Well what an experience this trip was. I had heard a lot about fishing the Eucumbene River at this time of year, but was not really sure what to expect. Leading up to the trip, pictures of big pre-spawn trout being caught from the Eucumbene area could be seen sprawled all over the internet, so I knew that the fishing was good, but also proving its popularity! That still didn’t prepare me for the sheer amount of people and fish we came across on your trip.
The Eucumbene is a magnificent river located in the NSW Snowy Mountains, with beautiful scenery in a beautiful part of the country. This time of year really turns the fishing on when thousands of big brown trout that spend most of the year in the lake migrate up river to find their perfect spots to spawn. At times you could see 10-20 fish moving up the runs in broad daylight. A pretty amazing site!
Conventional methods which target the trouts feeding response take a backseat, at this time of year as these trout are primarily focused on spawning, but they can still be caught. The method of choice by 90% of anglers is to use glo-bugs or egg fly patterns, fished deep in the pools and runs. The trout either eat these roe imitation, trying to reduce competition for their own eggs, or in the case of male fish, will try to spawn with the lose egg, which often results in hooking the fish in the bum or anal fin area. Using glo-bugs is undoubtedly a super effective way to catch these fish, but I couldn’t help but feel we were taking advantage of their natural instincts and making the fishing too easy…..
The other method of catching these big spawners is by casting big hard body lures. The idea of fishing oversize lures is to trigger an aggression bite. At this time of year the trout are really territorial and have a tendency to attack anything that comes into their zone. This is great for anglers who love to cast lures like us!
We found larger lures like the Rapala F13, F11, F9 and the Ecogear MW72 all fared well, enticing plenty of aggressive strikes which ended up in plenty of fish to the net.
We found getting away from the crowds as much as possible and targeting the deeper runs and tail-outs gave us the most success, this was certainly a challenge with people on almost every deep run. it was not uncommon to see up to 20 people shoulder to shoulder at times fishing the one pool.
A variety of retrieves worked, and was really dependent on what mood the fish were in. Some instances the fish preferred a slower retrieve than usual, where as others they were hitting the lure as soon as it touched the water. We were using our 1-2kg daiwa outfits, with 2004 size Aegis and Sol type 2 reels spooled with 12lb braided line and 6-8lb fluorocarbon leader. These were more than enough for 90% of the fish hooked and gave us some great tussles on those bigger 5lb fish. Nothing beats fishing with light gear!
The Eucumbene River is a truly unique destination for Australian anglers where you have a very real chance of catching a trophy trout . The lower length of the rivers offers extensive access with large open grassy banks and can be fished by people of all skill levels, but because of this you will be surrounded by hundreds of other people on the river.
If you try hard you can get away from the crowds to an extent, but is still not the same as fishing those beautiful remote locations that we are used to. If crowds are not your thing, look at going early in the spawning run and or during the week, this may ease the tension a bit.
I personally don’t think the fishing will go on up there forever. Sadly, with the amount of rubbish left behind by some inconsiderate anglers it is inevitable that national parks will one day close the area to the public or possibly begin a ballot system to decrease the amount of traffic on the river. I couldn’t believe and was so disappointed by the amount of beer cans, cigarette butts, fishing line etc that was left on the river by some of the dis respective anglers, and it will be these irresponsible fishermen who will ruin these locations for everyone, both humans and aquatic. Respect our waterways.