Fish River, O’Connell
Fishing these days is limited to snippets between toddler demands, which would be fine if I lived on a trout stream but the Cooks River is the closest I get. Those dumped shopping trolleys are harder to hook than you might think.
So with the mother-in-law in town and happily assuming my share of child duties I escaped for a morning out to the Fish River at O’Connell.
Luckily I didn’t get out too early because the fish didn’t appear until about 10am. They fed actively, but evidently not on dries. A lack of fishing practice was my biggest hindrance at this point. I lined a fish that surprised me by porpoising on the surface parallel to where I stood.
Eventually, with the casting arm warmed up, I hooked a one pounder on a prince nymph at the head of the pool but the tippet snapped almost immediately. Testing the tippet after (Rio 6X Flurocarbon), I was able to snap it at almost every attempt. Time to invest in some new tippet.
After a beautiful, still morning, the wind picked up at 12pm and the fish shut down. So I set off on the drive back to the Cooks River.
We rented an Airbnb on a high country property while visiting family in Cooma over the Easter. With family commitments pulling me every where but where I should be (on the trout streams), fishing here was limited to hit and run expeditions while the toddler had her midday nap.
On the first morning I sat on the balcony, coffee in hand, admiring the views of the Monaro plains and googling ‘trout stream near me’ when I realised there was a creek in the valley right in front of me.
Enquiries put to the Airbnb owner revealed the following:
- Yes there are trout in the stream
- Yes you can access it, it’s public access, Torrens Title
- It’s fly fishing, catch and release only
- Point 3 is the owners rules. He doesn’t have any jurisdiction to enforce it, but he’s evidently a good bloke.
Rain the prior week, and warm sunshine this week, meant there would be prime fishing time during the evening hatch. The owner had seen some decent fish on his evening constitutional with his wife.
However I was expected at family dinner in the evening. So instead I hit the stream at midday, during toddler nap time. It was a typical Monaro stream with clear, slow flowing pools. And with the sun high, the fish were hiding. Never mind, I told myself, I’ll get down for the evening hatch later in the week.
During the next day’s toddler nap I ventured a bit further afield to the Snowy River. This was another clear, slow flowing stream, so I was surprised to find a trout tailing in the midday sun. I only had about half an hour to spare before said toddler was due to wake up though and this was not enough time to lure that trout into a trap.
Eucumbene Trout Farm
Yes folks, you read that title right. Instead of the planned venture to fish the evening rise, I found myself with niece and nephew minding duties. And for better or worse, over the years, time with Uncle Jodi comes with the expectation of a fishing trip.
An earlier expedition to the creek with niece and nephew ended in many sticks, stones and children throwing themselves in the water. Conditions entirely unsuitable to stalking trout. So instead I took them to the Eucumbene Trout Farm.
This is about as close as trout fishing gets to fishing for yellow tail off a jetty and therefore entirely suitable to the limited attention spans of eight and ten year olds. Although hooking a trout on powerbait, in a pond the size of a backyard swimming pool with about 50 fish in it, is harder than it sounds.
The real challenge was not jag hooking them, but at the end of the day, two trout were landed and niece and nephew went home satisfied. While Uncle Jodi went home with his wallet considerably lighter and, well, there’ll always be another evening rise.