Flies & Fly Tying Winter approaches

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    Mission one: So Monday morning I headed up to Khancoban having tasted some limited midge fishing success last Winter.

    Absolute cracking blue bird day, great for fishing but not so much for catching. No fish spotted, not so much as a fin, ripple or boil.

    Undeterred I fished a tungsten blood worm deep (2.0m) with a pollies promise off a dropper 30cm sub surface.

    Cast, wait, draw, wait, rinse and repeat.

    Water was a clear as it usually is and at a good level but….. ah well that’s winter fishing. Will try again on an overcast day.IMG_2961



    Thats a cracking day for round one….good value!



    Mission 2:

    Same location but a tad later in the day. The 40-60km high wind warning may have been a bit of an exaggeration on BOM’s part as the water was still enough to see a tadpole fart 50m away.

    Bit more cloud caver and yep a couple of fish sighted. The regulation 3 good casts (on your best day after a good nights sleep, a hearty breakfast and with an assisting tail breeze) from shore.

    Well proof of life at least.IMG_2969



    With rising water levels a back up plan might be useful.



    Gendarmes at the border bridges means an indefinite postponement of round 3 at Khancoban and a shift to another still-water venue.

    Hmmmm trouble is the “Bool pondage” makes the K pondage seem like a cakewalk. It requires presidential levels of self confidence combined with Dalia Lama reserves of patience supported by Steve Bradbury loads of luck.

    It smacks a bit of humility into me each off season by looking picture perfect and treating all my efforts with cold disdain.



    Wild card entry for round 3. Another localish still-water that has somewhat fallen off the radar since the 70’s.

    Very full and difficult to fish but a joy to wander around and looking as fishy as hell. That said not a fished spotted, or any sign of life at all.

    Slow trundled midge larva and stick caddis patterns with full expectation of a bump at any moment (it seriously looked fishy).

    Hume is filling quiet rapidly and there are a couple of well grassed shorelines that theoretically ought to have a few foraging browns…. and there is still a round at the “the bool” , fair to say the fish are winning at the moment but it staves of cabin fever.







    Did I mention the “Bool” (Banimboola) is a very photogenic but cryptic beast? At very high levels like this options  are limited so round 4 was moved to it antecedent further up the valley, the Dart.

    With clear water rising steadily over a grassy slope it looked likely, but several hours stalking its banks yielded no more than a bit of exercise in pleasant surrounds. Plenty of submerged timber and likely looking drop-offs but narry a scale of suspicious ripple sighted.



    So with just weeks left in this Winter of our discontent I finally got another opportunity to wander hopeful but confused beside some very scenic stillwater. When fish are moving its all well and good but when they are not… its hard not to be a bit daunted, if not intimidated. “The Bool” lived up to its picture postcard reputation on a day, though technically still Winter, felt and behaved a lot more like Spring.


    It was a good day for a stroll so I headed off for the far bank, picturing cruising fish hunting through the weeds. After an hour of seeking and searching the Bool had put a serious dent in my reserves of optimism until just at the edge of visibility a beige shadow moved, a leading cast, twitch, twitch, a white flash and lift…YES.

    I always find Winter fishing tough, but this Winter was more challenging than most and I have to say I’ll be very happy to get back to water I can better understand when the season opens here next week.

    Full disclosure: two fish landed. A very well conditioned 60cm brown and a skinny 25cm rainbow.

    The size and condition of that brown has me thinking i may visit the Bool again before next Winter.



    Still some Autumn “sipper” chasing on the cards, but starting to look forward to another winter on perplexing stillwaters.



    Great thread – good luck.

    Nothing better than trying to figure out stillwater!



    Carp for me over winter.  Maybe the odd cod trip.

    Seem to have lost interest in trout if they are not in NZ !



    Time to pack the twig sticks away until next season. May still be a session, or two on the tailwaters but with snow on the peaks and single digit water temps in the tribs it’s time to start preparing for the “character building” winter stillwater challenge.



    The winter missions continue as and when restrictions allow. Baffling Banimboola continues in its inscrutable way to look picture postcard without the suggestion of a hint of a fish. Two sessions, plenty of walking, casting and head scratching.

    So a cunning plan to tackle smelters at the back of Khancoban. Use a boat to get to the shores seldom fished (aka “distant pastures”).

    So we arrive, stunning day, no wind and cloud cover with patches of blue sky, almost spring like. Some fish on midge near the ramp, its looking good.

    Across we go to distant shores, fish moving everywhere.

    Carp, big fat lumbering carp in the hundreds perhaps more.

    Observations from the day:

    1. Distant pastures may be greener due to the massive deposits of silt.
    2. large expanses of the pondage are shallow – very shallow.
    3. catching big carp is not fun.
    4. should have shelved plan and had a crack at the boat ramp midging fish.

    Stunning day to be out on the water, plenty of exploration and learning.





    A quick session after work on a glorious afternoon. The Bool ever enigmatic, though I did spot one chunky rainbow porpoise out in the ripple.

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