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Spot the cruising trout
  |  First Published: October 2011



August and September were fantastic for spotting cruising trout around the lake edges through polarised sunglasses and the fun is spilling into October as the lake continues to rise over new ground.

When spotting trout, it is not easy to see the fish if you have not done it before; they blend in so well with the background. Often, long skinny shadows are trout sitting still near the edges and it may take a little practice before you get your eye in.

A good hint is to keep the sun behind you, making sure you do not cast a shadow over the water.

Stay well back from the water and stay high on the bank. The higher up you are, the easier it will be to spot the fish.

Having a fishing buddy or guide with you is also a big help because they can often keep an eye on the trout and direct you where to cast. Often it’s easy to lose sight as you get low to the water.

Lures, flies and even bait can be cast to a fish. Watching the fish’s movements will indicate if you need to cast carefully to avoid spooking them. If they are active then they might chase anything even thrown close to them.

If fly-fishing, spotting fish with your polaroids, I find small green nymphs to be best in the shallow water.

Lure anglers will do best with Celtas, Mepps and of course minnow lures like floating Rapalas, but keep them small – lures that are too big make a big splash and spook the trout in the shallow, clear water.

STREAM OPENING

We welcome the start to another great river fishing season in the Snowy Mountains on Saturday, October 3. With plenty of water coming from the melting snow still left on the mountains, the rivers are in great shape and we are going to have a fantastic start to the season.

I expect there will be plenty of late spawning rainbow trout left in the Thredbo River and lots of anglers on the river to enjoy the opening day.

The trout will be attacking lures and flies with a vengeance but due to the number of anglers it will not be long before the fish are lure-shy. I tend to stay away from the rivers until later in the week.

Anglers who fished Lake Jindabyne last season will notice the lake is about the same level or a little higher and the water is into the grass around the shoreline, making some areas very interesting to fish, suitable more for flies than lures.

So with nothing but good news for the new season, le’s look at the best way to catch a trout or two.

TROLLING

As the lake continues to rise this month, trolling will be best near the edges early and late in the day – but you may have problems spooking the fish in shallow water, so make sure your line is out further than normal. About 80m is the least you will need to drop back the lures.

The usual techniques of fishing on the surface in shallow water at first light and then moving out into deeper water using 20m to 30m of lead core will extend the better fishing well into the late morning.

Like last Winter, trollers have been doing best using minnow lures early and then switching to Tasmanian Devils later. The best colours will be darker ones early, with Y48 or even Y94 great. Try the yellow wing Tassies a little later as the sun is about to rise over the horizon.

Minnow lures like Rapalas or StumpJumpers in brown and rainbow trout patterns are good but there are many brands of lures on the market that will do the job if you know what speed to troll to get the best action out of them.

It is not a good idea to try to mix and match different brands because no two will work best the same at the same speed. Trying to run a Tasmanian Devil and a minnow lure for example will not get perfect results from both lures at the same time.

After the sun hits that water, it’s time to change to a Tassie No 36, Y82 or my Steve Williamson Red Nosed Yellow Wing.

Then, as the sun gets higher it’s time to get the lure deeper and lead core or downriggers are the way to go.

The best lures for those trophy browns will be small minnows. Troll these over the weed beds using longer dropbacks and lighter line or braid to keep the lures as deep as possible. Do this well before the sun comes up to get the bigger fish.

SPINNING

What a great season it has been for spinning the lake edges. With the water rising over new ground there are plenty of trout biting early and late in the day around the edges.

Tasmanian Devil lures have been best for this method because they sink quite quickly to any depth.

The weed beds are worthwhile casting over – locate these by checking out where the ducks are, they like diving down into the weed to feed.

Shallow-diving minnows have not been as effective when fishing shallow bays.

BAIT

Lake bait fishing has been excellent for months. At some time of the day the fish are coming on the bite; you just need a line in the water at the time.

Worms are best for brown trout while the new Berkley Gulp bait is proving itself for rainbow trout and salmon. The most popular colours at the moment are lemon and lime twist, rainbow paste or chunky cheese.

To catch a big brown trout the best baits are going to be bardi grubs or scrub worms. Fish these with a greased line to stop the bait from getting caught up in the weed.

FLY

We are in for an interesting fly-fishing season. The water level is great and the lake will fish well.

When the days warm up and we get a few more insects hatching, there may be some good early morning rises on the lake.

The best flies have been green or olive flies like Hamill’s Killer, small shrimp patterns and olive nymphs.

When the water flow slows on the streams, the dry fly fishing will improve but for now brown and green nymphs are best.

It’s not too late to sign up for my beginner fly-fishing school on October 22 and 23. Our schools are the first in Australia to offer a National Certificate of Recognition.

Our ever-popular one-day downrigger course, covering everything from boat set-up to rigging lures, is on November 12 but book early, it’s limited to only six people. For course info and the latest on the fishing, call my shop on 02 6456 1551, email me your postal address or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au.

Facts

OCTOBER ROUNDUP

Best method – lake trolling.

Best depth – surface early and late in the day.

Best lake lure – Tasmanian Devil with yellow wings or Holographic.

Best lake area – East Jindabyne Islands, Creel Bay.

Best lake fly– Hamill’s Killer.

Best river fly – Thredbo River, olive or black nymphs; Glo Bugs still worth a try.

Best River for spinners – Thredbo River, small deep diving minnows in brown trout pattern, Mepps Bugs.

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