Hopper Time

Its usually drought in Australia, until you want to fish a river, then it floods.

Walking the banks of a stretch of a low land western river I had hoped to fish for natives, I realised two things. Firstly, there was no way I was going to hook into any natives due to the chocolate milkshake that was barely contained within the usual river banks; and secondly, there were an insane amount of hoppers around. So many hoppers that simply walking through the long straw coloured grass with your mouth open would result in a decent feed.

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Bucketloads of hoppers

After a quick rethink I decided to cut my losses, head to higher ground and settle for a weekend of trout fishing. According to the guru at the local fly shop the girl scoutin’ had been particularly good although the hoppers I had seen in plague proportions at lower altitudes were only present in certain localities.

It was early afternoon by the time I hit the mighty Eucumbene River and after a short hike was in some prime water.  Initially I was surprised I had the place to myself, but I guess the imminent thunderstorm kept a few punters at bay. The river fished well, with most fish opting for the stimulator of the dry dropper rig. I only managed a few fish, including a rainbow at 38cm, before the storm hit.  The cell appeared to get stuck in the gorge. The days fishing was well and truly over as I crouched soaked to the bone under a tea tree bush trying to avoid the splintering lightning bolts that hit trees on each side of the gorge every few seconds with deafening devastation.

By the next day the weather had cleared and I relocated to higher country to fish the highly oxygenated, acidic waters of the Thredbo River. A long time favourite, the Thredbo is one the rivers I cut my teeth on many years ago. When it is firing it is unmatched in Australia for both quality fly water and fish. This day was no exception, even with high water. The fish weren’t easy to find but they were in excellent condition and were looking up.

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Strong Rainbows, clear water
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Looking up
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Extreme wading
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Fast water brownie

This was the first time I had visited the Kosciusko National Park since the completion of the Thredbo Valley Trail. A bike and hike trail that spans the ~20kms between Thredbo and Crackenback. The trail includes heavy erosion and 4 river crossings, facilitated by monolithic steel bridges.  If you thought that National Parks still had any role in the preservation of intact and undiminished wilderness in Australia then you will find the trail disgusting. After a million years of neglect industrial tourism has finally come to the Thredbo Valley. Rather than spend money on the irradiation and control of feral floral and fauna, which is so desperately needed, the KNP instead chose to develop one of the last remaining stretches of untouched alpine river. Just another national disgrace from the National Park Service.

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Fools progress

Yes there is some irony writing about trout fishing in a national park while also complaining about the lack of vermin control. Sure eradicate the trout, but not before you remove the dams clogging our waterways and restricting the passage of native fish. Let our rivers run.

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