RemoteMoto
 
Banner

Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout

The weather forecast was looking great as the bike was packed ready for three days fly fishing in the high country. Aiming to make the most of the three day period I headed up the evening before so a fresh start in the morning could be made. There were two lakes and the headwaters of two rivers that I'd research and planned to fish, but while riding and planning which one to hit first my focus was soon diverted to the unexpected heavy dark clouds lingering in the direction I was heading.  The further I progressed the worse it got, the temperature plummeted with light rain turning into heavy rain then eventually turning to snow.

Photo 1 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 2 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 3 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout

Overnight strong winds and periods of snow came and went resulting in a snow dusted backdrop for an early morning ride to the first lake.  A few clouds lingered throughout the ride but they were soon burnt off by the sun.

Photo 4 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 5 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 6 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 7 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 8 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout

After parking up the bike and heading off on foot for an hour I was met with a small glassy lake renowned for great sight fishing in calm weather. Unfortunately within minutes of setting up my rod the wind began to pick up turning premium sight fishing conditions into tough fishing conditions.

Photo 9 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 10 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 11 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 12 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout

With it being early season and very little surface action happening the fishing was tough, spotting was extremely difficult and pattern refusals were many. The refusals weren't a simple case of ignoring a fly pattern either, as soon as they encountered a fly (delicately presented or set as a nymph trap) they shot off to the centre of the lake at lightning speed. Late in the afternoon the wind periodically eased reducing the surface ripple enough to allow me to more closely analyse what they were feeding on.  These fish that normally actively patrol and sip food from the surface throughout the summer months were behaving quite differently this early in the season, they would sit motionless watching and waiting then shoot off to intercept their prey once spotted, they would then casually slow down and return to sitting motionless to repeat the process again. Contemplating if it was midges or water boatman rising to the surface for air that they were waiting to intercept I tied on a boatman pattern and ambushed the next fish. Sure enough it was engulfed and after an energetic battle a beautiful five pound brown jack came to the net.  After a quick photo the fish was gently released, I readied myself again but with both the sun pushing further down in the sky and the wind picking up again it made sight fishing impossible so I retired for the day happy with the hard earned success.

Photo 13 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
A beautiful 5 pound brown jack lifted for a quick pic before being released
Photo 14 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
The rod setup used

As the next day rolled around bringing more good weather the plan was to fish a nearby tarn. Knowing that there was an organised goose shoot on I carefully looked over the tarn to see if there were any shooters about, not seeing any I set up my rod and began fishing.  Nestled amongst some tussock I spotted the first fish, while getting ready to cast a nymph into its path I heard geese flying overhead, the next thing I see are two shooters 50 metres away flicking off blankets and abruptly sitting up and firing off half a dozen shots.  One of them approached me and in a friendly manner asked if I could keep a low profile when the geese are flying over, I said I'd do one better and leave them to it, there was plenty of nearby water to fish, taking cover while shots are being fired and avoiding dead geese falling from the sky was not really the peaceful days fishing I was looking for! So it was back to the bike and about a 1 1/2 hours ride to go and explore one of the headwaters I had lined up.

Photo 15 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 16 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 17 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 18 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 19 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
This photo from the top of the pass does not do this justice, the view as you look down into the valley is far more spectacular in person

The stretch of water was new to me, last season I had fished about 8km downstream to some good sized fish but had no idea if there were resident fish up this far. A few flipped over rocks showed a good range and high numbers of invertebrates, nice big runs, deep pools, all very promising trout habitat. But as promising as this all looked I didn't see one fish after walking over 10km up the valley. Not a loss by any means, area knowledge was learnt, the weather was fantastic, the scenery was spectacular, I encountered a wild stallion for the first time and bumped into and had a cuppa with a very interesting bloke who had fished extensively through an area I had planned to fish this summer and he gave me some invaluable local knowledge. Returning and hitting camp as dark was setting in a warm meal was enjoyed while nursing some very tired legs.

Photo 20 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 21 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 22 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Lots of Clinging Mayflies
Photo 23 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Many big Green Stoneflies
Photo 24 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 25 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
The wild stallion spotted out in a clearing feeding

As the next morning rolled around with more warm blue sky weather the plan was to fish a nearby lake and it's headwaters.  Research led me to believe it only holds small to medium fish in moderate numbers, this appeared to be quite true.  Stalking the banks didn't prove very successful but once the inlet was reached lots of small fish were seen sipping food from the surface and often acrobatically leaping from the water.  Within 1 1/2 hours I had hooked up and lost two fish, and landed two small fish.  While setting off to explore the headwaters I was not overly optimistic I would encounter fish, this river was just one valley over from the one explored yesterday and did not have anywhere near as many good trout habitat characteristics.  About 2km up the river was explored without seeing a fish so it was back to explore the other side of the lake and return to camp.  The wind had picked up to gale force on the return trip making spotting a non-option, occasional blind fishing was done in some sections however not eventful.

Photo 26 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 27 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
One of the small rainbows scurrying back home again One of the small rainbows scurrying back home again
Photo 28 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 29 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 30 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 31 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout

Reaching camp mid afternoon it was time to pack up and head home to wind up a brilliant trip. Not too many fish came to the net considering this was a three day trip, however a beautiful five pound brown did, a lot of new areas were explored on both foot and bike, a lot of new knowledge was learnt, and aside from the wet ride in the weather was spectacular.

Photo 32 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout
Photo 33 of Snowy Roads and Tricky Trout