Now that the rivers and streams are closed until October, the focus is on Lake Jindabyne.
I love my Winter trout fishing. Most of the time the trout are hungry and the shore-based angling is very good.
With the lake so high this Winter the shore angling will be even better because the trout can get up into the little bays and inlets where the wild goldfish hide out – and big fish love eating goldfish.
So with lots of fishing still ahead, grab a good pair of boots and a warm jacket and come down and try a Winter trout experience.
The early spawning brown trout are mostly now back in the lake and you can expect them to be cruising the edges looking for food.
At this time of year it doesn’t matter what method of fishing you favour, you must remember the fish are close to the edges and you need not cast out too far.
With the lake so high, there is a lot more cover for fish to hide in.
Baits on the bottom or suspended under floats will catch trout as they cruise by, but if you are fly fishing or spinning you need to slow down your retrieve and leave the fly or lure in the fishes’ faces longer.
Bait is very productive and simple rigs work best. Worms and Berkley PowerBait have always been favourites and bring results. Use plenty of tiger worms or a single scrub worm, and fish them off the bottom using a running sinker.
Orange twist, lemon twist and fluoro orange PowerBait have been catching a lot of good trout over recent months and usually work very well over Winter. A jar of each in the tackle box is highly recommended.
Gulp bait in rainbow candy and chunky cheese flavours are also most popular at the moment.
Because the fish move about so much over Winter there is no particular spot better than another but a good hint is to fish shallow water early and late and slightly deeper water in the bright sunny parts of the days – but not too deep.
Spinning from shore works well and Tasmanian Devils are probably the best lures to use in the middle of the day. Try colours like pink No 55, yellow wing No 36 and brown No 48 but use a slow retrieve.
Soft plastics work better when the fish are off the bite and refusing hard lures of all types. Plastics, the smaller the better, work possibly due to their smell. It’s best if they are also in natural or cold colours for the inlets and orange or pink for open water.
If you’re out in a boat, trolling lures a lot slower than you would summer is the way to increase the numbers of trout you catch.
July is also the month that we start to see some of the very big Atlantic salmon Lake Jindabyne is famous for.
Each year the Gaden Hatchery releases some monsters into the lake after they have been stripped of eggs for the breeding program.
It does take a little time for these fish to put on condition and to get used to their new surroundings but they are naturally aggressive fish and you will always catch them on a lure dragged past their nose.
These salmon, some over 5kg, will give you the fight of your life and will just about drag you boat from one end of the lake to the other.
July is also the time when we get most of our snow on the mountains and the weather can change very quickly, so always check for any major changes before heading out. It takes only minutes for the lake to go from mirror flat to waves over 1m high and 100kmh winds.
Remember that when on a boat and all rugged up, sometimes with waders on, you are a fatality waiting to happen if you aren’t wearing a life vest.
If you were to fall into the water, which is getting colder by the day, once you get wet there is a very good chance that you will die. If it’s not by drowning, when all your wet clothes drag you to the bottom or your waders fill with water, you will not last long before hyperthermia will get you.
Keep safe. And remember in boats under 4.8m you must always wear a life vest. It takes only a gust of wind or a mate standing up and overbalancing and you could all be in the water.
I have seen it happen on a number of occasions and people die this way every year on lakes in the Snowy Mountains.
It’s the big weather changes that improve the fishing at this time of year. I always make certain I’m on the water as soon as the change passes, because this is when the fish are on the bite.
The longer the weather is fine and the longer a high pressure system hangs about, the harder the fishing becomes. Weekly cold changes are great for fishing over Winter.
Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in winter. The best lures for big trout are the jointed Rapalas in various colours – it seems that the action is what the trout like most.
Tasmanian Devil lures in pink No 55, orange No 57 and brown No Y48 are the best on the rainbow trout. Y82 and Holographic also are worth a try.
Trolling flies off fly lines (harling) is also very productive in Winter and trolling flies on lead core lines during the middle of the day produces some big browns if you stay just over the weed beds.
We have some flies in my shop that are designed for trolling and can be dynamite over the weed beds.
Good areas for trolling this month are the South Arm, the Snowy Arm, East Jindabyne Islands and Hayshed Bay.
Fly fishing has been very good because the weed beds are so close to the shore. You will see fish cruising if you have your polaroid glasses on.
Polaroiding trout is best done on the sunnier days and that is when I like to fly fish the lake, anyway, I never have gone much on fly fishing when it is snowing or during Winter nights.
Something like a Brown Nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a shrimp pattern will get good results during Winter. My Williamson’s Gold Fish is good in the quiet, weedy bays.
Best areas for polaroiding are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sids Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake.
Fly fishers could also try the Snowy Arm, Creel Bay and Wollondibby Inlet (excellent after rain).
Call in and get the latest fishing information at Shop 1 at the Snowline Centre on Kosciuszko Road next to the Shell servo. I run fishing tours through winter and my shop is open every day.
In July and August Jindabyne is packed with skiers and most accommodation either booked out or very expensive. However, since you don’t need to get out of bed early to catch a trout in Winter, you can always stay in towns close by where there is accommodation at reasonable rates. Cooma, Berridale and Dalgety have great accommodation at reasonable prices.
• Lake level: Last July the lake was almost 60ﬁ; this year it’ll be 80%+
• Lake temperature: 9° and falling
• Best method: Bait fishing
• Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil pink No 55 or Holographic.
• Best areas: East Jindabyne Islands, South Arm.
• Best fly: Williamson’s Gold Fish or similar.
• Best river: All closed, reopening October 1