Bell blog – 11 January 2020                               Middle Hillbury with Russell Dickson

Whenever you park on the bridge at Cleft Hill to look at the fish below, you can be certain that another vehicle will arrive. This was the case and having seen some large Yellowfish in the pool below the bridge, we moved upstream full of hope. Middle Hillbury’s access point has been moved closer to the river, past the turn off in the opposite direction to Upper Hillbury.

Russell and I have a similar approach to fishing, tackle on the lighter side and he is also a split cane user. We probably only got to the water by 11:00 and we walked downstream searching the large deep pools for bigger Yellowfish, unsuccessfully. There is a constriction of the stream and we entered at a shallower spot. I elected to fish a nymph while he moved a bit downstream where he proceeded to take a few small trout on a Peter Brigg tied mayfly imitation. I got a small trout on a Zak.

We stopped at another constriction of the stream and Russell completely outfished me with his dryfly so I changed to a spider pattern.

We walked downstream looking for fish and decided to turn around and work our way back. The shallow run we entered at offered up a few small rainbows from the less than knee-deep and nicely scoured out run. We found fish where the water was cleanest (the dead algae washed away) and noted that the fish taken from the deeper pools were definitely of a higher condition factor. Most of the landed fish were in the 8-10” range with a lot of much smaller fish slashing at and missing or pushing the fly away.

After pausing for lunch we were unable to even get a take, the fish had switched off completely. We concluded that the Bokspruit was in fact rising. The river was flowing stronger with more branches and debris floating past.

This is good news, the substrate continues to get scoured.