Fishing heaven

Darcey Blake, of Corryong, was named junior champion at Jounama on Saturday after landing a 54cm brown trout.
Darcey Blake, of Corryong, was named junior champion at Jounama on Saturday after landing a 54cm brown trout.

The fish proved somewhat elusive but no one seemed to care as well over 100 anglers in 55 boats took to the Jounama Pondage in pristine conditions last Saturday.

The event provides anglers with a once-a-year opportunity to take their boats onto the water as Snowy Hydro opens up the dam to watercraft for the day. Since first being held in 2000, there’s been a waiting list of would-be competitors trying to squeeze their way into the event.

Deniliquin’s Robbie Rich had endured a wait for over a decade to get on the water.

“I’ve had my name down each year, since the event started I think, and finally got the call up this time,” Rich told the Times as he hopped into his boat to try his luck. “It’s a beautiful place to fish and you could not ask for a better day.”

A cool and crisp morning ensured anglers, who began at 6am, were greeted by a glacial body of water, reflecting the clouds and blue sky above.

The day warmed up but anglers didn’t have quite as much luck as in previous years.

A total of 31 brown trout, four rainbow trout, five redfin and five cod were caught on the day.

Peter Artemiou, the owner of Riverina Marine Centre, has been a long-time supporter of the event, both financially and through competing. He’s fished around the world, freshwater and in the open seas, and has just completed a tuna fishing expedition in Greece.

He was happy being back on the more tranquil water at Talbingo.

“It’s a special day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you catch anything or not.

“If you get a big trout, it’s a bonus. Otherwise you soak up the scenery, enjoy the water, and catch up with people who maybe you haven’t seen for a year.

“There’s nothing like it.”

Craig McKenzie was declared the champion male, having caught a total of 145cm of fish.

Corryong’s Darcey Blake landed a beautiful brown trout, 54cm in length, to win the junior award in his third year of competition at Jounama, while Diane Fiorese’s 71cm cod earned her top female honours.

A full list of results and prizes, as well as more phots, appears pages 18 and 19