I would blame my fishing buddy and longtime friend Chris Rose for the crowds if it weren’t me that suggested this spot.
Of course, our chances of getting the Sawyers Hut section of the Eucumbene River to ourselves at 10am on a Saturday, during the busiest part of the summer holidays, were probably similar to Anne Hathaway picking up the cheque on our first date, and there are already four other vehicles parked by the river.
It’s no wonder this water is popular because when it’s on, it’s on, and one of the finest summer dry fly waters in mainland Australia. No doubt, you’ve already heard how good it is at the end of the season when the big browns come up from the lake looking for love as well.
After a quick brainstorming session, wherein Chris provided all the brains, we decided to have a look up the short, gorged section of Rocky Valley Creek where it joins the main river.
Many years ago, while on a trip with Chris and my other great longtime mate, Peter Morse, I snuck up here while the two of them weren’t looking and had an unexpected, but very welcome blinder of a session.
Although there weren’t a lot of fish, the ones I did catch were large for a creek this small and very much looking up for one of the small hoppers that exploded all around my feet every time I took a step.
I used a small orange Stimulator and cleaned up.
It’s only a very short stretch of fishable water up to a small waterfall, but it’s both challenging for the tight casting and interesting for the short drifts under the vegetation hanging over the runs.
On Chris’ first cast, on the first tiny pool he’s into a fish, though in length it’s only a third of what we would call big for here.
The next couple of pools are blank and then, in a seemingly ‘nothing’ section Chris gets a bigger hit and breaks off—an odd occurrence for such an experienced angler on such small water.
Was it the fish? A monster? An unseen nick in the tippet?
Maybe, maybe not.
A couple more fiddlers come to hand before we get to the falls, where nothing much seems happening other than another six-incher occasionally showing in the tail of the falls.
Basically, except for the scenery, this was not a productive session.
All this leaves me asking the question, was my last trip a fluke? Is there a particular time of year, or a set of circumstances that sees the fish from the main river run up this creek ?
I don’t remember who said it originally, but the expression: ‘Find the food, find the fish,’ springs to mind.
Ten years ago, from memory, it was unseasonably hot and dry in the mountains for spring and the fish were on dries early.
There’s also the chance that the bigger fish were recovering spawners up from the main river to get an easy feed. November seems late, but I’ve seen this in New Zealand where the numbers of fish were just a little high to be considered normal.
Whether down to bugs, or season, or a rare dirt from the Gods—I will probably never know. But we will certainly be back earlier next season to expand on the theories and have another go.