Mt Kosciuszko with Mickey Shanahan

| 18 Sep 2019

Mt Kosciuszko Fly Fishing Adventure

On a recent journey through the rugged mountains of Kosciuszko National Park, we had the privilege of venturing off the beaten track to experience the world of fly fishing with local guide,
Mickey Shanahan.

Decked out in our most durable styles, we were all set to take on the wild open plains and alpine streams in the extreme weather conditions the day would throw at us.

Read the interview with fly fishing enthusiast, Mickey, who revealed hidden secrets of the Kosciusko region, and how he transformed passion into a profession.

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Fly fishing is a pretty awesome profession! What inspired you to take up the sport and what does a working day look like for you?

It is an awesome lifestyle, still trying to convince people it is a profession sometimes haha! I started flyfishing because I saw people doing it on my home river, the Murrumbidgee. I saw someone casting at a trout they could see in the river, it ate a fly and at the time I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever seen! I became obsessed with it at that point and haven't stopped, that was about 20 years ago.   

Tell us a bit about Mt Kosciusko and what attracts you to fish around the areas?

The mountains of the Kosciusko National park and the valleys that surround it are some of the most spectacular places in the world to be a fly-fisher. These hills have everything, tiny mountain tarns with big-trout, clear alpine lakes that you can spot fish swimming along the edges of and vast tailwater rivers that you can drift down all day, throwing grasshopper flies at fish and then jumping in when it gets too hot to row! All in all, I'm pretty spoiled in the Snowys.       

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How long have you been a professional fly fisherman?

I've been a professional guide for 6 years now, I'm just about to start my 7th season in the Snowys. Although I've been a general fishing-bum and river rat since I could jump the front fence and head down our front paddock, and really serious since I started (skipping) school and driving, hiking or riding off into the backcountry every chance I could get.    

What is the biggest fish you have caught?

I recently Caught a 127cm Murray-Cod (Goodoo) on the fly in one of the Alpine lakes in my region. It weighed somewhere in the vicinity of 40 kilos and put up an incredible fight. We measured it, got a quick photo and released it, watching that fish swim away was definitely a highlight of my life.     

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Have you got any certain spots on your bucket list that you haven’t yet ventured to for fly fishing?

I've yet to chase Steelhead, a big sea-run Rainbow trout, in Canada. Fishing with grizzly bears in the next pool upstream will be a lot of fun! I also want to attempt to get across our own country at some point and saltwater fly-fish at Ningaloo Reef and the Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia.  

Favourite travel destination?

I do love Montana in the USA, that state probably has more freshwater and beautiful trout streams than most other areas in the world. You can drift down a big freestone river one day in a boat with your mates then the next day hike into the back of Yellowstone and fish for ancient native Cut-Throat trout. The fly-fishing Culture there is also super strong; at the end of the day there everyone meets up at the same bars or down at the same swimming hole and talks fishing, they're all guides as well and make me feel at home.  

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Best local watering hole (for fishing and drinking)?

I think I'd be hunted down and shot if I said any place but the Snowgoose Hotel in Adaminaby haha! Seriously though as far as vicinity too excellent fishing spots goes you can beat the good old 'Goose. I like to think of it as the centre of trout fishing in Australia, the three major drainages are all within a short drive and if you're serious about fly-fishing then it's one pub you've definitely spent some time in. Plus they do a standout steak, Thai on Tuesdays, have a warm fire and ice-cold beer and are super friendly! What else do you need!?

How does Driza-Bone resonate with your way of living?

We always had a couple of Driza-Bone's on the coat rack growing up, it was just what you chucked on when it was wet, windy or snowing (which at our place is pretty often!). I liked getting to play around with the new range though as it suits my lifestyle perfectly. I need something tough that I can throw in the back of my car and have for work, but I also travel between the city and country more now. So it's even better to have something I can also wear out in the evening and not have to worry about looking like I just jumped out of the river (even though I probably have). 

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What's stopping you? Start planning your next adventure, throw on your Driza-Bone and pursue your passion with no boundaries.