You might think I’ve run right off the rails – talking about great flyfishing for trout during the closed trout season! But actually, there is great flyfishing for trout available at the moment, and it’s at Dunmore Trout Waters. Being a private trout fishery with stocked lakes, it is not subject to the usual closed season restrictions; you can go and fish there this afternoon if you want to!
The brainchild of Peter and Cath Ivey, Dunmore Trout Waters has been a feature of their property for several years. Access is via the town of Ben Lomond, which is located west of the main New England Highway and south of Glen Innes. Ben Lomond hill is the feature to look for if heading south. Once you’re up this steep gradient – which often receives a mantle of snow in winter – there are two turn off roads to Ben Lomond. The second turn off, Inn Road, is arguably the best to take, as it is all bitumen.
Once in Ben Lomond, turn left at the rail line and then look for the Dunmore Trout Waters sign at the end of town. This is actually the road to Wandsworth, and after around 12km of pleasant driving along an ever-deepening valley, you’ll see the turn off to Dunmore Trout Waters on the right.
Peter and Cath Ivey are a friendly couple who love their property, their fishery and the people who take the time to come and enjoy it with them. Cath met us at the main house and over introductions I noticed a trout jumping in the lake just behind the house. There were trout in there of course, but the main fishery was a little further away. We followed Cath for a couple of kilometres to the main lake with its absolutely top-shelf accommodation and outdoor kitchen facility right on the foreshores.
The main lake is about as pretty a sight as a keen trout angler could wish to see. It’s set in a shallow valley with a gully on which the trout lakes are formed. Peter told me with some pride that he had constructed the lake and pond system so the water feeds naturally from one to the next once rain has filled the upper ones. Outflows are netted to prevent fish from escaping. The whole place has been set up very well, with an entirely natural look thanks to plenty of grass, cover and shrubs around the edges.
There are half a dozen bodies of water in all, varying in size from the 7ha main lake to smaller ponds further up the watercourse. All are within easy walking distance of the main lake and its accompanying cottage and facilities. We were based at the main lake for our day at Dunmore. With the water lapping reed beds and plenty of rocks and timber, the brown and rainbow trout have all the cover they need to forage actively. The lake is wide and surrounded by reasonably open banks for easy flyfishing, yet there are sufficient trees about to provide enough shade along the edges.
Other useful features for the angler include a reed-lined channel leading down from the other waterways further up the valley and a jetty. I was immediately drawn to the high bank on the western end of the lake, from which an outflow pipe allows water to feed into yet another dam further down the valley. My wife Denise and son Scott headed out in the electric powered tinny tied to the jetty, but I had seen a fish rise near the bank and after about ten minutes I was in position to watch for trout activity.
Walking quietly along the high bank I spotted three trout feeding within casting range. I mentally noted their position and confidently cast to a couple of likely rises. Stocked the trout might be, but stupid they were certainly not. They didn’t want to take my Matuka, so it was on with a black Woolly Bugger and into another rise. Gotcha! A fat rainbow trout around the 500g mark. As Cath had indicated, Woolly Buggers are great flies for that area, no doubt due to the number of small forage fish in the dam, plus the ever-present damsel flies and mudeyes during summer. If I were fishing Dunmore in winter, I would stick with the black Woolly Bugger, as the dark green damsel flies would be a no show at this time of year. In spring and summer the dark green would again come to the fore.
The fly rods were very busy that afternoon with fish rising along almost the entire shoreline. Although there were heaps of opportunities, the fish were by no means stupid and a careful cast was always the one that worked. Right on dark I put on a dry fly, an Elk Hair Caddis, and took several trout on it. Denise and Scott were out in the boat and I noticed a couple of double hook ups at one stage of proceedings.
Yet the superb fishing is not the entire Dunmore Trout Waters story. The accommodation must also be mentioned. The lodge is situated on the southern bank of the main lake with a really neat smoke house/barbecue area set up almost adjoining it. Facilities here are excellent: the area is set up with plenty of seats, tables and other dining requirements and would be the perfect place to smoke a trout and enjoy a glass of wine in the clean country air. One trout per angler for eating purposes is allowed.
The lodge at the main lake (and there are other lodges available on the property as well) is totally self-contained and linen is provided. The well-built and very clean lodge features two bedrooms, a modern kitchen with all the usual conveniences, and a lounge area with a great slow combustion fireplace plus heaps of gnarled hard wood to keep it glowing. The ambience created by warm wood panelling and lots of enticing photos of fish captures adds to the appeal. Outside on the veranda there are rod racks, chairs and a table.
The great thing about Dunmore Trout Waters is the diverse appeal the setting offers. On the one hand, a group of dead keen anglers might rent one of the lodges as a base to explore all the fishing offered. On the other, it would also be a great place for a family with some non-anglers to enjoy.
For further information, contact Peter and Cath Ivey on (02) 6779 4210 (phone/fax) or send an email to --e-mail address hidden--Reads: 2204