Thursday, January 1, 2009

Fish River

Distant district views.

With a two week break, it was time to dust off the fishing rods and head out for some trout fishing. Dave and I packed the troopcarrier with the essentials, (well it was me actually), and headed off. Our destination- a farm at Tarana. Located between Lithgow and Bathurst, the property has fantastic access to the Fish River, aptly named after the explorers of the area caught a fish there. So, armed with this knowledge, there was a certain chance we might get lucky.

Magpie Hollow Road.

Following the Bells Line of road to Lithgow, you turn left onto the Great Western Highway and right into Magpie Hollow Road. Follow this until you get to a small town called Sodwalls, then follow the Tarana road. Turn right then left into Mutton Falls road, and travel about 20k. (I have really only given you this instruction because the names are so fantastic!).

As we travelled we spotted-Australian Pelican, Little Pied Cormorant, Australian Magpie and Wood Ducks. We soon arrived at the farm. Without having any real expectation we were delighted with the spot. The owners had mowed a strip along the river for the camp site, as the grass was about a metre high. The river too was wide and fast flowing with small rapids and cool pools of water. The farmer advised us to watch out for tiger snakes and eastern browns- "prolific" he said....

One of the best camp sites.

It did not take us long before we were set up and the fishing rods came out. We had two types of rods and gear, One for lure fishing the other for fly fishing. My Shakespeare Ugly Stik is ideal for bass and trout on the lure and the fly rod with hand crafted flies is also an ideal combination. The flies are simply amazing- imitating those insects and small bugs that often drop into the water.

As we inspected the river 3 fisherman came along the bank and advised us that they had bites but no luck as well as advising us that there was a large eastern brown snake about 100m upstream on the opposite bank. Caution was advised. Soon we were out fishing. I had not been fly fishing for about ten years and it took me a few attempts to get the rhythm of the casting, however I soon got back into it, although my ability to land the fly in exactly the "spot" was a bit wayward. David stuck to lures and was excited at a few nibbles.

Dave lure fishing.

The day was soon spent, and we cooked up a nice camping nosh of sausages, mashed potato and green peas. A few cold beers as well as a leisurely chat to the farmer and night was soon upon us. With an abundance of stars above it was time to call it a day.

At dawn we were greeted by a symphony of bird calls. We spotted Little Ravens, Grey Fantail, Brown Tree Creeper, Yellow Faced Honey Eater, Superb Blue Wren, Galah, Masked Wood Swallow and Leaden Flycatcher. Dave became very excited when he spotted a Platypus in the river. This is very rare and perhaps something he will see only once in his life. It is pleasing to know that the river is healthy despite all the farming and grazing close to its banks. The bird life was astounding.

Birding Essentials.

We headed up stream for a spot of fishing and birding. Our progress was made difficult by the height of the grass, up to our armpits in spots and the seeds constantly fell into our boots and clothing. With sharp burrs they were quite uncomfortable and had to be pulled out at every opportunity. After a short time we headed back mindful of just how difficult it would be to spot a snake. In fact this is how people get bitten- most snakes will not attack you but they will bite if you get too close. Short grass is not a problem.


We decided to travel into Bathurst and visit the airport where the farmer was keen to show us his airplanes and his Formula 5000 race car. David was very excited to sit behind the wheel and controls.

1963 Model "Experimental??!!

After some time we headed back and prepared to head down stream for more fishing and birding. Just as we began to head off, David noticed a large snake swimming across the river directly towards the rocks only a few metres from the camp. The birds were going crazy as the snake arrived and it seemed that it was content to remain very close. We both decided that the risk of being bitten was too great and we made an orderly retreat.

A bit more birding was in order and we spotted Golden Whistler, Wedge Tailed Eagle, Welcome Swallow, Noisy Friar bird, Noisy Minor, Dusky Moorhen as well as Whistling Kite. It was not long before we had to return home. It was a great way to spend a couple of days.

Birds Spotted-Australian Pelican, Australian Magpie, Little Raven, Wood Duck, Grey Fantail, Brown Tree Creeper, Yellow Faced Honey Eater, Superb Blue Wren, Galah, Masked Wood Swallow, Leaden Fly Catcher, Golden Whistler, Wedge Tailed Eagle, Welcome Swallow, Noisy Friarbird, Dusky Moorhen, Kookaburra, Grey Currawong, Willy Wagtail, Noisy Minor, Buff Rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Red Rumped Parrot, Rosella, Crested Pigeon, Red Robin, White Necked Heron, Pee Wee, Whistling Kite, Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike, Nankeen Kestrel, King Parrot, Little Pied Cormorant.

Wildlife:- Eastern Brown Snake, Platypus.


  1. I have to say snakes do not worry me at all, but in this case, the grass was just so high that the risk was too great.

    Tiger snakes have the most toxic venom and would be the world deadliest if not for the fact that the fangs are small. People who get bitten often think its just a grass seed or thorn, and generally get bitten by treading on, or near them.

    Eastern Browns are far more aggressive and fearless, and are to be avoided. Whilst they will not go out of there way to attack, they will not retreat either.... They do look beautiful when they swim though.

  2. What a great way to spend the start of a New Year, and especially wonderful that David got to see a platypus swimming.
    I didn't like long grass sections in France when people warned me about snakes, but I think my danger level was probably nothing compared to yours!

  3. Hi Kiwi- yes it was. I agree. Long grass muffles the sound of your approach and many snakes freeze and that is how you get bitten- either by treading on or too close to them. Of course each snakes attitude is different too. red bellies prefer to move on, tigers freeze and browns are not afraid to attack if threatened!


  4. Jeeps, Platypus singing...snakes, SNAKES!!! oh my, Happy New Year Simon.
    How's doggie doing! Do I dare ask?

    Word verification: interet
    spooky, these things are starting to make sense.

  5. Fantastic post mate! Fabulous to see a platypus, you must take me there next time :-)

    Greta birding too! But no fish for tea?

  6. no- no fish ( i was hoping you would not ask) lost plenty of lures too

    Lilah! Hapopy new year to you too! Dog is fully recovered! :o)

  7. Very glad to hear the dog has recovered :-)


  8. Lucky you seeing a platypus. Glad the dog is better.
    Happy New Year you old reprobate!

  9. Very nice pics, and to see and read this almost makes me feel warm (certainly makes me want to feel warm!). Glad you're enjoying your summer there. And adding another special time to be remembered. Does look like fun.

    Hope you and yours have a most blessed and joyous new year.

  10. Simon,
    this look like Paradise on earth!
    I see David got his own binoculars. ;-) He's so lucky to have you, there could not be a better father.

  11. Funny, I just did a snake post today :) And these, homesick...

  12. Hi Braja!

    I love snakes.. thanks for dropping by!

  13. I love to travel with you and to follow you into your adventures