Save the Rubicon

There is currently an application in process to build a mini Hydro plant on the lower Rubicon. This could be devistating for the river and its environment. We need to act quickly to raise objections to the application.

Place a formal objection by filling in this form and returning it to the address provided: GMW Submission form (2)

Please: Stop Hydro on the Rubicon Petition read and sign this petition ASAP and share widely.

We better get our skates on to stop a stupid destructive Hydro plant being built on the Rubicon.

Can someone share the petition link and information with following?

  • Fly fishing groups.
  • Peak fishing lobby groups
  • Important movers and shakers

If you want to make a formal submission to GMW to stop the dam you can download and complete the pdf below
Submission Form

The relevant sections of the Victorian Water Act 1989
Section 40 Victorian Water Act 1989

The local newspaper ad with the applicants details

The Facebook page of the crew working so hard to stop the dam
Rubicon River proposed Hydro electric plant petition

The Facebook page of environmental activitist trying to stop excessing logging in the Rubicon Valley
Rubicon Forest Protection Group


New England, the poor man’s New Zealand?

Water Fall in New EnglandHoggie on the FlyLife forum has the following tagline, “New England…..the new New Zealand”. Others have described the New England area as the “Poor Man’s New Zealand.” Before I fished New England in April 2011 I hardly even knew it existed, it wasn’t even on my radar, but wow it is now!

I stumbled onto the Moffat Falls website after getting my fix of fishing porn from Catch Magazine, the great US online fly fishing photography magazine. One curious mouse click led to another and somehow I’m back on an Australian website promoting a cottage next to a trout stream in New England. Being essentially lazy in nature I thought “stuff it that will do, there’s my next holidays sorted”.

It was hard explaining to workmates that I was going fly fishing for trout about an hours drive from Coffs Harbour; I found it hard to believe myself.

The first night we stayed at the Urunga Heads Hotel. It was a simple plan; counter meal then bed and an early start the next day. Unfortunately the cover band started at 9pm and the last version of Cold Chiesel’s Khe Sanh didn’t finish to well after midnight. We were then woken up at 5.30am by a bunch of guys getting up for a day’s golf banging on each other’s door and yelling out. My partner got up and ticked them off, she found them wandering around the hall in their underwear. They sheepishly went back to their rooms and kept quiet, she has that effect on grown men wandering around in their underwear.

Finally we got to the cottage after the obligatory tourist stops along the way, how many waterfalls and rainforest walks can you cop in one day? I had just enough time to catch the evening rise and I found rising fish, but they weren’t rising to the usual flies I chuck at fish on the Goulburn River. On the last throw of the dice, when I was winding the line in, a fish snatched at a dun pattern as the fly dragged on the surface.

The next day one of the owners of the lodge rattled off a long list of flies that work, all I really heard was Royal Coachman and Red Tag. From then on I didn’t look back. Every time I went fishing I caught fish. This is almost unheard of in Victoria.

One of the highlights of the trip was watching my partner catch a pound and a half rainbow in the Barwick Creek. Later she missed a bigger fish. It was classic dry fly fishing. We sighted a nice fish sitting behind a deflection from a log. She struggled to get the fly out to the other side of the creek. Finally the fish notices the offering and refuses. The subsequent cast is pulled off the water to quickly, “pop” and the fish darts for cover.

My personal triumph was snagging 10 quality rainbows in the Barwick Creek*. Beautifully conditioned fish that had me dancing in circles as I tried to pull them up with my 3-weight.

Moffat Falls Scribble Map |

The water reminded me of why I got into trout fishing in the first place. That first trout fishing trip with my old man on the Buffalo River and my first solo trips to the Mitta. The magic of fast water, the knowledge that there’s a fish under that ripple, the anticipation of the take, the disappointment when you miss or the when the fish doesn’t rise. “Get stuffed, there has to be a fish under there”.  But finally the reward when it all comes together, “you’re on”, and then another beautiful fish is gently released back into the water.  Sometimes I let out a little boyish yell mostly I just quietly savor the moment as I slowly get my rig ready for the next cast or walk to the next pool.

The fishing I experienced in New England was fantastic, it made a mug like me actually look and feel like an accomplished fly fisherman. I’ve since been reliably informed that there is better water up there with bigger fish that are easier to get at. Suddenly the claim of being the “Poor man’s New Zealand” is making sense.

On my first fishing trip to New Zealand someone threw a full beer bottle at me in Christchurch. Now that’s something that would never happen in New England. No Australian would throw a full bear bottle at anyone, even if they were staggering out of the Urunga Heads Hotel at 1am singing Khe Sanh.

Golf is a stupid game. Also the only thing on the pub’s television was a rugby league match, Jesus talk about having to suffer for your art.

*I found these great photo’s by Paul Earl of Barwick Creek on Flickr his website is

Third time lucky on the Rubicon

After three unsuccessful trips over the Christmas holidays I finally connected with a fish, and wow what a fish!

It all started on the 21st of December when I decided to fish the King Parrot and the Goulburn. The King Parrot was high and after a very short stint I called it day. Within an hour I was fishing on the Goulburn and caught two browns at Gilmore’s Bridge. Not huge fish but satisfying enough.

On the 23rd I fished the Goulburn again on the way to my mothers house at Cobram. The reward a couple of hours of hard work? Nothing. Back again on boxing day hoping to catch a fish. Chased by a cow in a paddock at the Breakaway. Another couple of hours walking and fishing, nothing.

I got serious on the 30th packing my inflatable kick boat in car and deciding to put a whole day in on the Goulburn. Rode my over burdened Malvern Star half way between Thornton and Eildon launching at the picnic grounds directly across from the trout farm. I covered kilometers of beautiful water and put my fly over dozens of likely lies. As Geoff Hall would say “that cast deserves a fish” but fishless I remained.

Bike loaded up to go fishing
Overloaded Malvern Star

At Thornton beach I did my best grumpy grandpa impersonation, as I packed up my boat, complaining to spin fisherman about people throwing rocks in the water. He said “it’s Christmas, what can you do”. I wasn’t so generous, I guess I had lost perspective or maybe I would always be pissed off about fuckwits throwing rocks in the water, but today it was getting to me.

Rubi Redemption

Young Jack at the Goulburn Valley Flyfishing Centre sold me a few flies and put me onto a spot on the Rubicon. He told me about Willow Grub feeders but I dismissed the idea because a farmer a few days ago complained that the grubs weren’t out yet. Jack also told me that the guides on the drift boats were struggling, suddenly I felt better.

Crossing the Rubicon at Tumbling Waters the water didn’t seem as cold as I thought it would be. I walked downstream for a couple of kilometers and connected with the river again on a high bank overlooking a deep pool. A fish rose in the black dark water and I put a Para Wulff pattern over it but nothing. I changed to a small Royal Stimulator and to my surprise a fish had a snatch at it, to0 slow and it didn’t give me another chance.       

Walking upstream I saw nice rises in hard to get at places. Finally I found a section with a fish rising and chance of casting to it. The fish was rising directly under the branches of a willow tree. Tied on a caddis pattern but no interest. Wasn’t sure if it was the fly or the presentation so cast again and got snagged on a branch sticking out of the water.   

Getting a bit closer to the fly I actually spotted the shape of the fish and given its depth and colour I first thought it was a carp. Now the trick was to break the fly off the snag without spooking the fish. Luckily the fish swam upstream a meter of so and I was able to gently break the tippet without spooking the fish. I now noticed tiny grubs falling into the water from the willow the saw one as it drifted past me, small and green. It wasn’t hard to figure out what was going on, a willow grub feeder.

Watching the fish fall back into  its lie as I tied on a 16# light green willow grub pattern I tried to mentally figure out how to cast to the fish. Overhead cast was out no back room and I needed to get under the over hanging branches of the willow. The only option was a side cast with my left hand, lucky I’m left handed. The flick got the distance but landed over a meter to the right of the fish. I wondered if the fish would see the fly and considered recasting but waited for it to drift past the fish. At first I seen the head turn and then the fish dart quickly to its right in the next moment it was rolling violently over my fly. Even I could miss this strike it was simply a matter of lifting and connecting.

A solid rubicon brown