A Snowy Mountain high
  |  First Published: December 2007

I just love it when a plan comes together. My wife was to accompany me on an overnight trip to the High Country but the weather forecast didn’t appear promising, so I had grave reservations about going.

Being a woman who doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, she said, ‘Right, pack your gear now and I’ll get the rest of our stuff ready and we’ll go tonight!’ The 7wt and 5wt fly outfits were packed along with the waders, vest, hat, anti-fly stuff and brown, frothy drinks.

By the time I packed all of the other things my wife had put together, the Cruiser was well and truly loaded and we were on our way. The drive through mountain ash forest was most enjoyable and the old Currango Homestead area a special treat with its 100-year-old buildings and huge trees in a park-like setting.

We turned off the Port Phillip Fire Trail and slowly wound our way down to the top end of Tantangara Reservoir.

It took me an hour or so to properly set up camp and about 4pm I proceeded down to fish. I have always had success here using a brown Woolly Worm, so on went a size 12 and I started to work around some tussocky areas.

After 15 minutes of fruitless casting I changed to a black Woolly Worm and worked the same area, where I had spotted a few fish active in the shallows. The next fly on was a Mrs Simpson, followed by a Tom Jones, an Alexandra, a Muddler Minnow, a Bloody Mary Bugger – and the list went on.

By 5.30 I’d just about worked my way through one of my four fly boxes and was still fishless.

I walked back to the camp and my wife handed me a cold brown drink and some biscuits with cheese and smoked trout pâté. There are some positive benefits in taking one’s wife fishing!

I regrouped and, after observing some fish rising, went down and had a good look at the insects on the water. I tied on a size 14 Seal’s Fur Black Nymph and the first cast was hammered by 700g beautifully conditioned brown trout.

Some blokes crammed into a rather small tinnie slowly trolled past and let me know there were ‘no bloody fish about’. I cast about 10m into the weeds and was on again.

My boating friends, not realising how well sound travels over water, made some fairly ungenerous comments about lucky anglers and discussed flyfishers generally. I was interested to learn that flyfishers were doctors, lawyer, professors or such and were pretty much all wankers, anyway! Certainly not the type of person blokes in tinnies would associate with – oh, the wisdom of some…

After two more fish I looked up and saw a small mob of wild mountain brumbies coming out of the timber to graze under the watchful eye of a big black stallion I’d seen a couple of times previously. He gave me quite a stare and a challenging snort.

I noticed my wife taking pictures of this magnificent event. It’s not often that we see these wild mountain horses so close and my wife told me it will be a moment she’ll treasure for life.

As we sat beside our campfire and she looked up into the clear sky, identifying some of sparkling stars, I quietly reflected on how fortunate we were to be able share special moments like this. The great fishing was a bonus.


The rivers have been fishing extremely well, especially the Eucumbene and Murrumbidgee. Some of the smaller creeks are still running fairly well and it’s quite a skill and challenge to land a fly in a patch of water no more than a metre wide and then hang on to a kilo trout. It can be a whole lot of fun and quite a hair-raising experience.

This month there should still be reasonable flow in the main rivers but fish will tend to congregate in the deeper water. Best dry flies include hopper patterns, Humpies, Royal Wulff, Royal Coachman, Shaving Brush, Black Ant, Geehi Beetle, Stimulator and Parachute Dun.

With bigger fish holding in deeper water, suspending a nymph 60cm below your dry will often produce results.

Fishing the lakes in the evening and into the night will produce. In Eucumbene, areas like Seven Gates, Cemetery Point, Benefield and Homeleigh Bay are consistently productive. Tantangara always fishes well into January and is definitely worth the trip.


Eucumbene continues to produce good fish from the banks in the early morning, late afternoon and evening. Night fishing during the warmer months can reward with the fish of your dreams, a big browns. They are very shy and prefer hunting the shallow weed beds and to be close to the banks in the safety of the dark.

Best bait is a mudeye if you can get hold of any; they are very scarce this year, particularly the cuda mudeye. Use the normal set-up with scrub worm and PowerBait and this always does well.

Good spots include Seven Gates, Yens Bay, Old Adaminaby and Anglers Reach.


Walking the banks and hunting the fish, instead of waiting for them to come to you, is the best way to spin. You cover a lot of water and get good exercise.

Good spots are Yens Bay, Cemetery Point, Homeleigh Bay, Old Adaminaby and Anglers Reach. Lures include the Snowy Minnow, Lofty’s Cobras and Tassie Devils. For advice about the best colour see the local tackle store.


Lake Eucumbene is enormous with sheltered shallow bays of 2m to 10m and deeper parts of 40m to 60m. To increase your chances of catching fish, particularly during Summer, lead-core line and a downrigger are musts.

Flatlining the bays and getting close to the banks still produces fish in the very early morning and late afternoon but during the rest of the day you have to get down deeper.

Normally it’s best to use between three and six ‘colours’ of lead-core line or set the downrigger between 6m and 15m. Good lures include Lofty’s Cobra in the Eucumbene Special and a lot of other colours specially made for the area. Tassie Devils in numbers S12, 89, Y48, 88 and 50 are also recommended.

Good spots to troll include Frying Pan Arm, White Rocks Inlet, Adaminaby Bay, Coppermine Bay, Power Line, Grace Lea Island and the dam wall area.

For regular updates visit www.alpinetouristpark.com.au/fishing.shtml and www.adaminabyangler.com.au/reports.html and for general info www.visitadaminaby.com.au and www.alpinetouristpark.com.au/adaminaby.html

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