Well I tried typing that name out 3 times - gave up and just copy and pasted - who comes up with those names!
Looks a great place and love the rock formation.
Great write up and photos - thanks for sharing your adventure.
At 747 metres elevation, Koombooloomba Dam is Australia's highest tropical storage. It is perched in the dense forest on the Great Dividing Range on the headwaters of the mighty Tully-Millstream River and feeds some hydro projects below. The water is very clear, and cold in winter. Unlike other stocked dams, it lacks bony bream, freshwater mussels, water lilies, and other submerged vegetation. I guess the lake fauna and flora comprised whatever was in the fast-water streams blocked by the dam wall at the time. It has been stocked with sooty grunter and barra, but the barra do very poorly in the cold, with dead and dopey fish reported each winter. Lean pickings for fish, and popular wisdom has it that wind-blown insects drive the food chain. Perhaps sooties were already up there, or the stocked fish have found spawning habitat in the rapids, but whatever the reason there are abundant sooties in there with "cricket score" catches reported and hoards of juveniles visible along the edges. Few have caught barra in there, and those that do report that lures resembling sooty grunter are the go.
Sooties need rapids in the hot, wet season to spawn successfully, and recent storms from a much-delayed monsoon had some of us hatching a plan to get upstream to the inflow to flyfish the spawning aggregations. The day did not start well, with lightning knocking out the power pre-dawn and torrential rain, with the flash and rumble of the dreaded cloud to ground lightning. during the 2 hour drive. Amazingly, the rain ceased just below Koomby and we were off in the tinny threading and feeling our way up along the old river channel through a dense forest of dead trees and prop-busting stumps. The plan was to get up to the Tully inflow and walk the bank with flyrods to sight-fish sooties.
At 28% capacity we had just caught the first inflows of clear, tannin-stained water, and there were some cascades and rapids to fish off the rocks. Dan fished the opoosite bank with a blooper-type fly and I used a tiny shrimp-cicada thing tied by an SA mate (Dave) 20 yrs ago. At the first rapids the tiddlers just belted the little cicada if I let it sink deep and I soon had a half-a dozen captures before they wised up. Dan did not get a hit, so switched to a white clouser and moved up into the limpid pool above the cascades. Immediately he raised bigger fish and caught 2 in quick succession. He was trialling a line-tub worn around his waist to stop the flyline tangling and missed some takes.
On the opposite bank I found what SA Dave calls a "Monty" of a spot. A fish surety. A tiny crystal-clear rivulet running over a sandbank to a deep dead tree. I got belted 3 times on that snag, with the first 2 humping boils at the surface by obviously big, angry, sooties. The third take was on the wrong side of the snags and within milliseconds I had been dusted. Broke the 10 pound flourocarbon leader just below the flyine -- and I had no spares in that department, so a long walk back to the tinny for more. Sooties are smash,grab, and run back to cover specialists.
We decided the big fish were either absent from the rapids, or not biting, so we tried Plan B. Motor down in the boat and find islands or points with horizontal "lay-downs" of dead trees. Not that common, but marvellous habitat for a sooty ambush predator. Again, small fish were eager biters but no sign of the dark-black brutes that inhabit the dam. Back-casts often ended up in the dead forest, too.
So the last plan of the day, before escaping the approaching lightning storms, was to try walking a steep bank with deep water, rock ledges and lay-downs. I thought I would "ground-truth" the presence of bigger fish with a spin rod and little Mohawk deep-diver. Dan went off along the bank and I fished off the boat, testing a deep rock ledge. Some tiddlers on the fly were followed by a decent fish on the lure, which pulled the hooks at the net. So there were big fish there!
Then we started to see sooties patrolling the edges as the shadows fell on the water. I was mucking around with various little Clousers on the tiddlers, by applying "S-factor" scent and testing if Dave's 20 yr old, high-sparkle flies attracted more attention when a grey/brown fish in the 30's came out for a look. I changed to a bigger, ratty, marabou fly and landed a better fish but could not tempt the lurker. Meanwhile Dan raised 2 huge fish on his Clouser from the base of a high dirt cliff with overhanging snag -- another "Monty". We spent the last half-hour of the day together trying to fool those fish, which were joined by a third that emerged swimming along the drop-off from left-field. I don't think they could see us, but we could see them and they would not be fooled by flies, soft-plastics, minnows, or even a very lifelike savage flick prawn, scented or not. Easily 40cm -plus fish, with charcoal backs and big spade-like tails. They showed mild interest, but were rejecting the offerings from afar. I guess they don't get that big by being gullible.
At the ramp we met a 'yakker who fished there regularly, and he told of once stumbling across a hatch of the spent, winged termites that blanketed the water in wind-rows. He told of sight-fishing sooties breaking the surface. Now that would be an experience to go keep going back for.
In the wild streams a 400mm fish is a good one, but they get very large and fat in the lowland dams, with fish over 50cm present. The Trophy sooty in the 2014 Tinaroo Barra Bash was 3.965 kg (not measured) when it was still a "kill and weigh" comp, and most of the fish in the 2018 comp were over 400mm and up to 490mm (not weighed, as it is now catch-photograph-and-release). There are far northern streams where you can catch sooties, barra, jungle perch and mangrove jacks in close proximity in the upper reaches, but nowadays crocs are an ever-present risk in those same places.
summer from hell!!! Everyone pays one way or another. Our house insurance premium went up 20% in late 2019 after the Townsville floods, even though we are 5 hours drive away, because we share the first 2 digits of their postcode
This is the rig I used for beach fishing for Mulloway at Middleton, baits were strips of squid, squid heads, pilchards, small whole mullet, salmon trout & even salmon & mullets fillets because they're an oily fish..
It's the main reason why i went searching for these blanks to paint..
Paying 20 bucks plus for an top water lure for whiting is ridiculous.
If i can provide a cheaper option that still catches fish im happy to continue painting them and sell a few here or there...
I can help keep this thread going. A number of years ago was there on a Saturday morning and landed a 42 on a daiwa dc. Was so excited went back on the Sunday morning and landed a 43 again on a dc just a different colour. This is still my pb from the Lake. Regards HBt.
Thanks doobie, those heat patches are the best invention yet.. trouble is sometimes I forget I have them on and after eight hours they leave burn marks on the skin.. I have a lot of 70 mm x 50 mm scars on my body from them.. 😜😜 when I go to have a dose of injections my Doctor just rolls his eyes back and shakes his head and says "looks like you be giving the heat pads plenty of use again" 😀😀
Where's Adrian .. (the wife said) ...under all these heat pads dear .. (says Adrian)
That would have definitely helped catch up on your strike rate.
I can see you now ...... at them
A good variety of catches that would have kept you entertained for the whole session.
Great video also Adrian - keep it up and keep using those heat pads
This video is from a four hour plus spin session in one of the toughest fast water stretches of the Meander River, it gave up quite a few trout of all sizes from small 260 gram trout up to a 720 gram brown,
Several times I was going to call it a day and head to some slower flowing water but then I'd catch another trout or two so I kept pushing on.. Before I left home I had put eight heat patches on my lower back & left hip, three on the right should & one on the left shoulder. They certainly helped to get me through the time spent in the fast waters of the Meander River.. In the end I had 35 hook ups of which 26 were caught & released.. I had to shorten the video because it went well over the 15 minutes allowed.. Anyway you'll get some idea of the time I spent in the river.. I've had young men fish here with me and they've only lasted an hour in this stretch river because the going was too tough for them, plus they fell in a couple of times which was enough for them to toss in the towel..