Arriving at the Eucumbene River. Leo opted to fly fish whilst I decided on spinning with a small brown trout imitation lure. We then started to work our way up the river. I was surprised that when casting into the deeper pools I wasn’t getting any fish but within the first 20 mins or so I did manage a small rainbow and a small brown, both around the 20cm mark, by retrieving over relatively shallow gravel areas, no more than 30 to 40cms deep. As we approached one of the larger holes we could see that towards the back of this pool, just above the rapid set leading up to it, there were a couple of fish taking insects off the surface but we could not tell the size. Leo made several casts up there with the fly but no takers. Before we moved forward he suggested I cast my lure towards the left bank, just near some tea tree. As I started the retrieve I was surprised to see two nice fish of mid 30 cm in size shoot out towards the middle of the pool. I was even more surprised to see a large brown slowly follow behind and seem to nudge my lure. The current pushed my lure up against a large boulder and under it, the trout continued to try and get at the lure, even though it was now stationary. I gave the rod tip a twitch to try and free the lure, which it did. To my amazement the large trout swam away, and my line followed. The twitch had lodged the lure firmly under his right jaw. I don’t even know if he knew he had been hooked at first, but as I lifted the rod tip and put some pressure on him he sure did. He darted out into the pool leaving an impressive bow wave, then just as suddenly turned around and shot down the rapids. I did my best to wind as fast as I could to keep up the slack, then the reel screamed as he headed downstream, with me in hot pursuit. I scrambled down the rapids, slipping and splashing about, using one hand to try and steady myself and the other to hold the rod as high as I could so the line did not foul on any boulders or small saplings growing in the middle of the river. Every time I caught up to him, and had Leo close with the net he would take another run further downstream, with the two of us crazy guys scrambling after him. After a couple of adrenaline charged minutes, which seemed like an eternity, Leo managed to get the net in behind him and scooped him up beautifully, quickly followed by cheers and high fives. It was straight over to the bank for some quick photos, my hands still shaking considerably. Fishing like this really is a team effort, and when two friends can work together, and land a fish like this, the credit is equally shared. It is those moments that become the memories that last a lifetime.
Unfortunately the wind continued to pick up and Leo didn’t manage to land a fish on fly, even though there were a couple of takes. I also managed to get another two solid strikes from fish that would have been just as big as this brown. Both casts were made from high on the bank with a good view of the trout charging out of the depths to smash the lure, but unfortunately not a solid hook-up. Still, it is a great site to see nature in its full predatory form and whilst they were not landed, I did manage to lure them out enough to see these amazing fish in action. Wearily we decided that it was time to call it a day and start the trek back to the car. We still had a 2hr drive back to Canberra, and it would be getting dark soon. This had certainly been a memorable day, and a day of firsts, but hopefully not lasts. The Snowy Mountains is one of Australia’s great treasures, both for fisherman and those who simply love the outdoors. If you do head up towards lake Eucumbene make sure that you stop in to see the Big Trout at Adaminaby, and if you’re going fishing I would recommend going to see my old friends Col and Joan at the Adaminaby Angler just across the street from the park that the Big Trout stands in. Col is an expert in the region and has often shared his knowledge with me over the years I have been visiting the mountains.