I wouldn’t be so bold as to say the drought has broken but it is certainly a far better state of affairs than we have known for well over 12 months.
Many of the rivers have picked up 10cm to 15cm or more of run-off and while they are still below the ‘normal’ level, at least there is some fresh water to keep the fish healthy.
In my mind we are entering the very best time of the year for catching native fish, both bass and Murray cod. The weather patterns are usually much more stable and predictable (well, maybe not the last couple of seasons) and the fish are at their prime, fit and healthy and waiting for the lure or fly. Late Summer and Autumn is typically the time when we get more of the big fish and I will be taking advantage of this, running most of our tours in this period.
Trout are the only exception and we are still having more than a little trouble finding fish. Our usual haunts just don’t seem to have enough fish left from the past two years of drought to make them viable propositions. It will take a couple more years to recover, too, as I understand the Dutton Trout Hatchery back in Spring sent all of its fingerlings to other areas for fear that they just wouldn’t survive at all in the creeks around when they were at their lowest.
Recently we fished out between Ebor and Dorrigo and, while the water was a little fresher with the recent rain, the trout fishing was still very tough. Sure, there were fish there but even a gun fly angler would do well to raise more than a couple and you had to get right down into the back blocks to get among the fish.
One thing that was a surprise was the massive hatches of caddis and mayfly we saw. While it is not so unusual during Summer, it seemed that every species was rejoicing in the newly-found dampness. It was a big contrast to the lifelessness that we have known for the past two years. Lets hope the fish recover soon.
Many of you will have heard by now that Armidale is minus one large tackle shop since Highland Rod and Rifle burnt down last year. This leaves a real gap in the town here as the store was a mecca for locals and travelling anglers. If you are just looking for a licence or a bit of last-minute tackle, then there is Mitre 10 and the Safari World/Pump Shop place.
If you are after real up-to-the-minute info you might be better off contacting the big stores in other towns or perhaps the trout hatchery near Ebor. Certainly if you are interested in natives then the guys at Tamworth Fishing Tackle (Dean) or Inverell Fishing and Outdoors (Marto) will be of invaluable assistance for info relating to their respective areas.
First-timer Brent Marcomb found bass fishing to his liking. This 42cm fish fell to an AusSpin spinnerbait.Reads: 495