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FlyStream launched!

Much of my time over the last few months has been taken up preparing a new online flyfishing magazine and website, FlyStream.

We finally launched yesterday, so go to http://www.flystream.com and see what you think.

FlyStream 1 cover

Fly on the Water

We’re screening a short flyfishing film starring me :) and a few friends at the George Cinema St Kilda, tomorrow evening.

Update – thanks to everyone who came along and made it such an enjoyable evening. As a result of requests on the night the producers will be making some DVDs for sale – I’ll update as soon as I know when they’re available.

West Tanjil River

West Tanjil River

One of my highlights for 2012 was attending the inaugral Fly Fish Baw Baw weekend last November, so I was delighted to hear it will be running again this year on the weekend of 15 – 17 November. Although I can’t make it this time due to work committments, the weekend sounds like a lot of fun once again.

This year’s organiser, Chris Ord, tells me that as with last year, Mt Baw Baw’s village will be transformed into a stage for the celebration of fly fishing in the Baw Baw region. A new twist this year is that up for grabs is a $1000 prize pool for the biggest fish caught (and released). This is a ‘measure, photograph & release’ competition and I think it’s fantastic that Baw Baw is adopting this approach to competition fishing – an example some other groups would do well to follow. Everyone from the would-be fly fisher to expert casters will be encouraged to join in all the activities happening over the weekend.

The itinerary is:

FRIDAY 15th NOVEMBER
• Attendees travel to Mount Baw Baw Village (2.5hrs from Melbourne). Event briefing. Hand out of event material including official map and ruler.

SATURDAY 16th NOVEMBER
• Catch and Release competition begins. Competitors drive to locations around Baw Baw region.
• A fish cooking masterclass will be held at Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort during the day for family members who wish to stay on mountain.
• After a day soaking up the local sights and fly fishing on the local rivers and streams, competitors venture back to Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort for presentation dinner at the Village Restaurant.

SUNDAY 17th NOVEMBER
• Casting Coaching and Competition on village casting pond
• Product prizes
• Fly tying demonstrations
• Master your skills on our purpose built pond at the resort

On mountain accommodation is available and the Village Restaurant will be open serving up its gourmet meals.

More information at: http://mountbawbaw.com.au/events/fly-fish-baw-baw/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Fly-Fish-Baw-Baw/339897742812737

Baw Baw Fly Fishing Festival is supported by the Baw Baw Shire, Department of Environment & Primary Industries, and the Australian Fishing Network.

Midging trout are a feature at Millbrook, and they offer some of our best sight fishing during the winter months. Usually it’s big midge (size 12 or so) that provide the action and mostly on pupa patterns like my Milly Midge.

But just for something different, this year the micro-midge have decided to explode and balling midge, not just pupa, have featured for literally months. To put that in context, prior to this season I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen trout on balling midge at Millbrook, and that’s over a period of 15 years. Why have the little midge and midge balls dominated in 2013? And are they a new trend, or a flash in the pan that will all but vanish again for the next decade? I really have no idea, but it’s fun while it lasts! (Not easy though – look closely at the number of midge on the water; all those tiny specks on the water are midge or midge balls. This is real snowflake in a blizzard fishing.)

Montana

I’m just back from a trip to Montana, and there’s way too much to report to do the place justice right now. I’ll just say that I had high expectations and they were exceeded. The people, wildlife, fish, fishing, bugs and of course the streams made quite an impression.

Gallatin River

Gallatin River


And the country was pretty spectacular too.
Madison River valley

Madison River valley


There are several thousand fish per mile on some rivers. That doesn’t mean they’re always easy to catch, but knowing the numbers does wonders for confidence. There are some weird and wonderful species too. More to come later…
Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River

Winter Cures

The worst of winter lurked out of sight through much of June, but July has so far done its best to balance the ledger. Half a metre of snow in the mountains, minus 12.2 C at Liawenee in Tasmania and not much short of that in the Snowys. Locally we’ve had plenty of wintery, rainy ‘nothing’ days, followed by periods of sharp frost and blue sky. Both types of weather have produced good fishing, though the sunny days are deceptive. Just when you think winter really isn’t so cold after all, the sun sets and almost instantly it’s as if a giant freezer door has swung open.

The last fortnight’s fishing began with a couple of days chasing estuary bream around Apollo Bay with Max. Actually PB and my brother Mark came along on that trip too, but we only caught up with them in the evenings. The salmon fishing in the surf was apparently too good to leave, and Max and I felt the same about the bream – we caught and released 30 good fish between us, the best 41 cm.

Otway bream

Otway bream

Next it was up to Tullaroop with Peter. It was one of those gorgeous calm blue days I just mentioned. The fishing wasn’t furious, but we polaroided a couple and cast to a few more that smashed the smelt (nice to see a few smelters again at last). All were good fish and I landed a matching pair of a brown and a rainbow on a Wet’s Zonker.

Winter rainbow, Tullaroop.

Winter rainbow, Tullaroop.

Then a few days ago, Jane and I took the boys to the Grampians. The weather was back to shaky at best – single figure maximums, sleet, wind and rain. Still, I managed half an hour each on Bellfield and Wartook before the family voted for somewhere less exposed. Despite the inclement conditions, both lakes looked promising. I fished one of Muz’s green Emu Buggers, which resulted in a couple of indeterminate hits at Bellfield (trout? redfin?) and a lovely brown at Wartook.

The boys were hoping for a redfin but all I could catch was this silly old trout!

The boys were hoping for a redfin but all I could catch was this silly old trout!

Then it was off to Boroka Lookout, some waterfalls and some wildlife watching. If you want good fishing and a happy family, the Grampians in winter are hard to beat!

Final Fling

Most years my stream fishing is well and truly over before June and I’ve settled into the lakes. On the Queen’s Birthday Weekend just gone though, I split the difference. Andrew and I decided to squeeze in a trip we never quite got around to high season, and headed over to central Gippsland. This wasn’t going to be a dedicated fishing trip, but more a check-up on some fine fly waters we hadn’t visited in a while.We started on the Macalister River above Licola. The June day was fairly cold and grey, but the river looked a picture, flowing strongly and very clear. A bit of indicator nymphing turned up two good takes and I spooked another fish, but nothing landed. Next we drove to the nearby Wellington River. This little stream was lower than its big cousin and about as clear as I’ve ever seen it. Again we had to settle for a couple of misses before the night raced into the narrow valley, and a meal at the Tinambla Pub became the sensible option.

Macalister River

Macalister River


The next day dawned bright blue and frosty cold. First stop was the Dargo River, rushing like something from New Zealand’s Nelson Lakes through shadowy undergrowth and dripping ferns. Somewhere beyond the ridges far above the sun shone in a clear sky, but the valley remained in shadow. I finally caught a small brown on a tungsten beaded Flashback Nymph and wondered if it was my last for the season.
Dargo River

Dargo River


After a couple of hours, Andrew and I decided some sunlight might be nice, so we turned the car towards the broader Wonnangatta valley. It was a good decision and the river looked magnificent under a midday sun; almost spring-like. The illusion was enhanced when we fished a long run and found to our surprise that a solid dun hatch in progress. Size 16 BWOs trickled steadily off the river. Nothing rose in the 8 degree water, but I assumed fish must be nymphing underneath. Sure enough, a few drifts with the Flashback brought a good take and miss, and then I hooked a respectable brown of a pound or so. The fish was in great condition and together with the mayfly and the overall shape of the river, we found ourselves asking why it had taken us a whole season to get there.
Wonnangatta River

Wonnangatta River


There was enough daylight left for one last session, this time on the aptly-named Crooked River. It too flowed clear and strong, and I wasn’t surprised when a reasonable brownie snatched the nymph at the head of a perfect pool. Minutes later the sun drifted behind the mountain overlooking the valley and any illusion that this was a kinder time of year was gone. My wet fingertips began to feel the bite of the cold air, and my breath fogged on the way back to the car.
Tullaroop Reservoir

Tullaroop Reservoir


Just a day later I was back in my natural winter habitat, fishing Tullaroop Reservoir with my brother Mark. The lake is looking magnificent and with water clarity at least 3 metres, it was possible to polaroid the odd fish from the steep edges. Few trout moved consistently, but by the end of the day we’d landed a brown and two rainbows in the 2-3 pound range. Mark was unlucky not to land a couple of better fish, one of which broke the hook on his Woolly Bugger MKII. On the walk back to the car in the fading light, it occurred to me that the last hours of trout stream season 2012/13 were ticking away, and I wondered briefly if anything would be rising on that broad Wonnangatta run 300 km away.

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