I’ve been fishing for all my life. Growing up in North Queensland with an abundance of estuaries and inshore reefs at my doorstep, it was hard not to develop an interest in casting a line now and then. Added to this, my dad and uncle also didn’t mind drowning a bait or two; I was predestined to enjoy a bit of angling. Over the years, I went from using baits to hard-bodied lures and then soft plastics. However, one thing I had never tried, and always wanted to, was fly fishing.
Located roughly halfway between Brisbane and Sydney, Dunmore Trout Waters at Wandsworth, is one of the closest locations for South East Queensland anglers to try their hand at fly fishing. It’s a place where novice and experienced anglers alike can cast a Woolly Bugger, an Elk Hair Caddis or a Pheasant Tail Nymph to, hopefully, get a rise from one of the local rainbow or brown trout.
Dunmore Trout Waters is part of the sheep and cattle property called ‘Woollala’ run by Peter and Cath Ivey. Both are keen trout fisherpeople, but after building all the ponds to house the trout on the property along a spring fed creek, Peter leaves the day-to-day running to Cath.
Joined by local Armidale angler, Tony, who was there to show us the ropes on fly fishing, and also be the most likely to catch something, we stopped in at the main homestead to meet Cath. After a quick introduction and rundown on what to expect, we were back in our cars following Cath down the eucalyptus-lined dirt tracks, across a paddock, through a couple of gates and past a few cows before arriving at the main pond.
Also at the main pond are a couple of buildings. The first is the fishing lodge that can comfortably sleep up to 15 people. Perfect for those big fishing trips with all of your mates, but also cosy enough for a weekend away with the family. Speaking of cosy, there’s a pot-bellied stove in the lounge room to keep toasty warm on those chilly winter nights. There’s also a kitchen/dining room, books, DVD’s and all linen is provided, making for a very comfortable stay. After a hard day’s fishing, kick back in the comfy chairs on the verandah and watch the sun set behind the hills overlooking the main pond. If fishing isn’t really your thing, you can still hire out the lodge and enjoy the tranquil surrounds of the Aussie bush.
The second building is currently undergoing renovations and extensions, with Cath looking at turning the finished building into a reception/conference centre. A kitchen/BBQ area is already in place, with toilets and an open plan function room being added.
Now, let’s get back to the fishing.
Dunmore Trout Waters has been running since 1999 and is a private trout fishery with stocked lakes. Each year, between 1500 and 2000 fingerlings (mostly rainbow and some brown) are released into the dams. Due to it being a private fishery, it is not subject to normal closed season restrictions, and no licence is required. This means it can be fished all year round, with the best times being from March through to October. It’s also a great place for beginners, providing a safe place to learn how to fly fish.
There are several waters for you to try and land a trout. Obviously there is the main pond, but there are also a couple of smaller ponds both above and below, all within easy walking distance of the lodge. After getting the good oil from Cath about where the fish had been taking flies, and also what type and colour flies worked best, we tied one on and hit the main pond. It was a cold and windy day, so conditions weren’t all that favourable, but we persevered.
We first tried off the little jetty that juts outs in to the water near the lodge, but we couldn’t get the flies in the right spot due to the wind. A change of tack was required. We headed up to the dam wall, hoping for a little bit of cover from the surrounding gum trees. There was also some likely looking reeds for a sneaky rainbow trout to lay in wait, ready to ambush our flies.
This decision proved to be a masterstroke, with Tony getting a rise from a trout after only a handful of casts. A couple of minutes, and a few casts later, the words every angler loves to hear, “I’m on!” were uttered by Tony. I couldn’t believe it. We, or should I say Tony, had a fish on. It was a good fish too. A lovely rainbow had taken a Pheasant Tail Nymph and was putting up quite the fight, taking back as much line as Tony could bring in. After close to an hour (ok, maybe five minutes) we, and yes — I actually did help with this part as we had forgotten the landing net — managed to bring the fish to shore. After a couple of quick photos, we released the trout to fight another day. That’s the other thing about Dunmore, it is all ‘catch and release.’
Not wanting to push our luck, we called it a day and headed back to the lodge. Needless to say, after this introduction to the wonderful world of fly fishing, I’ll definitely be coming back to Dunmore Trout Waters to try and land my own rainbow one day.
Book your Accommodation and come on up and visit us!