I managed to spend a few hours at one of my favourite trout streams last weekend. I arrived at around 11am and the first thing I noticed was the lack of insect life, apart from the ever-present blowflies. The plan was to christen my Poor Man’s Quad with a nice brownie. I would have loved to tie on a nice big dry, but the absence of any duns, spinners or grasshoppers led me to a nice black/purple Wooly Bugger.
After a little while trudging through the grass I started to become confident that ‘snake-hour’ had passed, and started to focus more on the stream. Walking through a particularly grassy patch, I looked down at a brown tail and thought initially that it was a lizard. As I leaned forward for a closer look, my eyes followed the tail, which became longer and longer, until I saw that it wasn’t a lizard at all. It was one of those legless ones…slightly deterred and now treading far more carefully, I carried on.
It started out fairly slowly, although after half an hour or so I started to notice a few ‘v’ lines and swirls on the surface and the confidence started to grow. Shortly after, I had just completed a small strip of the fly and noticed a sharp pull on the line. I tried to strip-set, as I didn’t want to spook the fish with a rod-set, and as the fly came into view in the cloudy water I saw the fish cruising along behind. He was a nice brownie, a little over a kilo. I slowed the retrieve, as I now only had about 1.5 metres left, and saw him casually open his mouth, only to miss the fly. I think he saw me at that point, and turned quickly and with a flick of the tail was gone, back to the green, murky depths. I had a few more casts, hoping he hadn’t seen me, but to no avail.
Still, this was a very promising sign. A few hundred metres up the river the water became shallow. I usually don’t fish this water, as I’ve found all the fish on the river in the deeper, colder pools. As I was walking alongside the stream, I noticed a bunch of mosquito fish and then something bigger. It was a fingerling! This is great, as I’ve only once seen a small fish in this river. I saw another one too, so it appears that the efforts of the Cooma-Nimmitabel Acclimatisation Society might be paying off. With the average size of the brownies in this stream, it makes sense to see these small fish in the shallows!
Perhaps next time I’ll tie on a small dry to fish these sections, but on this occasion I was fixated on something big. I eventually came to a serious of pools full of big granite boulders, and started to enter the meditative fishing zone that I love so much. It was hot, there were flies everywhere, I was paranoid about the healthy populations of black snakes, but it didn’t matter. Last time I fished this spot I was absolutely busted by something huge, and I am convinced it’s a big angry resident brown with my name on it. I had a small strike, but didn’t hookup, and there was no follow. The leviathan will have to wait til next time for our inevitable acquaintance…
I moved on and eventually saw a fish rise downstream. I didn’t want to walk back down, so resolved to return for a cast once I’d finished fishing this pool, which was to be my last for the day. As I said, it was hot and I was running out of water. Near the top of the pool I finally hooked a fish. I saw it’s flank first, the rod loaded up and a big brownie of around 2.5 kg thrashed on the surface. He turned to run, and threw the hook. Damn!
I was disappointed that I didn’t hang onto the fish, but was pretty pleased with seeing a few and hooking one. I returned to the spot where I saw the fish rise, but didn’t have any luck. Anyway, the PMQ performed beautifully, easily turning over the wooly bugger in a decent breeze. One thing I have found is that it’s difficult to use a leader longer than about 9 foot, based on the length of the rod, which is only around 6.5 ft. The leader management gets a bit tricky.
It was good to get out there and do a bit of recon for the coming weeks, when I’ll be spending a bit more time in the area. All I want for Christmas is a nice big brown on my PMQ 🙂
Update: I managed to get back there a few days after this session but there was a bit of an easterly and I didn’t see anything bar a tentative rise downstream. I did, however, see a spectacular sunset, so I’ll finish with a few flicks to prove that sometimes the fishing isn’t all about the fish.
Thanks for reading 🙂