A Weekend In The Snowies

A gathering at Guthega rise to the challenge of skinny water and reluctant trout

by Wednesday, 21 February 2018

When you get an invitation that says would you like to fish some water you haven’t been to before, the only answer could be yes! And so a group of eight anglers arrived at our lodge in Guthega in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains – travelling from the ACT, NSW and Victoria.

First night exuberance was in abundance. We talked about all the usual things – where have you been fishing, new gear, and who was fishing with who the next day. All over many drinks.

fly fishing at Guthega
Judy Cameron, Kate Nolan, Catherine Weid, and Brenda Galey scanning for likely water

Rain had been absent for weeks, and at lower altitudes water was low and too hot for happy trout. So we decided to stay up high and fish small streams that were cooler, and ever so clear. Saturday presented us with crisp morning air, a sunny sky, and wind. We were pretty happy about the wind as it disturbed the water and at times gave us some cover. For my pair, for once it was not in our faces.

Natural presentation was an interesting concept as the real food was often being pushed upstream by the wind! Even with the disturbed surface the fish were spooky. An eagle flew overhead and that may not have helped things either.

fly fishing at Guthega
Kate Nolan landing a healthly small stream brownie | Photo Kerryn Milligan

We needed to go into stealth mode, keeping low and fishing blind before turning a corner.  We saw our first rise around 11am when things had warmed up a bit. I was delighted to sight a fish after turning a corner - the light was at just the right angle to penetrate the water. I was even more delighted when my dry disappeared and the fish was on!

fly fishing at Guthega
You can't beat a take on a dry when sight fishing

One of my favourite parts of a day’s fishing is when everyone returns and we swap stories of our day. We heard tales of difficulty and of triumph, with one pair landing five each. We shared photos, less drinks, and then slept like babies after a full day on the water.

On Sunday conditions were similar. Some went out for more fishing, while others had to depart. I met many of the group for the first time on this trip, and it was great to leave with new friends, special memories, and new places to fish again in the future.

fly fishing at Guthega
Brenda Batho with another little mountain stream brown
fly fishing at Guthega

On the trip out a shadow on the dirt road turned out to be a snake. The van was very close when I realised and veered away. After passing, I looked in the rear vision mirror to see nothing. Double checked and yep, still nothing.  Chances are the snake slithered off into the bush, but I had an anxious evening half expecting it to emerge from the undercarriage of the van.

A big thank you to Kerryn Milligan who arranged the weekend, and to all our anglers who enthusiastically fished their hearts out and took photos.

fly fishing at Guthega