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Friday, August 27, 2021

Day 15, Trout IV.

I learnt how to fish and caught my first, a rainbow trout, along the Numeralla River, approximately 15 kilometres downstream of the old homestead and guesthouse on the Big Badja River (which flows into the Numeralla). This trophy shot was taken the following morning, but I still remember the evening of the catch: it was absolutely freezing and without the assistance of a gas lamp, completely pitch black. I was unfashionably rugged up in blue sweatpants, an oversized grey jumper and a red beanie. With my line in the stream I sat on my kids sized fold-up chair and what I would like to think was quietly and patiently, though I do recall being told off once or twice as I'd ‘scare off the fish’. I remember having my attention brought to the slight swaying of the tip of my rod and finally, when given the go ahead, reeled her in. The thrill and excitement, to this day, still sparks the desire to take up a rod and tackle once again. I believe we enjoyed the trout cooked under the grill with lemon and seasoning - delicious! It’s been pondered: could the fish we caught in the Numerella be descendants of the fish my forefathers tried to catch (or with them being true anglers, released back) and on some level this could be true, as all trout in the Monaro river system at one stage were descendants of those from the Prospect Hatchery. Though it's unlikely, given that trout fry has been constantly released into the river streams over the decades and after WWII supplied from a variety of hatcheries run by angler societies and NSW fisheries. Though, if one thing, the experience and joy of fishing has certainly been enjoyed for four generations along the same stream. Those who campaigned for trout to be introduced in the Monaro would be proud of that; “It is not likely to be in our day, but our children may see the day and love the haunts of the fish, like Izaak Walton, of old, and our city friends take their innocent recreation in snaring the goodly fish, and thus imbibe an attachment to the streams of their native country similar to that existing in Old England” (The Argus, 10.07.1861)