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Thread: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

  1. #1
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    Default Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    I thought it worth starting a thread to show off some of the superb country that I hope to discover over the next 12 months while living and working in Canberra, on the door-step of Kosciusko National Park in Australia’s Snowy Mountains.

    I have learned from experience that the secret to survival/sanity when working away from home for extended periods requires a commitment to keeping busy and engaged on those days off when I can’t get home, and this really is an exceptional part of the world so I can see that keeping that commitment isn’t going to be too difficult .

    I hope at some stage throughout this thread that I might get the chance to show off a trout or two that I catch on fly while exploring this stunning region- but I will confess at the outset that, as a fly fisherman, I am an exceptional tourist. I love fly fishing purely for the pleasure of the art and the wonderful places that it requires you to go to practice the art.

    My trips into The Snowies will generally be day trips and overnighters and I’m setting up for light weight hiking and a single night in the scrub, but I’ll try and save the blisters and work my way up.

    So with that in mind my first trip, yesterday (Sunday), was a drive up to Lake Eucumbene and hike above the lake along the Eucumbene river that has a good reputation for trout and fly fishing. Although a 2 1/2 hour drive, it is easy access, not a big hike to where I wanted to go and a good starter to wear my feet into my hiking boots, work out what I’d forgotten in my kit, relearn how to cast and to make all the beginner mistakes all over again in private.

    Saturday was a day of consistent heavy rain and I’d been warned that it may snow up at Eucumbene on Sunday, so I went prepared with all the warm clothes and wet weather gear that I could fit in my pack.............



    however.......









    This is the top of Lake Eucumbene (it’s quite low at the moment) with the Eucumbene river running into it - my destination is further up the river, but not far.

    [IMG]IMG_0282 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]



    [IMG]IMG_0283 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    First excursion at a creek crossing to see where it went

    [IMG]IMG_0293 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]

    [IMG]IMG_0302 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Larks

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Looking forward to this thread with great interest and pleased for the opportunity to learn more about this fine country. Will be interested to see your enntomological outlook and how it fishes.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Thanks Greg.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Is that a traction engine?
    When I first joined WBF they made me write a book to prove I was a real yachty. I was so gullible.
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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Some massive bushfires have been through vast swathes of this country and it so it looks completely different to anything that I’ve seen before on this scale - but it is recovering:

    [IMG]IMG_0309 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    back in the vehicle and that track along the river down there is where I’m headed

    [IMG]IMG_0311 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    Down on that track and the result of the heavy rains the day before - the Snowy Mountains Highway that I came down can be seen half way up the hill in the background


    [IMG]IMG_0316 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    The track was looking a bit too chopped out to be bothered with beyond where I’ve eventually parked here and it ended up finishing only about 100 metres around the small hill in the foreground anyway.

    My destination is a gorge and a series of water holes as the river winds through the hills in the background, particularly a place called “the suicide hole":

    [IMG]IMG_0343 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    Looking back before entering the gorge, only one other fisherman in this area who I’d walked past but who was quite content staying near his vehicle (I’d seen him having difficulty in his 4wd getting around that small hill that I didn’t bother with)

    [IMG]IMG_0324 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    And, not for the first time this trip, a bit of a “WOW!" moment for me as I climbed over some rocks to come down to the first waterhole:

    [IMG]IMG_0329 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Last edited by Larks; 11-20-2017 at 01:03 AM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Subscribed. thanks for taking us with you.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Looking good.
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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    This going to be good Greg ! Thanks.
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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    The “WOW” moment was seeing a couple of fish surface feeding along the back of the pool from the left grassy bank along to the outflow that can be seen at the right.

    [IMG]IMG_0330 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    I’m not a good judge of size but although one seemed quite small, the other seemed to me to be a respectable size. I sat and watched them from up here for about 10 minutes to see if they had a pattern and it looked like they were just patrolling and surface feeding along that strip so I climbed down to the flat rock just to the right and spent about 15 minutes just trying to see what they were feeding on, tying on a new tippet and fly to give them a chance to settle down again in case I’d spooked them while climbing down.

    There was a real mix of insect life on the water and it was hard to see what they were actually feeding on, there were small hoppers, flying ants, black beetles, brown moths, mosquitos, some other black bugs......but most prominent seemed to be small white moths so I tied on a white moth fly.



    After a very pleasant time just watching them feed for a while and when it looked like they were comfortably into a bit of a pattern I was crouching to sneak down to the waters edge when what the heck????? Out floats a fly line right over the last rise and I suddenly there's a guy who has appeared from no-where working my pool!!!!

    He got a bit of a shock when he saw me and realised straight away what was going on and, although I tried to stay low so as not to spoil his fishing, our joint reactions at seeing each other seemed to have been enough to spook the fish and the feeding suddenly went off.

    He turned out to be a lovely bloke and we sat and chatted for a while as we watched the pool and he gave me some advice on which fly he’d been having success with, a Stimulator, if the moth didn’t raise any interest.



    It turned out he’d walked down from the road quite a few miles down the river much earlier in the morning and had been working his way up slowly and he filled me in on a few other nice spots further down and where to park if I wanted to do what he was doing some other time.

    So when he moved on I had a few casts back in “my” pool but there wasn’t much happening so I moved on down river and explored what lay below.


    And seriously, it was just one perfect pool after another...........fly fishing heaven really. Casting upstream I had a slight breeze behind me, it was just perfect for me - the Gods were definitely smiling on me as far as the weather, the location, the river, the fish and the scenery went.

    [IMG]IMG_0334 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    [IMG]IMG_0335 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Last edited by Larks; 11-20-2017 at 11:34 PM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    I worked my way down for about three hours before deciding I needed time to work my way slowly back up again, giving the pools that I’d fished enough time to recover.
    I took dozens of pics of each area but they all were so similarly ideal that the pic’s seem to be very similar and so not worth boring everyone with.

    I’d love to say that by this stage I had bagged fish in those pools but, in all honesty, although I was casting beautifully (in my book) I really just did a great job of scaring them .

    The white moth didn’t raise any interest so I switched to the only Stimulator that I had in the box until I lost that under a rock when I was too slow to retrieve my line as it got sucked into a rapid in one spot, so I went to a Caddis fly which looked much like the small brown moths that I could see about:




    This actually got much more attention than either of the two previous flies, in that I had three fish in the lower pools suck it in or strike it or something - but in my inexperience and excitement either they spat it out or I tried to set the hook too quickly.

    But I took that experience with me back to “my pool” - shown here on the approach from down-stream:

    [IMG]IMG_0337 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]

    And lo and behold - there was surface feeding action aplenty and I reckoned this was it - it was meant to be, my best chance for a fish that day.............
    Last edited by Larks; 11-20-2017 at 11:35 PM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Trout?
    Eight foot four weight?

    Looks a lot like the streams I grew up fishing.
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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    What a treat! Thanks for your tale and beautiful photos!
    Skip

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    Trout?
    Eight foot four weight?

    Looks a lot like the streams I grew up fishing.
    9’, six weight, Loomis - very very very nice to play with
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by brucemoffatt View Post
    Is that a traction engine?
    It doesn't look like it to me -- I believe that is a "portable" engine. Such a machine would be towed by a team to work sites where it would be fired up and belted to a thresher or whatever. I see no ground drive mechanism, or cleats on the rear wheels, and I think you can see a bit of the hitch in front.

    Tom

    Edit -- Looking again, something else is missing -- the engine! It could have been removed, or this may just be a portable boiler.
    Last edited by moTthediesel; 11-20-2017 at 08:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Loving this thread -- thanks! Looks like my kind of fly fishing terrain -- no trees to snag your back casts!

    Tom

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    As winter approaches the great white north and fly-fishing days become few and far between I will live vicariously through this thread, many thanks!

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Beautiful!

    I grew up in the mid-Atlantic and a lot of streams were brown affairs with too much pollution. I learned to cast flies in the northeast. My first trip to a western stream was a revelation - clear, cold, and full of life! The streams in this thread remind me of those western streams and I am jealous! They're lovely.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by CWSmith View Post
    My first trip to a western stream was a revelation - clear, cold, and full of life!
    That's true in a lot of places in the western US, but not everywhere. We spent a few days in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico last winter. The streams there have still not recovered from the big Whitewater-Baldy fires of 2012. Beautiful clear cold water, but nearly devoid of life, the result of an eco-system nearly sterilized by the fires and subsequent ash runoff, very sad.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by moTthediesel View Post
    That's true in a lot of places in the western US, but not everywhere. We spent a few days in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico last winter. The streams there have still not recovered from the big Whitewater-Baldy fires of 2012. Beautiful clear cold water, but nearly devoid of life, the result of an eco-system nearly sterilized by the fires and subsequent ash runoff, very sad.
    That is sad. For comparison, when I lived in Delaware there was a river nearby where you could fish, but were not suppose to eat the fish. Early industrialization had left too many heavy metals in the stream bed and the fish were essentially toxic. To say the least, all the fish were farm raised and they did not have long lives in that river.

    On a brighter note, we have a local river (the Lamprey) where I have caught one brown trout that was so small there is no way it was farm raised. I am optimistic that browns might slowly make an established population here. Most of our fish are farm-raised brook trout.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Was that the Brandywine in Delaware CW?

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Smith porter maine View Post
    Was that the Brandywine in Delaware CW?
    I was trying to remember. It probably was, but I can't recall for certain. I actually never fished it and didn't get back into fishing until I returned to New Hampshire.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    I haven't fly fished for years but at one time lived in the Victorian end of the same mountain ranges. Plenty of fish, some of an age but small because the creeks were small. I found that in steep streams that approaching the next pool by wadding upstream till the water surface was at eyeline level enabled me ti see through the flow without spooking the fish. But being in that environment was far more important than the fish. I carried climbing gear on many of these trips to scale waterfalls.
    Did a lot of XC skiing in the same country in winter, you could tickle them out too if you were careful, no need for a rod to get dinner.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Thanks Greg - great photos and very evocative.

    Have you ever read a 1950's novel by Nevil Shute 'The Far Country' ? Some very good descriptions of fishing in forest mountain rivers in (I think) Victoria ?
    Nick

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Great thread. Will follow with interest.
    I used to spend some time in the high planes around Omeo / Swifts Creek. I never fly fished but had some success with a live bait technique of floating a grasshopper downstream when they where about in summer, often hooking a trout as the bait went round a bend in the small stream. If we wanted a feed we always managed to catch a fish. Our favorite streams where only a few feet wide, the bends would often have an overhang and a trout would lie waiting. The fish where very shy so much attention was given so no shadows would be cast across the stream and no heavy foot stomps etc. First light was the best time, Id cast the grasshopper into the stream with line already off the spool and continue to peel line off so no weight was on the bait. Also worth mentioning it was prime tiger snake territory so I wore good boots, ankle gaiters and thick trousers.
    The pic of the rusty tractor reminds me of a night we spent at the hut drinking and listening to Spike Jones records on an old wind up gramaphone and larking around. Next morning on a dawn patrol to spot some brumbies, about ten miles up the road we came across a rusty tractor with steel spike wheels. It had a big wooden sign with Spike Jones written on it!

    This hut was our accommodation.

    Last edited by Hallam; 11-20-2017 at 06:01 PM.
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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    I crept back up on “my pool” feeling pretty comfortable that I was casting well and although I was still not really sure that I had the right fly I had no real idea what else to try first up.

    Although the water was lovely and sweet, it was murky enough from the heavy rains the day before that I couldn’t spy the fish from water level so I tried to pick a movement pattern across the pool with the aim of floating my fly over an expected path......in reality I really had no idea but it was best guess and seemed like the only thing I could do without broadcasting all over the place and scaring them off.

    The feeding was further back from the outflow than when I’d first seen them a few hours before and the slight breeze behind me put my first fly perfectly about 3 metres behind and 2 metres left of the last rise and I quietly stripped line as the fly drifted lazily back down to me in quiet water, passing over where I had been willing the fish to be patrolling after that last rise.........

    then SMACK ........... this time I didn’t make the my previous mistakes of getting over excited and ripping the thing out of its mouth and instead gave it a moment to see some line on the water being taken up, however as the splash and heavier ripples subsided it was quite clear that the fly had gone unmolested and wasn’t going to be again. I let it drift a bit more before quietly retrieving it, hoping not to spook the fish, and switched over to a small hopper




    There were a few small ones about and birds skimming the water seemed to be chasing them so it was pretty much the last thing that I could think to try.

    Another lovely cast landed in what looked to me to be just the right place....or at least just where I was aiming for.....a nice slow drift.......nothing

    Three or four more casts with no result and still nothing and by now I was starting to think that I needed to think about heading off so that I wasn't driving back down the hill after a long day, in the dark with a lot of kangaroos and wombats on the road.........

    one more cast....nothing

    just one more..........and just one more again..........and another...........my casting was as good as I could ask for, the line and fly was landing beautifully, the fish were still rising here and there so hadn’t been spooked, it really was idyllic.

    By now I’d pretty much forgotten about actually catching anything (or was resigned to not catching anything) but was simply enjoying the pool and the casting and the surrounds and pretty much feeling like I was in heaven and time was slipping by without me really noticing......

    just one more cast.....

    then SMACK!!!...........what tha?........it took me completely by surprise and this time the line went tight and took up at my finger tips where I’d been lazily stripping line. I eventually managed to get a hold of it and let a little more slip through to see if the hook had actually taken before gradually taking up the pressure - as I did so the fish jumped and slapped the water and.........well that was the end of that - out spat the fly and my day was done ......... but what a glorious day it was!!!

    heading back to the car

    [IMG]IMG_0341 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    and a few random photos - I could see a lovely little trout swinging back and forward just under the branches here in this tributary stream that I’d crossed earlier in the day, but short of poking my rod under there and just dangling a fly over it, which just didn’t seem right and would probably have spooked it anyway, I couldn’t see a way that I could cast to it:

    [IMG]IMG_0287 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    [IMG]IMG_0295 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    [IMG]IMG_0296 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]



    heading home

    [IMG]IMG_0346 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]
    Last edited by Larks; 11-20-2017 at 11:28 PM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Whameller View Post
    Thanks Greg - great photos and very evocative.

    Have you ever read a 1950's novel by Nevil Shute 'The Far Country' ? Some very good descriptions of fishing in forest mountain rivers in (I think) Victoria ?

    I have read it Nick, but a very long time ago and before I became interested in fly fishing so thank you for the reminder of it, I’ll find a copy or download it and read it with fresh eyes.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by moTthediesel View Post
    It doesn't look like it to me -- I believe that is a "portable" engine. Such a machine would be towed by a team to work sites where it would be fired up and belted to a thresher or whatever. I see no ground drive mechanism, or cleats on the rear wheels, and I think you can see a bit of the hitch in front.

    Tom

    Edit -- Looking again, something else is missing -- the engine! It could have been removed, or this may just be a portable boiler.

    It was sitting aside a track called “Alpine sawmill track”, I didn’t find the sawmill but it seemed obvious what it was there for.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    And for anyone wondering what sort of trout we have here in Oz - this one was caught on a 6lb line last week in Khancoban - 23lb




    here’s the story behind it: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/...coban/?cs=2452
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Most excellent...thanks for sharing!

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Thanks Greg, looks like you've got yourself a good hobby. It will be fun to follow along.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    You write well Greg. Enjoyed reading it.
    My take is that if you poke someone with a sharp stick they'll get annoyed, if you smile and shake their hand they will be your friends.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Gill View Post
    Most excellent...thanks for sharing!
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Thanks Greg, looks like you've got yourself a good hobby. It will be fun to follow along.
    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    You write well Greg. Enjoyed reading it.
    cheers and thanks guys, much appreciated.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

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    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Sorry I didn’t respond earlier Bruce but I’d wanted to look into the steam engine a bit further - here’s what seems to be a more complete similar (smaller?) version of it - a Marshall Sons and Co steam engine




    the one on the side of Alpine Sawmill track again - for comparison

    [IMG]IMG_0302 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]





    the wheel had the name on it but I wasn’t sure at the time if that was just a wheel fabricator or the manufacturer of the full engine

    [IMG]IMG_0303 by Greg Larkin, on Flickr[/IMG]


    Last edited by Larks; 11-21-2017 at 02:17 AM.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Posts
    6,984

    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Brilliant! Thanks for all the explanation and the additional photos. I love traction engines and most things steam engine related. It sure looks like they took their Thrashing, Grinding and Sawing seriously! I especialy love the photo with the traction engine towing the two stationary engines. Toot!
    When I first joined WBF they made me write a book to prove I was a real yachty. I was so gullible.
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  35. #35
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Posts
    2,048

    Default Re: Hiking and Fly Fishing Snowy Mountains Australia

    Quote Originally Posted by Larks View Post
    - I could see a lovely little trout swinging back and forward just under the branches here in this tributary stream that I’d crossed earlier in the day, but short of poking my rod under there and just dangling a fly over it, which just didn’t seem right and would probably have spooked it anyway, I couldn’t see a way that I could cast to it:

    [IMG]
    Thanks for the thread Greg, I really appreciate and enjoy the photos and reading your commentary and observations. Beautiful country. That river looks like nice canoeing water.

    Re. fishing small headwaters, and casting into/under tight places ... 'tenkara'?
    Last edited by J P; 11-21-2017 at 11:42 PM.

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