Spring has arrived in the Goulburn valley and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The closed season can feel like an eternity when you are trapped up this way, especially given the propensity for June and July to see the valley completely fogged in. Days roll into weeks, and weeks into months during the closed season, and with precious little do up this way when the weather is bad and the trout off-limits, the arrival of September is something that brings a real sense of excitement up this way.
To further add to this elevated sense of anticipation, over the past week and a half, many of the trees along the river have begun to bud, and the daffodils around Thornton are out in full-force. This is a fantastic time with so many possibilities yet to unfold. You only need look around outside to see all the potential as the very marked shift from winter becomes visually evident.
For me I am already pondering on what might be. Will the caddis arrive early? Will the river remain low enough for caenids in November but high enough to drift? Will the cicadas and willow grubs show? There is so much to ponder, and every season is different. This, I guess, is part of the allure of fly fishing. While experience brings with it great knowledge of what may happen and how to respond to most situations that arise, obviously it allows no control of what Mother Nature may do and you just have to work around what she brings, especially early on in the season when river levels are the single most determining factor in regard to catching success.
And it’s all a guessing game for now. While we haven’t had much rain over the past few months, this is not unusual for mid-August. Most of our rain falls in the next six to ten weeks. The catchment is soaked and anything we get from here on in should pretty much just run off into the rivers and down on into the lake. Fingers are crossed that there are plenty of good falls yet to come, and we can put another 15-20% into Eildon before the draw down begins in November. But it doesn’t look likely.
It’s been hard to watch the river at such high levels at this time of the year. It was high when I left for Montana back in early July, and still up now. It’s still up now! This is not good, and with the way they wasted water through the back half of last season, it remains to be seen where things end up at the end of spring. Lake Eildon is at 60% as of today, when it should be closer to 70-75% based on how it was looking mid-way through last summer.
It’s funny that since the last drought, people have gone back to living as they did before. Same with the bush fires up this way. I guess this is simply human nature and we all assume it can’t be as bad as it was before, but it’s hard to believe that our water managers can fall into this same trap. Especially given how bad things got in the 2003-2008 period.
Leaving that politically charged issue aside, the writing is on the wall for a drier than usual spring which will see the lake finish up under 70% and a very different spring to what we’ve seen in recent years.
Already we are making plans to visit many of the small streams in the north east, and we are offering a range of new trips there. Check out the Guide’s Road Trip and the, as yet to be listed, Backcountry Trips, for more information. This is a direct reaction to how we see the coming months panning out. Some catchments are already receiving significantly less rain than even we are getting, and there will be interesting opportunities arising there in less than a month’s time.
We tend to avoid these areas until at least November in a typical year. This should illustrate just how different to last season we see the approaching one panning out.
The other side to this is what will the Goulburn do, and to be honest, it’s anyone’s guess. It’s been high of late, but was scaled back a few days ago, and all things being equal, it will be low and clear on opening day. More on that on Thursday week. We would expect that it will be low through September and if the spring rain ends as soon as some at BOM predict, we will see earlier than usual water releases from Lake Eildon into the Goulburn River.
Once again though this is just a guess. And not even the folks at GMW can predict what will happen with any degree of accuracy. The key will be to check these reports as often as you can, and even more importantly, phone me directly on 0418 995 611 for the very latest updates.
As you undoubtedly know, we no longer have a physical store. You can still get all your local flies online from David at www.theflyshop.com.au and we will run a local drop off / pick up mobile service in the Thornton – Alexandra area from out the back of our trucks. But there will no longer be a physical store.
So staying in touch with us either online or on the phone, will be important should you need info on how the rivers up this way are fishing.
If you are a client of ours, either past or present, please contact us to learn more about how you can also access this information.
There will be a much more detailed report published here on the evening of Thursday 30th August as a prelude to Opening Day on Saturday 1st. We will take photos of most of the rivers and include a comprehensive overview of what to expect, including flies to use and maybe some other places to fish without all the crowds.
This season we have a heap of new trip offers and we have an interesting mix of staff. Bo and I are available every day. David Pickering is now retired but will be available from time to time. Geoff Hall has put his hat back in the ring and will be available on arrangement. It’s terrific to be able to offer his services, as he is a very experienced guide and a lot of fun on the water. The usual suspects in Cameron Parker and John Kruska will be available, with Lachlan Manning and Chad Sayer also doing some solid stints for us.
This is the best that our guiding team has ever looked and we have a huge range of experience among that group.
If you want to learn more about the year ahead and the trips we will offer, visit our News and Offers page that can be accessed from the top navigation panel of this website.
Lastly, a huge thank you to all who’ve supported us over the past 24 years. We are all very excited to be moving into the next phase of our lives with GVFFC, and not having to man that shop and mow lawns is a big part of it. We now have a lot more spare time to guide and to run special trips like The Guide’s Road trip. We will also have a lot more time to assist you with any of your fly fishing needs, both on and off the water.
We’ve been very fortunate to work in this industry for the amount of time that we have, meeting so many interesting people and developing friendships that have lasted decades. While things have changed a lot in the past few months with the sale of our property, we will continue to offer all of the same personalised services that we have done in the past, for many years to come.
Again, watch this space for a detailed pre-season update on Thursday 30th August, and good luck with your trip planning for the coming fishing season.
We are always here to help.
Antony and the GVFFC team.