World Wide Fishing!



Fly fishing in the Mitta Mitta Valley of NE Victoria, Australia

By Gig Azor, Australia

A fishing trip had been organized to the Mitta Mitta valley and its small hamlet of Mitta Mitta, in the picturesque region of North East Victoria, and I was fortunate enough to be one of the participants.

River

Regions History

The town derived its name from the local indigenous people, the aboriginals which came to this area to gather and eat the large Bogong moths (for there high protein content) during our summer season. The aborigines called this area Mutta Mutta, which means thunder, the sound made by the Mitta Mitta River which flows through the valley when in full flow.

The town of Mitta Mitta had few settlers till 1864 when gold was discovered. The township of Mitta Mitta flourished while gold was being found and at one time had the largest open cut mine in the state of Victoria. As the gold findings diminished, so did the town and its population, to the hamlet we have today.

Journal Begins
Thursday 17th

We were going to fish from Friday 18th through to the early afternoon of Sunday 20th then home, but some of the boys were so keen, this being possibly their last fish before the end of our season, that they began making plans to arrive the Thursday morning very early at Scotties home, and from there convoy to the Mitta Mitta Valley and the hotel and fish till dark.

There were eight of us on this trip, Scottie (the organizer and chef), Gig (me, author of this article), Toc, Leigh, Peter, Carl, Tony and Andrew. Some of the fellas were old acquaintances, the rest were new fellows which had nominated themselves when the trip had first been suggested on one of our local fly fishing forums.

When we arrived at the hotel we unpacked the foodstuff from our vehicles and got ourselves organized for our first outing. We paired ourselves off, Tony and I together, which was to be the norm for the rest of the trip. We drove as far as we could on a dirt road giving us close access to the river then hiked the rest of the way down to a section of the Mitta Mitta river which looked very tempting.

Some trophy fish had been caught in this river over the last few months. Scottie living only 1 hour away had been fishing the Mitta since its drop in water level and had caught some big wild brown trout, weighing in approx 4 to 8 pounds. So we were all excited at the possibility of catching some nice fish.

It was tough fishing riffles and pools of gin clear water banked either side with thick native scrub and tall eucalyptus trees in some very beautiful country. It was later established that everyone started off with a dry fly first, there is something about seeing the wily trout as it takes your dry fly from the surface which is very fulfilling and exciting. Royal Wullfs, Red Humpys, Para Adams in various sizes were used, all non descript flies as there were no hatches present. Only 2 fish were caught that day both using a nymph dropper and assorted dry flies as indicators, one by Carl and the other by Leigh, both were nearing the 1 1 pound mark. Some of the other fellas had some contact but Tony and I had none.

We retired that evening from the river around 5.15 pm back to the hotel for some liquid amber refreshments, dinner cooked by our resident cordon bleu chef Scottie and a fly tying session.

Friday 18th

Tying Session
Left to right: Peter, Toc, Andrew, Gig, Carl, Tony and Leigh. Scottie who is missing is taking the picture.

We woke up to a miserable morning, foggy and with pouring rain. You would not believe that we in Australia are in the midst of a 10 year drought, it was raining that hard. So after breakfast a fly tying session was begun. Six of the eight of us were fly tiers with varying degrees of experience. The other two were novices to be initiated into this fine art and their eventual downfall. Those two poor blokes got hammered with information, the more experienced taking turns with them and introducing them to assorted materials, techniques and nomenclature. It was a lot for them to take in but they were keen. The important thing was that fun was had by all participants and a couple of new flies were created in the process. The 'Trippy Tag' (named and tied by Tony after the trip) and another fly that has no name but which would have looked in place as a Christmas tree ornament (tied by Scottie).

The rain stopped about 1.00 pm and the sun shone from behind the clouds but that was short lived. A decision was made to fish close to base camp, so we went to Banimboola dam only a 5 minutes drive away with easy access to its very muddy and slippery shore. We spread ourselves out along the dam's foreshore; Tony was the first to get a strike but lost the fish.
Carl and rainbow

Then a second, then a third strike and that was when curiosity got the better of me and I asked him what fly he was using. It was his Trippy Tag, a moment later another strike and a very nice 1 pounder was taken by that fly. Only Tony had tied the Trippy Tag which looked like a smelt imitation of our native Redfin in colours of red and yellow.

Leigh and nice brown

We all changed to smelt patterns, whatever we had in our fly boxes and immediately we all started to catch fish.

Peter with native Redfin

I used a #12 Tom Jones; some others used #12 Tungsten Beaded Tom Jones (a popular wet down under), Tony continued with his Trippy Tag and Scotty his Christmas ornament. Everyone that session caught some nice rainbows and browns as well as a native fish the Redfin.

Peter with nice brown

The sizes varied from to 2 1/2 pounds and the Redfin we found out later was the biggest caught from that dam in quite some time.

Gig in action, hooked up

Everyone was satisfied and we went back to the hotel. You guessed it, more liquid amber (beer), tall tales and dinner followed by another fly tying session.

End result - a jewel of a nice brown

Tony on Snowy creek

The sacrifices we make and have to endure.

Scottie with a nice brown

Saturday 19th

Snowy Creek was on the agenda this morning, a windy small stream running through some steep gorges with fast riffles entering pockets of deeper pools with strewn logs lying across sections of the stream creating lies for the trout and difficulties for the fly fisherman wading this stream. In places heavy overhanging trees were just waiting, enticing the fisherman to get caught up and then foliage clearing into easier sections of water. Fishing this stream was only going to happen if the runoff from the rain had not discoloured the Snowy too much but the water was gin clear, crisp and sweet to taste and beautiful on the eye.

Toc

The three weight was the popular twig rod of choice by all except Scotty who used a SAGE TXL 2 weight. This was my first time using my twig rod (a cheap rod bought on a run out sale) and fishing small waters so I let Tony lead out first and we took turns fishing with Tony explaining about tactics and how stretches of this small stream were to be best fished. Tony caught one small rainbow but I was having no luck.

Tony Snowy creek

The Royal Wulff was the saving grace on Snowy creek with some of the boys catching 3 and 4 small fish each, a mixture of rainbow and brown trout. Unfortunately it's so late in our season that there were no hatches and insects seen except for the occasional large Kossie Dun. We fished from 9.00am to 2.20 pm when we decided to leave this creek and head back to the car. Tony and I found what looked like a track leaving the creek and as we were in some fairly dense bush and no look of any let up ahead we took this exit. A little bush bashing, trying to avoid blackberries with needle sharp thorns waiting to piece and make pin holes in our waders we eventually made it to the gravel road parallel to the stream and walked back to our car. Tony and I met the others back at the hotel.

After a late lunch we went off to the Mitta Mitta River for the evening rise, and here everyone spread out and fished for themselves. I was fishing a nice riffle swinging a beaded black nymph at point and a GRHE as dropper across and down and had a few bumps but no fish. Leigh was farther down stream upstream nymphing with an indicator on but had no touches. Tony went on farther and found a long glide of water with a nice bubble trail flowing gently through it. This is where the biggest fish of the trip was caught, a 4 pounder by Tony on a #12 Royal Wulff he tied. Tony entered the water gently trying to avoid creating too many bow waves and fished it in front slowly moving to the bubble trail. As he reached casting distance he heard a clearly audible blurb to his right. No indicative rings of a resident trout feeding but he took the chance and cast slightly up from where he thought the sound came from. Nothing the first drift, he picked up again quietly and cast again close to the same spot. This time there was another blurb and the fly disappeared.

Tony set his hook gently but nothing happened for about 10 seconds, the fish still did not realise it was hooked. The trout continued swimming till it felt the end of the line and tension, and then all hell broke loose. The gentle silent glide was no more and the trout was fighting the line hard. Tony did not realise the size of the fish he had on till it started to aerialize itself. It was then that we heard Tony over the UHF asking for assistance from someone with a net. Two of us from different sections of the river unknowingly reeled in our lines and ran and wadded through some deep sections we would otherwise avoid in desperation to get there as quickly as possible to net the fish. Carl got there before me and had his net out ready, I was behind him catching my breath (the things we do for mates).

Just when Tony thought the big brown was finished and at Carl's net the big jack took off again and the scream of the reel was exhilarating. He did this three more times, each time changing directions, surging upstream, and then down again trying to avoid capture. But Tony kept with him following behind wherever the big fish took him, keeping the trout's head up and giving him line when needed and letting the rod do the work. Eventually after 10 minutes of fierce battle between the two adversaries, the trout came to Carl's net with its head swaying from side to side, tired but not disgraced. Pictures were then taken quickly of Tony and his captive and then the brown was released back into its glide for a sulk.

Tony Big Fish
Best fish of the trip caught by Tony, a 4 pound jack from the Mitta Mitta river using a #12 Royal Wulff he tied himself.

Tony Big Fish again
Same beautiful fish just before release, in prime condition ready for the mating season.

That was it for Tony that evening; he caught his 4 pounder and left the fishing to the rest of us while he gathered his nerves and thoughts together of what had just happened. Tony was shaking visibly after the release of the fish; his adrenaline rush was at maximum overload. At 5.30pm we all called it quits that evening and we left the riverside and headed to the hotel where we all continued congratulating Tony on his fish with some more celebratory beers and wine over dinner. Do you see a common occurrence happening every evening on our Aussie fishing trips?

Sunday 20th

Our last morning of fishing before heading off back home and work was again spent on the Mitta Mitta River; unfortunately no one had any luck. Two of our party of eight had to leave by 11.00am, so we met at the cars and said our farewells to Leigh and Toc. The rest of us went back to the hotel shortly after and packed our gear, cleaned ourselves up and headed of on our way back home, a safe journey being had by all.

It's always nice to share ones interest with others of like mind and tastes, learning from others that share your passion just adds to the joy of fishing. ~ Gig


More Fly Fishing Down Under:

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Stalking the Large Trout of Australia
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Matching the Hatch
A Guide to 'Cracking' the Mystery of the Mataura

Fly fishing in the Mitta Mitta Valley of NE Victoria, Australia
Bream on the Fly - Australia
A Very Rough Guide to Fishing New Zealand


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