, and now Adaminaby.  This year we woke at 5, stoked the fire (with a serious frost outside), and watched the ABC coverage of services at Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Gallipoli.  At 11 am we went to the Adaminaby cenotaph joining  about 100 others. Bearing in mind the population is just 230, think about nearly half of Sydney turning up in Martin Place.  It was typically moving and thought provoking and 2 helicopters did a fly over more or less right on the dot of 11. The Red Cross put on afterwards sponge cake that’s put enough sugar in the veins to ward of the cold or the next 48 hours or so – seriously, it could rival Kendall mint cake!


Anyway, I’d come for the fishing (in between serious report writing) so a Wednesday early morning  start on the river, and an hour on dusk was called for to keep the mind active.  I fished with John in the morning and as we rigged up and the light came we watched fish after fish boil in the pools without any subsequent serious interest in our offerings. It took a move to the fast runs out of the tail of the pools to find fish and here they were aggressively attacking glow bugs and nymphs. it was only a quick fish and we were on our way out as others were arriving. Not a spectacular session, we definitely need rain and river flow to get things pumping but there are fish in every pool, and a lot of them are visible.

For the evening session, bite time at the top of the lake is 5.30 to 6.30. A few hardy souls are fishing very late and catching fish (apparently) but its pretty cold. Col (Adaminaby angler) gave me a new pattern to try – details of which you’ll have to get from him – but needless to say it worked twice,  both nice browns before I got smashed up and lost it. I think it came with a built in self destruct.


The  lake has been fishing OK, but is a bit unpredictable. There are fish in deep water and full of what one friend describing the stomach contents of the one 3 lb rainbow  he caught on a recent trip from Victoria as “full of that tiny stuff that looks like couscous” – that’d be daphnia Anthony – as well as one fresh mudeye! The best and biggest rainbow reports are coming from Buckanderra – again, and what’s left of Middlingbank at 47% lake level and falling.

That’s all except to tell a little story about a missing fish.  But the story starts with a missing slipper.  Earlier in the week, Briggsy the dog decided to raid the slipper box and take one of Crissy’s slippers, the leopard skin one of course, into the garden. I went fishing right on dark, spotted it, and determined to rescue it when I got home.  But, when I got back a couple of hours later it had gone from the spot I left it.  Then, last night, I caught a 3 lb male brown, and knocked it on the head for the neighbour. This exchange gets my bins put out when I’m not here.  I left the fish in the shallow water, half in, half out, with the air temperature at 8 degrees.  45 minutes later, pitch black, with a cold wind 15 knots from the west I decided to clean it and head home. But it had gone.  I searched up and down and formed the view I’d either gone mad, or that I had a stalker stealing my things.

Anyway, walking back to the car I found it, about 25 metres from where I’d been fishing, with a little bit of cheek chewed out and an eye missing.  Hydromys chrysogaster (meaning “water-mouse with golden belly”) who we see swimming around every night I deduced to be the culprit – “I have no doubt”, reads the official statement.  I cleaned, topped and tailed the fish and left the remnants for him or her, and the family – as an offering. I still haven’t figured a way to blame “golden-belly” for the missing slipper yet – but its only a matter of time.

Tight tippets all!





Providence line up

The last few days have been mild, perhaps too mild. Saturday was a boat day checking out the Tollbar Creek area’s  post-apocalyptic  landscape. Muddy banks, dense stands of standing dead timber and plenty of fish holding in the deep water (on the sounder) but not a sign of a moving fish; no rises, no boils, nothing apart from one muddy swirl of sediment where  presumably a fish had been a few moments before. The lake level is at 48% and still dropping, so bring something to put your waders in or the car will stink of mud.  The wind picked up to the forecast 15 knot nor westerly and we took some spray over the bow as we headed back at lunchtime. An Adaminaby bakery pie looked more inviting. Not a particularly awesome first trip on the boat for Mark but what can I say other than it felt really fishy, just not quite today.

We headed for Caddigat Lakes in the afternoon and Mark got an hour head start as I took the chainsaw to some timber.  I found him on Snaggy Dam but he hadn’t been able to capitalise on his advantage.  I fished for an hour and managed to land two crackers before heading back to Adaminaby. Mark stayed on and managed to hook up on one of the big Dixieland Dam rainbows right on dusk, and reported lots of rises and boils from the leviathans that live in that particularly fertile dam.

Providence is getting a lot of attention and as usual etiquette is getting a bit forgotten.  The picture shows a particularly orderly set up but when a bunch of boats turned up after dark and motored up the channel and anchored right in front of us, well within casting distance, you can imagine I wasn’t too happy, and nor was Col. Having said that its nice to see a few large browns showing up and I caught one 3 kilo plus fish. What would be nice would be 20 mm of rain to really get them moving. I fished a fast intermediate in the channel drop off, with a big black WB and a MkII WB – nothing less than 3kg tippet.

Meanwhile the Buckanderra area has apparently fished well. Corrigan tells me he landed some 1.5 kilo rainbows mid week that “went off”. Small flies stick-caddis-like patterns in green. He cleaned a couple and they were full of daphnia mush which is great for helping to put on late season condition but they can be fussy if they’re feeding on plankton.

That’s all. I’ll be in Adaminaby next week leading up to ANZAC if anyone wants to catch up give me a call 0438 403362.

Tight Tippets




A very fine Easter!

The Easter weekend is a bookend for the summer’s trout fishing. A time when like the weather, and the shorter days, tactics change. Trout behave differently now.  If summer is the good times for trout with an abundant variety of insects and other aquatic critters to feast on, autumn heralds leaner pickings. It’s also when trout start to think of the rivers and the gravel beds in which they’ll prepare their redds, nests to protect their eggs for the four to six weeks before they hatch into alevins. These tiny fish are just a few millimetres long with a bright orange external yolk sac which will feed them whilst they spend the next three to four weeks deeper in the gravel before emerging as small fry. So, the fish have sex on their mind, and they’re often hungry. The condition they’ve put on during summer has been used to develop their roe and milt and they’re definitely trying to keep that condition until they’ve done their thing and made sure there will be more fish next year.

Good Friday was spent on the boat on Lake Eucumbene.  We launched at Anglers Reach and headed to Providence.  The bay to the east of the portal is usually my first stop off and it was chilly at 30 knots so I pulled up to catch some warm sun, sheltered from the light northerly breeze. The water had some colour and the litter of small insects in the surface film said the wind had been banging into the bay earlier in the day. A few small rises suggested there might be a rainbow or two hanging around and I was right. They attacked the fly, a small black WB, but only on quite a fast retrieve on an intermediate line. They weren’t big but they were in good condition and mirror silver as they flashed in the sunlight in the shallows.

I spotted Royce fishing loch style across the bay – the only Quintrex with a mammoth black Mercury hanging off the back – so I thought I’d move in on his water. Whatever you see that boat doing, it’s always good to copy. The breeze was light with the occasional bit of bluster and was now north with a bit of east in it. Not enough to justify using the drogue and you could pretty much fish 360 degrees around the boat. A pair of white breasted sea eagles sat in a tree top – and I saw what they saw. Two shapes porpoising against the western bank. Of course I went to look, but of course they moved off – the fish and the eagles. Then the fish showed again 200 metres along the bank, heading towards the river. Typical pre spawning behaviour – one part of me wanted to sneak up on them with the electric motor, another was happy to leave them alone.

I was fishing a long leader with two big woolly buggers, a blingy black bead head, and a firey red tungsten cone head, on an intermediate line. The kind of rig you can’t use easily from the shore without dredging the mud and losing the odd fly.  I should mention the lake is at 49% and has been dropping steadily for weeks now. There’s a muddy scar and no weed – depressing fish habitat.

There are lots of good bays between Providence and Anglers Reach and as I picked my way back to the ramp I fished two of them.  The first was just around the bend from Providence, before the first stand of timber on the western shore.  A wide muddy soak designed for this wind. First drift I hooked a cracking brown. As the fish came alongside the boat I posed as Crissie got the camera out, rod up, fish lying on its side – a perfect image. The fish had other ideas – taking another dive for freedom.  I had no choice but to let the rod tip drop or risk snapping it at that stupid angle. With slack line the fish took a turn around the motor skeg – gave one last flick and headed off with both flies – so no pic.

On the steep eastern shore there are a handful of small soaks and as I cruised past I spotted a rise and headed in to fish from the shore. I persisted with the intermediate line with very deep water right to the shore, but then several good boiling rises to the scattering of orange backed plague soldier beetles on the water had me scuttling back to the boat for my floating line and the orange beetle pattern.  As often happens, and despite there being plenty more beetles, another 20 minutes and not a single rise.  A quick note on plague solider beetles. On a charter in Copper Mine Bay last Spring the shore was covered in millions of them. The lake was rising then, and they were on any rock that might give them protection from the rising waters, huge masses of them as big as your fist.  We spread thousands of them onto the water to see if the fish were interested and with one exception – a boil right at the bag of the boat within seconds of putting out the “berley”, we saw no interest – these beetles exude a white sticky fluid to deter predators so maybe they don’t taste that good.

Saturday was a day at Caddigat with Phil and David.  A later start than usual so we could spend some time and money at the Adaminaby Easter fair – what a great day, hundreds of cars parked all the way from the BP to the Ampol on any square foot of grass.

Caddigat Lakes look great with enough rain to green up the pasture. Dixieland and Kidney are full after we’d pumped the week before, the blue skies occasionally greyed off, and the wind was a gentle nor’easter.

We parked the cars and walked the whole afternoon fishing Dixieland, Midway, Spring (which is clearing nicely), Snaggy and Kidney. We caught 6 beautiful rainbows but David blanked on his first trip (for no good reason really) – one break off, a couple of long distance releases, and some superb follows and boils in Dixie right on dark.  The fly of the day was that blingy black WB – which I’d just tied on as an attractor for the variety of much smaller point flies I’d tried committedly during the day.

Sunday I went for a look at the Eucumbene river with Col and Ian.  A lot of anglers were buzzing around the kilometre or so up and down from Denison camp site, with other “illegal” camp sites everywhere. Four wheel drives roared around and to and fro across the river, lots of activity but we didn’t see a fish caught.

There’s a good flow and the water temperature is down to 16 degrees. We fished the last two hours right at the river mouth.  I could count 17 anglers, some bait fishing, some boat, and a whole gaggle of shore based fly fishers – that equals 34 hours of fishing effort and not one fish. Eucumbene is a hard mistress all the time but some days she’s just plain tough!

So where did I start this? Fish behave differently in autumn,  food is getting scarce, and you can induce an aggression response from charged up fish – so mix up the flies. I think you can generally use bigger flies and the fish don’t mind a bit of colour and bling, especially orange (try the mark II and the tinsel black woolly buggers). The go-to retrieve on Eucumbene is very slow, verging on static. When they’re hungry, and in pre spawning mode try a strip strip pause or a fast roley-poley retrieve. And of course don’t forget to pop into the Adaminaby Angler and stock up on a few glow bugs and good advice for next month.  Remember, from 1 May the rules on the Eucumbene and Thredbo Rivers change – a bag limit of just one fish and it must be over 50 centimetres.  In my view that should be from 1 April – food for thought next time the fishing regs come around for review?

Today, Monday, I can’t make up my mind.  I really want to go to Tantangara which is green to the shore line and steady at 26% – but can’t find a play mate so far.

Last thing, I know the blogs are reducing in number – and there are a couple or reasons.  Firstly, if I’ve nothing much to write about I don’t write. Second, the charter trips are down this year partly because the lake has been fishing erratically which I think is why inquiries are down a lot from last year, but also partly because I’ve been doing other interesting work. Everything finds its balance.

Tight Tippets!

Fly Fishing and Accommodation in Adaminaby