The chill may have descended on us but the fishing is hot and this is the first time in the past 36 years we have entered Winter with the lake level at 90%.
This is 25% to 45% more water than in those previous years. Trees are still inundated and the trout have a lot more hiding places than normal.
Talking about normal, I expect that the low levels of previous years are gone and we can expect a high lake as the norm now.
The flooding rains predicted for Autumn never eventuated. We had rain but not the amount that long-range forecasters had predicted.
So now with the snow about to fall we will have to wait and see just how much we get and how early the Spring thaw will leave Lake Jindabyne’s level for next season.
Water NSW will advise Snowy Hydro in early September of the amount of water that should be released for the environmental flow down the Snowy River. We expect it will be similar to last year, about a 2m drop in the lake, but of course this will depend on inflows.
In the release early this year the water went down but then it rained and the level came up just as fast and there was no impact on the trout fishing.
Shore-based angling on Lake Jindabyne has continued to be fantastic and we should be in for a fantastic Winter of trout fishing. There’s the possibility of some record fish over the next few months.
Get your Winter woollies together and get down to the mountains. The rivers may close to fishing on June 11 but the lake is open all year.
Trolling this season will be interesting because there is so much more water in the lake, is allowing us to troll close to submerged trees where the bigger browns are hiding.
You will also be able to work the bays a little more than we have in the past and because of that, the best fishing will be near the surface very close to shore.
Jointed Rapalas similar to the ones we use to spin the lake edges are worth a try and the bigger the better. We quite often troll 9cm and 11cm lures for the bigger fish.
StumpJumpers and RMG Scorpions are also very good on lead-core line; go for the natural or goldfish patterns.
In the middle of the day Tasmanian Devils in pink No 55 or orange No 56 are better. Keep a Y36 yellow wing for the sunny days and a No 48 or Y48 is always worthwhile early and late in the day, or off three colours or lead-core line.
Some of the newer Tasmanian Devil colours that have been very good on Lake Jindabyne include the TJ Special, Lovettia and Corroboree Frog.
There are still plenty of big trout in Creel Bay and it is not too difficult to fish there because of so much more water this year.
You can downrig some very big brown trout using bigger minnow lures. If you don’t have a downrigger then try putting the big Rapala, even up to 13cm, on your lead-core line about four colours out into the water and then add another 20m of 20lb dacron backing. This will get you down to where the bigger browns are holding, but remember to troll slowly, only about 2kmh.
The orange tiger Rapala is also a great aggression colour and a slow trolled orange Minnow Spin is also worth a try.
Other good areas to troll are the shallow bays like Hatchery and Hayshed, while Sids Bay at East Jindabyne is also a favourite because it is weedy with lots of trout food.
With all the extra water I think the bigger trout will be cruising the bays and inlets for a feed and so that is where you should be also fishing.
Bait fishers can fish all day during Winter but don’t go too deep because the fish often feed in close to shore. Scrub worms or artificial bait work well in Winter as long as you don’t mind sitting back and waiting.
Artificial salmon eggs have been very good for catching some bigger trout at the moment.
Worms and artificial baits should be fished off the bottom with a running sinker. Fish light and keep the bail arm open to let the trout run with the bait. Grease the line with Mucilin to reduce friction if the trout are running and dropping baits.
Artificial baits are great in Winter and you only need to use a ball a little bigger than a pea and a size 12 hook. This will catch more fish than big hooks and big bits of bait.
Gamakatsu do a fine wire hook called a single egg hook and in size 8 or 10 these are great for PowerBait.
Over the next few months, the best bait areas should be 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 like to hang out.
You can also spin all day in Winter. On sunny, still days choose the deeper drop-offs where the fish will cruise looking for something to eat.
In winter smaller 7g Tasmanian Devils are best for the deeper water on still days and the 13g Tassies work better on the windy days.
Another lure that has been worth a throw is the 3” StumpJumper. Pink is a great colour in winter and orange Minnow Spins are also great off the bank.
Jointed Rapalas with a little bit of orange on the belly will get the trout to take notice and if you work these jointed minnows like a wounded fish you will get a lot more strikes.
You can also spin with small bladed spinners like No 1 or No 2 Celtas or Vibrax in the shallow weedy bays. I like gold or red.
Soft plastics are also worth a try and the Strike Tigers in vodka and orange and princess pink colours are good and the Tasmanian Trout Frogs are also going great.
Plastics for trout would have to work best 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.
Like bream fishing down the coast, blades are working well on trout in the rivers and the lakes and are well worth a try. Some of the better blades are the TT Switchblade in golden boy, the Strike Pro Cyber Vibe 35 in BLG and 50JU009. Some of these look like our lake goldfish and the trout love to eat the little goldfish.
June and July on Lake Jindabyne would have to be the hardest and coldest times for fly-fishing.
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, we might find that the fly-fishing will be better.
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.
For more information call in to my shop at Discovery Holiday Parks Jindabyne next to the Shell servo, phone 02 6456 1551. I operate guided tours throughout Winter.
Rug up and enjoy your trip to the Snowies and if coming down for a snow trip, don’t forget your fishing rod.
• Best method –Scrub worms, bardi grubs and artificial baits.
• Best depth – Bottom fishing around the edges.
• Best lake lure – Tasmanian Devil pink 55, or Rapala brook trout and perch patterns.
• Best lake area – East Jindabyne pumping station, The Claypits.
• Best lake fly – Black Woolly Bugger.
• Rivers all closed to fishing from June 11 to October.