Snowy Monaro Fly Fishing - your complete guide service

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May/June 2017 Fly Fishing Report.

The last month or so of the season was fairly typical with plenty of cold weather and occassional rain - not really enough to get the big early spawning run of Brown trout that fly fishers would like. There were some nice days for those lucky enough to be there at the right time and some good fish were caught and generally returned to the water. The lower water - in the Eucumbene especially, made the fish wary and the usual large numbers of anglers walking the banks added to the trouts caution. I found lighter weighted flies worked better under the generally low clear conditions.

The restricted access at Denison on the Eucumbene River seemed to work well enough and there were few complaints, so I'd assume it will continue. It's good to see that unknowing anglers will no longer be driving 4WDs over redds in the back end of pools!

The 2016/17 season was another good one with adequate water most of the time. The only real blemish came in the form of another hot summer with warm conditions that neither fly fishers or the trout enjoy.

Winters on us now and as always I'm already pining for the coming spring and new season in Otober.

Paul Bourne.

April 2017 Fly Fishing Report

Some typical autumn weather with nice rain and some lovely windless days saw plenty of good fly fishing opportunities in April. All rivers and streams are flowing nicely and we'll just have to wait and see what winter brings. We've had a few light snow falls on the mountains and temperatures are now cool to cold as we move toward the season's end in early June.

It's not all over yet though. There will still be some nice fishing days here and there but hatches will be light and many fish - especially the Brown trout will possibly have other things in mind. As we head into early winter it's again spawning time for our wild Brown trout. As always don't forget that both the Thredbo and Eucumbene rivers are classed as spawning rivers from the end of April till the June long weekend. That means a one fish over 50 cms bag limit - catch and release being a far better idea for these vital fish.

Cold nights and some continued rainfall will see more and more fish making the spawning run up these rivers and anglers will target these larger than average - and often far easy to catch than usual fish. glow bugs and depending of flow, weighted nymphs with indicators are generally the rig of choice when tackling the "run".

Fly fishers should also note the new track restictions in place at Denison where the Eucumbene river runs to the head of the lake. 4wd vehicles are now restricted and not allowed on the river flats so as to stop the rampant damage and congestion they have caused in recent years. An easy 500m walk is now required.

Lake fishers who continue to brave the cool evenings are still having success with yabby and mudeye pattern flies, but the lakes are a bit low so watch out for muddy edges.

It's been a good season so far and the last month or so should continue the trend.

Paul Bourne.

March 2017 Fly Fishing Report

Summer has gone and March ended up being quite wet. The water was just what was needed to pep things up and river levels will now be excellent till the the season close in ealy June. There were a few warm days but Autumn conditions generally prevailed and some nice fishing was had in virtually all waters on the right day.

There are still a few mayfly and caddis hatches in most waters and afternoon spinner falls are common as I write. The fish aren't always easy at these times and plenty of stealth with the soft light, long shadows and clear water is required. Red/Orange Spinner patterns in # 14 and small #16 black Spinners seem to be most common. Grass hopper flies and the good old Red Tag are also working well and I'd expect this to continue for a few weeks yet. Conditions are looking great for the Easter break.

The larger Hydro lakes have dropped a bit over summer but are fishing pretty well with Mudeye patterns late evening.

Cool/cold nights are now the norm so make sure you come prepared for the remainder of the season.

Paul Bourne.

February 2017 Fly Fishing Report

The month was generally very warm to hot without much rainfall - not exactly conducive to good trout fly fishing. Good days were few and far between. I spent much of the month in New Zealand and they also experienced unusually warm conditions.

Still, water temperatures were not high enough to affect trout survival and as we enter March it seems summer is coming to and end with some rain and much lower temperatures - just the right for happy, hungry trout. Autumn will see much more opportunity for fly anglers. There's still plenty of grasshoppers about and cooler conditions will see some aquatic insect activity too.

Paul Bourne.

January 2017 Fly Fishing Report

The first couple of weeks of January saw plenty of holiday makers out on most waters and the fishing was generally good if you found some unmolested water - not always easy at major holiday times.

We still had a few storms and rain on occasions and this has kept most rivers and streams at good levels throughout the month.

The second part of January saw some regular hot weather events and this made it difficult to find good fly fishing water at times. Trout don't like warm water and tend to go "dogo" when they're not comfortable - they are a cold water fish remember. Worse still I heard a few stories of anglers out on some water on hot days - catching and releasing a few to no doubt die later. When we're faced with hot conditions we should seek out cooler higher altitude water and keep an eye on temperatures - it's usually not that pleasant for us either.

Hopefully the month ahead will see some lower temperatures as well as some rain and we can then all enjoy some fun fishing again.

Paul Bourne.

December 2016 Fly Fishing Report

A mixed bag of weather and fly fishing has been the story for December. Rain in the form of storms has been common with good falls right accross the region as we head into the new year. These summer weather patterns will likely continue into January guaranteeing good water levels through these warmer months.

We have had some warm/hot days, but nothing to harm the fishing in the mountains - although there have been a few days of high water associated with good stormy rainfall. Can't complain about that! The lower altitude Monaro streams are warmer though and will be best left alone till Autumn.

The mountain rivers have been fishing well on most days and there are plenty of trout about. As mentioned earlier, water levels are good and a weighted nymph has occasionally been needed to get down to fish - either on a longish dropper or with an indicator. Pheasant tails and black seals fur beadheads in size 14 or size 16 have worked well. Dry flies are also fishing well most days and emergers, beetle patterns and smaller stimulators have all worked well and this will continue to be the case.

The big lakes are also good on the right evening and mudeye hatches are more common at this time of season. Fur flies, Craigs Nightimes and the like in sizes 8 or 10 should work well when fished into dark on the right evening.

Summer holiday time see's plenty of anglers about, so show some respect and stick to the basic rules of etiquette and we'll all have some fun.

Paul Bourne.

November 2016/17 Fly Fishing Report

Once again we're having a great start to the season with November providing regular excellent fly fishing opportunities. The higher water levels nearly everywhere began to fall away on many streams and rivers through out the month. These first couple of months have'nt had a lot of rain but towards the end of November some good falls were experienced through out the region and it's looking like we'll have a bit of a mixture of weather in the lead up to Christmas. Naturally there's been some windy days as well.

The lowland waters(Monaro) have continued to fish well with some excellent hatches of Mayfly at times. This will continue for a bit longer but summer's warming days will start to see the fishing slow as the trout lay low on many warm/hot days. Still that's no problem as the mountain rivers and streams are much cooler and begining to fish well. There's still a far amount of water in some - notably the Thredbo river that is still receiving some snow melt. The northern rivers - Eucumbene, Murrumbidgee etc. have good levels as I write and on the right day are fishing well.

We still have fly fishing to mostly Brown trout and as is often the case there's a mixed bag of insect hatches on these mountain waters. Royal Wulffs, Adams and Red Tags are good all rounders at this time, but keep an eye out as fish can occasionally lock on to a specific hatch if something's in abundance. Apart from dry flies a nymph on a dropper can give good results on moderate flowing waters.

The large lakes are holding plenty of water, but dropping more often than not due to irrigation demands out west. Not the the best for shore based angling when this occurs, so keep an eye on Snowy Hydro's website for the latest info. When they are stable or rising a bit we're like to have some good afternoon evening fishing with mudeye pattern flies and midges at this time of season.

All in all there's been plenty of good options so far this season and it's looking good for those visiting during the up coming holiday period.

Paul Bourne.

October 2016/17 Fly Fishing Report

The season is off to a good start. Lowland Monaro waters have fished especially well under the right conditions. The mountain rivers have done it tougher with high water levels being the norm for the first month.

We've seen some continued snowfall right through October and some rain too. Five days after the opening on the October long weekend we had half a metre of snow! That raised the gauge to a respectable peak of 170cms for the year. This of course attributed to the early high water. The outlook continues to look good for the coming month with snow still in the mountains and plenty of water in the ground.

The larger mountain rivers will begin to drop some and should start fishing well through out November. Rainbow numbers are again low, but some late run fish are about. Still Brown trout have always been the mainstay of the fishery and there certainly are some nice ones out there.

Mayfly hatches will be common on lowland waters and begin to increase in the mountains. Stoneflies are also making an appearance on most streams in the afternoon and fish are regularly rising to them as they go about their egg laying. Large black spinner(mayfly) imitations in all three stages (nymph, dun and adult spinner) should be common on most waters through out the coming month or so as will the occasional beetle and flying ants.

The Trout Festival has just concluded with mixed results on the big lakes. More experienced fishers generally had better resuls and the variable weather also played a part. Spring like conditions with changes and some thunder storm activity is likely over the next month or so and being on the water at the right time will continue to help with the catch rate.

I'm already really enjoying the season and we've only just started!

Paul Bourne.

Outlook for 2016/17 Trout Fly Fishing Season.

The new season is only a couple of weeks away as I write - at last! It's nice to experience all the seasons but enough is enough.

From what I can see it should be a ripper. There's been plenty of rain this winter combined with fair (10 inches below average) snowfall so water certainly won't be a problem for some time at the very least. The wetter trend looks likely to continue, so be prepared for higher water levels early on. That's how it should be in a good year. Hopefully summer this season will be a little milder than the last few. I guess we'll have to wait and see.There's still more than a metre of snow on the main range so this will feed many mountain waters for some time yet and with generally wet soaked ground everywhere we are getting good run off with every rain event.

The large storages have good levels -Eucumbene 50%, Jindabyne over 80% and Tantangara is over 50%. They should continue to rise during spring and offer good fishing over freshly covered ground. I'm already getting good reports from Lake Eucumbene.

As is usually the the case, the Rainbow trout spawning run will attract the most attention during the season opening. Last season saw good numbers of trout run the Eucumbene river, but the Thredbo river run was much lighter. This may well be the case again this year. Heavy nymph and glo bug combinations usually bring sucess as getting down to the fish is of paramount importance.The lower altitude monaro rivers are likely to be high and coloured at first but should be worth a look as things settle down.

Most waters had their share of good days last season and this ones definitely looking to be a beauty. The farmers are expecting a bumper season and the whole region will look fantastic this year.

I'm counting the hours!

Paul Bourne.

April 2016 Fly Fishing report

Summer may have been long over but some very nice and unseasonably warm weather persisted through out April. Nights were cool to cold and there was little rainfall during the month. This made for some very pleasant fly fishing as there were still some nice mayfly hatches here and there. It wasn't often easy though, as the low clear water and soft Autumn light made trout a little wary and fly anglers a little easier for the fish to spot. At the same time there were a few very nice fish to be caught if you took up the challenge.

As we move into May forecasters are predicting cooler conditions and some much needed rainfall. I hope they're right as some cold nights and rain are needed for the trout to have a sucessful spawning. Usually late May onwards sees the best fly fishing opportunities when chasing these fish and from here on any fair to good rain events should see some brown trout moving up from the big lakes to their associated rivers. A reminder, as always this time of year -the bag limit on both the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers revert to "Spawning Rivers" and anglers may only keep 1 trout over 50cms. Catch and release with perhaps a nice photo is the best idea of course!

The major hydro storages are fishing quite well as the nights are now cool to cold and fish are happier to enter the shallow margins. Food is certainly sparse now, but the usual Mudeye, Yabby or caddis nymph patterns are getting some results for those keen to fish into the evening.

There will still be the odd "traditional" day or two fishing on the rivers and streams, especially if these nice days continue for a bit. So make the most of it before winter sets in.

Paul Bourne

March 2016 Fly Fishing report

Summer persisted well into March and kept conditions quite warm nearly through to Easter. It then ended rapidly and more typical Autuminal conditions now prevail and that should be the case through to the end of April. Rainfall was resticted to some stormy weather so water levels remained a little low throughout the month which added to the trying conditions.

With cooler waters now widespread the trout should want to make the most of any feeding opportunities. Winter isn't far away. It does seem that the unusual extended summer has seen a reduction in food options and there aren't alot of nymphs around in many waters. Typically of Autumn fishing, some days will be better than others. Lower clear waters and softer light with long shadows are all in the fishes favor - so be careful and try to remain unseen. Delicate presentations should bring results and there will still be some hatches on some waters. There's also still some grasshoppers about in places too, so paying attention to what's around will help with choosing the right fly. Adams, Redtags and small Black Spinner dry flies as well as smaller Hares Ear and Pheasant Tail nymphs will continue to be useful.

Keep an eye on rainfall as any events of a couple of inches or more should see some movement of brown trout from the lakes up the major mountain rivers

The end of summer has also seen an improvement in fly fishing conditions on the regions many lakes. The big hydro lakes will continue to fish best early and late as trout will now be more willing to move into the shallower (and now cooler) lake surrounds. Mudeye fly patterns in the evening and yabby style flies continue to produce a few nice fish as will some smaller damselfly nymphs and the like.

Autumn offers cool and pleasant days and a chance to enjoy the fly fishing in the region before the onset of winter. So make the most of it.

Paul Bourne.

February 2016 Fly Fishing report

The month started well after good rainfall in January and all the regions rivers and lakes had good water levels for most of the month. Some warm to hot weather continued, especially later in February. Not a lot of rain fell so choosing the right location was important and watching temperatures for the months last couple of weeks was most important - trout dont like warm water!

Still there were some excellent days mostly in the first couple of weeks and many fish responded well to various terrestrial patterns. Hoppers and beetles were more often than not first choice patterns and this is likely to continue through to at least Easter. I am seeing some mayfly hatches on occasion, so keep a lookout over the coming months as fish can get selective if a food item is abundant.

Hopefully as autumn approaches we'll see some more rain and generally cooler conditions. Fish numbers are still good in most waters and the right conditions should see plenty of good fly fishing opportunities. As always catch and release is recommended for our rivers and streams as this will guarantee fishing fun for all through out the season.

Lakes Eucumbene, Jindabyne and Tantangara were a little slow for shore based anglers as hot days warmed the the shallow edges. Some cooler nights as we head into early March should see an improvement in that reguard. Fishing a caddis nymph or mudeye type fly into the evening or at dawn continues to be the best option for our large hydro lakes.

Autumn can be an excellent time to fly fish the region as, with some luck the fish try and make the most of their last chance to put on some condition before the lean times of winter.

Paul Bourne.

January 2016 Fly fishing report

The Christmas holiday period has come and gone with holiday makers experiencing a mixed bag of fly fishing and weather. There were a few hot periods(never much chop for good fly fishing) and some cool ones too. The second half of January has seen some good rain and storm activity which has benefited streams which became a little low earlier in the month.

As mentioned the fishing was tough at times with fish occasionally becoming a little fussy with the added fishing pressure and sometimes very quiet with warmer waters - a typical summer situation. This all seems in the past now as good flows are common place and crowded waterways are now back to normal.

The next month is likely to have a mixed bag of weather as the storm and occasional rain continues. It pays to keep an eye on this activity as heavy thunder storms can colour and raise water for a day or two in some catchments.It's still summer and terrestrial insects will remain high on the trouts menue. Beetles and Hoppers well presented should rarely be refused. Humid weather days will still see some hatches of our smaller( size 16) black or rusty spinner mayflies and a few batis too.

The lakes are also having their day and mudeye pattern fishing is still bringing results for those fly fishing into the evening. The smaller lakes are also fishing well on a nice day.

The next month or so leading into Autumn should see some excellent fly fishing around the Snowy Mountains and plenty of fish about for those lucky enough to get out there!

Paul Bourne.

December 2015 Fly Fishing Report

December has offered a bit of everything for fly fishers. Some excellent conditions and fishing in the mountain rivers and a short heatwave, that's thankfully over to boot.

Rainfall was a little under average for the month, but most waters are holding up well and some good rain is forecast for the start of 2016. Lower altitude rivers are generally often a bit warm and tend not to fish well through summer so are best left alone till things cool in autumn. Summer is a time for dry fly fishing in the mountains and terrestrial patterns will work well. It's still a bit early for grass hoppers so beetles and blowfly/marchfly patterns have been bringing results. There are still some good hatches at times and Adams dries in size 14 or 12 have been useful. They work well when there's caddis about too. Bogong moth patterns can also bring fish up in both rivers and lakes at this time of season.

The large lakes Eucumbene and Jindabyne had warm edges after a few hot days, but that's in the past now so should provide some good evening fishing for beetles, caddis and midges still. The Christmas period tends to have good fishing for hatching mudeyes and this will be the mainstay during the holiday period. A Craigs Nightime, fur fly or other mudeye patten in a size 6 or 8 fished in a short erratic retrieve ought to entice a fish or two. If you do find conditions a little warm around the edges then try fishing deep with a weighted fly off rocky points and you may catch a nice brown trout or two.

The holiday season will generally see plenty of people about. Some swimming, canoeing etc. on nearly all our waterways - so a bit of patience is definitely required. It's a time of fun for all, so Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Paul Bourne.

November 2015 Fly Fishing Report

The 2015/16 fly fishing season continues to provide some of the best fly fishing in the region for a number of years. Some nice rainfall of a couple of inches or more at most locations has kept water levels up well and prospects look good for summer so far. We continue to get a few warm days, cooler ones and a bit of rain - a mixed bag which is pretty much what you want at this time of year.

Almost all waters have fished well at times during November and there's been plenty of happy anglers around the place. I'd say the upcoming holiday period will be very busy so take this into account when choosing water to fish. Some of the lower altitude rivers have been a bit murky and will no doubt start to get a bit warm in coming weeks. The mountain rivers are all fishing especially well under the right conditions and it's great to see good numbers of nice Rainbow trout still about in the larger rivers such as the Thredbo and Eucumbene.. These fish are starting to look up and dry flies will work very well over the coming months. Mayflies, Caddis and Beetles will be the mainstays now and I've seen a few Tea Tree Beetles around already so it may well be a big season for these. You'll still need to look around and take note of what's happening and if your lucky enough to find a few on the feed you should have great fun.

As always a nice photo is the go if you catch a few as they are far to valuable to be caught only once. The lakes are the place to fish if it's a feed your after. Also be careful when handling fish as killing them for a pic isn't good. Hold the wrist of the tail tight and just cup the belly - if they flap to hard just drop them back in the water and start again.

The big lakes have also provided some nice fishing at times and warm evenings will see some midges about and just prior to dark hopefully some mudeyes (dragon fly lava) moving to shore to hatch.

The Snowy Mountains and Monaro are looking great and I'll be on the water as often as I can in the lead up to Christmas.

Paul Bourne.

October 2015 Fly Fishing Report

As hoped and expected the 2015/16 fly fishing season's off to a great start with virtually all rivers, lakes and streams producing some good fishing - in the right conditions of course.

The month started out quite warm and dry, so excellent conditions were the norm. We'd had a wet winter so water levels were good, with the mountain rivers and streams that run from the main range area being quite high due to some warmer than normal conditions (snow melt). Lake run Rainbow trout were present and a little easier to find at the northern end of the mountains first up due to the lower non snow affected rivers and streams there. I saw some very nice fish up to four pounds or so in the old scale, that's good fishing anywhere! Lower altitude rivers are also producing a few nice fish and the water levels remain good thanks to the wet winter.

Later in the month more normal weather patterns of occassional rain and thunder storms seem to have taken over and it looks as if it that will continue into November. The globug style fishing of the early weeks will now be less productive, although a deep heavy nymph will still work well in some waters. There have been some good hatches especially at lower altitudes and mayfly, termite and ant patterns have worked well. We should also see a few more beetles and small black ant hatches also as spring progresses. Looking about before you tie a fly on as it's always the best guide to fly choice.

The lakes have been fishing well depending on releases - they're never at their best when dropping, so keep an eye on Snowy Hydro's website for relevant information. Later next month will see more surface activity late in the day on these as midges etc. mature and begin to hatch.

We've just had some good falls of rain - up to a couple of inches in some parts of the region, so good conditions and fly fishing will definitely persist. Remember if you like fly fishing our rivers and streams "catch and release" should be the norm for a bright future.

Paul Bourne.

Outlook for 2015/16 Fly Fishing season

With less than two weeks to go as I write how do the prospects for the coming fly fishing season look? In a word good.

Last season ended well with plenty of small to medium trout about and that definitely bodes well for this year. The weather gods have also been kind with plenty of winter rain on the lowlands and after a slow start some fair snowfall aswell. The gauge at Spencers Creek topped out at a tad under 1.5 metres - a little under average, but its holding plenty of water, so the rivers in the region should flow well until summer at the very least.

As mentioned there were plenty of smaller fish about to end last season including what were the elusive Rainbows! Both the spawning run on the Eucumbene and Thredbo river have seen good numbers of this species but they may have run a bit early as my last couple of "looks" have'nt seen too many. We'll have to wait and see what the opening brings. I am sure we'll find more Rainbows about than previous seasons, that's for sure. There most definitely will be good to high water levels in almost all waters early as more rain and some snow is forecast for the lead up to the season opening on October 3rd. Heavy flies as usual will give the best results under those conditions as most fish will be hugging the bottom.

The big lakes will be rising early - they're open now and should and have been fishing well for both Brown and Rainbow trout. Eucumbene especially has been producing some fat rainbows for some.

I don't have a crystal ball, so long term weather forecasts aren't my thing, but if we can avoid a hot dry summer again I'd reckon the season will be the best for a few years. See you on the water.

Paul Bourne.

May/June 2015 Fly Fishing Report

The last month or so of the season saw a mixed bag of both weather and fly fishing conditions. Some rain fell but most rivers stayed quite stable with the typical Autumn and later early winter conditions.

If you got on the water there were still some nice dry fly days, but the activity window was often short as temperatures became cooler and cooler - all very typical of late Autumn/ early winter fly fishing conditions in our region. The shining light for me was the number of trout about in waters that had been quiet for a season or two. This included plenty of small rainbows, a fish that has been a bit elusive in the past few seasons. Good signs for the future.

The big drawcard that is the Brown trout spawning run wasn't as productive as the previous couple of seasons and to be honest that was half expected as the past few had indeed been exceptional. Still some nice big browns were caught. Angling pressure was immense and the trout were pounded from well before the run had even begun until the June season closure. There's talk of the Hydro restricting vehicle access at the popular Denison ( Eucumbene River ) access as 4wd vehicle activity is becoming ridiculous and damaging - people just can't help themselves at times. Some good rainfall as the season closed should see a successful spawning for the browns and provide for good fly fishing in the future.

With winter upon us the large lakes are the only option with polaroiding in Lake Jindabyne - a fickle but occasionally fun option. A long winter walk is always good exercise if the fishing is slow anyway! There can also be productive evening fishing at Lake Eucumbene for those willing to brave the cold.

See you in season 2015/16.

Paul Bourne.

April 2015 Fly Fishing Report

April proved to be quite a wet month overall and that rainfall will likely see successful spawning in the months to come. The fishing was excellent on the good days, but not often easy as can be the case in Autumn.

Winter has arrived and the fly fishing will be best as fish begin to run in ernest and start their spawning. Cold conditions and rising rivers will tend to have the lake fish moving up into their respective rivers (Eucumbene, Thredbo etc.)

The spawning run isn't everyone's cup of tea but can be some fun as normally shy fish can sometimes be very easy. I remember one day late last season telling one client that "sometimes even small children and babies can catch them they're so easy". We went on to to catch some very nice ones! Early May will likely be most productive with a nymph and as spawning increases and eggs begin to roll down rivers then Glo Bug flies will come into there own. As is the case each season I remind fly fishers that the Thredbo and Eucumbene rivers are now classed as spawning rivers till seasons end on October 9th. and therefore have a one fish over 50cms. bag limit. Catch and release is always a better option as these spawning trout are poor eating.

A quick photo is the best option and the trout should be treated with respect as we are reminded by the late Muz Wilson a well known inovative Australian fly tier and fly fisher who passed away just prior to ANZAC weekend -vale Muz. http://www.manictackleproject.com/muz-wilson-unfuzzled/ Muz recommended we hold our breath while we holding fish to photograph them as they would be too and get them back in before we start breathing again. Historically I think all the best fly fishers were smart enough to always put the trout first as without them we have nothing.

There will be plenty of fly fishers about on these mountain rivers, so try to leave some space to others as nomal stream etiquette goes out the window at this time. The 4WD hatch is the norm!

Lowland rivers will be very quiet from here on in and the resident brown are definitely best left to spawn in peace.

The larger lakes are improving again as they rise with the rainfall and should fish well at times. River mouths will be favourite locations for shore based angler as fish will gather in these areas before they run. Big black flies fished well into the night can get spectacular result sometimes for those who are willing to brave freezing temperatures - not me I'm afraid!

Paul Bourne.

March 2015 Fly Fishing Report

Autumn is usually a milder time of season and this year was no exception. March had a little more wind than we often see in autumn, but there were plenty of nice fishing days. The later part of the month was a little light on rainfall but with Easter on the way typically some is forecast for early April.

Lower water, softer light and longer shadows always makes for wary trout at this time, so fly fishers need to show a little more caution and consider the conditions. To many false casts can alert fish to your presense as can casting a shadow over fish early or late in the day. Most fish want to feed at this time as winter is fast approaching. Hatches and feeding will begin to slow through out April as will the fish feeding as food is less prevalent.

Most rivers and streams continue to fish quite well under the right conditions and this will continue for some time yet.There are still some light hatches of mayflies and caddis as well as some grasshopper activity on some waters. Warm days should see a response to a good grasshopper pattern presented well and the trout will hopefully find a good feed hard to resist. Adams, Elk hair caddis, red tags and hares ear and pheasant tail nymphs should get results. There will be some cooler, slower days at times and the heat of the day will probably see the most feeding activity now.

The big hydro lakes ( Eucumbene and Jindabyne etc. ) seem to be mostly dropping lately and this has meant fewer fish around the edges for shore based fly fishers. Checking lake levels on Snowy Hydro's website is good idea for anyone thinking of tackling the lakes. When they are stable or rising mudeye or yabby flies should get results.

Season 2014/15 has a couple of months to go, so get out there while you can.

Paul Bourne.

February 2015 Fly Fishing Report

As February ends our mild and occassionally wet summer draws to a close and Autumn seems to be in the air. The month saw continued regular rainfall events and all waters are truly looking great, as is the region in general. We couldn't have asked for more.

Most waters continue to produce fish and there are some nice ones for those prepared to put in the work. The Cooler nights we are now experiencing mean the fish will be more active through out the day and should feed well when food is available. Picking hatches is never easy in our neck of the woods, but there's terrestrial insects - such as hoppers and beetles about, so suitable flies are not hard to find. The trout do like to feed still at this time as winters only a few months away. It's hard to think of waters not worth a cast or two at the moment. Lower altitude waters are also now cool enough for a look see.

The lakes are also showing some nice fish now and nice browns are regularly moving to the edges on dusk chasing a yabby ot two. Wooly Buggers fished near the bottom work well for these and don't be afraid to lose the odd fly to the bottom. Dragon flies are still about, so mudeye patterns will also work well on the right evening.

Autumn is a pleasant time to fish the region with generally mild conditions common. It's also interesting to note how well the season has panned out after many pundits predicted doom and gloom at the opening. Realistically it has been the best for a couple of years and I guess the lesson learned here is it's best to listen to local opinion rather than those who occassionally visit the area.

Paul Bourne.

January 2015 Fly Fishing Report

This summer is certainly proving to offer far better fly fishing than the previous couple of scorchers. Conditions have often been mild with hot days few and far between. Regular rainfall has seen excellent water levels in all rivers, streams and lakes throughout the region and there's even been the odd high water event to keep the fish happy. The month has ended with a week of cool to cold nights and mild occasional showery days.

Fortunately there's plenty of fish about and it's hard to find water that hasn't got it's fair share of trout. Most are in the small to medium size range, but there's definitely some good ones around too. I'm expecting to see a few more good fish in the big mountain rivers as we've had a couple of high water events in the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers over the past week or two. At this time of season this usually gets some lake browns moving up the system in preparation for spawning in a few months time.

The fish are still looking up - especially on the nicer days and when there's a hatch of some kind going on. This time of year should see some responce to Grasshoppers and other larger terrestrial insect patterns when little else is showing. The usual fare of Adams, Royal Wullfs, Humpys etc. in sizes 12 to 16 will continue to be a good choice most of the time and nymph fishers using size 14 & 16 Pheasant Tails and Hare's Ear nymphs should also see plenty of action on the right day.

The big lakes are having their moments too as levels remain steady or rise a little. Eucumbene is at 57%, Jindabyne 84% and Tantangara is at 27% as I write. The mudeye hatches have been a little slow so fishing close to the bottom has been more productive when there's little food near the surface.

It really is shaping up to be an excellent late summer and autumn this season and there's plenty of fun to be had.

Paul Bourne.

December 2014 Fly Fishing Report

December proved to be an excellent month with plenty of good fly fly fishing opportunities. The month started with continued good rainfall - the wettest December for a couple of decades. This meant good water levels and associated fly fishing. It does look to be a milder summer than the previous couple of scorchers and that is of course a good thing. I'm sure we'll get acouple of hot days here and there but all in all it's generally looking good.

Summer is of course dry fly time in the mountains and there's plenty of fun to be had floating a dry down a nice ripple or run and finding a rising trout or two. There seems to be fair numbers of small to medium (8 -14 inch) fish about and the odd larger and more challenging specimen too! Wulffs, Red tags or Parachute Adams are all producing fish at the moment, but there may also be some fussy fish if you stumble on a dun hatch or afternoon spinner fall - so as always, it pays to be observant. As summer rolls along we'll likely see grasshopper patterns come into their own toward late January, as there's quite a few immature ones about.

Conditions on the day are important of course and the larger more open streams will often be a bit quiet on bright sunny days. These are great times to wander smaller shady streams with a dry. Cloudy conditions or afternoons will likely see the most action in the large rivers such as the Eucumbene, Bidgee etc.The lowland streams are generally too warm in summer and best left alone for a bit, but that's fine as the mountains are cooler and the place to be for summer.

Water levels have been fairly steady in the lakes and all are fishing well at times. Jinabyne is producing plenty of rainbows, which is of course the opposite of the doom and gloom being spouted by many prior to the season. Evening mudeye pattern fishing will as always be the fly fishers mainstay on the lakes through summer. But do remember that if there's a few hot days in a row the trout won't be hanging around in shallow edge warmer waters - that's the time to fish deeper off of rocky points etc.

It seems the varied weather will continue so all looks pretty good for the regions summer fly fishing.

Paul Bourne.

November 2014 Fly Fishing Report

The season is rolling along nicely now and late November and into December has seen some excellent rainfall from storms through out the region. This does mean occassional high or coloured water is persisting and fly fishers need to be versatile. There's always some where that'll continue to fish well and a bit of local knowledge is a bonus here. The region continues to look great and the farmers are happy!

Temperatures are also on the rise and this see's the mountain rivers coming into their own -lowland streams are now mostly to warm and will be best left alone till autumn.The major mountain rivers all seem to be carrying plenty of small fish, but there certainly is the odd good one among them. Polaroiding and generally looking carefully seems to be the best approach if your after the odd larger one as catching a few small ones usually tends to alert better fish and will put any better trout down - it still surprises me how many fly fishers don't seem to realise that trout will spook/run away at the slightest sign of the angler. I put this down to the fact that unfortunately to many anglers in this part of the world begin there fly fishing on spawning runs - when trout can be very, very easy unlike during the season proper.

Heading into the Christmas period we are seeing a lot more insect activity and terrestrial insects are far more common - always have some Red Tags handy. Apart from beetles and ants there's a few Cicada's about, so if you've got a few NZ leftovers in your fly box perhaps give them a try. Mayfly and caddis hatches are more common now and occasional fussy fish will need a more immitative fly pattern. Carrying some Parachute Adams in various sizes and a few small red or black spinner patterns will be a good idea over thecoming months.

The recent good rains have also been of benefit for lake fishing and December is prime time for some midge fishing - especially on lake Eucumbene. A small size 16 buzzer pattern suspended a couple of feet below a midge ball is a good rig when they're on in the afternoon. Mudeye hatches are on the increase and a Simmo, Craigs Nightime or fur fly fished into the dark is a favoured way to go for trout on them.

Christmas is fast approaching and I'll be out enjoying some quiet fly fishing as much a possible before the busy holiday period.

Paul Bourne.

October 2014 Fly Fishing Report.

The 2014/15 season has begun with the usual mixed bag of weather and associated fly fishing conditions. We've had heat waves, cool snaps with snow and some always welcome rain. This has meant up and down water levels and fly fishers have needed to be versatile to make the most of prevailing conditions. It does seem as if things are settling down and there should be some excellent fishing over the coming months.

The rainbow spawning run fishing was quiet with most fish having returned to their respective lakes just before the season opening. Still, that's what a closed season is designed to do, so no use complaining. Some fish have hung around in the high country rivers and there have been some larger than average Rainbows about - most notably in the Thredbo river. The good rainfall means these fish haven't been easy and well weighted nymphs have been most sucessful on the Thredo, Eucumbene and Murrumbidgee rivers.

Over the next month or so the Brown trout should start to feed a little more often as these mountain rivers begin to warm. Mayflies, stone flies and caddis are all begining to show on the right day. With water levels subsiding, dry fly fishing will become a more viable option - again under the right conditions. Occasional termite and other ant hatches are also occuring on the right afternoon.

The lower rivers are also showing some fish and dry fly fishing has been productive. Although fly choice has been important, so as always, be observant and try and use a fly of roughly the same size, form and even colour of any natural insects the fish are feeding on - not always easy, but that's half the fun!

The larger lakes are also having their moments if you strike it right, so all in all there's plenty of options and there will be some good fishing from now till Christmas. The region is looking great and being out on the water is an absolute pleasure at the moment.

Paul Bourne.

Outlook for 2014/15 Fly Fishing Season.

With only a couple of weeks to go the 2014/15 fly fishing season looms large. We've had an excellent snow season and some good recent late winter/early spring rainfall, so all rivers and streams are flowing well. It also seems as if typical spring conditions - a bit of everything, will continue. At present water levels should remain good so long as nothing too drastic happens over summer. The last couple have been quite hot and a bit dry - so we'll have to wait and see how that pans out.

After a couple of below par seasons I'm expecting far more fishing options this time.The cormorant numbers have returned to normal and a few other natural factors should see fish numbers on the increase. As I normally do at this time of year, I've been keeping an eye on the Thredbo river over the last month and am happy to report that there seems to be an ok rainbow spawning run at present. Interesting considering most people have been lamenting the fate of our "missing" rainbow trout. Nature indeed works in mysterious ways! Apparently the Eucumbene River is also experiencing a similar run as testament to the Pelicans lining the river at Providence Portal. Lets hope some of these fish hang about over the coming months.

Typically I'd expect water levels to be up as the mentioned snow continues to melt and spring rains likely also add to the flows. Glo bugs and bead heads as per normal at the season start for the major mountain rivers. If the conditions are right there will also be a few fish in some lowland waters - catch and release recommended here.

The lakes will be also rising and as always they're the best place to look for a feed and should fish well.

See you out there!

Paul Bourne.

April/May 2014 Fly Fishing Report.

April started out well with some good rainfall continuing through out the region. All waters have benefited and are continuing to flow well.

It also seems as there are plenty of small trout around the place still and the outlook is good for next season. Hatches continued throughout April and as to be expected have dropped off as we progress through May toward the end of the season. Even though we are getting a little warm weather as I write - winter is on the way and the cold stuff isn't far away..

A reminder that both the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers revert to spawning rivers from the beginning of May till season close on the June long week-end (9th June). This means a 1 fish over 50cm. bag limit. Catch and release is definitely a better idea as the spawn run fish are pumped full of hormones and generally poor eating.

Glo Bugs and weighted nymphs will be flies of choice on these rivers and an indicator will also make detecting a take easier. Also take note that normal stream etiquette goes out the window on the waters at this time - so plenty of pattience may be needed!

The larger lakes are also fishing reasonably at times and large wets fished deep will catch the odd fish -especially near river or stream mouth's.

Paul Bourne.

March 2014 Fly Fishing Report.

A fair improvement in fly fishing prospects came about through out March. Cooler water temperatures and weather meant happier fish. A lot of small fish have been showing up everywhere through out the month.We've also had some much needed rainfall and that looks like continuing into April.

The region is looking great now and the hot summer/tough conditions are a fading memory. The prospects look good for the last two months of season 13/14. The increased flows resulting from good rainfall should hopefully see some lake fish begin moving into the major mountain rivers - the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers. The trout will want to feed when ever they can before winter and spawning mode takes hold. There will still be some hatches of mayflies on warmer days and Baetis (blue winged olive)duns are quite common on many waters during autumn. There's likely to be other mayfly hatches as well, so as always, be observant.

Fishing a nymph either alone or as a dropper works well with higher water levels - so be prepared to make changes depending on conditions. A pheasant tail or hares ear nymph of various weights will do the job.

There are still a few grass hoppers about, but I would imagine it won't be long before a few morning frosts take care of these, but still fish them while you can as trout love a good mouthfull when they can.

The large mountain impoundments are also on the improve as in flows are increasing a little and temperatures are becoming cooler. Fishing around river and creek mouths should prove productive here.

Autumn is a very pleasant time to fish and be in the region and it's best not to waste the last good fishing of the season.

Paul Bourne.

January/February 2014 Fly Fishing Report.

The Christmas period and most of February saw some good fishing conditions on occassions, but regular heat waves had the fish laying low a little too often. Thankfully the end of high summer appears to be upon us and some cool conditions and rain are now the norm. This has already seen fish on the move again.

Late summer early autumn is usually a good time to fish the region and the fish will tend to make the most of feeding opportunities. There will still be some grass hoppers about for a while yet and mayfly hatches will also start to increase in intensity. The trout won't often be easy though as they've just been through the busiest time of season and wise fly fishers will make sure the fish remain unaware of their presence. Longish leaders will be useful for providing a delicate presentation when required.

Apart from grasshopper and beetle fly patterns anglers will also find small size 16 Black Spinner flies and Dad's Favourites useful. A small pheasant tail nymph will also be handy.

The big lakes ( Eucumbene & Jindabyne )have been dropping and as expected when this is happening, have been a bit quiet for the shore based fly fisher. Hopefully cooler conditions and rain will have things on the improve. Mrs Simpson, Craigs Night Times and Hamils Killer flies should work well at dawn and dusk.

The smaller high country lakes fished well in the warm weather and are likely to continue to do so on fine days.

There are some fish about so get out there and enjoy the last few months of the season.

Paul Bourne.

December 2013 Fly Fishing Report.

The lead up to the Christmas/New Year holiday season saw some good fly fishing on some waters - once again during the right conditions. It does seem that the fly fishing is on the improve.

The weather kept up the "mixed bag" approach with some good rainfall and a couple of decent snowfall events. As I keep reminding visitors, they don't call them the Snowy Mountains for nothing! This has meant some days were better than others. We'd did seem to dodge the hot stuff until late in the month and as was to be expected some of the hotter days saw few fish out and about - remembering we've mostly had Brown trout to persue this season and they don't waste energy very often. As I write it's between Christmas and New Year and the weather is cool and rainy. The fishing will be good as it clears.

Summer is a time for increased terrestrial activity in the mountains and beetles ants and the like will work well. It's still a tad early for grasshoppers, but I'll be expecting to see some on the wing in a few weeks. Certainly Mayfly and Caddis hatches should continue and will see the fish up and after them if your lucky. The large Kosciuszko mayflies have been hatching at times and trout always love a good mouthfull of these protien rich critters!

The lower altitude Monaro rivers will generally be to hot and thinking fly fishers will leave these alone till autumn as their recovery continues.

The smaller high lakes and streams come into their own over summer and can be a delight to fly fish on the right day. Dry flies are of course the go in these and a trusty red tag #14 will be a mainstay for many fly fishers.

The big hydro lakes have remained reasonably stable and dawn and dusk fishing will produce some rewards for holiday makers. A mudeye pattern, or in the late afternoon some caddis and midge nymph patterns will be handy. Some very good browns have been cuaght in Lake Eucumbene for those keen to fly fish into the night.

There's no doubt it hasn't been the easiest of seasons so far, but it has had rewards for those willing to look around and fish accordingly.

Paul Bourne.

November 2013 Fly Fishing Report.

November continued the trend of changeable weather conditions found so far this season. Some rain and snow - all welcome by the way, have seen water levels remain a little high at times. This is good news for the remainder of the season and it's difficult to imagine any low water problems this year. We seem to be getting some storms at the moment and this sort of weather will likely continue until Christmas - should see some great hatches!

The larger mountain rivers have remained very slow so far and I'd put that down to the lack of Rainbow trout this season. I'm expecting them to fire up with Brown trout feeding activity on the increase as these river warm up - there's still snow about up high and water temps have remained quite cold. As is often the case, some waters are fishing well and some not. There's starting to be some excellent mayfly and caddis hatches in some of the mountain streams and occassional excellent fishing to go with them. The coming month should also see an increase in beetle activity and other terrestrial insects. I'm seeing plenty of tiny grass hoppers about, but it's still way too early for them to be of significance.

The lowland rivers continue to improve and should fish well for another month before water temperatures rise and make them unsuitable for fishing. Some good imitative mayfly patterns are important if you wish to tackle these sometimes finicky trout.

Some of the smaller high country empoundments have fired up occasionally and can be a lot of fun to polariod (spot fish with the use of polarised sun glasses) on a nice day. Meanwhile the large Hydro lakes have also been hot and cold. December is traditionally an excellent month for midge fishing in these lakes and with good water levels this should be the story this season too. Small pupae and midge ball flies are a must when they're on.

Christmas is fast approaching and I'll be spending as much time on the water as possible before the the holiday influx hits.

Paul Bourne.

October 2013 Fly Fishing Report.

The 2013/14 season is under way with a mixed bag of fly fishing options and conditions. The region was lucky and escaped the hot and fire prone conditions experienced in areas north of Canberra. The weather has remained reasonably cool in general and there were even a few light snowfalls at higher altitudes during the month. It seems the variable weather conditions will continue for a while yet and that's good news as summer will come soon enough.

As mentioned in my previous "Outlook" posting, all eyes were on the Rainbow trout spawning run - or lack of it, in the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers. It seems the Eucumbene fish mostly dropped back early after some good rain and the Thredbo fish - well I don't think anyone really knows what happened to them! This has certainly been disappointing for those who love the "shooting ducks in a barrel" type of fishing often encountered when huge numbers of spawning fish run from the big hydro lakes. It seems as intended, the trout may have learnt to run during the closed season which was designed to protect them at those times, so really it's hard to complain.

The brown trout fly fishing on the other hand has been reasonably good at times although as always with brownies it hasn't often been easy. The regions river/stream fishery has always been dominated by these fine sporting fish and their numbers are seemingly still quite good. The cooler water temperatures still being encountered are making hatches light and tougher than usual to pick, but stoneflies, termites, black ants, midges, caddis as well as some mayflies and a few beetles are about. The larger mayfly hatches in the mountains may well be later than usual this season. Meanwhile the lower altitude rivers are starting to experience good Black Spinner hatches under the right conditions.

I'll also take this opportunity to reiterate the need for catch and release on our recovering streams. Many were severely drought affected only a few seasons ago and still have some way to go. It's disappointing to hear stories of "pot" fisherman bragging about their exploits. If you want a feed go to the big lakes or as a few of my mates suggest - buy a hamburger.

By all accounts lake Jindabyne and Eucumbene are fly fishing quite well at the right time as is Tantangara on the Murrumbidgee. Good water levels and reasonable temperatures have helped here and the midge fishing should be excellent in the coming months.

Personally I'm looking forward to a good season and with a bit of continued rainfall I'm sure this will be the case, even if the rainbow trout numbers are a bit light on this year.

Paul Bourne.

Outlook for 2013/2014 Fly Fishing Season.

Another season is at last about to begin. This will be my 20th. as a guide and fly fishing instructor in the Snowy Mountains and Monaro region - here's hoping it's one to remember. I'll also take this opportunity to thank all the people I've guided and helped learn to fly fish over that time.

It's never easy trying to estimate the various factors such as rain, temperatures etc. ahead of time and I'd say my crystal ball is about as reliable as anyones! So let's see what we know to date. This years official snow depth at Spencers Creek hit just over 1.8 metres with 1.8 being the average. Good rain fell in late June/July and was followed by a drier August (it was snowing then!) with some good falls in September. It's two weeks till the season starts as I write and we had 2-5 inches of rain across the region only days ago.

There's more weather forecast as the October long weekend approaches, so it seems likely that higher water levels that are normal at the start will again be the case.

That means Glo Bugs and Tungsten bead heads for the expected Rainbow trout spawn run in the Larger mountain rivers -notably the Thredbo River and Eucumbene River.

It will be interesting to see how this run goes as it was well below par at the start of last season. The Rainbow trout need anual stocking (as out lined by fisheries biologists many years ago) to continue their viability - so don't be afraid to voice your opinion on this issue. Remember your taxes and licence fees are paying for it.

Lake Eucumbene, Jindabyne and Tantangara are all holding fair amounts of water at the moment, so should also fish well and be regularly rising from now till the new year.

So it all looks on track - at least until Christmas, for some good fly fishing opportunities. We won't know what summer will bring for a while but hopefully the unusually high temperatures experienced last January and February will stay away.

So I'll be counting the days and busily tying some last minute flies till the opening. Here's hoping we all have a great season.

Paul Bourne.

May/June 2013 Fly Fishing Report.

Some good rainfall toward the end of May and into June has seen a reasonable end to the season with a good Brown trout spawning run. Not every ones cup of tea, but some nice browns were caught and the rain has continued into June, so plenty of trout will spawn un-molested into early winter and assure some great trout for the future.

The 2012/13 season was certainly a tough one at times. An above average hot summer that was also very dry slowed things up quite a bit, but the good conditions late season will hopefully see a rapid improvement for next season.

The major storages in the Snowies should fish well enough for those keen on a bit of winter fun and I'll get out for some polarioding when the conditions are right.

Paul Bourne.

April 2013 Fly Fishing Report

April has continued the mixed bag trend so common this season. Some cooler conditions and snowfall earlier in the month was followed by mild warm and relatively dry days. Add to this typical softer light ( a product of the sun being lower in the sky) and associated long shadows meant things were often tough and in the trout's favour.

At the same time there are definitely some nice brown trout begining to move into the larger rivers - notably the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers. Some reasonable and welcome rainfall seems on the cards for the last few days this month and combined with cooler over night temperatures this trend should continue till seasons end on the June long weekend.

As always at this time of season I'll remind fly fishers of the changes that take place on the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers at the end of April. Both of these rivers are then classified as "spawning streams" through out May and June until the closure on the June long weekend. This means a 1 fish over 50cms. limit on both of these rivers. As always I prefer and recommend catch and release on rivers at all times.

Depending on conditions, there may still be some dry fly fishing about at warmer times of day on some waters. I noticed a few duns still popping and stone flies about during the last week (of April), but most fish will be targeted with nymphs and Glo Bugs (egg flies) during this last month or so of the season. Far lower water levels than those we associate with the springtime rainbow trout run mean that we generally need to keep fly size and weight of flies down at this time of seasom under these conditions. Again it can be tough with the low, clear water.

Mean while the lakes are fishing well at times and nymphs, mudeyes, yabby and small fish type fly patterns can all bring results at this time of year. Remember though, dawn and dusk are quite cold now, so be prepared! Lake Eucumbene continues to fall and is now in the low 50s %, Jindabyne and Tantangara are both steady at 87 and 28 % respectively.

Winter isn't far away so get out there while you can.

Paul Bourne.

February/March 2013 Fly Fishing Report

Hot and cold conditions, as well as hot and cold fly fishing continued throughout summer. Occasional warm to hot water meant fly fishing was often slow especially during February/early March. Actively seeking cooler waters continued to pay dividends. As we head into Autumn cooler and more stable conditions generally will see an improvement in fly fishing through out the region.

Still there were some excellent days here and there. Hopefully some lake fish will also finally make their way up the larger rivers, such as the Eucumbene, Thredbo and Murrumbidgee rivers to further improve the fly fishing. Summer and early Autumn are traditionally grass hopper time in the region and "Hopper" flies will still be a good option on many waters, although they've definitely been patchy this season due to the extremes of weather. As we leave summer and move to Autumn some aquatic fly hatches should increase. Mayfly nymphs are still around in some waters and on the right day will bring on some feeding activity.

We continue to get some regular rain and most rivers and streams have good levels. Terrestrial insects will be on the menue till late April so flies like Red tags will still be of value - I'd never leave home without some!

Longer shadows, softer light and clear water are all traits of Autumn fly fishing so remember to be observant, but don't let the trout observe you!

The large Hydro Lakes - Eucumbene, Jindabyne and Tantangara also had an on and off summer as the heat came and went, but should settle down nicely during Autumn. Mudeye flies, Yabby patterns, Caddis and midge will see some activity through till the end of April. The lakes have mostly remained stable with Lake Eucumbene falling to around 50%.

Hopefully moving to Autumn from a long summer will see more feeding and improved fly fishing opportunities.

Paul Bourne.

January 2013 Fly Fishing Report

Well, January couldn't end to soon. Hot dry conditions persisted for most of the month and resulted in water temperatures in many waterways regularly being to high for good fly fishing. Still, some streams and lakes at higher altitudes did remain cool and fished well at times. Finding cool water was certainly the key. Fortunately the month has ended with good rainfall exceeding 75mm in some parts of the region and cooler temperatures with single digit overnight temperatures to make sure the water remains nice and cool. The fishing seems to have picked up instantly in some rivers - notably the Thredbo. With a bit of luck these conditions will persist and the height of summer may be behind us.

There are a few grass hoppers about, but we're probably still a few weeks away from reasonable numbers for the fish to key in on. Beetles and small Black spinner mayflies are still common on most rivers and streams and that will continue through out February. Size 14 Red Tags, Black spinners in size 16 and small size 16 nymphs will be useful over the coming month. Along with numerous other favourites of course!

The lakes have been a bit hit and miss through out summer and some cool conditions should pep them up. Evening mudeye fishing will continue to be the mainstay, but caddis, beetle and ant hatches can also occur at anytime, so we need to be prepared. There are still some red spinner mayflies about on the lakes and their duns hatching from weedbeds in the late afternoon can bring some trout on.

As mentioned there's some rain and cooler weather about so hopefully the fishing will be lots of fun from here on in.

Paul Bourne.

December 2012 Fly Fishing Report

Christmas is but days away as another season flies by in the Snowy Mountains. Fortunately we're getting some cooler weather and storms - so most waters should fish to their full potential during the holiday period.

There's most definitely a lack of rainbow trout in the mountain rivers and streams this year and that will make the fly fishing a little tougher than during the previous couple of outstanding seasons. Life can't always be easy! It seems a combination of flooding, which often reduces the available food for a time and the continued high number of cormorants in the region along with some other variables have combined to make the fishing a little more dificult. Still there has been some excellent dry fly fishing to quality brown trout in some waters - under the right conditions of course.

The coming summer months will as always be a prime time for the dry fly. Generalist patterns such as Royal Wullfs, Adams, Red Tags and Elk hare Caddis in sizes 12-16 will be very useful and if we're lucky enough to to miss out on anymore cold snaps, we should see some interest in grass hoppers by the end of january - there's plenty of tiny nymphal ones about at present.

Occasional higher flows and deeper water will ensure that the use of a small aquatic nymph imitation on a dropper will be handy, but I generally stick to fishing one fly at this time of year.

It will be interesting to see how things progress in the New Year as it is common to have a run of feeding fish enter our larger mountain rivers if we're lucky enough to get a few good summer rain events. Time will tell.

The large impoundments all seem to be fishing well and summer evenings can see some excellent fly fishing. As always being there on the right afternoon/evening makes all the difference. Of course we never seem to know which one that'll be till after the fact! Eucumbene is hovering just below 60%, Jindabyne is pushing 90% and Tantangara on the Murrumbidgee River is around 25%. Mudeye patterns, Midge patterns and stick Caddis patterns will be useful. But just as on the streams during summer - so will beetles and ants at times.

The Snowy Mountains can be very busy and are a play ground for many over the holiday period, so show plenty of patience and we'll all enjoy a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Paul Bourne.

November 2012 Fly Fishing

November has seen some continued and welcome rainfall along with warmer weather. Conditions during the month can truly be described as a mixed bag. After a couple of mild summers it seems we'll actually have one this year. Not a bad thing, but it seems the high temperatures have warmed many lowland waters and have put paid to any fishing in the lower altitude Monaro streams till perhaps next autumn.

Meanwhile the mountain rivers are all finally at good fly fishing levels, although there's still a lot of water in the Thredbo as some remaining snow continues to melt. Dry fly fishing has worked well on the right day, but some good fish are also still being taken on deep nymphs when and where the water is still up. I've found large Adams, Royal Wulffs and the like to be useful in the bigger rivers and the usual smaller size 14 or so flies to work well on any sighted fish.

The lead up to Christmas will see continued mayfly and other aquatic insect hatches. Terrestrial insect numbers are also typically on the increase. Red tags and other beetle patterns will be useful.

It does seem that fish numbers are generally a little lower than the last couple of fantastic seasons, but there's still plenty about. Staying away from water recently hunted by the large population of cormorants certainly helps, so keep your eyes open.

The major Hydro storages - Eucumbene, Jindabyne and Tantangara are all fishing well at times and seem to be rising more often than not. Lake Jindabyne is nearly full again and some smaller impoundments like Guthega and Island Bend were regularly on the spill last month. Summer conditions and Mudeye and Midge hatches go hand in hand and there has been some good evening fishing already at times. This will no doubt continue in the lead up to the holidays.

December should see some good fly fishing leading up to Christmas and any time on the water should be well spent.

Paul Bourne.

October 2012 Fly Fishing Report

The 2012 season's underway. It hasn't been the usual start in the mountains as the rainbow trout spawning run has failed to materialise - much to the disappointment of many. Perhaps there will be a late run this season, only time will tell.

Meanwhile the fly fishing has been more traditional and not always easy. The right location and a bit of local knowledge has reaped rewards and the early season dry fly fishing has at times been excellent. Brown trout have been the main quarry and as always, they're sometimes not easy. Finding feeding fish has been the key.

There was some heavy rain and snow fall during the first weeks of the month and some beautiful warm days to boot. I'd expect a mixed bag of weather to continue and water levels to be generally good. The northern ( Adaminaby ) end of the mountains received a little less snow during winter so water levels are a little lower than at the Southern ( Thredbo ) end. The lowland ( Monaro ) region has also had some welcome rain and a few fish are showing there.

There will be an increase in hatches and associated feeding trout throughout November and there's plenty of large mayfly nymphs in most rivers and streams. Once again there's plenty of cormorants about again this season and this can cause the trout to hold under cover a little more often. Again finding available food will find the trout out too - so be observant.

The large storages are all on the rise and generally have fished well. They can be fickle so some persistance will be rewarded there as well. Midge hatches, ants and some mudeyes should see some great fishing in the through out November.

As mentioned, the rivers will see an increase in mayfly activity during the prime month of November. Termites, stoneflies and caddis will get the trout out and feeding and we'll see a some beetles begin to show. Large Adams, March Browns, smaller Blue winged Olives, Red tags, Royal Wulffs and Black and Red Spinners will all have a place in my dry fly box in the coming month, while a selection of Pheasant tails and Brown nymphs in various weights and sizes will also be useful.

There's some great fly fishing times ahead and I'm sure spending every chance I get out on the water!

Paul Bourne.

Outlook for 2012/13 Fly Fishing Season

Only a few weeks to go and the 2012/13 season will begin. As always, I can't wait. Another long winter draws to a close. It looks like the official snow depth has peaked at 2.15 metres, which is above average. Great for consistent water in the lakes and streams this summer. It wasn't quite so deep in the northern part of the Snowies - the Eucumbene and Murrumbidgee headwaters, but I'm sure they'll be fine.

There's plenty rain forcast in the lead up which is typical spring weather. So forecasting weather and water levels for the opening won't be easy. The smart money is always on high water for the mountains in the first few weeks and we do have a very early opening this season - Saturday the 29th. of September to be exact.

The Weather Bureau has forecast an end to la'Nina (wetter times) and a possible return to el'Nino (dryer times) - only time will tell. Winter has been a little dry a lower altitudes (the Monaro), but as I mention there's been some recent rain and more to come. So possibly a little kinder season as far a "nice" weather is concerned. The lower altitude monaro rivers are still recovering and I'd expect fish numbers to still be generally very low - catch and release here.

The Snowy River is receiving an evironmental flood/flush again as I write and it's great to see this continue. Again I hope this is permanent and not simply short term politics in action.

Rainbows have begun to move into the major rivers to spawn and will of course attract plenty of anglers for the opening week end and beyond. Showing plenty of patience and consideration at that time is a must as unfortunately all etiquette tends to go out the window during the spawning run. Remember that both the Eucumbene and Thredbo Rivers (the two major spawn run rivers) are classified as blue ribbon - that's a two fish limit. Realistically the dark spawn run fish are poor eating and thinking anglers will return them to the water.

If it's a feed your after then the silvery lake fish are a better option as they're managed for this with plenty of stocking.

Higher water at the season opening will as always necessitate the use of heavy flies. It's always important to get down to the fish's level and they won't readily move up into heavy water to chase flies. If your not hitting bottom occasionally then chances are you need to go heavier. Sadly these glo bug and trailing nymph rigs are no fun to cast - bring on the dry fly! There can be some surface action early in the right conditions and there will definitely be some size 10 Adams and Royal Wulffs in my fly box just in case.

All indicators point to an outstanding season through out the region and I know I'll be on the water as often as I can.

Paul Bourne.

May/June 2012 Fly Fishing Report

May and early June provided typical end of season fly fishing throughout the region.

The larger rivers running to the hydro lakes were very popular and the typically fluctuating spawning run saw some very large fish caught and often thankfully released. May was relatively dry and lower water levels made the fishing quite pleasant and often easy. Fortunately, as the season's close draws near some good falls of rain and snow have frequented the region. There's about a foot or so of snow as I write and all indicators point to a good snow season ahead. Of course "ask me in October " is always the smart answer when trying to guess this, but it does appear that our wetter conditions from both rain and snow will continue.

The lakes remain open in winter and the Snowies can provide some polaroiding fun for brown trout through out winter on clear sunny days. I usually use a Bushy's horor or an Olive nymph for those but it can be slow. A pleasant 10km. walk isn't an unusual outcome!

The last couple of seasons have seen a fantastic turn around from a slow decline to a fishery on the rise. The Snowy mountains and Monaro are definitely heading into wonderful times and I'm already dreaming of the 2012/13 season ahead. I'm sure it'll be a blinder.

Paul Bourne.

April 2012 Fly Fishing Report

This month provided plenty of great fly fishing for those lucky enough to spend the Easter and school holiday period in the Mountains. There was a bit of everything weather wise with even a little snow thrown in to remind us that winter is fast approaching.

The dry fly fishing was excellent with grasshopper patterns accounting for some wonderful fish on the right day, but as the last month or so of the season unfolds we'll definitely be seeing wet flys and nymphs being most successful. Some good fish have been entering the larger rivers from the lakes and the Thredbo River and Eucumbene River will continue to see fish run when ever there's a bit of a fresh. I've seen some fish spawning for some time now, so wading anglers need to be careful not to walk on redds (trout spawning beds). These are the clean gravel areas at the tails of pools and runs - if in doubt keep out of the water!

Large wet flies, nymphs ang Glo Bugs are and will continue to attract fish. The big spawning browns aren't always easy and successful fly anglers will show plenty of persistance and sometimes in the inclement conditions that may be encounter at this time, they'll need some stamina too! So do come prepared as cold conditions are common from here on in.

Remember also that the regulations on the Eucumbene and Thredbo Rivers change to "1 fish over 50cms" from April 30th. to early June when the season closes. If you're lucky enough to tangle with a large spawn run trout a better idea would be a quick photo and releasing of the fish so as it can provide great fishing in the future.

The big lakes have settled down a bit and are reasonably steady. Jindabyne is around 90%, Eucumbene a bit below 62% and Tantangara is about 30 % and all are fishing pretty well with larger wet flies such as yabby, mudeye or goldfish flies doing the job.

Winter is fast approaching, but there's still some bright Autumn days about, so make the most of what's left of the fabulous 2011/2012 season.

Paul Bourne.

March 2012 Fly Fishing Report

Well March certainly started off as very wet month with wide spread flooding and some disruption to some local road networks. All in all fantastic water for the Snowy Mountains and Monaro fisheries.

Lake Jindabyne overflowed naturally for the fist time since it's completion some 50 years ago -it's still coming over as I write so as Snowy Hydro can have it at a more manageable 85-90%.

Over the last week or two most rivers and streams have returned to fishable levels and they are generally fishing well on the right day. I'm finding most activity from mid afternoon till about an hour or two before dark. Many waters are still seeing reasonable hatches and grass hopper patterns are also still high on my go to list. Autumn see's alot of Baetis mayflies hatching at times, so it's a good idea to carry a few smaller size 16 and 18 Blue Winged Olives to cover any fussy feeders you may come accross. The good water levels have meant the fish aren't too spooky, but care should be taken on the clearer streams. It is autumn and the days are shorter, the light is softer and our shadows are longer - all things to consider at this time of year.

As low water is a thing of the past, I'd expect to see some nice fish from the lakes starting to make their way up most of the larger rivers ( the Eucumbene River, Murrumbidgee River out from Adaminaby and the Thredbo River at the Jindabyne end of Kosciuszko NP ). These fish will continue to feed well given the chance - so be ready for a few surprises! A nymph on the dropper may make the difference in heavier water or even a big wet if that's your thing - I'll still have plenty of faith in a well presented dry fly in most situation for some time yet.

I guess it's no surprise to find the lakes have come up quite a bit this month. Jindabyne hit 100% and as mentioned is still flowing out -it is of course dropping at the moment though. Lake Eucumbene is 60% and rising. Tantagara shot up to 50% but has fallen a bit during the past week. From all reports, Eucumbene is fishing very well at times with the usual mudeye patterns or caddis nymphs doing well. There's plenty of drowned thistles etc. to contend with so don't fish too light.

Easter is early this season and should see some great fly fishing opportunities in the region.

Paul Bourne.

February 2012 Fly Fishing Report.

This summer continues to be mild and February has provided excellent fly fishing through out the region. As I'm sure most visitors also realise, rain has continued to fall and has guaranteed excellent water levels for some time to come. Late February has seen some heavy falls and we'll need to keep an eye on what's been happening and fish accordingly.

Terrestrial flies have been very successful and that should continue for the following month or so. Cooler wet weather can reduce beetle and grasshopper numbers, but aquatic insects such as mayflies and caddis will be prolific. So appart from good hopper imitations it will pay to have some Elk hair caddis in a size 16 and some size 12 & 14 Adams or parachute duns on hand. A good supply of Red tags will also always be on hand.

As I mentioned earlier, water levels can be up at times, so a nymph on an 18 - 30 inch dropper will also be useful. A size 14 or 16 Pheasant tail or Hare's ear nymph with a small tungsten bead head should do the trick.

The large lakes fell a little during the month but recent rain should see them rising and fishing well again. Mudeyes and caddis nymph immitations will continue to get results and grassy wind blown shores will have some fish rising for hoppers and beetles through out the day.

I've recently returned from a short stint of fly fishing in New Zealand and the South Island was looking very dry in most regions where as the Snowy Mountains and Monaro are looking lush green and fantastic and will provide some superb late summer/autumn fly fishing.

Paul Bourne.

January 2012 Fly Fishing Report.

As expected the Christmas and New Year period provided some excellent fly fishing opportunities in the Snowy Mountains. Generally typical summer conditions with fine weather punctuated with occasional afternoon storms have been the norm. This trend and perhaps a few heavy rain events should continue throughout February as summer rolls along.

Lower summer water levels, clear water and plenty of holiday makers about has meant the fishing hasn't always been easy, but a careful approach and the usual summer rule of " fine and far" have and will continue to get results.

The coming month will see good fly fishing continue and all the mountain rivers - the Thredbo, Eucumbene, Murrumbidgee etc. and smaller streams and creeks will continue to offer plenty of fun. Things usually quieten down some after the Australia day weekend and the fish will quickly settle down. There are still plenty of mayfly nymphs under the stones, so under the right conditions we'll still have good hatches for a while yet.

Terrestrial insects form a large part of the local trouts diet in summer and beetles, ants and in a few weeks grass hoppers will be important food sources. I'm seeing plenty of small grass hoppers about at the moment ( late January ) and think by mid February they'll be on the wing and some will end up as trout food! This is a bit late this season and it's a time most fly fishers look forward to as big trout love them. Meanwhile, a red tag in size 14 has been a great all rounder fly and hard to beat.

The large Hydro storages are generally fishing well in the mornings and evenings. With Mudeye patterns producing some good fish. There's also been some excellent midge hatches and associated fishing on calm afternoon/evenings as well. A midgeball with a pupae on the dropper rig works well when their on so be prepared. At present lake Eucumbene is about 54 % and lake Jindabyne is steady at 80 % while Tantangara - out from Adaminaby is at 24% and rising a little.

Paul Bourne.

December 2011 Fly Fishing Report

Well Christmas is fast approaching as I write. What a fantastic month December has been so far. Plenty of mixed weather - perfect for great fishing opportunities. It's so good to see regular rainfall through out the whole region. The mountains are looking fantastic for the summer holiday period. Wild flowers are blooming and every where is green.

Once again Christmas holiday makers will strike the jackpot with virtually every piece of water in the mountains likely to fish well. So far this month has seen all sorts of hatches. Beetles, Mayflies, Caddis, Ants and the like will continue to be on the menue for some time yet. There are plenty of large Kosciuszko Mayfly nymphs in most of the larger rivers and if your lucky enough to strike the right humid conditions you may well see one of these great hatches - and yes trout love 'em. They are big and a size 10 Kosi dun imitation or an Adams will do the trick.

I've noted plenty of small hoppers about so later in summer will be good for these. Meanwhile Red Tags, Wulffs, Para Duns etc. will all work well at the right time. Afternoon spinner falls are and will continue to be common so watch out for them. Spent Red and Black spinners in sze 14 or 16 can be handy.

When flows are a bit high the bead head on a dropper under a dry rig will be a great and productive option. I like size 14 or 16 Tungsten B/H Pheasant Tails for the dropper and either a large Wulff or Stimulator for the dry in this scenario.

Apart from all the fantastic river and stream options, the major hydro storages should fire as well. With continued rain they just keep on rising. Eucumbene is well over 50%, Jindabyne pretty much 80% and Tantangara was 35% last time I looked! Wow what change from a few short years ago. The pick to this point has definitely been Lake Eucumbene - although they'll all fish well for summer. Midge hatches, caddis, ants and beetles have been around on the right evening and Mudeyes are starting to really get the fish going. There have been some excellent Browns at times.

The weather should continue to dish up a mixed bag over the summer period and temperatures have been reasonably mild to this point. If your making your way down for the holidays come prepared as anything can happen in the Snowies. There will be plenty of people about so please show some consideration and we'll all have a great Christmas.

Paul Bourne.

November 2011 Fly Fishing Report

November has kept up the trend of great fly fishing with most waters providing some excellent spring fly fishing.

As is to be expected, now that drought is a fading memory, the weather has thrown up a bit of everything. There's been some wonderful sunny conditions and some cool rainy days as well - typical late spring conditions. We are getting a few thunderstorms as I write this! So I'm expecting water levels everywhere will be good for the rest of the season.

These changable conditions will likely continue into summer and that should mean great fishing most of the time. Most aquatic insects will hatch under humid conditions so keep an eye out for some good mayfly hatches. Kosciuszko maylies, Black Spinner mayflies - both large and small, will be common. Tiny Caenis mayflies may also be on the menue early morning in some slower waters. Caddis hatches are now common place and this will continue. Meanwhile, stonefly numbers will be decreasing.

Watch out for various terrestrial insects too. Beetles, ants and the like will find their way onto the water over the coming months especially around flowering bankside vegitation. I've noticed a few Tea Tree beetles at lower altitudes and we're due for a good hatching year - they seem to have peak years every now and then. Trout do love these little black with tan/orange wing cased morsels. I usually use them in size 14.

Red tags, Royal Wulffs, Adams and the like will all produce, but occasional hatches may be better fished with an imitative pattern. Flows will continue to rise and fall a bit so size 14 -18 bead head nymphs should regularly be handy on a dropper below a dry fly. A big Royal Wulff, Humpy or Stimulator is a good indicator dry fly in stronger flows.

The lakes just keep on rising. Eucumbene is at 50%, Jindabyne has hit 80% again and Tantagara is over 30%. Most lake fly fishers are rejoicing and the next month will see midge, caddis, beetle and ant hatches on the increase. Mudeyes (dragonfly lava) will be hatching in better numbers and fishing a fur fly, Craig's Nightime or "Simo" into the night will be popular for some.

Personally I love the rivers and streams and the lead up to Christmas will provde some splendid fly fishing. I'll be out there every chance I get!

Paul Bourne.

October 2011 Fly Fishing Report

The season's off to a great start and as is usually the case plenty of Rainbows ran the major mountain rivers to spawn. There will still be good numbers of these fish hanging about for some time yet.

Unlike early season when heavy Glo Bugs and larger tungsten bead head nymphs were needed to get down to fish, water levels have subsided a bit and into November a big dry and nymph on the dropper will generaly be the rig of favor in the larger rivers( the Eucumbene River out of Adaminaby and the Thredbo River at the Jindabyne end of the Mountains). The trusty Royal Wulff and Adams in size 10 or 12 or even an Orange or Olive Stimulator is a fair choice for the dry fly as we'll see some big mayfly duns and the odd big stonefly as spring progresses.

There are also a lot of the small "stonies" or needle flies about and they can tempt fish to the surface during their egglaying sorties in the afternoon as will spent mayflies as their hatching increases through out November.

The tableland Monaro region is also on the improve with a few fish showing - most are small and care should be taken - that means catch and realease, to nurture these streams back to their former glory.

It looks like a typical season at the moment with regular thunderstorms (makes me glad I fish Bamboo on some waters instead of lightning rods!) and both warm and some cooler weather in the mix. The region is looking great as we head into another year out of drought.

The big lakes are all still rising, or rising again for two of them. Jindabyne and Tantangara both fell for a while as environmental releases took place. It was especially heartening to see a flood down the mighty snowy again and hopefully we'll see a good trout fishery develope there over the coming years.

Lake Eucumbene is now above the portal and quietly growing. It will be interesting to see how far it comes up this season. Lake fishers have generally been having fun fishing some large wets - Mrs. Simpsons and the like into the night and there's even been a bit of dry fly action with termites and caddis hatches. This should continue through out November.

Spring is rolling along and the fly fishing opportunities over the coming months look great. So head out and wet a line.

Paul Bourne.

Outlook for 2011/2012 Fly Fishing Season

It's been a long winter, but at last there's only a few weeks till we can be out on the rivers and streams again. I managed to have a few fun days polarioding on Jindabyne through winter but the rivers are always where my heart is.

I'm alway's reminding clients about how fickle and unpredictable the weather is in this part of the world and this winter was a perfect example. We started out with the biggest snow storm for 20 years that left 1.65m of snow in the mountains and boy was it cold. Naturally and unfortunately for skiers that didn't last and it soon turned to milder conditions and rain - plenty of it. There's still quite a bit of snow in the mountains and it's holding a lot of water. Lowland areas also had some good rain - so it would be unlikely that water will be a problem this year. Of course, trying to predict the rainfall/weather for the coming months is best left to Houdini. I'd think we'll get our share of rain through out spring, but probably not the huge falls we recieved last spring - don't hold me to that though!

Personally I'd suggest it will be a great season as the region get's used to being " out of Drought". I'm expecting improvement everywhere if that's possible. Last season saw great fly fishing opportunities once the water settled down and that should continue this season.

As is always the case, the rainbow trout spawning runs from lake Eucumbene and Jindabyne into their respective rivers will be the the major attraction first up. I always take a look off the Thredbo river bridge in mid September and can confirm that there's plenty of nice rainbows in the stream at the moment and they'll be around for the opening month or two. Early season water is usually high and fast flowing and I doubt the opening weekend at the start of October will be any different this year. Weighted Glo Bug and Tungston bead head nymphs will be the flies of choice and weight will of course depend on the flow. You must try to have the flies at the fishes level and in strong flows early season, that means close to the bottom. Be prepared to lose a few flies. As is always the case - show restraint and remember these rivers are blue ribbon and have a two fish bag limit. Better to practice catch and release I'd reckon.

Depending on water levels and temperature, we may see some good early hatches on warmer days. Mayflies, Stoneflies and Caddis should be about. I'm always prepared for anything early season so be prepared, this also means bring a rain jacket and warm clothes - anything can happen in the Snowies. The lowland Monaro region had some good winter rainfall as well and this should see it continue to recover.

The large Hydro lakes are all holding more water at this time than for many, many years. Jindabyne is steady at around 82% - ready for some big Snowy river releases. Eucumbene is around 42% and rising. Tantangara is at 25% and falling at the moment.

There seems to be water in the ground everywhere again and the future is bright, so dust off your waders and start checking your gear - it's another great season ahead.

Paul Bourne.

May/June 2011 Fly Fishing Report

May and June have seen the expected slowing of any feeding activity by our local trout. Some fish especially Rainbow trout have continued to rise to the odd hatch of tiny midges and the like, but the Brown trout have been the major quarry.

As is always the case at the seasons end - the big Browns running the large rivers that flow to Hydro lakes are the major target. It has always been a difficult debate - the ethics behind chasing fish on spawning runs. My own opinion is fairly simple. It's been going on for a long time and appears not to have been detrimental to the fishing. Most fish spawn after the close and dig up the redds of many early spawners and the "1 fish over 50cms" limit also slows any would be slaughter. It should also be noted that it is illegal to walk/wade on redds (the gravel areas in which trout spawn) and it's also illegal to target fish "in the act of spawning".

The opportunity to tussle with some large oversize Brown trout certainly attracts some keen anglers. The fish can be less cautious at this time, but on the other hand they aren't really feeding so can offer difficulties as well.

This season has of course seen some excellent fish caught on the run so far and there's only days to go as I write this. But that's been the story in general for the 2010/11 season - definitely one to remember. For starters the drought ended - yaaaaaaaaayyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. That in it' self was enough to get excited about. It was easy to forget that fish - trout especially :) love water.

We started with a lot of high water and some tricky conditions that called for thought and experience to gain results and then, when water levels lowered a bit, the fishing was truly fantastic with plenty of sizable fish about and a few very memorable ones amongst them. I'm definitely optimistic for the future of the regions trout fishery. Water is indeed the key ingredient and hopefully the lowland Monaro rivers will fire up in a season or two as well.

Meanwhile winter is here. There'll be a few fun polarioding days on the lakes, but seriously, next season's only four months away!

Paul Bourne.

April 2011 Fly Fishing Report

April provided excellent fly fishing with some of the most settled weather of the season. The seasons close is now only a month or so away. Brown trout will start to move into the major rivers with each rainfall event from here till the close on the June long weekend.

Some glorious autumn weather is still persisting as I write this and good dry fly fishing is still about, but will become less consistent now - especially for brown trout. They'll start to get more interested in spawning and are more likely to be chasing each other and pairing up rather than feeding. Still as I said there are still some good days left and some will continue to rise and feed in general for a while yet. Insect activity is on a rapid decline now as is typical late season, although some of the smaller mayflies are still about in numbers in some waters. Tiny midges will temp some fish to rise and the rainbows are definitely still keen to feed. Nymphs on a droper and sometimes deeper depending on the water depth may be needed to find a few at times.

The brown trout spawning run will gain plenty of attention with every minor rise in water levels in the large rivers flowing to the major hydro lakes. Don't forget that the Eucumbene river and Thredbo river are classed as spawning rivers from the end of April till the season's end - this means a 1 fish over 50cms. bag limit on these rivers. As always on rivers a catch ,photo and release policy is a better idea. Deep fished nymphs and, once spawning commences glo bugs will be the most productive methods for tackling a few of these big bruisers as they move up from the lakes.

The lakes themselves should fish well over the coming month as they're all reasonably stable at the moment. Eucumbene is about 35%, Jindabyne 78% and Tantangra is down to about 14%. Yabby and small fish patterns tend to fish well a this time of year and by all accounts the fish are in excellent condition.

The school holidays combined with the Easter/Anzac holiday saw record numbers visit the mountains and enjoy the fishing, now as it settles down a little the final burst of fishing for the season should be wonderful and cap off a fantastic season.

Paul Bourne.

March 2011 Fly Fishing Report

Autumn is now with us and the days are growing a little cooler and shorter. We keep getting a mixed bag of beautiful soft light autumn days and some rainy ones.

Notably the coastal ranges - headwaters of many Monaro rivers - have received plenty of water. Up to 500mm in some areas! The mountains haven't had it too bad either, with a few inches here and there. Consequently most rivers and streams have excellent water levels and have occasionally been a bit high. This scenario will most likely continue as "drought" becomes a fading memory.

Fish love water and that's been obvious this season as there has generally been excellent fly fishing for plenty of notable fish. Naturally it isn't always easy and we'd probably tire of it if it were. The softer light of autumn as I mentioned tends to make it a little easier for trout to spot anglers. Successful fly fishers take their time and exhibit plenty of caution at this time of season.

Hatches of aquatic insects are on the increase and I've noticed numerous mayflies, caddis, stoneflies and few dobson flies as well. So be prepared, as occassional fussy fish will need a bit more thought on fly selection as well as approach. It's a mixed bag at this time of year with both large and tiny insects being apparent. One minute it's tiny Baetis may flies and the next it's larger black spinners and the like. Fortunately many of the mountain fish are often not too fussy about what flies they take and large trout in particular will want a big mouthful if they can get it. Trout know that winter is fast approaching and now through to the end of April will be their last chance for a decent feed.

Cooler weather has naturally seen an improvement in fly fishing the larger impoundments. Shore based fly fishers are still getting good results with mudeye type flies fished into the night. Lake Jindabyne is remaining static. Lake Eucumbene continues to rise and is now visable from the portal. Naturally Tantangara continues to fall as the portal remains open and empties it's water into Lake Eucumbene. Maybe next season will see Eucumbene cover these flats, but I'm a river/stream fisher at heart and don't mind the extra few kilometres of river - we'll have to wait and see.

There's some great fly fishing still to be had and I'm certainly making the most of the seasons remaining couple of months and don't even want to think about the long 4 months of winter just yet!

Paul Bourne

February 2011 Fly Fishing Report

The 2010/11 season continues to provide some excellent fly fishing. We've had a relatively mild summer with a few hot days, but more mild and variably conditions now seem be the norm. Rain is continuing to fall with some regularity and all rivers in the region have the highest water levels seen for late summer for decades - the future is very bright! Mind you picking the right day and location has and will continue to be important as the good rainfall has also meant occasional high water levels in most rivers and streams.

It is still summer and terrestrial flies continue to be the most productive and many fish have been unable to refuse a well presented large fly. Grass hoppers, Bogong Moths and Cicada fly patterns have all produced well. This scenario should continue for at least another month, but hatches of mayflies and caddis will increase as we move into Autumn. Carrying some March brown and Adams dries in #12 - #16 will prove useful, especially on the more placid and smaller waters.

The occasional flooding of the larger rivers -the" Euc, Thredbo and Bidgee" should see a summer run of fish from the lakes. The cooler inflows tend to attract hungry trout a this time of year and many will push up these cool flows in search of a feed.

The big lakes have been a bit warm on the edges for good shore based fly fishing, but recent rain and cooler temps will see a definite improvement on the lake fishing front. At present Lake Jindabyne in hovering around 80% . (no the dam wall didn't burst!! - just a minor problem on Snowy Hydro's website which showed 79% one day and 40% the next.) Eucumbene continues to rise slowly, its a bit over 30% and Tantangara keeps falling as the portal remains wide open - it's about 28%. As usual with the large hydro lakes, Mudeye flies will give good results when fished into the evening.

Some of the smaller empoundments are also fishing well and Guthega lake and Three Mile Dam in the northern part of Kosciuszko National Park have had some memorable days.

All in all the fishing on the right day and location is excellent as the season continues to fly!

Paul Bourne.

January 2011 Fly Fishing Report

Well the Christmas and school holiday makers were certainly lucky. Virtually every piece of trout water has fished well this month and that's likely to continue. .Summer is finally showing itself and the fishing has indeed been excellent. There have of-course been a few thunder storms on some days, that's to be expected and welcomed at this time of year.

Summer is terrestrial time and beetles, grass hoppers, cicadas and the like are about and on the trouts menue. Good if not phenominal numbers of grass hoppers are around the place, so don't hit your favourite spot without them and of -course never head for the mountains without some red tags in size 14. There have also been sone mayflies about and some large Orange Spinners can bring suprising results - these are the adult form of the large Kosciuszko mayfly. Try a size 10 for them! There is still suprisingly good flows in most mountain rivers and streams, so when fish seem invisible it's not a bad idea to try a small bead head nymph a couple of feet below a dropper. In some deeper runs a heavier nymph fished deep can bring results, but it is summer and the dry fly rules! You might also happen upon fish taking tiny Caenid or small Baetid mayflies. Try the 20 -24's for them!.

The next month or two should continue to see fantastic conditions and personally I think we'll all enjoy some of the best late Summer and Autumn conditions seen for decades.

Naturally the large Hydro impoundments are still holding well. Jindabyne has fallen a little but is still around 82% while Lake Eucumbene has risen a little and is about 29%. Tantangra is falling and last reports had it at about 33%. They do continue to fish reasonably well, but warmer weather has seen most fish staying a bit deep and wide. I think as soon as we see some cooler conditions the lakes will fire and many long time lake fishers are predicting an outstanding Autumn. Mean-while Mudeye and Yabby style patters continue to produce good fish if you can avoid the easterly evenings!

Wading summer rivers and polarioding a few on the dry fly is as good as it gets. The mountains are still green and the countryside looks the best it's been for decades. The Snowy's had some heavy flooding through spring early summer and have fortunately so far avoided the devastation seen in other parts of the country - fingers crossed that will continue and we can enter a period of more plentiful times for fly fishers and those on the land throughout the region.

Paul Bourne.

December 2010 Fly Fishing Report

The rain keeps on falling in South Eastern Australia and it really does mean a bright future for fly fishing throughout the region in the coming years. Yes the drought is now a memory it seems -thank god for that! I guess you have to ask what's normal, but conditions do seem somewhat reminiscent of the way things used to be with often high conditions in the mountain rivers till summer. Many are only now begining to return to good levels for fly fishing. Most of the mountain rivers should fish well over the christmas /NewYear period.

There have and will continue to be some good rises to both aquatic and terrestrial insects. I've seen small grasshoppers about, but none on the wing as yet -this is when the fish tend to key in on them as more will then end up on the water. Apart from weighted nymphs, larger (size10 and 12) dry flies have been productive, but with all this water the best results have come from a bit of patience and observation. I've definitely had better results fishing to fish I've located rather than simply searching with the fly. Royal Wullfs and Adams have still produced some fish with duller more imitative patterns working best in the lower flowing waters - if you can find them! Certainly experience of the local conditions in the region has paid dividends.

With mixed weather the fishing isn't always easy and picking the right location for the conditions will continue to give the best results. The northern end of the mountains seems to have more to offer fly fishers at the moment but keep an eye on the weather and rainfall statistics.

The lakes are rising - well Jindabyne (84%) and Tantangara (46%) are and they're both fishing well with plenty of well conditioned fish about. As always they are the best option for those who want a feed. Eucumbene is fishing well but is a bit of a mystery as it remains at 27% . There's definately a bit of raging controversy as Snowy Hydro try and convince everyone that with the best rain and inflows for decades, it's simply" a big lake" - meanwhile sandbaging and floods continue as water pours from the mountains - perhaps N.S.W. and Victorian state governments (that represent the people and own Snowy Hydro) need to tighten the reins -that's all I'll say on the matter!

Summer and the Christmas period is generally a time for excellent evening mudeye fishing in the big lakes. Midge hatches will also continue so come prepared.

As always Christmas is a busy time in the region and should see some excellent fly fishing opportunities. There will be plenty of people about so remember to enjoy yourself and if there's someone where you'd like to fish -simply go somewhere else as there's room for all.

Merry Christmas.

Paul Bourne.

November 2010 Fly Fishing Report

November started off very wet with plenty of rain falling throughout the region. It certainly seems to be reminiscent of pre-drought conditions not seen for more than a decade. Most of the major mountain rivers have been in flood and still remain high. These mountain rivers should fish very well over summer. It's hard to complain about rain when the the whole of south eastern Australia has been dry for so long and sheep and cattle aren't the only ones looking confused as they stand in waist high pastures.

A bit of local knowledge and experience has been invaluable when looking for good water to fish. Those rivers and streams that have remained fishable have provided excellent fishing on the right day. Some good hatches of mayflies, caddis and stoneflies have been common. Most recently tiny black ants have been getting on the wing prior to a thundery afternoon and both lake and river fish have occassionally keyed in on these. Unfortunately they are tiny, about a size 20 or 24!

Along with continued hatches I'd expect to see some more terrestrial activity in the pre-Christmas period. Beetles are starting to be more common so keep a few trusty red tags handy. I generally use them in size 14 but ocassionally an 18 doesn't go astray. Royal Wulff and larger Adams dry flies will continue to produce and a Tungsten bead head nymph rigged on a dropper will of-course still be useful when the water is higher and the fish are not rising.

The major storages are all fishing pretty well, with Jindabyne nearly full (79-80%) and looking great. Lake Eucumbene is the only storage in the system that isn't high (approx. 28% and steady), but from all reports is fishing quite well. Tantangara remains around 35% capacity -which is high for this storage and the portal is wide open as it has been for months. Midge fishing will be a feature in the lakes from now until Christmas and beyond. A midge ball with a small pupae pattern on a dropper is a good rig for the afternoon and evening hatches.

Mudeye (dragon fly lava) hatches will steadily improve from here on in and fishing a mudeye patten fly into the dark should see some action on most evenings.

The weather continues to thow up a mixed bag of thundery afternoons, some rainy days and of-course some bluebird 5 star days in the mix. Farmers are smiling and fly fishers should be too as these conditions set up great fly fishing for the future.

October 2010 Fly Fishing Report

The seasons away and and it's been a great start. Opening weekend saw good conditions generally and plenty of fish were caught in the major rivers - thanks to an excellent Rainbow trout spawning run. It has'nt all been easy as plenty of rain and even a bit of snow has fallen at times in the mountains. Thredbo was awash a week or so ago and it's great to see so much water about.

With the heavy flows in these larger rivers remember it is critical to have the fly get down near the bottom of the river - that's where the fish will be. A weighted globug in tandem with a tungsten bead head nymph may be required to achieve this. That's not easy or much fun to cast . Using a large open loop when casting helps and avoids wacking that heavy combo into your graphite rod! The Rainbow run will continue for some time yet so enjoy yourself and don't forget to limit your kill -not kill your limit.

The weather has been very typical for spring with a bit of everything. There has been some good dry fly fishing in some waters, with Termites getting the trout very excited at times. Trout just can't resist them, although they're not always easy to fool. Dry fly action should increase over the coming weeks, depending on conditions on the day of course. We tend to get some thundery weather in November so this should see some good hatches. The large Kosciuszko mayflies should begin to make an appearance. A large size 10 Adams can work well when the fish key in on the Kosi's so be prepared and keep an eye open. Observing what's going on around you is an important attribute of successful fly fishers.

Ants, beetles, caddis, stoneflies and mayflies will all feature over the coming month, so be prepared. A good selection of dry flies and nymphs are needed to make the most of the hatches and conditions.

The big Hydro lakes - Eucumbene and Jindabyne are rising. Lake Eucumbene is a bit below 30% and Lake Jindabyne is almost 80% as I write this, so both should fish well in the coming weeks. Polarioding the edge, looking for hatches and early morning/evening fishing should all be productive. A caddis nymph and a mudeye fly pattern will be invaluable for an evening session in either lake. Tantangara dam is also rising and is around 35% at the moment. That's much higher than it's been for years, so it wil lalso be worth a look.

Much like all of eastrn Australia, the Snowy's and Monaro are green and looking fantastic at the moment and the fishing over the coming months should be memorable.

Paul Bourne.

Season 2010/11 Outlook

There's a liitle over two weeks to go till the begining of another trout season and all indications point to it be another good season. You'd have had to have your head in the sand to not know that most of south eastern Australia has had some good rainfall over the last 4-6 months. Is the drought over? Only time will tell, but at the moment all is looking good for the Snowy Mountains and not too bad for the Monaro either.

The Mountains have seen a slow but above average snow season with record August falls the likes of which have not been seen for decades. Mind you the other months were slow. It looks like the snow pack will have peaked at 1.92 metres - thats above average and there's been some good rainfall over the last few weeks also. I'd expect water levels to be most likely on the high side for the opening weekend and beyond. There's still plenty of snow up there and the warmer spring temperatures should see some good storms and associated rainfall. We all like fishing in beautiful weather, but fly fishing is an outdoor persuit and it's hard to be disappointed if the stuff the trout live in starts falling from the sky! Anyway after a long cold winter I can't wait to be out on the rivers and streams again.

The lower altitude areas of the Monaro recieved good rain prior to winter and have had a few lesser falls since. Most streams on the Monaro are flowing, but I'd expect it will take some time for fish numbers to increase. If you do look at these waters and manage to find a fish or two, please show some commonsense and return them unharmed. That way these waters may return to their brillant best in a season or two.

So what can we look forward to for the first few weeks? Bead heads and glow bugs will be the norm for the major rivers that flow into the hydro lakes and as I mentioned earlier - come prepared for some high water and associated heavy flies. I stopped in on the Koscuisko Road Bridge over the Thredbo river a couple of days ago and there were plenty of nice fish in there to tease me! The Eucumbene will of course be much the same. These Rainbows are a lot of fun and tend to fight well in the faster currents. Again, show restraint and remember both the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers are classified "Blue Ribbon" and therefore have a two fish bag limit. A good photo sounds like a better option as these spawn run fish are poor eating.

If it's a feed your after then the big lakes are the go and they are a bit bigger this year with all that water! The fish you'll find there will be well conditioned and silvery. Lake Jindabyne has risen substantially and was around 70% last time I looked. The big question this season is - will Lake Eucumbene get up onto Providence flats? Time will tell, but lets hope so. Anyone who knows me knows I have a definite preference for river/stream fly fishing - but if the flats get covered the fishing WILL be fantastic and I won't be missing out.

All in all it should be the best season for years - and that's saying something as the last couple were pretty good, so get out there and enjoy. I'm expecting to have a busy season so if your planning to seek some guiding - book early.

Paul Bourne.

May/June 2010 fly Fishing Report

As I wright this there are only a few weeks left in season 09/10. By all accounts it was another excellent season. It's early days yet, but with some luck, the big dry in south eastern Australia may be over. I sure hope so. March and April were quite dry, but in only the last week or so excellent rain has again fallen across the region and there's definately more coming. Now a big snow year and we'll all be jumping about and dancing - it's been over a decade since this part of the world has had consistent rain.

Anyway, to matters at hand. Rain in the mountains at this time of season bring some good fish into the larger rivers - notably the Thredbo and Eucumbene. The high mountains at the Jindabyne end of the Snowys tend to get a little more water than the Adaminaby (northern end), but all waters now have a sufficient flow for the major fish runs to start. Again I'll remind fly fishers of the need for some constraint and the fact that the bag limit for both the Thredbo river and Eucumbene river is only 1 fish and it must be over 50 cms long. I think a nice photo is a better idea as the fish are far more valuable if they're left in the water.Glow gugs will come into thier own now that some fish will be spawning and wether to fish it weighted or in combination with a weighted nymph will depend on the flow. As always you need the fly to be at the fishes level with this sort of fishing.

These autumn run Browns can be qute a bit spookier than there springtime rainbow bretheren, so try not to be seen. It can be great fun latching on to a few of these hefty Browns - it's the last real opertunity for the season so enjoy it.

There will of-course be some polaroid fly fishing on sunny days in Jindabyne in winter and I'll be out ther a few times - even if it's just to enjoy the walk.

Have a good winter.

Paul Bourne.

April 2010 Fly Fishing Report

Late autumn is now with us and winter isn't to far away. Easter has come and gone and the fishing has been quite good on the right day. Earlier this month saw some warm and clear weather with some exceptional days. As is is always the case, too much of a good thing tends to see the fish's feeding activity slow a little.We're now seeing some variable weather and the fishing should be good through till the seasons end on the June long weekend.

Some good rain has fallen in the region and most rivers and streams have seen a rise in water levels. This will trigger some big browns to start running the major rivers that run into the big hydro lakes. The Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers will now attract anglers looking for "the big one". Don't forget that both these streams have a change in bag limit from the 1st of May through to the end of the season. Only 1 fish over 50 cms. can be kept from these two rivers at this time. Ofcourse these fish are running these rivers to spawn and it's far wiser to return them unharmed so they can guarantee fly fishing in the future. Each succesive rainfall event from here on in will see more and more fish entering these rivers. Also remember, it is illegal to fish for fish that are engaged in spawning and it is also illegal to walk/wade on spawning redds. These are the gravel areas at the back of pools and in some shallower runs and glides.

It can be fun catching these big trout and there are a number os successful methods. When the run first starts many fish will be resting over in larger pools as they travel up and at first few will be spawning. These early fish can be best chased with a nymph under a big dry if they're not too deep or on a warmer day. Once a number of fish have begun to spawn, eggs will start to roll down the river as more and more fish compete for the available spawning gravel. It's now time to give the Glo Bug and nymph combo a try. Some fly fishers will also fish the river mouth areas of the lakes on into the night in the hope of a monster! Big and black can be a good recipe for flies with this in mind. The big ones tend to run the rivers in the dead of night - I'm usually in bed then, but some fly fishers have the bug! Don't forget that when fishing any deeper or faster water it is always critical to be near the bottom - that's where the fish will be.

Theer will still be some dry fly fishing available under the right conditions and small mayflies and midges will continue to entice some fish into feeding. Rainbows will certainly continue to feed when given the chance and if in doubt try to target these. Small flies will work well but don't forget that bigger fish will still sometimes take a big fly given the chance. autumn days can be very pleasant, but the soft light helps fish see clumsy fly fishers - so be careful!

The big lakes are falling a bit but continue to povide some good fishing in the morning and evenings. As I said earlier, try the river mouth areas as fish will begin to congregate there waiting for the right time to run the rivers. Lumo flies and wooly buggers continue to work well and as is the case generally at this time of seson, the rainbows should continue to feed well.

There's less than two months left in the season - it's definately been a good one, so make the most of it.

Paul Bourne.

February/March 2010 Fly Fishing Report

Well what can I say. Water, water everywhere. As I'm sure most people realise the Snowy Monaro region, much like many other parts of the country is experiencing the best rainfall for many, many years. Even better, it's forecast to continue as many pundits, including the C.S.I.R.O. are predicting an end to Australia's long and protracted Big Dry. I sure hope they're right. Time will of course tell and I'm certainly hoping to be out fishing the Monaro in a season or two!

Anyway back to the fishing at hand - the Snowies. The Mountains have of course also been getting rain, with the southern ( Jindabyne ) end receiving most. It's been a long time since I've seen levels in the Thredbo River hold up so well through out a summer. The Northern ( Adaminaby ) end has received less water, but now that high summer is over the rivers and streams here are flowing and fishing well. At least a few inches of rain are forecast for the next four or five days as I'm wrighting this! Keep it coming Huey!

With a fair amount of variety in the weather, the fishing has also been variable. Grass hoppers are and should continue to work well in the northern parts of the mountains and lower regions. The end of the hottest part of the season will see some fair mayfly hatches over the coming weeks. Small Rusty or Black spinner mayflies are common at the moment. These should be tied on a #16 or #18 hook. A normal pattern that's been clipped underneath will work well if fish are fussy when they're taking spent spinners. These tend to be falling on the water mid to late afternoon and you might also find fish "cleaning them up" in the morning. The small Baetis mayflies also start to appear from now till late in the season. These are the Blue Winged Olives and there are plenty of commercial fly patterns around to imitate them. Again, keep them small - #16 to #20will do the trick. There are many other usefull flies for the coming weeks and all will depend on the conditions. Red tags, Royal Wullfs and Adams are dry flies I'm never without, as are Pheasant tail and Hares ear nymphs.

Cooler weather and rain will also see the large hydro lakes ( Eucumbene and Jindabyne ) continue to be productive. The usual Mudeye and Yabby flies will do well on or after dark and an Olive nymph or shrimp pattern is useful at this time of season. Both lakes have fallen a few percent but are at reasonable levels. If we have reasonable snow season we should see the "flats" at Providence on lake Eucumbene covered next season. As most keen lake anglers know, these have been dry for a number of years and when they do go under - look out!. Even a die hard stream fisher like myself will be out there.

The season continues to fly and I'll be enjoying the coming weeks and enjoying the weather!

Paul Bourne.

January 2010 Fly Fishing Report

The new-year started out with some excellent dry fly fishing in the various rivers and streams through out the region. Although mid month saw some very hot conditions affecting the fishing in some waters.

Thankfully those conditions have abated and cooler weather has seen the fishing improving. I'd expect that to remain for the latter part of the month. It's even forecast to snow a little as I'm writing this report!

As is to be expected in summer, it's terrestrial time. Beetles and grasshopper flies have been very successful and this will continue to be the case for another month or so. As will deep-fished nymphs for times when the fish are playing hard to get.

Most streams and rivers have reasonable water levels for summer, with the southern parts of the Snowy Mountains having the most flows. The Thredbo River has fished very well and with plenty of holiday makers about the fish are not easy. Fine and far has always been the rule for summer and when fishing pressure is at it's highest. Also remember that rain storms are common this time of year so bring a jacket.

The big hydro lakes have remained reasonably stable and have fished well when it hasn't been too hot. If the lake shallows become warm then the fish will simply avoid the edges and stay out deep, so it pays to keep an eye on what's been happening. Again, condition should be much milder over coming weeks and shore based lake fishing will improve.

Summer is also terrestrial time on the lakes and windy days fished on the right piece of shoreline can produce some excellent fish. Pick an area with the wind blowing off grass that's not too far from the edge and also with a little depth. These places can be favourite cruising areas for big browns on the look out for grasshoppers. Try to chase a few of the real thing out first and wait for some action!

Evening fishing on the lakes has been good on the right day - usually yesterday! Seriously, it's not always easy to pick the right evening for mudeye hatches, so you'll need to persist. Craig's Nightimes, Fur flies all work well during summer evenings.

The coming months are expected continue to provide some rainfall in the region. So when the crowds abate and guiding slows down, I know where I'll be.

Paul Bourne.

December 2009 Fly Fishing Report

This month started out a bit dry but good rain in the holiday lead up has seen all waters looking good for the Christmas break.

I've always enjoyed fly fishing in December as there usually aren't too many people about and the regions rivers and streams tend to fish very well on dry flies. That always depends on the weather of course and as every one who has ever visited the mountains will know, anything can happen - so come prepared.

Good mayfly hatches have continued this month, but as summer takes a grip these will slow in favour of terrestrial insects. I've noted some tea tree beetles about, but after the large hatches of these last season, I'm not expecting to see the same again. They tend to peak about every three or four years. Still any beetle pattern works well at this time of year.

There are a large number of small grasshoppers about and when these get on the wing some time in January the fishing should be great. Hopper time can be spectacular and if we have some good summer rain trout from the lakes can run the bigger rivers to feed on them. So fingers crossed!

The lakes have managed to keep their levels quite well and have only dropped a percent or two in the past month. This should also mean some good hopper fishing, as grassy are that harbour the grasshoppers will remain relatively close to the water an the trout in those areas should key in on them. So long as water temps don't get too high, the fish will patrol areas that hoppers will blow in to the water on warm windy days. It's not a bad idea to walk around in the grass in these spots and try to get a few grasshoppers on the wing and blown in the water. The kicking of their legs should definitely bring some fish on!

Grasshoppers won't be the only attraction for the lakes. Midge hatches have been productive and will continue to attract some trout activity. A small buzzer pattern about 50cm. behind a midge ball isn't a bad way to approach midging fish, but they can be tough at times.

Most higher altitude lakes and streams fish well over summer and generic dry flies such as Red Tags, Parachute Adams etc. will always catch their share of fish.

Do remember that summer sees an increase in visiting fly fishers in the mountains and try to look to the future when you have some success. A released trout can fight another day and also will have the opportunity to breed and ensure fishing for the future. I always advise anyone looking for a feed to fish the big lakes, as they are well stocked and managed for this.

Paul Bourne.

November 2009 Fly Fishing Report

November, as I'm sure most of you know has been fairly warm throughout the whole country. The Snowys certainly have also been experiencing weeks of warm sunny weather. The fishing has been pretty good in the streams as a result, but enough is enough. Fortunately it seems the hot stuff is over and we are having some changable weather again ,with a few storms and rain thrown in. As I said the fishing has generally been good in the rivers and streams, but I've always found that weeks on end of sunny days tends to see the fishing slow down a bit.

Anyway, there's still plenty of water about and some rivers could even still be called "a bit high" - the Thredbo River received a some rain a few days ago and it is still getting snow melt so has been higher than it has been at this time of year for a long time. The rivers in the northern end of the mountains are generally a bit lower than those that are getting snowmelt/run-off from the higher main range area.

It is and will continue to be a great time of season for dry fly fishing. If you strike things right you may enjoy some good hatches of some of our larger mayflies. These are of course the Kosciuszko mayfly commonly refered to as the Kossie Dun and the common Black Spinner mayfly. On large still pools in some streams you may also find some Red Spinner mayflies - these fly close to the water and when spent the trout love them! You'll need flies in #10 for the Kossies and #12-14 for the Red and Black Spinners. You might also come across some of the much smaller Caenis mayflies on overcast or foggy mornings. They're tiny but the fish can really get into them at times - #20 or 22 for these!

I'm still seeing plenty of Stoneflies and Caddis about in the flowing freestone rivers ansd streams, so always keep a few Elk Hair Caddis on hand and if you don't have anything specific an Adams will cover for both Stonies and Caddis in #14 -16. Between now and mid autumn there will always be a few beetles about, so keep carrying those trusty Redtags and some time in December should see some Tea Tree beetles begin to emerge.

As I said earlier there is still plenty of water about and you may need to fish a nymph with a little weight occasionally to get the fly to the fish. Unless flows are very high - in which case a heavier Bead Head nymph is needed, I've always fancied the Pheasant tail nymph. It cuts a thinner profile and tends to get down in the water quite well and of course the trout love them too!

The earlier warm weather saw the Snowy Hydro begin to draw water for electicity (air conditioners in the city). So naturally the big empoundments have begun to fall a bit. They're still fishing quite well and good midge hatches have been a feature at times especially at lake Eucumbene. The closer we get to Christmas the more regular mudeye (Dragon fly lava) hatches will become. I'd guess, with the increased water levels in the big lakes, we'll see an excellent mudeye year. Fur Flys, Craigs Nightimes and Cordiloid patterns are some of the best for imitating mudeyes and any weedy bay area can turn it on.

With some rain on the way the season continues to shape up well and the following weeks will be excellent. Guiding tends to slow a bit on the run into Chritmas, so I'll certainly be out and bending the bamboo on a few!

Paul Bourne.

October 2009 Fly Fishing Report

Well what a great way to start the season. Rain and snow with some more rain and snow just for good measure! I think approximately 1metre of snow fell from the last days of September through to the first couple of weeks of October. I even woke to heavy snow falling in Cooma one morning. This is of course why they're called the Snowy Mountains and should remind everyone that the weather in this region can do anything at any time of year - so when visiting, come prepared.

Naturally this has meant some very high and in some cases occasionally coloured water. As was to be expected, plenty of nice Rainbows have been caught during the first couple of weeks. The numbers seem to have fallen back a bit now, but I'd say we'll have some later run fish as the waters drop. These trout have'nt always been easy due to the high flows - that are only starting to drop a little now. Fly fishers have needed to fish very heavy. This has generally meant two well weighted flies - not much fun to throw around. The Muppet (dumbell eyed globug) and heavy tungsten bead head nymph rig will probably still be useful in the larger spawning rivers (Eucumbene and Thredbo) for a few weeks yet.

I'm sure we'll continue to get some rain, but it does all seem to be easing off and things should return to more normal conditions. By this I mean the rivers should see falling levels and with some warmer weather we will start to see some dry fly fishing. Late October and early November will see mayfly hatches increase. Caddis and some stone flies are also usually present. Some of the largest mayfly species in the region tend to hatch well over the next month or so, so come prepared with a few #10, 12 &14 dun patterns. Both the Adams and March Brown are good all round mayfly dun imitations and there are of course some species specific patterns.

Beetles also are starting to appear with the warmer conditions. As always, don't leave home without some trusty Red Tags in # 14. Of course flowing mountain rivers and spring go hand in hand with other useful generic flies. The Royal Wulff should be at the top of any ones list as should the Elk Hair Caddis. Spring can often mean thunder storms so keep and eye out for termites and other ant species. Trout seem to love them! There are also plenty of other productive patterns for the following month or so, that's why your fly vest has so many pockets and some fly fishers will try to carry them all!

Various bead head nymphs in different sizes and weights can be useful for fish lying deep. Chocolate brown and Hares Ear colours are favourites, as is the ever reliable Pheasant Tail nymph.

With all this water about the big hydro lakes are rising and at times are fishing very well. Lake Eucumbene is over 30% and Lake Jindabyne is above 60%. They should both continue to rise for some time yet. Shore based fly fishers have done well with Mrs Simpsons and other yabbie based patterns. Stick caddis also produce well at this time of season.

All in all it is shaping up to be an excellent season.

Paul Bourne.

Outlook for 09/10 fly fishing season

As I write this there's a little over a month to go until once again we get to wet a line and chase some trout with the fly - I did manage to try my hand with the polaroiding on lake Jindabyne a few times throughout winter. I even caught a couple of nice fish! Which I can assure you isn't always the case with this type of fly fishing. Personally I'm just itching to be out wandering the beautiful streams and rivers of the Snowy Monaro again.

So how is it shaping up? Well we won't be breaking any records for snowfall this winter, but I don't think that will pose a problem for the mountain rivers and streams. As the snowfalls have slowed the rainfall has increased - not so good for skiers, but fine for those who love to wave the long wand! Certainly at this stage it looks like we'll have plenty of water about the place - so I'm predicting a pretty normal season.

The Monaro region still remains in drought. Surely one day the dry conditions that have prevailed here will turn around. It's been more than a decade since the legendary Monaro rivers have been productive. "Oh well", fingers crossed, maybe next year.

The mountain rivers have fished pretty well the last few seasons and I have no doubt this will continue. I work up in the snow in winter and when the sun's out and I'm heading home I often have a tantalizing look at the fish running the Thredbo River. As is usually the case at this time of year there are plenty of fish in the river and there's a few nice ones amongst them. The story's the same at the northern end of the Snowys in the Eucumbene River.

Tungsten Bead Head nymphs and Glo Bugs are the usual fare for the early season spawn run Rainbow trout. The weight required depends on the flow. At the moment I'd say there will be a fair amount of water in the rivers - but keeping an eye on the rainfall in the area a week or two before the season opens will give fly fishers a better idea of what to expect. The season does appear to be a bit early this year so "who knows" there may even be a few caddis, stoneflies and mayflies about.

So if you've not yet dusted off year gear, I'd suggest you do so. Check your rod. Clean your fly line. How's your tippet material - remember, most tippet will begin to break down once it's a season or two old. Do you have spare leaders? How's the fly selection. Grimy, matted flies can be rejuvenated by holding them over steam - the forceps you may carry are good for this. It's also a good time to check the waders for any leaks. Remember the water is pretty cold early season! Fill them with water and mark the spots and then when they dry you can apply some Aqua Seal - it's definitely the best wader repair gear out there.

So we're all ready to go. Have a good season.

Paul Bourne.

April 2009 Fly Fishing Report

Summer has ended and we are now into much cooler weather. Some much-needed rain has fallen and hopefully this trend will continue. Around 70mm. of rain fell in most parts of the district.

There's only a month or so till the season closes on the June long weekend and the fishing has, as is usually the case this time of year, slowed down a little. There are still a few mayflies and caddis about on the warmer days and a size 12 Adams has worked well for me. The fish are a bit spooky and shell shot, due to the pressure of Easter - but a well presented fly coupled with good stalking skills will still tempt them.
Tiny black midges are also common at this time If you come across fish rising to these tiny insects you'll need the smallest fly in your box. A size 28 can be too big for these! Small nymphs and midge pupa patterns are also a good choice at the moment and can be fished on a dropper a couple of feet (2/3 of a meter) under a dry fly.

As I mentioned the fish can be easily spooked at his time in the season. Until we receive some heavy rain the streams and rivers will generally remain low and clear. The sun is now lower in the sky than a month or two ago and the softer light makes polarioding (spotting fish with polarized glasses) more difficult. The odds are now more in favor of the fish spotting us first if we're not careful. Move slowly and be sure to wear dull clothing.

The large lakes are fishing well in the cooler conditions and some very well conditioned rainbows are about. Lake Eucumbene is at around 18% and Jindabyne is at 48% of capacity. Both are still slowly dropping. Mudeye flies are still working well, as are yabby patterns. As with the streams a small midge pupa on a dropper behind the larger fly can make the difference. Some large browns are also reportedly starting to school at the mouth of the larger rivers flowing into the lakes and if we manage to get a significant rainfall event these fish will begin to run the rivers. So start to tie a few glow bugs for the coming weeks!
Night fishing at these river mouths will also become more popular and many fly fishers will begin to fish throughout the night in the hope of landing that once in a lifetime fish. Big black Woolly Buggers are often the fly of choice for these brave fishers' I gave up fishing through sub zero nights many years ago!

The forecast does tend toward more rain over the coming weeks' I hope so. I learnt along time ago to never begrudge rain. Late autumn/early winter rain has been very poor over the past decade so it would be great to se some good spawning flows throughout the region.

Paul Bourne.

February/March 2009 Fly Fishing Report.

A short heatwave in early February was soon followed by cooler weather. Subsequently most waters have fished well over the last month or so. Some welcome rain has fallen in the region over the last few days. This has been the first significant rain for a couple of months. The rivers and streams have maintained excellent water levels this summer - no doubt this is thanks to the heavy snowfall back in late November. Autumn is now officially with us. The cool temperatures and pleasant days should see continued excellent fly fishing.

The larger rivers - the Thredbo and Eucumbene - have fished well on the right day. Grass hopper and beetle flies have fooled plenty of fish. There have also been some good may fly hatches during the past month and these can bring out the best fish in the river. These rivers can be difficult when the fish don't want to play ball. Good fly fishing always revolves around cooperative trout and if there isn't food on offer sometimes the fish will simply hide and lie low until it's worth while exposing themselves.

Gentle flows, clear water - this definitely spells spooky trout. So long leaders and a careful approach are usually required. I'd expect grasshopper flies to still bring results until early April, although the size of these should now be a bit smaller. Beetles as always will remain a good option and as April approaches we will see a few good hatches. The small Baetis may flies always continue through until late in the season - so have some size 16/18 Blue Wing Olives on hand. Small brown Seals Fur and Pheasant tail nymphs can also be handy when it seams a bit quiet.

The large waters of Lake Eucumbene and Jindabyne have continued to fish reasonably well, especially late afternoon and on/after dark. Reports of good mudeye (dragon fly lava) hatches continue. There are plenty of good mudeye flies around and an old favourite of mine is the Craigs NightTime fly. The lake fish are in good condition, even though these lakes continue to drop. Falling water levels are the norm in autumn and usually this persists through to winter.

The small alpine lakes, such as Three Mile Dam have also been fishing well and the pleasant weather should see this continue to be the case.

Autumn is a beautiful time in the mountains. Softer light and mild days can also be good for the fish and they tend to take advantage of any feeding opportunity. I'll certainly be wetting a line every chance I get!

Paul Bourne.

January 2009 Fly Fishing Report.

Summer is well and truly under way and the fly fishing has been very good. It's difficult to think of any water that hasn't fished well on the right day.

All the mountain rivers and streams are flowing well and the odd summer storm should see these levels hold well over the next month or so. Beetles have been on the menu on most streams. Every few years we see an exceptionally large Tea Tree Beetle hatch and this has certainly been one of those years The small (size 14 - 16) black beetles with and orange/tan wing case were everywhere in late December and there are still some about. The fish should take an imitation for a while yet. Although I do remember a few days when I think they'd had enough - a bit like a cat in a mouse plague!

There have also been a number of good Mayfly hatches and this will continue. The small (size 16) Red Spinner Mayflies have been common and there seems to be plenty of mature nymphs of this species under the rocks in most streams.

There have been plenty of small grass hoppers about and a few are starting to develop wings, so I'd suggest the hopper fishing is only a week or two away on most streams - it's already under way on the lakes and some slightly lower altitude rivers.

The big Hydro lakes - Eucumbene and Jindabyne have been rising and fished well. Eucumbene especially so. They are both levelling off now but are continuing to produce some good fish. Apart from the usual summer evening Mudeye fishing, some fly fishers have had some excellent grasshopper fishing and polarioding on the right day. The key to this fishing is finding a hopper laden grassy bank with a stiff breeze to blow the hoppers out on the water - and of course your favourite grasshopper fly.

The smaller high altitude alpine lakes have also fished well. Beetles, caddis and midges are most often encountered on these waters and warm sunny days will see the fish on the lookout for some surface food.

Summer is a great time in the mountains and when I'm not guiding or teaching I'll be out wandering a beautiful high country stream.

Paul Bourne.

November/December 2008 Fly Fishing Report

Rain and snow have been the news for late November. The fishing was good up to this point, but the water was definitely needed. The whole Main Range received around 50cms.of snow in one dump - the highest November falls for 20 years. Add to this 50mm.+ falls of rain a few times throughout the region and it's not hard to see why the rivers and streams have been high during the last week of November and the first week of December.

Some further, lighter falls are expected in the lead up to the New-year. This will mean the rivers will remain in top condition through out the coming months. Most waters are now dropping and clearing and should fish very well in the few weeks prior to Christmas.

Mayfly, Caddis, Stonefly and other aquatic insects will be on the menu. Early summer also sees an increase in terrestrial insect activity - so don't leave home without some trusty Red Tags # 14 and any other favourite beetle pattern flies. I've also noted plenty of nymphal grasshoppers about and I'm sure there will be a few on the wing and therefore on the trouts diet by Christmas.

As always the mountains can experience a variety of weather - some times all in one day, so be prepared to fish deep with a bead head nymph if the surface fishing is quiet.

The big lakes Eucumbene and Jindabyne have improved with rising levels due to the rain and snow. Lake Jindabyne is approx. 54% and Lake Eucumbene has risen to around 24%. Both can provide some excellent midge fishing at this time of year so carry a few Midge balls and Buzzer flies. Mudeye hatches should start to increase on the right evening as summer takes hold. Fur Mudeyes, Cordiloid and some traditional patterns such as Craig's Nightime will all work well fished slowly in the surface film.

All in all it looks like continuing to be a good season for fly fishers. The only blimp at the moment is The N.S.W. Governments decision/attempt to close Gaden Trout Hatchery. This has been seen and taken as a direct attack on the states trout fishery. Ten years ago the Snowy trout fishery was estimated to generate $70 million for the state economy and provide upwards of 700 hundred jobs. The cost of running the Gaden Hatchery is less than a 1/2 million Dollars. With economists like the State Government in control no wonder they're broke! It's pointless for me to harp on about their obvious stupidity - so if you'd like to let the N.S.W. Labor Government know how you feel about this issue - write to the Premier and the Minister for DPI. and let them know that the 100 year old trout fishery WILL still be here long after they are gone and forgotten.

October 2008 Fly Fishing Report.

The season is under way and as expected it looks like being a good one. So far the fishing has been excellent and given a little regular rainfall this should continue.

The Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers saw plenty of action during the opening weekend and the following weeks. Most fly fishers weren't disappointed, as there were plenty of nice rainbows about. The Thredbo R. in particular showed some nice fish averaging 1-2Kkg. The Eucumbene fish were smaller - as they were last season. Some of these Rainbows will hold in the river for a month or two yet. Hopefully most fishers will show some restraint and return fish to the water for their own and others future enjoyment.

Most mountain rivers and streams are still carrying plenty of water and more rain is forecast for the coming weekend. Many fish are lying deep and fly fishers will still need weighted flies to reach them. Bead head nymphs and glo bugs will still tempt some of the Rainbows.

November signals the start of some dry fly fishing, so keep an eye out for hatches and rising fish! This is my favourite time in the mountains. The brown trout will really start to show from here on in. Flies such as Royal Wulffs, Adams and elk hair caddis work well in the stronger flowing rivers, but watch out for stone flies and some smaller may flies, as fish concentrating on these may need a closer imitation. Also remember that most of these waters are running clear and even though they have good flows, you'll still need to avoid being seen - especially by any larger wily Brown trout!

The major Hydro lakes fished well and were rising for most of October. Lake Jindabyne has begun to fall and will be a tougher shore based fishery as a result. Still, persistent evening fly fishers will get some results using the usual mudeye and deep fished yabby flies. Lake Eucumbene continues to rise for now and shore based fly fishers will fare well while this situation continues. Late afternoon midge hatches will also be a possibility during November, so if you venture out to either Lake Eucumbene or Lake Jindabyne make sure to carry some buzzers and midge ball flies. Unsettled weather will also trigger some ant activity. Termites and small black or cinnamon flying ants are common during spring and early summer and should they hatch the fish will usually feed well. These may be quite small and the fish can also prove to be difficult so carry some good imitations.

While the mountains are fishing well, the Monaro district continues to be in need of good rainfall and is subsequently fishing poorly. I'd simply not recommend it this season.

 

Fly Fishing Season 2008/09 Outlook.

There’s a week to go till the start of another fly fishing season in the Snowy Mountains/Monaro region - At Last! There’s something special about whiling winter away in anticipation of what’s to come, but by the time it comes around were all just itching to go.

This season looks like being a good one. Autumn rains were definitely a bit wanting in the region, but after a slow start the 2008 snow season proved to be excellent. September has also seen some good rainfall and we’ve seen falls of 50-100mm or so once a week for three weeks running. As you can imagine this kind of rainfall on top of snow sees all the mountain rivers streams regularly running a banker. As I write this, the rivers are high and I’m sure we’ll see more rain before the opening on October 4th.

Just prior to the last falls - when river levels were a bit lower, I stoped for a look at the Thredbo River Bridge on the Kosciuszko Road. There were plenty of nice rainbow trout up on their spawning run and I expect they’ll still be around for at least the first month of the season. I’m also sure the story will be much the same for the Eucumbene River. Don’t forget that both these waterways are classified as Blue Ribbon and therefore have a two fish bag limit. But catch and release is a far better idea for these spawning fish - they are the future and fish at this time taste lousy anyway!

If it’s a feed your after try the big lakes -Eucumbene and Jindabyne. They’re managed for this and should fish well at the start of the season as both are rising. Lake Eucumbene is approx. 18% and Lake Jindabyne 47%. Lake Eucumbene will most likely continue to rise well for a while yet and Lake Jindabyne may drop a little - as work is planned for the dam wall area.

The Monaro district is still suffering from a lack of rain, especially last autumn and early winter. So I’d expect fish numbers to still be very, very low. Like last season the odd fish still remains and should you tangle with one, please return it to the water unharmed. When a few good seasons finally arrive in this area its important that any remaining fish have a chance to spawn - stocking alone can’t compete with the survival and tenacity of the wild fish. Also please leave these waters alone over summer. Any fish caught and released in water temps more than about 23 Deg. C will be very stressed and more than likely die - even if they do appear to swim away.

Still, the mountains once again should fish very well and glo bugs and heavy nymphs will, as is usually the case, be the go for the higher water. Make sure your using enough weight to get near the bottom. Few fish will move up in the flow for flies at this time, so be prepared to loose a few flies - if your not hitting bottom every now and then your less likely to catch as many.

The lakes will still provide some polarioding opportunities on sunny days and olive nymphs, midge pupa and the odd larger fly should get results. Morning and evening fishing with various yabby, mudeye and smaller caddis nymph patterns should be productive while the lakes are on the rise.

All in all I’m expecting this season to be even better than last year as the mountains have soaked up some water for a couple of seasons now. As long as some rain keeps on coming the rivers and streams will fish well. You’ll have to ask me how things ended up next June (I’m sure you all know that forecasting is a tricky business), but I ‘d say we’re in for a good one.

April/May 2008 Fly fishing Report.

Winter isn't far away and the Browns are starting to run the major rivers. As has been the case in the last few years - autumn rain has been a bit wanting. Still April provided some excellent fly fishing opportunities. The highlight was certainly the excellent hopper fishing which kept on going right into May. Usually the hoppers exit with a few frosts and rain. Probably the lack of good rain over the last couple of months accounted for the grasshoppers surviving so long.

Some rain and snow has been falling, but still more is needed to really get fish moving from the lakes into the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers.
Some fish have already run though and a few have been caught on glow bugs and tungsten bead head nymphs. The rig to use depends on where the fish are lying. Many fish will lay up in the deeper holes during the day only moving upstream at night or during good rain as they search for suitable spawning gravel.

Fish holding in deep water obviously need to be fished for with a fairly heavy rig. The most common set up used is a Glow bug trailing a heavy tungsten bead head nymph. At times, when you feel your still not getting deep enough, a Muppet - which is a lead dumbbell eyed Glow bug is the way to go. You need to get down to these fish - so if you're not occasionally hitting the bottom, you're probably not getting down to the trout. The trailing fly is best tied to the nymph at the bend in the hook. About 2/3rds to a metre will do. Many people use an indicator and if your trying to go deep it should be located well up the leader close to the join with the flyline.

Not all the fish will be in deep water - especially once the spawning run is well under way. Look at any gravel areas near the run out of pools or shallower gravel runs. This is where the fish will spawn. Once fish are spawning fly anglers must not wade/walk on these areas as the trouts eggs can be damaged by doing so - and it's illegal! You may be more successful using just one lighter Glow bug for these trout. A bright Glow bug can usually be seen by the fly fisher and if it disappears - Strike!

It should be remembered that both the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers are classified as Spawning Rivers from the 30th of April until the seasons close on the June long-weekend. This means they now both have a 1 fish bag limit and that fish must be over 50cm. If you enjoy fly fishing it's a better idea to leave these fish in the system - so they can spawn and guarantee fishing in the future.
In past years the section of the Eucumbene River upstream of the flying fox closed at the end of April. This caused confusion with some anglers and has resulted in Fisheries simplifying the regulations.

The whole of the Eucumbene River is now open until the end of the season.

The big Hydro lakes have been fishing reasonably well and some nice condition Rainbows have been caught - especially in Lake Eucumbene (Approx. 19%). Surface fished mudeye patterns are still working on some fish, as are deep-fished larger yabby type patterns. A gold fish pattern is also handy in Lake Jindabyne (Approx. 59%) at this time of year.

There's only 3 weeks to go in what has been a good season. With a bit of luck in the rainfall and snow department, next season will be even better.

March 2008 Fly Fishing Report.

Well, last report I said it looks like summer may be over - wrong! March started out with a few dry weeks and some pretty warm temperatures. For fly fishers this meant lower water and some difficult fishing in the rivers and streams. The fish were still there but needed a careful approach and good presentation for success. Due to the summer like conditions, mayfly hatches were sporadic and most successful anglers found grasshopper and beetle patterns the most productive.

Fortunately the weather has returned to normal and in the days following Easter most parts of the region have received a welcome inch or two of rain. That's the way it goes in the mountains - as some snowfall is also forecast!

The outlook for river and stream fly fishing over the coming weeks is good. The influx of some water and cooler temperatures should see an increase in mayfly hatches. Most common of these at this time are the large Black Spinners and smaller Blue Wing Olive mayflies. If you are really lucky you might also come across a hatch of Kosciusko mayflies - especially in rivers on the western slopes of the Snowy Mountains.
So be sure to carry some a few fly patterns to cover these hatches as trout feeding well in a hatch can ignore flies that don't in some way come close to what their feeding on.

A size 14 Black Spinner and a 12 or 14 size March Brown, Adams or Highland Dun, as well as size 16 BWO (blue winged olive) should be in the fly box. The usual fare of Royal Wullfs, Red tags and Parachute Adams will also be useful and a hopper pattern may still bring results for a week or two yet. When all's quiet on the surface fly fishers should try a nymph below an indicator or a dry fly (in shallower runs). A bead head is a good choice for faster deeper water, while lighter weight nymphs are the go for the shallow stuff - or in the case of trout that simply refuse to look up. Brown, tan or greyish (hare's ear) coloured nymphs in size 14 or smaller should do the job.

Autumn is the trout's last chance to gain some condition before the winter spawning - so fish do want to feed when the opportunity arises, but the generally clear and lower water levels - compared to spring, can still make them tricky. It's also worth noting that the sun is lower in the sky at this time and combined with "softer" light, fish will see the fisher more easily than we would like!

The lakes fished quite well over Easter and this should continue next month. Fly fishers using Mudeye patterns have done well in the late afternoon and into the evening. Lake Eucumbene (19%) has been more productive than Jindabyne (53%) and the condition and growth of the Rainbows has been good - this should also mean a generally larger average size fish in the Eucumbene River at the start of next season. The smaller lakes will also continue to provide some fishing, especially on nice days. Most of these waters always fish well with caddis and beetle type flies. All in all the following weeks should provide some good fly fishing opportunities in what to this point has been a very good season.

January/February 2008 Fly fishing Report

Fly fishing throughout the region was generally very good in January, although the hot weather meant fairly high water temperatures in most waters at times. Many streams became too warm (temps over 20 deg.) to fish well on many afternoons. The big hydro lakes were also quite warm and shore fishing was very quiet as most fish stayed in deeper cooler water. Still there were some good times had on the right day.

Rainfall throughout January was again above average and February is also proving to be a wet one - keep it coming! The rain and some cooler conditions have seen all rivers and lakes cool down and begin to fish very well - so long as your not out in a storm of course! As you can imagine water levels are good to occasionally high in most rivers and streams. The Eucumbene and Thredbo continue to fish well although the better fish are not easy. They all received a lot of pressure as always over the Christmas /school holiday break. Long leaders and a careful approach should bring results. Both rivers are carrying a good head of 1/2 to 1 ½ lb. Browns this season and the future looks bright. Occasional larger fish are also present. Don't forget that catch and release will always ensure fishing for the future.

Terrestrial insects are still a major part of the trout's diet. Grasshoppers and beetles are common and imitations of these are working well especially on warmer days. Yellow Stimulators, redtags and the like are the flies of choice at the moment, with Caddis and Mayflys also about some afternoon and evenings. The Mayfly numbers will increase later in February and continue into March and April. There's definitely the feeling of an early autumn this season and summer appears to be almost over - but don't quote me on that!

The large lakes have cooled and are fishing much better from the shore than a few weeks ago. Both have risen a bit with the good rainfalls. Eucumbene is around 22% and Jindabyne is around 58%. Tantangara has also come up a little and is approx. 10% and fishing well, but it can fall rapidly. Mudeyes or yabby fly patterns are working and there are still some midge hatches on the right day. The rain just keeps on coming and for all intensive purposes the big dry is over and the fishery should just keep on improving over coming seasons. Who knows, even the legendary Monaro rivers will return to their former glory in a year or two?

2007 Dec. Fly fishing report

This season continues to build to be the best for many years. With less than a week until Christmas rain continues to fall on a regular basis. Great news for those fly fishers heading up to the Snowy's for the Christmas and Now-year period

All mountain rivers and streams are fishing well, although you do need to be out on the right day with all this weather about - some waters have been a little coloured a times.

Dry fly fishing has been particularly good with some excellent hatches of larger mayflies. The most useful patterns have been larger dun and emerger patterns such as Adams and March browns in sizes 12 & 16. Naturally there have also been some good afternoon spinner falls. I favor a spent spinner pattern in these instances as fish can be finicky especially in smoother water. If your only carrying standard patterns you can simply clip the hackle level underneath to get the desired low riding affect. As always with good flows in the rivers the old standby patterns such as Royal Wullf etc. continue to bring results.

When the conditions aren't right for the dry fly, it is worthwhile trying a nymph. A size 14 pheasant tail nymph or tan seals fur nymph with or without a bead head ( this will depend on how deep you wish the fly to go) will do nicely and you can fish this under a dry as an indicator. Personally I've always preferred to use just one fly and a dedicated indicator if I feel the need. Weighted nymphs especially will cause the dry to drag unless the flow is quite hard and therefore tends to defeat the purpose.
Terrestrial time is almost here and I've already noted numerous small hoppers about.

The Christmas period also signals an in crease in beetle numbers - so make sure you at least have some Redtags or Tea Tree beetles in the fly box.. With all this rain the mountains are looking magnificent as most of the trees and shrubs etc. are flowering with more vigor than I've seen for many, many years.

The mountain lakes continue to have a few midge hatches and caddis, ants and beetles are about on many evenings. The lakes are remaining reasonably stable as the rivers continue to flow well. Christmas has always been noted for some good mudeye hatches and I'd expect this season to be a good one.

Tight lines, merry Christmas and happy New-year to all.

November 07 Fly Fishing Report.

Well what a month November has been. The best rain for many, many years in late spring. Virtually all areas of the Snowy Mountains and Monaro have received at least 150 mm. - with some parts getting much more. This looks great for at least the next few months and most forecasters are predicting continued falls.

So hows the fly fishing been? Most of the mountain rivers and streams have been fluctuating between high and sometimes coloured conditions and fantastic spring levels. This means those lucky enough to be out on the right day have had some of the best fishing for some years. Just a few days ago I managed to get out on one of the larger mountain rivers and had fantastic dry fly fishing to Browns and Rainbows ranging from 1 ½ lb. to 3 ½ lb. or so - truly great fun and did they go in the heavy and well oxygenated water conditions! There were a variety of mayflys hatching and dry flies worked well.

Good patterns for these late spring conditions are - Roal Wullfs, Red tags, Elk hair Caddis and Parachute Adams/March Browns in sizes 12 &14. Nymph fishing has also been very productive. Pheasant tail and bead head nymphs are working well when fish are not showing themselves. I'm expecting virtually all mountain rivers and streams will fish well between now and well into the newyear.

The larger mountain lakes are still quietly rising. Jindabyne is at 59% capacity and Eucumbene at 19%. They are both fishing well at times with some very good midge hatches in some shallow bays in Lake Eucumbene especially. A small midge pupa pattern suspended 30cm. bellow a midge ball dry fly works well when fish can be seen bulging for the hatching midges. If the rain and storms continue they will continue to slowly rise and fish well for now.

Many of the smaller mountain impoundments are also worth a look. Island Bend and Threemile Dam have been the best of these, with polaroiding and some beetle hatches being a feature.

With rain and storms expected to continue until at least Christmas the fly fishing should be excellent over the following months.

October 07 Fly Fishing Report.

The first month of the season has past and the outlook for the next couple of months at least is good Although rainfall was light in the first two weeks things picked up well towards the end of the month. I remember driving down from Thredbo in blizzard conditions which kept up to nearly Berridale. Since that time some rain and storms have boosted the waterways and as I write, the forecast for the next few days is for 50-100mm of rainfall throughout the region.

The rainbow trout spawning run saw many good fish caught. A few of these were quite large - up to 6lb. in the Thredbo river. Fish on the Eucumbene side were smaller than usual, with most averaging 1lb. or so. Both rivers carried more fish in their lower reaches. I'd expect many to move up with the recent and expected higher flows. We've had a lot of windy conditions, but if you found yourself out on the right afternoon some good dry fly fishing could be found on most waters. Still, thundery weather means termite hatches and these small insects seem to be irresistible to trout. A good imitation is sometimes needed and remember they are quite small - about #18 or#20. I use a pattern with a natural CDC feather as a wing.

The usual patterns for spring and higher water levels are working well in the rivers and streams. Royal Wullfs and other well-hackled nondescript patterns suffice. You may find fish a little fussier on less boisterous waters where trout have more time to inspect the fly. Various Mayfly, Stonefly and Caddis patterns can make a difference. Bead head nymphs that are weighted to suit the flow are always a good bet if dry fly fishing seems out of the question, but remember in the deeper heavy water you need to be close to the bottom to entice a few fish.

The big lakes - Eucumbene (18%) and Jindabyne (55%) are fishing well for shore based fly anglers. Naturally morning and evening are the best times as can be darker thundery afternoons. As the lakes continue to rise I'd expect to see fish moving into shallow water seeking drowned grubs etc. Midge patterns, Termites, Caddis and beetle patterns are working well for surface feeding fish, while the better wetfly/nymph patterns have been the usual Yabby, Mudeye, midge and Caddis patterns.

The next month should provide some excellent fly fishing for those lucky enough to be in the mountains. Late spring/early summer has always been my favourite time of season. If you manage to be on the water at the right time you can come across some excellent hatches and associated fishing. It's not always easy of course, but visible, feeding trout offer the most exciting and challenging moments in fly fishing.

September 07 Fly Fishing Report & New Season Outlook.

Well with less than a week till the begining of the 07/08 trout season things are looking good.

I’m expecting a far better season than we had last time. Good late autumn/early winter rain followed by some great early snowfalls will mean far better water conditions this season. Most of the mountain rivers will start out at a much higher level than last season and heavier flies will be needed for the spawning run rainbows. These fish are usually the main target for early season fly fishers and should also stay in the rivers much longer than last year. Some rain is forecast a few days before the opening on Saturday September 29th.

Fortunately the Snowy Mountains and Monaro are part of the 20% of N.S.W. not drought declared and with a bit of luck will remain that way. August rain and snowfalls were not good but September weather has been closer to average. The lower lying Monaro waters will still need another season before they are seriously worth looking at - fish numbers will still be very low. A bit of pressure from fly fishers and local angling groups may be needed before N.S.W. fisheries see the light and resume stocking these legendary waters. Meanwhile if you do manage to find a fish on the Monaro please think of the future and return it to the water.

The large hydro lakes are rising but will take years to get back to pre drought (and perhaps pre cotton/rice) levels. Lets also hope all relevant Govt. bodies soon sort out the mess/fiasco of the Murray darling Basin. Sorry if I sound less than impressed, but when you live in the region and listen to the misinformed Politicians all fighting and suggesting the problem is simply one of better utilisation you can’t help but be cynical. It’s also regularly suggested that Sydney and Canberra’s water supplies can be augmented by taking more water from the snowy lakes - truly strange listening to them divide a pie that is simply not there! Anyway, back to the fishing.

As stated the mountain lakes are rising and will continue to provide some good polaroiding and shore based fly fishing till at least some time in December. Eucumbene is approx. 16%, Jindabyne 50% and most other waters are also on the rise.

As this season progresses I expect things to be quite normal - a far different scenario to last season which deteriorated badly in many ways before Christmas. What a difference some water makes.

August 2007 Fly Fishing Report.

Since last season closed back in early June fly fishers in the region have had a quiet time. This is fairly typical for early winter as all rivers are closed until the start of the new season in early October.

Weather wise some good rain and a great start to this years Ski Season should mean more water about next season - more on that next time.

Meanwhile fly fishers in the region are still able to fish the lakes. Jindabyne is the most popular during winter and polarioding for Brown trout that have returned from their spawning run in the Thredbo river are the main target. Fish can also be found in lake Eucumbene, but these are harder to see over the predominatly darker bottom. The shoreline around Eucumbene is also still muddy and difficult to walk in many areas. Eucumbene is presently at about 10% of capacity while Jindabyne is hovering around 50%.

Polaroiding in Jindabyne is a fairly hit and miss affair. Some days you can walk 5-10 kms. and see 15 fish or so (a good day!), while another day you can cover a similar amount of territory and see none.So you’ll take my meaning when I describe it as fickle. Then of course we have to tempt them!

Generally speaking flies for this fishing range from larger lure type flies such as Bushy’s Horror which no doubt is taken for a yabby, to smaller caddis nymphs and midge pupa patterns. The old standard Olive nymph in size 14 works well. Just as in finding the fish can pose problems, so can getting them to take our offering. Again some days it seems they are relatively easy and other days near on impossible.

Usually if the lake has risen a little the Browns seem a bit more active and responsive. Naturally plenty of sunshine is the go as low light will make polarioding at this time of year (with the sun lower in the sky) difficult. As in all fly fishing the angler should try not to be seen and wear suitable dull clothing.

Presenting the fly without spooking fish isn't easy on glassy calm days. A little wind ripple will as always help disguise the arrival of the fly. The best approach for cruising trout is an ambush tactic - leading the fish and trying to place the fly in its path. Just how far to lead them depends on how fast they’re moving and how spooky they seem on the day, Many fish will hang about in the same area for days or even weeks. With the increased popularity of the winter polarioding they can become educated, spooky and downright impossible. No doubt the fact that frustrated fly fishers have very few options at this time of year has a lot to do with this. Still this doesn’t mean its not good fun and a great way to keep your eye in while waiting for the start of the season proper in early October.

Some fish have already been seen and caught by those who have given it a go and things should improve over the coming weeks.

May 2007 Fly Fishing Report.

After a dryish April that provided fairly average fly fishing conditions we are again receiving some welcome rain. As I write this report it's also snowing fairly well in the mountains -winter isn't far away.

There are only a few weeks until the June long weekend and closure of all rivers and streams for fishing and the fly fishing has been typically inconsistent. Cooler condition and simply the time of year offer the trout less feeding opportunity.

Besides, with the present rainfall the Brown trout have other things on their minds. It's time for their spawning run. There have already been some fair runs of fish up both the Eucumbene River and Thredbo River. Each rainfall incident from now until the season closure will see more and more fish coming up from the lakes. Some of these can certainly be large. Every year at this time a few 10 plus pound fish are caught. This attracts fly fishers from around the country, all trying for that elusive trophy Brown.

The fishing options will be a little different this year. For starters the Eucumbene River mouth is no where near Providence Portal. It's now much further down the lake. This might make things a little tricky for the die hards who fish through out the night during the last weeks.
On the plus side, Fisheries have made some late changes regarding this river. The Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers change to spawning regulations from the 1st.of May. This means a change in size and bag limit to 1 fish over 50 cms. As Fisheries always seem to argue for a simplification or regulations I personally would like to see this enforced for the whole of the season. Imagine the improvement to these fisheries - they'd be truly word class. As for late changes, the Eucumbene River is no longer closed from the flying fox (near Providence). Now the whole river is open to fishing till the closing of the season on the June long weekend.

Depending on flows the typical way to approach these spawning Brown trout is with the glow bug/tungsten bead head and indicator rig. Just how much weight is required always depends on the volume of flow and what the fish are up to. If fish are seen in shallower waters a single lighter glow bug usually gets a response. The Brown trout tend to be far more difficult to deceive than Rainbow trout. As I mentioned earlier the river mouth areas of both the Eucumbene and Thredbo can produce large fish - especially at night time, A large dark coloured wooly bugger type fly that is easily noticed at night is usually the go.

This run of Browns is really the last hurrah for the season as most stream and lake fishing quietens down, although some nice rainbows may still show up in the lakes. You can be lucky and find a bit of dry fly fishing still, but it is naturally limited and is usually restricted to the warmest couple of hours of the day.

Hopefully the rain and snowfalls continue and the regions trout enjoy a good spawning.

April 2007 Fly Fishing Report - Snowy/Monaro.

Summer is certainly over in the mountains and pleasant cool conditions are now the norm After more much needed rain in the region April has been much drier so far. Again I'm hoping for some good falls later during this and the coming months.

All the streams and lakes have seen a big drop in water temperatures and on the right day and in the right conditions are fishing reasonably well. Most rivers and streams are not carrying large numbers of fish at the moment, but for those flowing into the Hydro Lakes (eg. Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers) this can change at any time with rises in water levels should we receive more rain.

A few more fish seem to be in the Thredbo River at the moment, bit it is still a little low and clear and accordingly the better fish are not easy. As always under such conditions a long leader and cautious approach is required. There have been some Mayfly, Caddis and even a few Stoneflies about and more specific flies have given better results than general-purpose patterns. Smaller patterns such as a 16 or 18 Blue wing Olive can work well at the moment but the do need to be cast at a fish - as they are really to small to be used as a searching fly. If you do search the water with a larger dry then try a small nymph on a dropper. There do seem to be a lot of small fish about at the moment and if you are getting into a few of them try not to harm them during release, as these are our future. Pinching down the hook barb will certainly make for a quicker release.

A few cooler evenings and frosts have seen a sharp drop in grasshopper numbers, but a good hopper imitation and as always beetle patterns are still tempting a few nice fish - especially in lower locations.

The smaller mountain lakes are still fishing well and can provide some nice dry fly fishing while the larger hydro lakes are dropping still. Tantangara and Jindabyne lakes are providing some nice trout in the morning and evening with mudeye, yabby and some times midge patterns producing well.

I'd expect levels to continue to fall until the spring snow melt. Shore based fishing at Lake Eucumbene is fairly difficult at the moment and it's expected that this lake will soon divide into three separate lakes soon, as it is at the lowest level seen since the initial filling 40 odd years ago. Certainly worthwhile for sightseers as old properties and towns drowned then are now becoming visable.

There are plenty holidaymakers about at the moment and the mountains are certainly a great place to be during autumn, but the fishing should improve when things quieten down in a week or so.

March 2007 Fly Fishing Report

We've just had one of the wetter months the region has seen for many years. Could this finally mean the end of the drought that's plagued the Snowy Mountains and Monaro for many years? Lest hope so, but it's still early days yet. What a month February has been. Some parts of the region have received up to 200mm.of rain; with at least twice average every where. The best falls have been on the Monaro and all the streams are now flowing well. Unfortunately these waters have extremely low fish numbers but continued rainfall - as is forecast should mean good fishing in a season or two

All the mountain rivers have also benefited from the rain. Most are flowing well and have cooled down considerably due to the rain and lower overnight temperatures.

Both the Thredbo and Eucumbene are now showing some fish and hopefully more will journey up from the lakes in coming weeks. This is common at this time of year if as has happened these rivers receive rain. Terrestrial patterns are still working well with hoppers, and beetle patterns working well The old favourites such as a Nobby Hooper, Red Tag and Stimulator are a good choice and a bead head nymph on a dropper will help get results in larger deeper waters.

As mentioned the rain, which has often come in the way of thunderstorms, has also triggered some Mayfly hatches - so carry a few good imitative patterns. Some of these are quite small, with tiny blue wing olive mayfly being common. A size 18 imitation should see the undoing of any tough fish you come across feeding on them. Good powers of observation have always been important for successful fly fishers and never more so than when you find a fish that is feeding well. Take time and look closely at the water so as to identify what the trout are taking, as these times are when fish can be selective.
The smaller waters such as the Moonbah R. and Gungahlin R. have now also cooled sufficiently to show some fish - mostly in the larger lower reaches as many fish vacated the higher shallow areas during January's hot, dry conditions.

The higher smaller Snowy Scheme lakes are still fishing well and should fish even better this month.
Lake Eucumbene is still providing some fish for fly fisher with midge, mudeye and yabby fly patterns producing some fish in the evenings or at dawn, as is Lake Jindayne. Eucumbene is now at about 19% capacity and should not fall any further. Lake Jindabyne is about 48% and will probably continue to fall .as water is sent west for irrigation commitments by Snowy Hydro.

The unsettled weather is expected to continue - I hope there right! Nobody can begrudge the region rain. So if you venture up be prepared for all conditions and if thunder and lightning are present be careful with that graphite rod.

January 2007 Fly Fishing Report

Well the Christmas/New Year period saw the region receive some much needed rain and snow. It actually snowed in many places on Christmas day. Lets hope there's more to come as the Bureau of Meteorology has stated that the El Nino in the Pacific appears to have ended and we should receive better falls of rain in the coming months. I hope they're right! At the moment we are having some very hot weather and as always anything can happen in the mountains.

The mountain rivers are in fair condition for this time of year with most providing worthwhile dry fly fishing, although some (eg. Gungahlin R.) are very warm and not fishing to well in the hot weather.

Summer is typically terrestrial time and grass hopper and beetle flies are the norm.
Some waters have more hoppers than I've seen for many years - this should continue for some months.
There can still be an occasional hatch or aquatic insects if conditions are right. This usually happens in humid conditions before or after some rain, so be observant as fish concentrating on spent mayflies.may refuse all but an imitative pattern.
On the positive side grasshoppers can be the undoing of some better resident fish as the some times they throw caution to the wind for the sake of a good mouthful. Still, the wise fly fisher will stay out of sight and be careful as summer stream (low water) conditions normally dictate a fine and far style of approach.

Some favourite flies for summer dry fly fishing are Redtags, Royal Wulfs, and Nobby Hoppers and the like. Asmall brown or black nymph can also be useful when fish don't respond to the dry or a bead head nymph in deeper flows. On sunny days polarioding (spotting) trout before you cast is as always a great way to fish especially on popular waters. I've always found that by seeing the quarry first I'm far more successful. Summer conditions on waters with above average fish require careful stalking as one poor cast or bad approach will see a fast departing bow wave.

The big lakes are also producing some nice fish on hoppers. They are a bit quiet in the middle of hot days though. Morning and evenings have been productive. Mudeyes hatch in the evening at this time of year and Lake Jindabyne with it's more established weed beds has seen some excellent fishing on the right night. Craigs Nightime, Fur mudeyes and Poodles are all fly patterns that are worth a try.
If nothing happens near the surface try fishing a large wet fly near the bottom for yabbie (fresh water crayfish) feeders.
Some of the smaller high country lakes such as Three Mile Dam have also produced good evening rises to beetles, caddis and midges are worth a try, as can day time polarioding on these lakes.

More storms and rain are fore cast and will help to cool things down a bit and improve the fishing.

November 2006 Fly Fishing Report

The Mountain Rainbows have finally finished their spawning, although with the current rain in the area there may still be a few on the redds.
What a great start to the season. The unusually low levels made fly fishing a little easier than usual. Apart from the mandatory tungsten bead head and Glo Bug flies a few friends and myself had a ball catching spawners on dry flies. That’s definately unusual for the Rainbows that are intent on spawning, but a lot of fun. They were obviously very aggresive.

More traditional fly-fishing is now the norm. We’ve been lucky enough to have some fair falls of rain with over 50mm. recorded in some areas and all the mountain streams and rivers are flowing nicely as I write.

The Thredbo has some colour at the moment but will clear quickly. It’s been fishing well with a dry fly and of course a weighted nymph is still working well in faster and deeper runs. The fish there are a little larger than the Eucumbene fish with many rainbows around 1kg. Those in the Eucumbene R. are mostly closer to 750grams. It’s been pleasing to see many 500gram Browns in the Eucumbene R. and this augers well for the future.
The best dry flies of late have been Royal Wullfs, Adams and various Caddis, Stonefly and emerger patterns. Some fly fishers I’ve been with over the last week have still managed a dozen or more nice fish for the day. Mayfly hatches are also starting on the right day and with some rain about termites are also a possibility.

Remember that most of the fish have seen plenty of fly fishers by now and a little care when approaching fish will pay dividends. Stay low and use any bank side cover so as not to be seen by the fish. Spotting fish first if possible is now the way to go and a slightly longer leader will also help.

Also be aware that gravel areas (redds) at the rear of pools and runs should not be walked or waded on as the eggs deposited there will be killed by trampling on them. I’ll also add that many of the mountain rivers are classified as Blue Ribbon and therefore have a 2 fish bag limit. I must admit I’m tiring of hearing of successful fishers telling me they only kept a couple as if they were doing the right thing instead of keeping the maximum legal amount they could before breaking the law.
As expected the lowland rivers have very few fish and are not worth the effort. Let’s hope the drought affecting these streams ends soon.

The big lakes have dropped by about 1-2 % since the season opened. Some fly fishers are still doing well and finding a few at dawn or dusk in the deeper areas of Lake Eucumbene near dead timber using nymphs and wet flies. Lake Jindabyne has generally been more stable and has some established weed beds. I’ve found a few midge hatching as well as Caddis flies. As the weather warms some beetle activity should be more apparent.

Good luck and let’s hope we continue to get some rain.

New Season Prospects for the Snowy/Monaro (October 2006)

Only a few short days to go and at last the trout fly fishing season 06/07 will open.

So what can we expect? As many people already know this winter saw some of the poorest snow falls on record for the Snowy mountains. What this will mean for the season as a whole is difficult to guess.

If the region receives average spring summer rainfall then the fishing in the mountain rivers and streams should be excellent. We’ll have to wait and see.

As the season opens the mountains larger rivers should fish well for the usual spawning run of rainbows from the big lakes. At the moment the Thredbo River has an above average flow and the Eucumbene River is a little more sedate. Both rivers are certainly lower than they have been at the start of previous seasons. For fly fishers this will make fishing a little easier as contending with high water can be difficult, but the lower levels may see the trout themselves a little spookier than usual for this time of year. The forecast for the long weekend is reasonable with no real rain expected.

The usual heavy nymph/globug rig fished with an indicator should produce good results, although it may not need to be as heavy as can sometimes be necessary. So carry a variety of weighted nymphs and make your decision at the water - remember it still pays to keep the fly near the bottom. Rainbow trout of around 1 kilogram average can be expected and these can go pretty hard, so be ready for a speedy run down stream. Also remember the Blue Ribbon streams have a 2 fish bag limit and the spawning fish can be dark and poor eating - so limit your kill.

The early onset of spring this year will also mean some good insect hatches on warm days, so be ready to switch to a dry. The large Kosciuszko mayfly can hatch in prolific numbers at this time of year in the mountains so make sure you carry some big dries. A size 10 Adams makes a fair imitation and can prove invaluable if you’re lucky enough to be on the river during a good rise to these big mayfly duns. A large Royal Wulff dry fly is also always a good bet in the faster water, as are other flies imitating Caddis flies and Stone flies.

The lowland rivers of the Monaro have received average rainfalls through winter but I’m still expecting fish numbers to be very low for at least another season or two. If you do try these streams please do the right thing and return any fish caught as mature, wild spawning fish are the surest way for these rivers to return to their former glory. Those lowland rivers unaffected by drought will also provide some dry fly activity during October if conditions are right. Some of these slower waters are also home for Red and Black spinners and some smaller mayfly species. Stone fly and Caddis patterns should also prove useful. Try polarioding.and make sure to use any available cover if you want to be successful on the gentle flows in these streams.

The big Hydro lakes should provide some excellent fly fishing. Lake Jindabyne is well over 50% full and rising whilst Lake Eucumbene is in the low 20% region. If you fish from a boat the old road at the top of Lake Eucumbene is the safest place to launch so as to avoid becoming stuck in mud. Polarioding should be good as hungry trout venture into the shallows in search of food. Anywhere one Jindabyne and the rocky shores near Seven Gates will be the go. Caddis and Midge hatches can also occur especially in humid conditions. Snowy Hydro report low inflows into these lakes but depending how you look at it most people are still expecting some excellent fishing in October at least. Hopefully hungry fish in Lake Eucumbene with a lot less water between them!

There’s always plenty of anticipation at the start of a new trout season and if we’re lucky enough to have some reasonable rainfall in the coming months and not too hot a summer the Snowys should again have some great fly fishing on offer.

Paul Bourne.