VOLUME 29, ISSUE 06. December 2022

The first night having dinner at The Blue Duck Inn, during our trip to Big River (Upper Mitta Mitta River) in May 2021.

Every picture tells a story!!!! A photo that aptly describes this years trip to Long Plain. The Geehi section was abandoned due to the polar weather and too much water. Long Plain also had it's fair share of snow and inclement weather. This looks like a Strategy Meeting between some of our most hardened (not the first word that came to mind), to decide what to do next; fish, dinner or replenishment with copious quantities of fortified anti freeze liquid!!!!! Picture courtesy of Murray Kelso (I think he's the one in the Hi-Viz).


Next Members Monthly Meeting

Our next Members Monthly Meeting will be held at The Ranch Hotel in North Ryde. This is our Christmas Dinner Meeting, and you need a booking to attend. The meeting will kick off at 7:00pm on Monday, 12th December 2022.

Our guest speaker will be Brian Henderson, and he will provide us with a very interesting presentation, as he always does, with his wealth of information that he so willingly shares with our club.

Please view further down the Flyrodder for the details.


Next Members Monthly Fly Tying 

The Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will held on Monday, 20th February 2023 at our usual venue in the Green Room of the Henley Community Centre, kicking off at 7:00pm.

See further details below under the Monthly Fly Tying segment.


President's Report

Denis Hill with a 6lb brown from Thompsons Creek Dam in late October 2022.

Dear {Contact_First_Name},

It’s only a week to our AGM and Christmas Party ( bookings are closed) and I have a couple of things I need to cover before the Christmas break.

 Firstly, we have a new Club Cap for every current financial member, we are going to give these out to members attending club events over the next 6 months. If you aren’t attending an event that a mate is, they can collect your cap for you. If we get to the end of the trout season and still haven’t had some members attend an event, we will organize another way to get their cap to them.

The Club weekends will be starting the last weekend of January and to be clear, these weekends are self-managed. You will be able to access a spread sheet via the Club website  and register your intention to attend, where you are staying, what nights and your mobile so other attendees can contact you. There isn’t a FlyRodder to be published for January, so I will send a flyer when the Club Weekend is set up on our Events site.

In my October report I wrote about how well the Oberon/ Wallerawang area is fishing, I can now report that the Snowies are also fishing really well. The recent Geehi/Longplain trip ended up as a Dension/ Longplain trip as Geehi was completely blown out by the rain and snow melt. All the attendees on the Dension/Longplain trip caught fish, some like Steve Peach caught heaps virtually every day, some like Phil Burton went for quality, a 15lb! Rainbow, when the weather allowed the fishing was great. Speaking of weather, you may have seen Steve Peach’s video of the snow blizzard at Longplain during the trip. The weather was tough, but FlyRodders are tougher, when the weigh of the snow collapsed the back of my tent it didn’t bother me at all – I was tucked up in a cabin in Talbingo. 

Happy Christmas to you all and to your families

Tight Lines

Denis Hill



From the Editor

Gavin at Swansea fishing the Salmon Classic in August 2022.

Well another year is almost done and dusted, but we have many trips and activities scheduled for 2023. So it's time to get out and attend some of these trips.

The fishing conditions out west over the Blue Mountains have been exceptional and augurs well for our summer season as the water levels settle and the visibility should be perfect. Plus the fish will be healthy and feisty.

There's a great update by Ray Tang on the state of play across the great divide!

Ray is Secretary of the Wallerawang Branch of the Central Acclimatisation Society (CAS) and lives at Lake Wallace. Ray's update features at the end of this Flyroder in the "Snippets of Information" section. This will give you some great clues on where to have a fish.

There are still a number of spots available on the Big River trip in March and the Mitta Mitta trip in late April. But there are many other events, so hop onto our website, Login and check out what we have scheduled in the Events Calendar.

Hope to see you at some of our many events that we have planned for the coming season.

Gavin van der Wagen




Last Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker Report

Jason Garrett

At our November Members Monthly Meeting Jason Garrett, guide from Tasmania and owner of Rainbow Lodge and the Great Lakes Hotel, provided a wonderful and informative Zoom presentation on fishing around the best locations of Tassie.

This presentation was very opportune as around a dozen of our members are booked on the February trip to Tassie and Jason will be available and guiding for those who wish to engage him.

Jason provided great detail on the various rivers and where and when they best fished.

You can view this video and indeed all the previous presentations on our Members Private Video Library on YouTube. To view them please Login to our Sydney Fly Rodders Website; click on Members and select YOUTUBE CHANNEL, as per the picture below.

We have many wonderful videos in our Private Members Video Library, in fact they're all wonderful and informative, plus you can view them at your leisure!

Some photos of the meeting follow; our President Denis Hill kicked off the meeting via Zoom.


Next Monthly Meeting and Guest Speaker

Brian Henderson

Our December 2022 Members Monthly Meeting will be the Christmas Dinner Meeting and held at The Ranch Hotel in Epping/North Ryde, on Monday, 12th December. Which is the same location as last year. The venue will be open from 6:00pm for pre drinks and socialising in the courtyard. The Meeting will officially kick off in doors at 7:00pm.

Our Guest Speaker will be Brian Henderson, who always puts on a great presentation for the club. Brian will share his vast knowledge on all things fly fishing so am sure this will be a presentation to be remembered.

The meeting will kick off with our AGM and election of our new Committee for 2023. This will be followed by fishing reports and other business and then around 7:30pm Brian will kick off with his presentation.

For those unable to attend the meeting we will be recording the presentation and then uploading it to our Club Members Private Video Library on YouTube. 

You will also be able to view all the previous meeting presentations that we have recorded, and view at your leisure.

Looking forward to catching up at the meeting.


New Members

We had two new members join the club in November 2022.

We welcome Douglas Chang and Paul Stempel to our Club.

We encourage new members to join in on the many activities that we run as this is a good way to meet other club members and also to improve your fly fishing skills and most importantly to have a great time.

Looking forward to meeting you at our Monthly Members Meetings and at events throughout the coming year.


Last Months Casting Practice Report

SFRC CASTING PRACTICE REPORT                  6 November 2022

I meant to mention in the October casting practice report that, for the first time, a member brought along a double-handed rod to practice with. He did it again this last month. That was a welcome development because I am aware that there are plenty of members who use the two-handed rod. Many of them have made their own rods from kits and I know many who are working hard at developing their skills with these rods. Probably most flyfishers are still developing their skills with any kind of rod! It’s all good!

You can tell a flyfisher who is using a two-hander by the grin on their face – most of the time. It’s a bit weird at first, but if you have a light enough rod (eg up to a 3 weight up to 11’) you can probably get away with just casting it overhead for long periods with one hand (or two, if you like). And, that feels pretty much like what you can already do with the single hander. It’ll get you more distance most of the time. If you think it’s all fancy spey casts and not for you, let me say that spey casts could have a big place in your single hand casting repertoire regardless of what the two- hand people are getting up to. Ie Double-hand and single hand rods all do spey casts – it’s the conditions which determine the kind of cast, not the rod. Spey casts come into their own if you fish in rivers. Ones with trees around them, for sure. 

Many fishers would rightly say why would I want a double hand rod on rivers in Australia which are neither wide nor fast-flowing: isn’t it overkill? For most of our inland rivers, the answer is yes, it would be overkill. Some bigger rivers however lend themselves to two-hand rods of the trout spey type. Ie 10-11’ rods in 1, 2, 3 and 4 weight. This gear also comes into its own on fresh and saltwater lakes and saltwater flats. Longer, heavier rods than these are very usable in the salt: estuary, beach and rocks. I like the variety offered by having 2-handers (yes, guilty of having more than one in possession) because, practically, they offer easier casting, but mostly it’s the fun factor and the style of fishing it allows. Those who do a lot of euro nymphing with the specific euro gear probably enjoy the variety offered by that method, compared with their standard, fit for most purposes, 9’ rod. If you want variety, the flyfishing world seems ever-expanding. 

If you can do a roll cast, you are well on your way to spey – just a few more ideas on aligning line to target, a dose of confidence, and it’ll come to you. If you know a couple of spey casts, you will be able to fish a lot more places with your single hand rod than the person who doesn’t know any. Think on this situation: if your line is on the dangle downstream (ie fished out) and you want to re-cast straight across, or quartering upstream, how do you do it now? You can’t change a roll cast direction that much. Nor do it well with a water-loaded cast. Even if you have clear space behind and alongside you, how many false, overhead casts would it take to get around to the new direction? Too many to be good form, I’d say. Perhaps you pull all the line back in and start again each time? Spey casts address all such situations. 

Next day we will (or, we did, if you are reading this after 4 December) be using a few of the Bronze level casts to not only get on top of the relevant techniques involved, but mainly to focus more on how to practice effectively and how to know whether what you are doing is working or not working, and why. Ie give you some more ideas on how to practice and how to self-analyse your own casting. I’d also like to get some roll casting done, simply because I never get tired of it. Taking yourself to the park for a cast without a clear purpose can be a short-lived dose of tedium, followed by frustration, once the wind starts buffeting you or you run out of ideas once the hoped-for 70’ cast doesn’t materialise within the first 5 minutes. You need to have a practice pattern and you need to always (only?) cover the basics. 

Casters who show a true mastery of the very basics of casting are already good casters. If you want to practice, but can’t decide what to do or how to do it, why not just practice and hone the basics? Footballers don’t spend all their time working on fancy moves: they spend a lot of time repetitively doing the mundane stuff like passing the ball whilst running. If you can’t pass the ball spot on every time, your fancy moves may not come off because of that. A top-line ballet dancer doesn’t knock out Act III of Swan Lake every morning – instead, they do the basic exercises at the barre; the same ones as the kids who are learning. Speaking of ballet dancers, if you want to see how a professional ballet dancer casts a fly line, check out the usual online media sites for Christopher Rownes flycasting. 

What basic stuff should you practice? How about a 35’ pick up and lay down cast (or roll cast) that stretches the leader out fully every time? Every time. How about when you can do that, you then shoot a further meter of line with the same result? And so on. The simple stuff is the best stuff to get right. If you have that ability, you won’t need anyone to tell you how to adjust that cast to different conditions or different fishing gear. Or, how to put some slack into the cast. Or lengthen the cast. 

See you at the park. 

David Caddies

Our next Casting Practice will be held on Sunday, the 4th December. See the following section for further information.


Club Monthly Casting Practice - Details and Event Schedule.

SFRC MONTHLY CASTING PRACTICE  9am Sunday 4 December 2022 

If you have a Movember moustache to show us, keep it for a few more days and get it to next casting practice. We will make it welcome.

Reminder: Leave your 9 – 10’ trout leader with the 5X tippet at home. Bring one which is 8’ – 8’6” and terminating in 8 or 10 lb tippet. This session will suit DT or WF floating lines, for the single-handers. Two-handers, bring what you got. 

Start time is 9am:

HOWEVER: If you wish to have a go at being evaluated for any one or more of the casts in the Bronze Skills Development Program and you would like to come earlier than 9, send me a text message to that effect on 0434 671 085 and I’ll be there to set it up, from 8am. Coaching and demonstrations will be going on after 9, but with not much opportunity for individual evaluations. Early notice would be appreciated, but don’t let that stop you from a late practice on Saturday to see if you’re ready! 

All members are welcome to join in the club’s usual monthly practice session. If you want to know everything about the club’s casting practice sessions, read the whole blurb in the Flyrodder magazine.

WHERE: Timbrell Park, Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock. Go to the western end of Henley Marine Drive, past the cricket pitches, baseball nets and just past LIvvi’s coffee kiosk and kids’ playground area. There is an open area opposite where Ingham Avenue intersects with Henley Marine Drive which we usually use. It is not part of the sports fields. If conditions there are not suitable on the day, we will be just opposite, across the canal, or anywhere within sight that I can find. 

If you can’t make it this time and want some good practical instruction to guide you, check out this site: https://www.flyfishersinternational.org/Learn/Learning-Center-Resources/Fly-Casting/Casting-Instruction

I don’t know if that link works for you. Google FFI flyfishing and delve around. Most stuff is open to non-members. 

David Caddies 

So come and give it a try, as there is so much to be gained  by attending these sessions. And they are Free!!!

The following are the dates for Casting Practice in 2023:

8th January

5th February

5th March

9th April

21st May

4th June

2nd July

6th August

10th September

8th October

5th November and

3rd December.

Put these dates in your diary.


Last Months Fly Tying Meeting Report

Unfortunately no one turned up for our November Fly Tying session, apart from our leaders Mark Bransgrove and Kevin Kai.

It's disappointing to have a no show, but many members, who normally attend, were attempting to get some fishing in on our annual Long Plain Camping Trip which was pretty much snowed in and experienced some pretty inclement weather.


Next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting

Our next Monthly Fly Tying Meeting will be held on Monday, 20th February 2023, from 7:00pm to 9:30pm. The doors will open at 6:30pm to give you time to set up for a 7:00pm start.

Details of the meeting will be announced in the February 2023 Flyrodder.

For those who don't have a vise, we have ample spare one's available.

We particularly welcome first timers and all levels of fly tiers as you will all learn something from these wonderful sessions.

If you would like to just come and observe, then please do so to see if this is for you. You'll be surprised at how "easily" you can get into tying your own flies.

The venue is the Henley Community Centre in Hunters Hill, and we meet in the  Green Room on the right as you enter.

The venue address is: Crown Street, Henley, NSW 2111. As you turn into Crown Street, from Victoria Road, take the first left and drive down a bit of a bumpy road, and it's the last building about a 100 yards down the drag. There's parking off the track and walk through a small road (some do park just outside the building), but it's a short walk to the front door past a bowling green (may be a veggie patch now).


Long Plain Camping Trip in November

The Geehi/Long Plain trip this year was impacted rather severely by the Arctic weather conditions. I think that the attendees are still defrosting as I've been unable to extract a trip report.

Never-the-less a significant number of regular die hard members refused to be dictated to by the weather and made the pilgrimage. You will understand when you view the photos below.

The hardened veterans (in terms of Geehi/Long Plain trip attendance) included: Murray Kelso (all the way from Noosa heights), Phil Burton, Steve Peach, Grant Flawith, Rob Cummins, David Major (after hedging his bets), Simon Skerman plus other stragglers (apologies for not recalling all the die-hards).  

But still many fish were caught, including very fine quality fish. As President Denis Hill alluded to earlier in his report Phil Burton caught an absolute monster of 15lb from the Eucumbene River. You can view, from the link below, a shortened version of Steve Peach's video. Thanks Steve as always for recording these special moments and to share with our Membership.

You can see the more lengthy video, and many other great video's, on Steve's YouTube site Peachy Fly Fishing @PeachyFlyFishing  

This is the YouTube Link:


Below are some photos provided courtesy of Murray Kelso, Rob Cummins, and Steve Peach.

Long Plain campsite. Please don't ask me to identify the members in this pic.

Murray might be in the Noosa Yellow jacket!

It does look very "pretty"!!!!

Grant Flawith with a lovely rainbow after the "thaw".

It got warmer enough for the tigers.

That looks like Simon Skerman; he's obviously revelling in the Kiwi like weather!!!

The South Pole is just out of view!!!!

I'm fairly sure that is Phil Burton; obviously he caught his 15 pounder prior to this pic!!!

I wonder if they managed to get the fire going?


CFA Interclub Event in March 2023


A short while ago I put out info on the CFA Interclub event for 17-19 March 2023.

Many fishing clubs like ours, are affiliate members of the Council of Freshwater Anglers and every year, outside of CoVid, a fund raising competition and get together is held. This year, in an effort to expand and better cover all affiliates, the Central Coast Fly Rodders Club is hosting it at Glenbawn Dam. It is both a team and individual event and I hope to put together a SFRC representation. The event is much more about getting together then competition and there are BBQs and Raffles with plenty of prizes. 

It’s a good weekend and a great chance to meet others. 

Contact me if you want more details.

Phil Burton. (philipburton@bigpond.com) 

More Information:

The NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers Interclub Meet is a social weekend for fishos to share the love of fishing and to engage as teams in friendly competition.  After a pause of three years because of Covid the Interclub Meet is back on in 2023 but, in its 20 th year, there are a few changes to venue and format. 

The Central Coast Fly Rodders will be hosting the Interclub Fly and Lure Fishing Meet on behalf of the NSWCFA at Lake Glenbawn on, Friday - Sunday 17-19 March 2023. Club Teams will compete in catch and release, lake and stream, fly and lure fishing and fly and lure (plug) casting in the quest for best team and the winner of the NSWCFA Club Teams perpetual trophy.

This is also a fund-raising activity for NSWCFA and critical to support their ongoing work to promote, support and improve freshwater angling in NSW.  Entry fees will be minimal only  to support event overheads, and will include a Saturday BBQ lunch and Sunday brunch.

Competitors will be responsible for their own accommodation. The Lake Glenbawn campground has plenty of camping/caravan sites but cabins on and around Lake Glenbawn are filling fast. Link: (https://bookings.reflectionsholidayparks.com.au/lakeglenbawn ).  See also Lake Glenbawn Holiday Cottages: http://www.lakeglenbawncottages.com.au/.

There will be small prizes awarded for individual achievements in the competitions but the main objective for competitors is to gain team points and win the Club Teams trophy.


Big River Trip in March 2023

This will be our third annual trip to Big River.

Once again we will be accommodated at The Blue Duck Inn, where lunch and Dinner is also available, plus at "The Willows", which is just up the road from the Blue Duck Inn in Anglers Rest.

Big River, is the Mitta Mitta River above Lake Dartmouth and above Anglers Rest.

The trip commences on Tuesday, 21st March 2023 and we are out on the following Tuesday, 28th March 2023, so 7 nights all up. Accommodation cost is $525 per person for the week.

Every attendee has their own bedroom.

The Willows is located about 8 minutes from the Blue Duck Inn, and is fully self-contained. They do breakfast and this can be pre-arranged. Else you take all your provisions. The Blue Duck Inn has a good restaurant and is open for Dinner and Lunch, and don’t open for breakfast.

Anglers Rest is some 726Kms and an 8.5 hour drive from Sydney, Forestville exactly.

It is also 30 Kms from Omeo, should you need to buy some supplies.

This event is open for booking. Just log onto our website and select the Big River event.

Gavin van der Wagen

The Blue Duck Inn. The 6 cabins are at top left of this photo.

The Cobungra River flows right past below the Blue Duck before entering Big River

An early morning shot taken from "The Willow" accommodation

Gin clear water further up Big River

Typical water on the Big River


Mitta Mitta Trip at End April 2023

This will be our tenth annual pilgrimage to Mitta Mitta.

It will be in on the Saturday, 29th April and out on the following Saturday, the 6th May 2023; so 7 nights all up at $385.
We will be staying at the “Pink House” which is just a stone’s throw from the Mitta Mitta Pub and Bistro; and in fact the mighty Snowy Creek; and also on a farm property just 5 minutes away. So just a short trip to quench your thirst or dine at their fabulous and reasonable Bistro.

Every attendee has their own bedroom.

You can take your own food and drinks, or you can eat at the Mitta Mitta Pub or a combination. Many members eat only at the pub. 
Further up the road, about 30 K’s, there is also a good pub at Eskdale (which you pass through) and also an IGA and fuel. Mitta Mitta has a very small and limited general store and fuel.
The local dairy farmers allow us to fish on their properties, so we have access to many spots without competition!
There are many river options to fish, including the Mitta Mitta, Snowy Creek (runs right past the pub and caravan park), Lightning Creek, Wills Creek, Little Snowy Creek (near Eskdale) etc.
It’s about a 7 hour drive and 646 kilometres away.

I will provide more information to the attendees as required and then prior to the trip.

This event is open for booking. Just log onto our website and select the Mitta Mitta event.

Gavin van der Wagen.

A lovely stretch of water on the Mitta Mitta River

The pristine Snowy Creek, which is an important spawning river for the area

We always meet for dinner on the first night, and most other nights, in the Bistro/Pub

Another popular stretch of water on a farmer's property on the Mitta Mitta


Sydney Fly Rodders Facebook Pages

We run two SFRC pages, one is our public page and it posts events and activities of the club. It also shares posts from other pages like CAS, DPI on things relevant to the places and areas that we fish.

I post some fly tying every now and then and share links to events I find that might be of interest to followers. This page is a little like our Web page, it showcases the club to attract members and provides details of club events. It has about 450 people following the page and any post will be seen by between 180 and 240 people.

We added another page. This is reserved for members only and cannot be seen by anyone outside of the group. You will need to send a request to join. Any member can post on this page and it is a great opportunity for members to put up a post or two about anything fly fishing. I would like to encourage members to use this page to post fishing reports or photos of flies that you tied. Being connected to other members you can ask for some casting or gear advice, or organise a short trip when you suddenly have some spare time.

There are also hundreds of other groups; bream on fly, carp on fly, bass, trout....areas like alpine trout, Sydney Kayak Fishing....fly tying groups, buy sell swap fly gear pages and individuals like Aussie Flyfisher, Sydney Flyfishing to check out. 

Phil Burton


Sydney Flyrodders Instagram Page

The Sydney Fly Rodders are now on Instagram. Many thanks to our Member Maddie Chew Lee, who offered to set us up and apply her significant experience with marketing and communications in particular within the social media space. 

Please follow the site and add your comments, and lets grow this platform for the club. It will also attract new members to the club.

Below is a snapshot of the site. We aim to sync (in particular look and feel) the Instagram account with our Facebook account and also our new Website, which I talk more about in the preceding section.


Sydney Fly Rodders WhatsApp Group

We have an Exclusive Group on WhatsApp for our Members, which is a great way to communicate informally and to share ideas, seek advice and also to plan and seek interest for impromptu/planned fishing trips.

I can highly recommend this to members. We have arranged a number of trips now from a weekends bass fishing through to a casual and social Sunday morning or afternoons fishing at Narrabeen Lake or Hen & Chickens Bay etc. And there could even be a BBQ thrown in for a social get together afterwards. This will happen on most if not all occasions.

Should you wish to be included in this group, then please email me to request your inclusion, quoting your mobile number which is required to link you into the Group. You will need to download the WhatsApp first if you haven't already done so.

Please contact me for inclusion.

Gavin van der Wagen

Editor, Flyrodder



Snippets of Information

Provided by Bob Hart.

Safety Made Simple

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GME is proud to introduce our Australian Made 406MHz GPS Personal Locator Beacon, the MT610G. This Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is our most compact and lightweight design ever, complimenting our market leading range of Emergency Beacon products.

The MT610G is a super compact, lightweight PLB, offering an impressive 7 year battery life and a 6 year warranty. Featuring a Non Hazmat battery pack for ease of transport, the MT610G ensures you remain safe and connected, wherever life takes you. The MT610G has been designed, engineered, and manufactured in Australia, to provide the outdoor adventurer or lone worker with a GPS PLB solution that is compact, easy to use, and affordable.

Featuring an integrated 72 channel GPS receiver, zero warm up time, high intensity LEDs, IP68 Ingress Protection and an inherently buoyant design, the compact size of the MT610G has not compromised the safety features included. 

The MT610G is designed to meet and exceed the latest international standards and is Cospas-Sarsat Class 2 certified, ensuring enhanced peace of mind for bush walkers, 4WDers, remote workers, and hunters alike.

For more information on the MT610G head to 

FISH FACTS: The importance of fish passage

By Dr Ben Diggles | 17 November 2022

OVER millions of years of evolution, fish have evolved a huge variety of life histories that involve migrations. Some species, like northern hemisphere salmon, start their lives in tiny freshwater streams in the high mountains. They then migrate downstream for hundreds or even thousands of km out to sea, only to return to the same stream to lay their own eggs before they die. Fish species which perform these amazing upstream spawning migrations are called anadromous fishes.

Others, like our own barramundi and Australian bass, do the exact opposite. These so called catadromous fishes move downstream to spawn in saltwater, then the juvenile fish swim back upriver into the freshwater nursery reaches of rivers where they spend much of their lives. Then there are the amphidromous species that spawn in estuaries with adult fish living offshore, and the potamodromous and oceanodromous species that migrate large distances whilst spending their entire lives in freshwater and seawater, respectively.

Indeed, virtually all of the most famous and spectacular fish migrations are for the purposes of spawning, with the migratory behaviour providing an evolutionary advantage. For example, the multiple hundred km upstream migrations of the potamodromous Murray cod and golden perch in the Murray-Darling River system. It seems they do this to compensate for the natural environmental flows of this once mighty river system, which otherwise would result in downstream movement of their eggs and larvae out to sea. Similarly, the oceanodromous tailor undertake a compensatory migration 1000+ km northwards along Australia’s east coast during the winter months, to spawn in South East QLD (and more lately due to climate change, in northern NSW). They probably head north in winter because the eastern Australian current drives their eggs and larvae southwards in spring. However there are other types of fish migrations too, undertaken for the purposes of accessing particular feeding areas, or escaping seasonal extremes of hot and cold water, and so on.

Despite the massive variety of hows and whys of fish migrations, all migratory fish species have one thing in common. They all developed this behaviour in the absence of human intervention or modification of their habitats. Because it’s impossible for fish to switch off instincts that have been honed over millions of years, this means that even apparently minor changes that humans make to rivers, streams and other water courses can have major impacts on the life cycles of fish that live within them.

It’s obvious that blocking a river by building a large dam for water storage and/or hydro power is bad for migratory fish. Indeed, it is thought that the threatened status of virtually all northern hemisphere salmon populations is due to humans stuffing up their migrations. Whether this is by diversion or complete destruction of spawning streams, increased death rates of juvenile fish as they pass through one or more hydropower tunnels on their way to the sea, or reduced success of adult fish moving back upstream (even with fish ladders and other fish passage promoting technologies that bypass dams), the result is the same.

Similarly, in Australia increased river regulation, particularly in the form of barriers such as locks and weirs which regulate river flow, together with over allocation of water for irrigation, has greatly reduced the spawning potential of iconic native fish like Murray cod and golden perch by preventing fish passage and environmental flow events. Of course, the many water storage dams on our east coast completely prevent upstream movements of catadromous species like barramundi and Aussie bass, which (depending on the location of the dam) can result in localised extinctions of wild fish populations in the affected river. Stocking of the water impounded upstream of the dam can, of course, compensate for this loss somewhat, as shown by QLDs famous stocked impoundment fisheries for both barra and bass. But these are strictly “put and take” fisheries as both species require access to brackish water to breed successfully.

But what many people don’t realise is that even when water flows freely past a human-made obstacle, even slight alteration of stream flows can still wreak havoc with native fish. This was bought home to me recently during the recent heavy rainfall events along Australia’s east coast in early 2022. With widespread river flow events and flooding in many places, these episodes mostly benefit migratory native fish as these inundations are usually the only times these days that native fish can get upstream or downstream past obstacles like dams and weirs. Unfortunately, around where I live in SE QLD, flooding also has negative effects, such as allowing dispersion of exotic pest species like Tilapia into virtually every suitable waterway. The massive volumes of mud, nutrients and pollutants bought down by the floods also destroys inshore coral and shellfish reef habitats throughout the Moreton Bay Marine Park (which by the way not only fails to protect these habitats from damage, actually has legislation which prevents restoration of the damaged habitats – go figure).

In any case, I was walking with a group of family and friends along an access track past a small freshwater coastal stream in a state forest on Bribie Island when saw an amazing sight. The track crossed over the stream on a small 2 metre wide earthen bridge with a couple of 400 mm pipes used to funnel water underneath. The others made a couple of brief remarks as the crossed the bridge then moved on, but I had a closer look and found a significant piscatorial tragedy was unfolding before my eyes. The stream was flowing nicely and was pushing a fair volume of water down the pipes. You’d think all would be well, but on the downstream side of the bridge the water was packed with many millions of native gudgeons swimming in a near solid mass. Upon closer inspection it was clear the pipes under the bridge were the problem – the water velocity coming through the pipes was far too high for the small gudgeons to be able to swim against it. Their upstream migration back into the wetland where their parents had spawned following the rainfall event was being prevented by the innocuous looking earthern bridge with its poorly designed pipes, which were trapping millions of fish that were slowly starving to death.

Once I alerted the walking group as to exactly what was going on, they became concerned. Which is a lesson in itself because they walked right past it, showing that unless we point these things out, most people tend to be unaware of what is going on underwater. Determined to do something about it, I got some buckets and dip nets together and the family returned the next day to move millions of gudgeons past the barrier (10,000 per bucket!), releasing them on the upstream side to continue their journey back to the wetland above. Within a couple of minutes each bucketful of fish disappeared upstream, where they would complete their lifecycle, help keep the mosquitoes in check and provide food for other fishes, birds and aquatic animals. Nice.

The upshot is, a simple, well designed culvert would fix this problem for good, but you can rest assured such is the extent of coastal development, this sort of silent drama is occurring in many tens of thousands of places along our coastal and inland waterways every day. In any case, I alerted my local government authorities and used the issue as a case study to show why fish passage needs to be assessed whenever any construction is being done on or near waterways in the region. We can only hope they listen, but I am not holding my breath.

ENVIRONMENT: Marine Park Spillover

By John Newbery | 17 November 2022

For 20 years or more the most contentious and polarising issue for rec fishers in Australia would have to have been the establishment of marine protected areas and the exclusion of fishers from all or parts of these areas.

It’s largely been a battle of claims and counter claims. Advocates of the international standard of 30% of ocean waters being given protective status argue that it’s got to be all or nothing. No mining, no exploration, no commercial fishing, and no rec fishing.

Opponents argue that the effects of doing this on the economy are too extreme, particularly the miners, extractive industry folk and their political allies and supporters. They mount similar arguments to those used in opposition to climate change abatement initiatives. How much clout they have depends on how sympathetic the government of the day and its responsible ministers are to both their arguments and electoral consequences. Keeping the miners happy risks even more Teals being elected to Australia’s parliaments as voters become increasingly environmentally conscious.

Commercial fishers argue on both the economic costs of exclusion and the more emotive claim of disruption to their lifestyles. They say exports will decline, local fish available to Australians will be reduced, we’ll end up eating more inferior imports and they’ll be forced to quit the only jobs they’ve ever done.

Rec fishers appear to be really split on the issue. Some totally accept the need for marine refuges where no fishing at all occurs to allow for stock rebuilding. Others argue the total opposite. They say rec fishing has minimal impact, particularly in an era of catch & release. Some peak groups have mounted vocal anti-marine protected area campaigns, with varying degrees of success. Under the last federal Coalition, the level of protection in nearly 30 marine park areas was downgraded from what was initially proposed via management plans approved in 2013. Whether the new Labor government goes back to the earlier proposals remains to be seen.

One key point of contention between supporters and opponents have been the effect of spillover. Supporters argue that giving populations time to recover undisturbed in protected areas results in much healthier populations in areas abutting. Opponents have argued that there aren’t conclusive studies to support this, only small-scale results in local areas. But the ABC recently reported on a major study where researchers compared catch rates outside the world’s largest marine protected area off Hawaii, expanded to 1.5 million square kilometres in 2016. There’s no fishing at all allowed in this marine park. The study showed yellowfin tuna catch rates up by 60% within 100 nautical miles of the boundary and increases in a range of other species, such as bigeye tuna. The results, published in Science magazine, will no doubt be closely scrutinised by our environment bureaucrats as Minister Plibersek recommits to 30% protection of our waters by 2030.

WCAS Update by Ray Tang

(Wallerawang Branch of The Central Acclimatisation Society)

As we near the end of spring, it certainly has been very wet one at that.

Huge rainfalls last Sunday night resulting in massive dam spills, road closures and disastrous flooding around the central tablelands area.

Our floating pontoon even copped a hit!

But one thing for sure the fish have been loving the wet! 

Since the start of spring, the fishing has been nothing short of fabulous.

In the river, big fish on big wets, with plenty of fish drifting nymphs and floating the occasional dry.

I’ve noticed some massive white caddis moth hatches almost every afternoon which has been fun.

The dirty flood waters are not discouraging the fish from feeding!

“Amazing” Grace here with a beautiful big rainbow!

Fish releases 

  • 14th November Dutton Hatchery delivered some healthy rainbow trout fingerling for Portland old water supply and Millpond along with lake Pillans!
  • 21st November Gaden Hatchery delivered sub adult browns for Lake Lyell (approx. 300) and Pillans (approx. 100) 
  • Another trip to be scheduled soon by Gaden for Wallace and TCD releases

Lake Wallace

Sunday 13th November 2022, a monstrous amount of rain; I hazard a guess and say around 70mm over night in a span of 4 hours!

The water level at lake Wallace came up so much where the pontoon had lifted off one of its supporting tubes!

If you can see where the black insulation tape is (where the chain goes across)

This is where I marked the water level at on the day after the rain!!

The dirty coloured water still wasn't discouraging the fish from feeding.

Matty here with a stunning rainbow from off the shore on bait.

Lake Lyell

The level at Lake Lyell came up a fair bit, but fishing has been pretty consistent from all reports, with a few bass now getting landed and an abundance of redfin and smaller rainbows at late.

Thompsons Creek Dam

The huge downpours did not leave our TCD unscathed.

TCD suffered a big land slip after the rain the day before Gone Fishing Day, this area has been cordoned off for peoples safety as the ground is deemed unstable.

Repairs will commence once the ground has dried, the dam level is very high atm producing new fish.

For personal safety please keep out of the barricaded area.

The land slip still has not prevented the fishing from being great.

Ray Tang obscured by his lovely rainbow

Lake Pillans 

Lake Pillans received 100 of Gadens finest sub adult brownies.


Received around 1000 quality rainbow fingerlings from Dutton Hatcheries.

The water in the Millpond has been a bit discoloured from the rain and incoming storm water, however the fish are still rising and feeding off the top!

Overall the Millpond has been a little quiet at late, but imagine it will pick up after this latest restocking.

End Note

Despite the crazy weather events we have been experiencing of late, I would have to say, these past couple of trout seasons have been truly spectacular in both rivers and surrounding lakes.

So much so, I was recently speaking to a guide in Tasmania who interestingly mentioned he had noticed a decline in visitors from the NSW mainland for trout fishing where he accredited this decline to the quality of the fish he had seen being discovered in our Blue Mountains region.

The End