Watch the wombats

Watch the wombats

George Drew | Wednesday, 24 May 2023

Last year a few mates and I went for a four day walk out to the western lakes. It started as usual, hungover and barely seeing straight, perfect for an early wake up of 10am. We drove out and started the walk from Ada, smashing out the 17km in record slow time, getting to camp as the sun was just setting. With high hopes, we dumped all our gear and started looking for a few spinner feeders. We saw a few smaller fish jumping for spinners, but being pretty buggered we called it quits for a hot dinner and early night.

The next morning we woke up covered in ice for a perfect blue bird day!! We made a quick brekkie and loaded our day packs. The morning kicked off with us only just realizing how low the water levels were in the lakes out there. We started to stress a bit, with the first lake seeming bare of fish (they were probably just hiding). We kept moving up the chain of lakes to the next water.

Simmo had seen a good fish in the previous year, we got up there and the fish was there sticking out like a sore thumb. Simmo started freaking out and getting a case of the western lakes fever; he was up and down the lake deciding where he wanted to make his cast from, finally setting up next to an old dead pencil pine and a big bolder in the water.

Things worked out so well, the fish swam it beat and just as the fish swam behind the bolder, Simmo put the cast in. Things were getting tense, the fish appeared and gulped down the fly with no hesitation. Simmo was in! Putting up a great fight, we landed it and were over the moon with a nice 5 and a half pound golden brown.

High on that fish, we kept making our way up the system to the next water where there was a tiger snake sitting on the bank. We all stopped and had a look at it for a bit before it got wind of us and slithered into the water. Zac couldn’t help himself but to put a few casts to it. The snake had a good look at the fly and finally refused and headed straight back for us! And we were out of there! Climbing over each other to get out of its way… so we left the snake alone.

Up the track a bit, Zac split off to go fish a couple different waters (don’t think he had any more run ins). So, it was just Simmo and I. A little further up, we ran into a wombat and its baby. I thought I’d be smart and walk around, definitely the right call as the mum charged Simmo. I couldn’t help but ball my eyes out with laughter; for an old fella he sure can move quick ahaha.

With our senses high we got to the next water. We did a lap of the lake only seeing one fish. It was a quick set up. As the fish was cruising down the bank to us, I put my fly out. It came up, had a long look, and refused. Luckily, it turned shortly after it refused and didn’t see me, so, I had another shot. I picked the line up and shot it out in front of the fish and it came up with speed and woofed it down. I was in. The fish took me all the way across a flat and into my backing. Then, it turned and headed straight for me. I was fretting, running up the bank while stripping my line in and getting all tangled in the small shrubs. I still managed to get it back to the bank where Simmo landed it for me. It was a nice 3 and a half pound brown in great nic.

The early arvo didn’t give us many opportunities, so we started to make our way back down a different system of lakes. Not seeing any fish in a while, we were on a mission back to camp. On our way back, the wind dropped out and the spinners started to pop off, the water became alive with fish smashing spinners.

Simmo spotted a nice fish down the bank and set up a trap. He put his fly out and waited for it to come past. We lost track of the fish for a minute and then all of a sudden it was in front of us. It came up nice and slow in Western lakes fashion and sucked it down. Simmo set and was in, the fish went ballistic, putting on a show. It took so long to get to the net but we finally got it in. We couldn’t be happier; 5 pounds of another golden brown! Ending the day on a high, we made it back to camp. Another massive day doing 26km, we earnt a good rest!!


Day 1 and 2