by Jon Novoselac
The fish was rising steadily, if not predictably.
I tied on a Royal Wulff and drifted the fly over it. Nothing. A few more castes and the fish hit it with a splashy rise, but I couldn’t connect. I waited a few minutes and made another cast. Again, the fish rose to the fly, but I couldn’t set the hook. Boy, it was fast!
Perhaps another fly would set better. A Stimulator. Same thing. The fish rose to it several times, but I still wasn’t good enough to set the hook.
Try another fly – what the heck. This fish wasn’t shy; it was definitely focussed on feeding.
On went a Stu Tripney Elk Hair Caddis. And wouldn’t you know it, the first time the fish rose to it, I was on. It screamed up and down the river, painfully close to the very snags that offer it protection from predatory cormorants – and fishermen.
A lovely Snowy Mountains brown trout.
Later in the day, the weather turned. But what a view.
On this stretch of the river, upstream from where I caught the brown, there were a few wonderful looking backwaters. Quiet places where trout forage for food that gets washed through. John McInnes wrote about these beautiful places in “Tread Quietly”.
“Backwaters! Our noses probably wrinkle at memories of stale smelling weed, dank banks, overhanging trees and stagnant slime. But the backwaters I mean have a different character. They are still patches of water, connected easily to the main river and perhaps freshened from upstream trickles percolating through cooler deeps of gravel. For me, especially in the summer, they are favourite places which I am prepared to walk a long way to find. When I come upon one I stand or sit quietly for ten minutes or even twenty. Eventually one or two shapes pass unhurriedly by, stopping, pausing, tailing, turing and even breaking the surface to suck in a pot-pourri of waterboatmen, snails, damsel fly nymphs and other desirables.”
I didn’t get to fish these backwaters on this day. Hopefully one day I will.