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The High Country on Snow Chains

Heading off on this trip I was hoping to achieve three things, firstly get in a good ride on the Friday, secondly make the most of the predicted northwest to southeast weather change on the Saturday that would hopefully cause a lull for calm sight fishing conditions, and thirdly use the predicted snow fall for Sunday to try out my newly constructed motorbike snow chains that had not yet had their debut. As if like clockwork, all of the above played out to perfection resulting in a simply brilliant weekend.

The ride started off by taking a route I'd never gone before, and as expected, great scenery.

Photo 1 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Photo 2 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Photo 3 of The High Country on Snow Chains

Dusk wasn't too far off once camp was set up and the wind was fairly constant, I got an hour of fishing in but opted to get an early night and rise at the crack of dawn in anticipation for Saturday's calm weather.

Photo 4 of The High Country on Snow Chains

Heavy rain in the middle of the night did not install optimism, but as dawn came round the rain eased off with the sun gradually burning off the low cloud to produce a bright and still day, perfect sight fishing conditions.

Photo 5 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Photo 6 of The High Country on Snow Chains

Although the conditions were great, as most fly fisherman know this doesn't guarantee success. It took six hours before I spotted the first fish and even then it didn't want to know about my fly offerings. I had specifically tied a number of fly patterns for this trip to match the size and unique colouring of some of the lakes aquatic life, but after a number of rejections from various fish it was obvious they were not interested in my water-boatman, nymphs, or midges. They were patrolling in a fast and purposeful manner, it appeared they were stalking bullies. Moving on to find an extended silty shelf, I tied on a small un-weighted rabbits fur bully pattern, cast it out to lay a trap, and began the wait. This waiting went on for over an hour before the right opportunity arose where a careful twitch attracted the attention of the patrolling fish and had it launching after the fly. A firm lift of the rod set the hook followed by some acrobatic leaps from the water before the fish finally coming to the net. It was a beautiful 3 1/2 pound brown that didn't pause for a second to shoot off to the depths as it was gently released again. All up it took about eight hours to locate and land this one fish, a long time considering the perfect conditions, but a pay-off well worth it. Four more fish were seen that afternoon but a mixture of inadequate water access and a couple of casts that spooked the fish resulted in no more hook-ups for the day.

Photo 7 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Perfect nymph trap laying conditions
Photo 8 of The High Country on Snow Chains
A nice 3 1/2 brown caught and released

Throughout the night the weather progressively deteriorated with strong winds and heavy rain. As morning broke I arose to a cold morning, but no snow. Then, as if someone flipped a switch the snow began to fall, and come down thick and heavy. It wasn't long before a white blanket covered the landscape, so as I ate breakfast and drank my cup of tea I planned the packing up of camp and fitting the snow chains for their debut.

Photo 9 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Photo 10 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Fresh snow for the billy
Photo 11 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Heading off from camp
Photo 12 of The High Country on Snow Chains
The road to snowhere
Photo 13 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Photo 14 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Photo 15 of The High Country on Snow Chains
Photo 16 of The High Country on Snow Chains

All up about 50 km was travelled with the chains as the snow progressively got thicker. Even in some of the really steep and slippery sections the chains performed remarkably well and kept me upright the entire trip. A big thumbs up from me and a fun way to end a great weekend away.

RMOTO
Author of this article: RMOTO
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