Only weeks ago, we were pleading with the community to visit the Snowy Mountains. To bring empty eskies, hugs and a few hard-earned dollars to help a community so heavily impacted by the bushfires. Many of the streams and alpine lakes we love to fish were directly impacted by the fires and the communities really suffered.
Small business struggled because the people couldn’t come.
Now, what only seems like weeks later, we are pleading for the people to stay away. The fires in the hills have turned to fires in our homes with the imminent health dangers of the COVID-19 virus.
With a devastation following another, not only is the region struggling, but so is the global community. Hospitality and the tourism industries have collapsed with so many left wanting work, others are dealing with health issues and the mental health impact on our global community is yet to be really discovered.
In my lifetime, I have never seen anything like this. I recall lessons at school that told stories of the post WWII depression, Spanish Flu and Black Plague, but their significance to me were blinded by my ignorance and ‘lack of lived-experiences’ in relationship to these events. But here we are, facing what will be a series of events that will be recorded into the history books and will be recounted by generations beyond us.
Not lacking empathy for the struggles many are under right now, but it is the struggles we face today that can shape us into better people and communities, with a depth of fortitude and character that only hard times can construct.
Get connected with your local fishery again, prioritise time in the outdoors but let’s do this without the travel. If we do this really well, visiting destination fisheries will be on the cards before we know it. And it will in these times, we just hope you can come back and share our mountains with us when it safe for the community to travel again.
Something to look forward to?
Well the fishing in the Snowy Mountains has been great! All the major systems were trending well over summer post fires. Fisheries not closed to fire danger (falling trees) have largely withstood the impact of the fires strongly.
Additionally, the closures from the fires have had a few of us stomping on old grounds again with very favourable outcomes. But it’s not the ‘fish experience’ I have grown to love so much in these times, but more so, the freedom it provides when so much has been taken away.
Exercising footsteps on a riverbank and enjoying the places fly fishing takes us should never be taken for granted.
The snow grass is growing back and the trees are shooting new growth. More birds are in the air and the bugs are back on the water with quality fish frequently encountered.
The mountains are here today, still as beautiful as ever… and they will be here when you can return.
Like the sun touching a cold, darkened mountain range at morning’s first light, we need to remember in these times that it’s the darkness that validates the warmth and beauty of light the sun brings with it every day.
We will all bounce back stronger for this.
Stay healthy and safe friends.
Matt Tripet walking Tantangara Dam taken by Brad Sissins