What a year it has been! Last December I reported that the lakes were dropping, the rivers and streams were low, we were still in drought and 2010 looked like being a difficult time.
Now Lake Jindabyne is at its highest in nearly 10 years and the streams and rivers have had a good flush after Spring rain and are looking spectacular for the rest of the season.
After all the work on the Jindabyne boat ramp, our biggest problem now with the water level so high is parking! There is going to be a problem finding a spot this year to put your trailer so the next step is to try to get our shire council to formalise some parking for the large number of boats expected on the lake this year.
More good news for anglers: There will be no water ski races on Lake Jindabyne this January. The water ski association has decided that there were too many events close together and so have dropped the January event.
The cool weather continued right into November so if you are coming for a fish soon you will find the water is cooler and the season is different. It will take a little thought before you throw a line in the water because the trout are behaving differently.
Fly anglers will have plenty of water in the rivers and streams and the dry-fly fishing should be spectacular.
Spin anglers will also have fun in the rivers and with more water, the fish will be less spooky.
On the lakes, the biggest problem for shore anglers will be all the grass and weed around the banks for the trout to tangle in.
Bait anglers will find the best fishing will be early and late in little bays and inlets.
Start as early as you can, trolling surface lures with longer than normal drop-backs, 60m to 100m is not too far if you use 3kg line. Use braid with 2m of 3kg fluorocarbon leader if you wish.
Lead-core lines will be good at three colours out (30m). Add a deep-diving Tasmanian Devil Dual Depth to get down to where the fish are sitting. Lead core of 18lb will go down 1m a colour and the Dual Depth Tassie threaded through the side hole will go down 3m with three colours of lead out, so should run near 18 feet, depending on boat speed.
The best lures early will be small minnows like Rapalas, Rebel Crickhoppers and 3” StumpJumpers. Troll these little lures on very light line (or braid) and keep them 60m away from the boat.
Fishing these lures over the weed in shallow water will get big brown trout if you’re lucky, but be on the water early. Brown trout and rainbow trout patterns are best but yellow and gold will also catch fish.
Later in the morning, when fishing deeper, the best Tassie colours will be 36 or the various yellow wing colours, and my lime green yellow wing has again been great. The No 48 red nosed brown bomber or the Holographic are always worth trying.
Soft plastics trolled behind Ford Fenders or Cowbells are also well worth a try and some anglers are doing better with this method than with real bait.
This year we have been experimenting with surface poppers tossed from the boat in areas around the little bays or where you see a wind lane. With the water so high and fish cruising through all the grass and weed close to shore, popper fishing is a lot of fun if you’re lucky enough to get a strike.
On the lake early and late there are plenty of trout biting.
In the middle of the day it’s hard to catch anything, you are better fishing fast water on the rivers and streams.
Early on the lake, deeper drop-offs have been best. Allow the lure to sink a little before to get to the deeper fish. Jointed Rapalas and Rebels have caught more trout, possibly because of the better tail action.
In Tasmanian Devils, use the 7g instead of the bigger 13g and go for natural trout colours.
Soft plastics have again been good on the trout with smelt Gulp 3” minnows working very well, as are Squidgies in natural prawn or Gary Glitter colours.
On the Thredbo River the faster runs will hold the most fish. Red and gold Celtas and a variety of minnow lures are catching a few good trout.
Over the next month the best bait fishing on the lake will be before sunrise or at night. Worms and bardi grubs are best for brown trout while PowerBait or Gulp Bait are best for rainbow trout and salmon.
The best action is over the weed beds with mudeyes, if you can get them. If not, try worms fished off the bottom in the deeper water.
No place is better than any other at the moment as the fish continue to move about.
The lake is fishing better than I thought, with the late evening the best time to fish larger streamer flies over the weed beds. Williamson’s Gold Fish is very good at this time of year.
As we get a few more insects hatching we are also seeing good morning rises on the lake, especially if you can fish the wind lanes from a boat.
The best fly depends on what is on top of the water at the time.
The stream fishing has been good with brown and green nymphs but dry-fly action is starting to get much better now. Royal Humpies and various grasshopper patterns are starting to catch the fish, which are still hungry and less selective.
I’d like to wish you all the best for Christmas and 2011 and thank my readers for all the kind letters, phone calls and emails, it’s great to hear from you all and it has been a pleasure to do these reports for such a great magazine.
To make a booking for a tour or for the latest on fishing conditions visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au or phone my shop on 02 6456 1551 or email me at --e-mail address hidden--
Trolling: Flatline lures until first light and then downrig to 10m.
Bait: Mudeyes and worms fished off the bottom.
Fly: Dry fly on the mountain streams.
Spinning: On the lake, floating minnows around the edges. On the rivers, Celtas in the faster water.
Trolling: Rapalas early, then yellow wing Tasmanian Devils.
Bait: Mudeyes, scrub worms, PowerBait.
Fly: Royal Humpy, Yellow Humpy, Snowy Mountains Hopper, Brown Nymph.
Lake Spinning: Rapalas, 13g yellow wing Tasmanian Devils.
River Spinning: Celtas in gold and Rapalas or small StumpJumpers in natural trout colours.