There is nothing quite like the closed season, cold winter weather and epic Tour De France scenery, to make you nostalgic about previous trips to explore pristine running waters in some of Australia’s most rugged country. These thoughts are a nice escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of life in inner Sydney.
Tonight, the Tour De France contenders will tackle the highest point of this year’s race, the infamous Col Du Galibier. The majestic images of the alpine peaks that accompanied the many stage preview’s I read over lunch today, stirred my imagination and brought back strong images of our own not so impressive but equally beautiful main range in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. Which brings me to the point of this blog post, which is to recount an enjoyable week spent exploring the Gungarlin River and surrounding area, North of Jindabyne late last year. Dad and I made our most recent trip to this wonderful region back in November (2016), and since it looks unlikely that we will make it back down this year, I thought it was a good time to reminisce and document our previous journey, while I can still recall most of the finer points and the trout haven’t grown to 80cm long, 15lb monsters ;-)
With a favourable weather forecast, plenty of fresh Single O coffee beans and Dad’s carefully selected array of glass masterpieces, we set off on our trip. After two coffee stops, our usual lunch at the Lott in Cooma and a quick visit to Alpine Angler for some last minute tackle supplies (rivers are all fishing well, they inform us), we arrived at the turn off to Nimmo Rd ready for the drive into the Gungarlin River. While it doesn’t exactly hold ‘Trophy’ trout, the Gungarlin is a special little river perched up on the Snowy Plain at 1400m, where it rises in the foothills of the Munyang Range, on the Eastern side of Jagungal. This was the third time we have camped on the side of this lovely stream, and we were ready to wet our lines after a disappointing and particularly miserable outing in 2015.
While Dad was well and truly in testing mode, enjoying having a wide selection of rods to try out, I took the opposite approach. Instead, I was well and truly flying the flag for the ‘less is more” crew, bringing a single rod for our week of fishing. My weapon of choice was my trusty Epic 476 5-piece PackLight in eye catching (and thankfully fish catching) Glow Bug Orange, which Dad built for me early last year. After a quick walk down stream, the rod proved it was certainly up to the task as I soon landed my first fish of the trip, a feisty little brown who eagerly took my size 16 Royal Wulff on the third cast down (you will see a theme developing) and across a fast-flowing ripple just a few feet from the nearest bank.
After covering some likely runs and failing to get another one on the bank, I decided it was time to make my way back up stream to find Dad. He was fishing one of his favourite rods, a James Green 4/5 explorer, and he was also off to a decent start with a couple of small browns gulping down his caddis pattern. After a quick coffee and a late afternoon snack, it was time for a ‘proper’ session and hopefully a solid evening rise. We grabbed our gear, breathed in some fresh mountain air and headed off upstream. The main long pool above the bridge looked like a pot of boiling water, brimming with bubbles just before you add the pasta. There were small fish rising everywhere, but no sizeable residents could be found so we decided to keep on moving upstream in the hope of some chunkier specimens.
To be continued...