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Grasshoppers on the menu
  |  First Published: January 2010



What an unusual season we are experiencing.

In the High Country we are getting top temperatures from 41C sizzlers down to 14C and cold, windy and wet days. This area has generally been in drought for the past 12 years but starting last August we started getting some serious rain. The rain has continued right up until the present time.

I fished the Mitta River system last week. The first day the air temperature was a little over 40C and the water in the Mitta was flowing at 23C but flowing nicely. In February last year the water exceeded 26C and there was a fish kill.

Despite the high temperatures, the fishing was good with plenty of small to medium trout only too willing to take a dry fly. That night it decided to rain and the area received in excess of 25mm overnight which turned all the rivers into coffee. Next day, no fishing but by afternoon the river was starting to drop and clear somewhat. That night, more rain, with another 25mm and more in the catchment.

Next day, there was no fishing in any river in the Mitta system. Now the good news; the rain had the effect of dropping the water temperature to a more trout friendly 19C.

Once the rivers clear the fishing should return to normal summer activity. There are plenty of beetles around at the moment and many are finding their way into the rivers. Due to the good rainfall over the past few months, the paddocks and bush are still green although drying off somewhat the last few weeks.

Grasshoppers abound although they are still a little on the small size and not yet as active as they could be. In the next couple of weeks they should really have an impact on the fishing.

Not so good is the evening fishing. The caddis are spasmodic at best and there and few mayflies to be seen.

Sometimes light can come out of darkness. As I was unable to fish the Mitta system due to the dirty water I decided to head up to the alpine rivers and take a look. I lobbed onto Pretty Valley Creek a little after lunchtime. It also had received rain the previous night and it was running high but was clear as it flows through native vegetation.

The daytime air temperature was 15C and due to its altitude, there was no need to worry about the water temperature. A moderate wind from the southwest was making a nuisance of itself however the nearby hills offered me some protection.

I was delighted to see a few mayflies drifting downstream as I prospected the water with a Royal Wulff.  I was annoyed at myself for leaving my mayfly box of flies at home. Anyway I need not have worried as I ended up with a nice bag of brown trout as well as missing a number of other fish.

Over the February I would advise anglers to concentrate their efforts on rivers that are known for their grasshoppers. Some that spring to mind include the Mitta Mitta, Bundara and Cobungra Rivers. Of course it all depends on the weather gods and they have been difficult to read recently.

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