Autumn continued to be colder than usual with regular rain and some very strange behaviour by the trout, with the rainbows beating the brown trout into the Thredbo River.
Some anglers say this may possibly have been due to the higher river levels and the trout taking advantage of the best spawning conditions for well over 10 years. No matter, as higher water is all good news and not a bad thing for the future of our fishery.
The rivers close to all fishing on June 13 and for many, another trout season draws to a close.
Remember that if fishing the Thredbo or Eucumbene rivers before the closure, the special rules at the moment permit onlyfish over 50cm to be kept, with a bag limit of two fish. The rules change to protect the trout while they are on their spawning run and normal regulations return in October for the new season.
The lakes remain open to fishing throughout the Winter and now is trophy trout time in the Snowies because the bigger fish are cruising the cooler water looking for a feed.
This winter Lake Jindabyne will most likely be higher than for many years and even after water releases at Easter, there is still plenty in the lake. You won’t be able to drive your car onto Lion Island this year unless your snorkel is over 6m high!
Trolling will be interesting because we have so much more water in the lake and will be able to work the bays a little more than we have in the past. The best fishing will be on the surface very close to shore.
Jointed Rapalas are worth a try, the bigger the better. We quite often troll 9cm and 11cm lures for the bigger fish. StumpJumpers and RMG Scorpions are also very good off lead-core line – go for natural or goldfish patterns.
In the middle of the day use Tasmanian Devils in pink No 55 or orange No 56. For the sunnier days use a Y36 yellow wing, while a No 48 or Y48 is always worthwhile early and late in the day, or off three colours or lead core.
There are still plenty of big fish at Creel Bay and if you know where the snags are it is not too difficult to downrig some very big brown trout using the bigger minnow lures.
If you don’t have a downrigger try a big Rapala on four colours of lead-core line in the water and then another 20m of 20lb dacron backing. This will get the lure down to where the bigger browns are holding, but remember troll slowly – about 2kmh.
Other good areas to troll include shallow bays like Hatchery and Hayshed, while Sids Bay at East Jindabyne is also a weedy bay with lots of food for trout.
With all the extra water this year the bigger trout will be cruising the bays and inlets so that is where you should cast a bait. You can fish all day during Winter but don’t fish too deep because the trout often feed close to the shore.
Scrub worms or PowerBait work well day and night in Winter as long as you don’t mind sitting back and waiting. Both should be fished off the bottom with a running sinker.
Remember to fish light and keep the bail arm open to let the trout run with the bait.
PowerBait is great in Winter and you need a ball just a little bigger than a pea. A size 12 hook will catch more fish than a big hook with big bits of PowerBait. Gamakatsu do a fine wire hook called a Single Egg Hook and these are great for power bait. You can use a size 8 or 10 in winter.
Over the next few months the best bait areas are Wollondibby Inlet and Creel Bay at Waste Point and Stinky Bay nearer to town. Remember, the lake is weedy but that’s where the fish hang out.
You can also spin all day in Winter but on sunny, still days choose the deeper drop-offs where the fish will cruise for something to eat.
I find that in Winter smaller 7g Tasmanian Devils are best for the deeper water on still days and the 13g Tassies on windy days. Another lure worth a throw is the 3” StumpJumper. Pink is a great Winter colour.
Jointed Rapalas with a little bit of orange on the belly get the trout to take notice and if you work these minnows like a wounded fish you will get a lot more strikes.
You can also cast small bladed spinners like No 1 Celtas and Mepps spinners in the shallow weedy bays. I like gold or red.
Soft plastics are also worth a try and the Squidgy wriggle tails in rainbow trout are going great.
Soft plastics work best for trout in Winter. Flicking them out and working them slowly through the snags and above weed beds when the lake is low is the best way to catch trout.
As they do on bream down the coast, vibrating blades work well on trout in the rivers and the lakes. Some of the better blades include the TT Switchblade in golden boy, and the Strike Pro Cyber Vibe 35 in colour BLG and Cyber Vibe 50 in colour JU009. Some of these look like the goldfish or lake trout love to eat.
June and July on Lake Jindabyne have to be the hardest and coldest months for fly enthusiasts.
The best fishing usually occurs when the browns start to return from spawning but this year, with some of the browns and rainbows spawning as early as March, the fly fishing might be better than usual.
With the higher lake and fish hanging about the bays, the better areas are Creel, Hayshed and Hatchery bays, Mill Creek Inlet, the Claypits and the Snowy Arm.
Rug up and enjoy Winter in the Snowy Mountains. If you’re coming down to the snow, don’t forget your fishing rod. For more information on Jindabyne Winter trout, call in to my shop next to the Shell servo or phone 02 6456 1551 and remember, I operate for guided tours throughout Winter.
Best method: Scrub worms, bardi grubs and PowerBait.
Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil pink 55 or yellow wing brown bomber Y48.
Best lake area: East Jindabyne Islands, Creel Bay at Waste Point.
Best lake fly: Hamill’s Killer on the lake.
Best river fly: Glo Bug until rivers close on June 13.
Carlos Evans trolled a Tassie Devil in the Y Freddo pattern to bag this lake Jindabyne rainbow.
Luke Hedger from Sussex Inlet trolled up this lake rainbow on a blustery day.