This year the Snowy Mountains is looking spectacular and we should be in for some of the best trout fishing in more than 10 years.
The lake is currently near 80% and looking spectacular. If we have had any complaints about the rivers, it’s been too much water!
The rivers season started off a little slowly with the cooler weather but now there are more insects about, the fish are on the bite and the dry fly fishing has been good.
Lake anglers are saying there’s too much water between the fish but they are there and you just need to think before you cast a line.
Trollers have to look for wind lanes early in the day and you can often locate these by looking for the ducks and gulls that often also feed on the surface insects trout love to eat.
Because of the muck on the water, deeper-running lures are best. Or you can use downriggers with the weight down about 2m.
Surface trolling the shallow bays is also very good if you’re on the water before sunrise
Later in the morning, the best fishing will be deep with lead-core lines, paravanes, trolling sinkers or the best way, a downrigger so you know exactly what depth you are fishing.
At the moment the magic depth varies from 35 feet early in the day to 45 feet later in the morning.
Rapala minnows, especially the jointed versions, are doing very well on the bigger browns. For best results troll close to the bottom in at least 20 feet.
Other lures doing well include Tasmanian Devils in green colours, with my own special ‘Slime’ the very best and the yellow wing Freddo next-best. Other colours well worth trying are the red nosed yellow wing and, on overcast days, the holographic and No 48 Brown Bomber.
Best areas have been Hayshed, Hatchery and Rushes bays, while the South Arm has been very good for downrigging.
‘Lake spin anglers will also do best in the first hour or so of light and by mid-morning you’d be lucky to catch a fish. You’d be best heading to the alpine rivers for a spin in the creeks, where the water is cooler.
The best way to fish during the day from the shore is to find the deepest water possible, like the South Arm near the dam wall, and let your lure sink right down near the bottom before retrieving. This way you can get results all day long.
River spinning is much better than last year because the water is a little higher and there have been some good trout caught if you are prepared to walk a little farther away from the holiday crowds. Look for deep pools or deeper running water where the fish can lie under cover.
Small minnows like CD Rapalas work very well and the old favourite green and gold Celtas or Gillies Spinners are also a must. Change lures often and never work over one area of water any more than a half a dozen casts.
For bait fishers, it’s mudeye time. These dragonfly nymphs are used live, hooked through the wing case to allow them to swim around beneath floats.
Early and late in the day are best; fish the bays and move to deeper water as the day brightens.
The secret at the moment is to grease up the line to stop drag. You need a trout to run with the bait without feeling resistance and greasing the line helps catch more fish.
Always fish with the reel bail arm open so the fish can run with the line. The best line grease is Silicone Mucilin, which will not harm the line.
The shallow bays are the best locations at night but look out for the snags.
Mudeyes are going to cost lots of dollars this year because they are hard to find, so PowerBait and bardi grubs are still more than worth a try, as is the newer Gulp bait.
For fly anglers, this is a grasshopper month on the rivers and streams and when a grasshopper drops into the water, trout will not hesitate. Check the size and colour of the real ones and find a fly to match.
Keep your eye open for evening hatches of other insects, such as the mayfly. I love the dry-fly fishing at this time of year!
For lake fly anglers, nights are the time to fish, with big dark or black flies like the Woolly Bugger or other dark streamer patterns. Craig’s Nighttime is also another Snowy Mountains favourite, not to forget my own Snowy Mountains Gold Fish in the bays and inlets.
When in the mountains, drop in at my shop next to the Shell Servo for the latest information or to book a tour. We still have vacancies for Gillies beginner fly school on February 12 and 13, $390 for the weekend with everything supplied.
There’s also a one-day downrigging course soon so call 02 64561551 or email me.Reads: 1971