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.
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.
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
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 ½ 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.
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
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.
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.
We all changed to smelt patterns, whatever we had in our fly boxes
and immediately we all started to catch fish.
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.
The sizes varied from ¾ to 2 1/2 pounds and the Redfin we
found out later was the biggest caught from that dam in quite
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.
The sacrifices we make and have to endure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Same beautiful fish just before release, in prime condition ready for the
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?
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