Lake Lyell Blues

I’ve heard it said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. Quite an apt description of my depressing track record at Lake Lyell, situated in the Blue Mountains and allegedly holding a healthy population of trout.

If the universe is in equilibrium, balancing positive and negative over time, then I can tell you one thing. I am due for a whopping big trout at Lake Lyell in the not too distant future.

I have been visiting Lake Lyell most years for the last two decades. Until recently, all of my fishing was from the shore with lures. Tassie Devils, hard bodied, soft plastics. I’ve cast my way through all the latest fads. The one constant has been my lack of success.

In all those years, my one fish of note was a brown trout. I caught it many moons ago while trolling a fly behind my canoe. It was a complete fluke and I suspect the fish took the fly out of pity.

Still, I have kept making my annual pilgrimage to the lake. It is a beautiful part of the world and I have a lot of memories there. None of them involving fish, but the scenery is something to behold.


Then, quite unexpectedly, last year hinted at a new era for me. I took my kayak, fitted out with a fish finder and a downrigger. I looked like a poser with all that gear on board, but I managed to catch two rainbow trout.

So it was with great expectation I returned to the lake earlier this year. With a car full of gear and a budding sense of confidence, I actually thought I’d do well.

The weather, which can be wild in that part of the world, was perfect. Setting up camp on the water’s edge with my fishing buddy Greg, I wondered how many I would catch this time. I decided I would be happy with four.

Two days and 16kms of paddling later, I can confirm that I caught absolutely nothing.

All the gear, no idea
All the gear, clearly no idea!

Not to worry, I was an old hand at justifying my failure at Lake Lyell. Before long I had convinced myself it was the water level, conditions just didn’t feel right. All I had to do was convince Greg and we could both leave with our heads held high. We did our best, but that’s fishing for you.

That’s when Greg took it upon himself to hook a lovely brown trout on a soft plastic, in amongst the timber.

Lake Lyell brown
Lake Lyell brown


I took it on the chin. Let’s see what next year brings.

They are out there, somewhere
They are out there, somewhere

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