A tale of 2 charters

I fuelled up the boat and Pajero and left Adaminaby early on Monday morning, heading up the highway to Tantangara Reservoir.  I was meeting Chris and Michael at the boat ramp at 9.30. The 18 kilometres of dirt road in to the dam is a bit of a bone rattler at the moment so I arrived shaken, but not stirred. The lake seemed to have visibly shrunk since my visit a week earlier with a wet muddy scar on the shoreline.  Almost down to 20% of its capacity the lake takes on a bleak featureless aspect until the shore line dries out and grows some grass in 3 or 4 weeks, and the weed beds fire up in another month again.

I watched the lake for several minutes without spotting a single rise on the calm surface.  A chap was cleaning a nice 2lb brown by the boat ramp, his solitary prize for the morning so far.

I’d launched the boat when Chris and Michael arrived and we headed north up the lake. Michael had an express wish to fish Nungar Creek.  The lake forks to the west to reach entrances to both the Murrumbidgee and Nungar. Before that is an island that becomes part of the mainland at a little below 20%. Here hundreds of cormorants and pelicans stood on the shore indicating they’d had their morning feed and perhaps more importantly there might be fish here.

We fished loch style for an hour or so, seeing the occasional rise but not drawing any to the boat. The lake had the look of a water where the fish should be there but probably weren’t. The fishing birdlife just stood there, stoically resigned to the situation whilst we flogged away relentlessly.

The Murrumbidgee inlet offered a chance at redemption.  Some bank fishing from lea shores into shelving water should do the trick, or so I thought.  I put Chris and Michael onto a hot looking shore and walked a kilometre or so further down, staying a long way up on the bank to get elevation for polaroiding. The sun was high, the water clear but not a fish to be seen and I would have put money on spotting a small rising rainbow or a cruising brown.

And so the day continued with Michael at least opening the score with a slim rainbow from the shore between the Murrumbidgee and Nungar.  We called it shortly after 3 so we could get back to Eucumbene for the evening, and launched at Anglers Reach heading across the lake to one tree and the adjacent bays. Plenty of midging fish to cast to, a modest termite hatch that didn’t come to much and a mid size brown and a few rainbows. More missed than caught.  It was well after dark by the time we drove the boat onto the trailer.

We debriefed the following morning, traded flies and talked about casting and strategy and I don’t think anyone had come up with something we might have tried to improve prospects.  Just one of those days.

That afternoon I caught up with Steven and Julian again wanting to try loch style. I gave them fair warning the fishing was tough but none the less felt confident a few hours at Providence and fishing the twilight from the shore would bring results.  I put Steven in the bow seat on the casting platform whilst Julian had amidships.  We fished under the drogue drifting across the bay along with up to 4 other boats, ultra long leaders, intermediate and floating lines, and a variety of big and small woolly buggers, Tom Jones,  and smaller nymphs.  Both Steven and Julian had fish hit or come to the fly, on the hang, right at the boat, and both had hits on the retrieve, but neither converted into hook ups. A modest improvement on the previous day and a good teaching/learning exercise. I didn’t keep count but I think Julian hooked Steve’s hat or other articles of clothing with wayward forward casts on five occasions! We fished the evening from the shore and surprisingly they didn’t land fish – I didn’t dare mention the small rainbow I tricked when I walked back to get the boat. Again it was after dark when we hit the ramp. Another one of those days I don’t much like.

I left Adaminaby early in the morning heading to Canberra sticking to 80 km/h aware of the wildlife risks, but still managed to clip a kangaroo on the way to Cooma. A big one which has done a small amount of damage to six components – grill, headlight, bonnet, wing, valance, and nudge bar. I sympathise with the roo, but I need sympathy too! NRMA have been great so far.  DRIVE CAREFULLY!

Tight tippets

Fly Fishing and Accommodation in Adaminaby