The car is packed, our fly boxes are full, we have a good supply of fresh coffee beans and we ready for our next trip to the Snowy Mountains. So I thought it was time to finally sit down and write the follow up to ‘Dreaming of the Gungarlin Part I’. This time tomorrow we will be camped by the side of the beautiful Gungarlin River in the magical Snowy Mountains and after a very busy 2017 and flat out start to 2018, I can’t wait. This will be our first autumn trip in quite a few years, over the past 3-4 years we have favoured spring and early summer, but the weather is looking good and the fishing reports are positive. So let’s get back to where we left off, venturing up stream from our camp, in search of an evening rise.
After a decent start and some promising rises on the main pool above the bridge, we decided to keep working our way up stream. At the base of a big swirling pool, I decided to fish a run of fast water that has always looked fishy, but has never previously delivered. By this time Id switched to small size 16 hares ear nymph with an orange bead, a fly that proved to be very useful in NZ. And sure it enough worked well here, after one try casting the fly down stream along the deeper side of the run, I managed to get a decent drift a small but energetic rainbow shot across and took my fly. Thanks to the decent flow and the fact he was already quite a distance downstream from the fight was actually pretty decent for a relatively small fish, but eventually he was up on the sand and a moment later back in the cool clear water. We continued upstream, and with the exception of one more small rainbow, didn’t have much more luck.
Day 3 replaced the clear blue skies with a grey drizzle, so we decided it was a good day to make our way into Jindabyne and try out some different water. We made our way up to Island Bend to give the snowy a try, which was running high and not much fun on our lighter tackle, neither of us having any luck. We decided to move down to the trusty old Thredbo river and settle in for the afternoon and hopefully an evening rise, which turned out to be a good decision. There were quite a few fish moving around, we each managed a few smaller fish and as it started to get dark dad managed to land a beautiful brook trout and then got into a very solid brown after snapping off on what seemed like an even larger fish. Thankfully the knot I tied for him in the dark, to replace his now absent muddler, held up well and he managed to get a very healthy brown on the bank. By now it was getting late so we made our back to camp, missed the pizza shop for dinner and ended up in bed un fed, but content in a good days fishing.
The following day started at the vice, with us both tying some small caddis patterns with some beautifully soft bleached Elk hair, as we had started to notice a lot of snowflake caddis hatches. Id also made the switch to using flurocarbon tippet, which had been sitting in my vest for a few years. Im not sure if it was the flies or the tippet but a trip up stream turned into a very fun and productive morning with around 10 fish between us. After a quick lunch and little more tying, our bellies and fly boxes were stocked up and we were ready for the afternoon/evening session. And we were not disappointed, after a very good afternoon, with plenty of fish, we ended up fishing the evening rise on a large long pool in the middle of an amazing caddis hatch. As the sun had almost disappeared I managed to hook a beautiful brown, which gulped down my size 16 caddis, which I had tied on a barbless hook. Id lost a few decent fish earlier in the evening and I wasn’t planing on letting this one get away, so I worked it pretty hard knowing my glass rod would offer some protection and after a few quick runs down stream and stumbling around wombat holes in the near dark, I managed to get it up to the bank, but unfortunately that was it for my 4lb tippet. I was basically back to my leader and as I started to lift the fishes head up so I could get my hands under its belly my tippet snapped, the line went shooting in the air and I let out a bunch of expletives as I watched my fish swim away. I wasn’t a happy camper. But it had been a very good day on the water!
That was the final night of the trip, and we decided it was a good time to call it quits and head back to the camp for a beer and debrief, dwell over the ones that got away and start planning our next trip.