A Decent Brown (Finally!)

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Marrakai
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A Decent Brown (Finally!)

Post by Marrakai » Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:55 pm

Over the Christmas break, wifey and I visited out eldest daughter Nikki in Wagga.
Since the previous Easter, I had been planning to raft the Swampy Plain River from Khancoban Pondage down to the Murray.
We managed this on two consecutive days between Christmas and New Year, but unfortunately the water was rather warm and a little dirty from the rains a week before, and didn't fish as well as we hoped. Nikki and I caught a few rainbows and browns between 30 and 35 cm each day, but no trophy browns unfortunately.
Nikki_Rainbow.jpg
SwampyPlain_Brown.jpg
I was swimming a weighted hare's-ear nymph ~40cm beneath a #12 Royal Humpy, Royal Wulf or Stimulator for most of it, and took fish on both the wet and the dry.

The Tumut below Blowering was running a banker the whole time we were there, up into the grass under the willows, and painfully cold to wade! Too much water for fly-fishing was the verdict, except for one ~35cm Rainbow and a couple of carp, all on nymphs.
Tumut_Rainbow.jpg
With only 2 days left we 'discovered' the Goobarragandra. It flows into the Tumut River from the SE between Blowering Dam and Tumut Township. Bagged a few rainbows ~35 cm and missed a few more on the first day; really picturesque knee-deep runs and deeper pools, with a few stretches of bouldery cascades. Very scenic.
Goobarragandra_Rainbow1.jpg
Nikki_30cmRainbow.jpg
Goobarragandra_Rainbow2.jpg
So we went back!
Found a couple more on the second day, and finally managed to fool a lovely 55cm brown jack. He took a small hackled but wingless copper fly I had sunk as a nymph beneath the Humpy. The fish powered off downstream through 2 sets of thundering cascades, however I managed to follow him without breaking my shins or my tippet, or drowning (!), eventually landing him in the third pool. During the fight he went under a boulder in midstream for while but luckily came out clean, and also momentarily tangled a tree-branch trailing in the rapids. Absolute miracle I got him!

<click to enlarge>
TrophyBrown_3.jpg
He will be my best trout for a while to come, at least untill our next trip south!

Back in Darwin now, so its into the barra and goldies again..... ho-hum....
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Re: A Decent Brown (Finally!)

Post by Rellik-doc-rob » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:22 am

Great story , time with your daughter....terrific photo's , and a deserving reward of a nice fish. Well done clapclap clapclap clapclap RDR
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Re: A Decent Brown (Finally!)

Post by Mzuri3 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:05 pm

Well done Marrakai, top fishing, and what a trophy.

Tight Lines

Rob

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Re: A Decent Brown (Finally!)

Post by MXB » Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:46 am

@Marrakai . . .

Well you have fished all the waters I have fished for the last 30 odd years since I was a teenager and its a pity the water wasn't good for your rafting trip down the Swampy which normally fishes real good in parts. Khancoban was my home away from home for a while in the trout season fishing the Swampy Plains. The best parts of the Swampy are upriver above the bridge but hard going (have been up about 6-7kms to where Leatherbarrel Ck feeds in - the best postcard you have evr seen!!). Or down below where Bogong CK feeds in (got my best fish in that section many years ago that went around 3kg). Lots of fish caught above 1kg when conditions are good and up to 2-3kg and very difficult to land especially upriver as the terrain changes with lots of fast water - good when water is in low flow and impossible in fast flow.

Good to see you found the Goobagandra - there are huts upriver from Lacmallac and always got lots of fish out of that river but never any above 1kg. Easy fly fishing too on anything that resembles a black cricket. A nice small river.

The Tumut always fishes well but highly unpredictable and not recomended for wading unless you wish to get washed away as they release water indiscriminately!! There are alot of bigger fish in the Tumut.

Nice trip Marrakai and well done on catching that big buck fish thumbsupsmilie

MXB

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Re: A Decent Brown (Finally!)

Post by Marrakai » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:04 pm

Thanks guys, really enjoyed the different tempo of trout fishing versus the smash and grab of tropical swoffing!
As they say, a change is as good as a holiday.
Oh, wait.... It was a holiday!

MXB, you are indeed a lucky man to be able to call the Swampy Plain and the Goobarragandra your stomping grounds.
I certainly got the impression we could 'crack' the Swampy with more time, but really enjoyed the rafting and fishing regardless.
There are a lot of carp there now, schools of 10 to 30 big fish cruising the shallows everywhere, not sure if that has made a difference.

I did wet a line in the Swampy above the pondage on our last morning there, but only had 15 mins or so while the girls had a look around.
Caught a ~30cm rainbow pretty-much right under the bridge on a Humpy, and clean missed a second take in the cascades ~100 metres upstream.
Would love to walk further up, but the rough terrain suggested a whole day would be needed for anything serious.
Its on my list!

Regarding the Tumut, it had apparently been quite low before the mid-December rains, and had been fishing brilliantly.
Just my luck.
It really was cold though, reminded me of south-island New Zealand. The Tumut convinced me to buy neoprene boots and thermal longs for the Swampy Plain trip, but sadly didn't need them there. I think colder would have been better.

I have promised Nikki we will visit again before she posts out at the end of the year. Which post-winter month would you recommend for greatest chance of success in the area?
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Re: A Decent Brown (Finally!)

Post by MXB » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:12 am

Marrakai wrote:
MXB, you are indeed a lucky man to be able to call the Swampy Plain and the Goobarragandra your stomping grounds.
I certainly got the impression we could 'crack' the Swampy with more time, but really enjoyed the rafting and fishing regardless.
There are a lot of carp there now, schools of 10 to 30 big fish cruising the shallows everywhere, not sure if that has made a difference.

I did wet a line in the Swampy above the pondage on our last morning there, but only had 15 mins or so while the girls had a look around.
Caught a ~30cm rainbow pretty-much right under the bridge on a Humpy, and clean missed a second take in the cascades ~100 metres upstream.
Would love to walk further up, but the rough terrain suggested a whole day would be needed for anything serious.
Its on my list!

Regarding the Tumut, it had apparently been quite low before the mid-December rains, and had been fishing brilliantly.
Just my luck.
It really was cold though, reminded me of south-island New Zealand. The Tumut convinced me to buy neoprene boots and thermal longs for the Swampy Plain trip, but sadly didn't need them there. I think colder would have been better.

I have promised Nikki we will visit again before she posts out at the end of the year. Which post-winter month would you recommend for greatest chance of success in the area?
Marrakai . . . I was guided through the Swampy by a good friend who was 20 years my senior and we used to take old Kombi vans and VW Wagons into the area. There are huts all the way through and lots of places where 'recluses' settled. There is a dilapidated old hut where an old mad army colonel lived for years below Bogong Ck where you can always find cherries and stone fruit as he planted it out many years ago.You would've cracked it for sure as it is a traditional river with trout in the usual places and most time under your feet!! Unfortunately carp have infested downriver in large numbers.

Walking upriver is not recomended unless guided although you can do a day trip but will only cover the 'nasty water' with steep terrain. Right up it changes into a skinny little trickle in the alpine area and actually is mostly fed by Mt Townsend and not Kosiosku. In between there are also large deep pools (up to 20ft that look 3ft deep) that are crystal clear and home to very large fish. We have sighted fish well over 10lb upriver and it is prehistoric up there and near impossible to land anything over 2kg. We have been smashed up with big rainbows hitting the lures at your feet after beelining the lure and then dissappearing over multiple rapids as you try to chase them without braking your leg. Lots of lost Rapalas and Rebels!! The trick is to move fast early. We used to camp out overnight and carry waterproof sleeping bags etc to get right up 5km+, sleep in neoprene waders and walk out stinking a day later. You'll need to access it off the fire trail after the camping area if the gate is open!!

The Tumut is a cold river (Upper Swampy and Geehi are colder tho'!) and I only where neoprene bib and brace in all these rivers - they have literally saved my life and stopped me injuring myself seriously over the years. The Tumut is a good lure water, a bit harder on fly if the water is moving too fast and variable. Low water means all the bigger fish come out to play.

Reminiscing too long - gotta get back there and fish

MXB

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IF YOU ARE FEELING DOWN JUST PULL OUT YOUR FAVOURITE LURE AND DREAM OF BETTER TIMES

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