Trout, pause, engaged!

It’s wonderful to have met someone who wants to go fishing, camping, boating, wading through mountain streams, even prawning, is an amazing cook, an absolute stunner, has a great sense of humour and is a great friend. She’s perfect! Well, as we all know, if you keep a fish on the line for too long it will eventually get off, so you need to wind them in. Need I say more, I got engaged this weekend: Very very very happy! I also caught some nice little trout, which was the icing on the cake!

We spent the weekend based in Bright in north-east Victoria. We stayed in an amazing little Italian bed and breakfast called Villa Gusto, which is run by an ex-special police agent by the name of Colin McLaren who infiltrated the Griffith Mafia (made into Underbelly season 2). Anyway, interesting bits and pieces aside, the Villa is situated on the banks of the Buckland River. The Buckland is a STUNNING trout stream. It’s partly forested and partly agricultural land, but a sense of how pristine an unmodified most of the catchment is really shines through. I got the feeling that the particular stretch of water I was fishing was not fished very frequently, if at all for a number of months or even years.

One of my first casts in the Buckland River. Usually one wouldn’t approach a trout from upstream, but when the point you start at looks this good you can’t help but have a few casts. I’m glad I did, because on the third cast a beautiful fish materialised from the rocky section and smashed the lure, but failed to hookup.

There was a healthy population of brown and rainbow trout, as there is in the nearby Ovens River, although I only managed to land a few browns. By healthy population I mean that there was basically a trout in every spot you hoped for, and then  some in less likely spots. The first fish I saw was on the third cast. As I had just approached the river, I decided to have a cast downstream towards a deep, swirly hole. As I wound the little green celta back towards my feet, I saw the beautiful grey shape materialise behind it. The fish lunged, my heart was in my mouth, but the fish didn’t find the hooks. Despite being a little disappointed, I didn’t mind too much as it was a fairly good sign there would be a few more fish. Heading 20 metres or so upstream, I cast into some fast flowing ruffled water, about 15cm deep over some rocks and boulders. Not long after the green celta started vibrating and it was smashed by a healthy little brown. After a few acrobatic jumps the fish was on the bank. A few photos and back it went to fight another day.

An average brown from the Buckland River. I saw a number of fish about twice this size, but they weren’t keen to hit the lure!

A beautiful stretch of the Buckland River. This hole had a number of fish in it.

I landed a few more fish in similar fashion and saw at around 15 fish in a few hundred metre stretch of the river. This is an amazing place. I’d love to go back there and give it a really serious go. Some of the fish I saw were getting up around the 35cm, 800 gram to a kilo mark, and I don’t doubt there’d be some bigger ones in there, particularly at this time of year (late May) when the browns start running upstream to spawn.

This river left a lasting impression on me, partly because it was an amazing backdrop for my engagement to my beautiful fiance, but also because it’s an incredibly beautiful little trout stream in an amazing part of the world. If you’re looking for a perfect getaway, give it a try and I’m sure you’ll be impressed. I also couldn’t recommend Villa Gusto enough; the hospitality was great, the chef’s hat southern Italian cuisine and wines are elegant and spot-on and there’s even a cool mouser called Senorina Felline who looks after the local rodent population. There were a few over-confident 30-something Mexicans with expensive cars and a little too much dry wit, but they kind of made the experience even better, especially when telling them about the beautiful trout and river they missed out on because they didn’t want to get their Italian leather shoes dirty! I could definitely live comfortably in this part of the world.

Rache on the banks of the Buckland