There is snow on the mountains and plenty of people about to play in it, but some are taking a day off and are spending a few hours relaxing with a fishing rod in their hands and they are catching trout.
Winter fishing is always good because there is less food about so the trout are more likely to be cruising all day looking for something to eat.
Shore-based angling is the way to go and the worse the weather in the mountains, the better the trout will bite.
With the lake so high this Winter, the only problem is finding a good spot to fish but there are plenty of good spots right near town. The Claypits and Banjo Patterson Park are very good at present and there are some very big Atlantic salmon and even brook trout being caught in these locations.
The early-spawning brown trout are also now back in the lake so you can expect them to be cruising the edges looking for some food. Lures, flies and bait will all catch these fish.
So with lots of fishing still ahead, grab a good pair of boots and a warm jacket and come and try a Winter trout experience.
At this time of the year it doesn’t matter what method of fishing you use, you must remember the fish are close to the edges and you need not cast too far. With the lake so high, there is a lot more cover for fish to hide in.
Bait fishing is very productive now and simple rigs work best. Worms and artificial baits have always been Winter favourites and always bring results.
Use plenty of tiger worms or a single scrub worm and fish them off the bottom using a running sinker.
There is a lot of weed about at the moment so it is best to put Mucilin on your line to keep it floating above the bottom.
You can also suspend a bait under a float and if you want to use artificial bait (most of it floats), try a little split shot on the hook to keep the bait down a little.
Because the fish move about the lake so much over Winter, there is no particular spot better than another but a hint is to fish shallow water early and late and slightly deeper water in the brighter parts of the day – but not too deep!
Spinning from the shore is another method that works well now. Tasmanian Devils are probably the best lures to use in the middle of the day with colours like pink No 55, yellow wing No 36 and brown No 48 best on a slow retrieve.
A variety of soft plastics work well when the fish are off the bite and not taking hardbodies and metal lures.
Plastics work at this time possibly due to the smell impregnated into these products. The smaller, the better. It’s best if they are also in natural or cold colours for the inlets and orange or pink for open water.
The Strike Tiger range of plastics have been great in Lake Jindabyne, especially the 3” curl tail in princess pink and vodka n orange.
If you are fly fishing or spinning with lures you have to also be aware that you need to slow your retrieve and leave the fly or lure in the fishes’ faces longer.
Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in Winter – sit back, relax and wait for the fish to bite.
If you’re out in a boat on the lake over winter, trolling a lot slower than in Summer is the way to increase your catch rate.
The best trolling lures for big Winter trout are jointed Rapalas in various colours, it seems trout most like their action.
Tasmanian Devils in pink No 55, orange No 57 and brown Y48 are the best on the rainbow trout. Y82 and Holographic are also worth a try.
July is also when we start to see some of the very big Atlantic salmon caught on Lake Jindabyne. Some of these are hatchery-release brood fish excess to the breeding program.
Each year Gaden Trout 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 it it’s dragged past one’s nose.
These salmon, some over5kg, will give you the fight of your life.
Trolling flies off fly lines (harling) is also very productive in Winter and trolling flies on lead-core line 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 and you will see fish cruising if you have your polarised glasses on.
Polaroiding trout is best done on the sunnier days and that 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, Mrs Simpson or a shrimp pattern will get good results during Winter. Don’t forget my Williamson’s Gold Fish in the quiet, weedy bays.
The best areas for winter polaroiding are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sids Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake. You could also try the Snowy Arm, Creel Bay and Wollondibby Inlet (excellent after rain).
Call in and get the latest information at Shop 1 in the Snowline Centre on Kosciuszko Road, open 7 days. I run fishing tours right through Winter.
July and August are when Jindabyne is flat out with skiers and most accommodation is booked out or very expensive. 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 accommodation is at more reasonable rates. Cooma, Berridale and Dalgety have great accommodation available.
Lake level – near 90%.
Lake temp – 9° and dropping.
Best method – bait fishing.
Best depth – bait 2m under a bubble float.
Best lake lure – Tasmanian Devil pink No 55 or Rapala 7cm brown trout
Best lake area – Claypits, Banjo Patterson Park
Best fly– Williamson’s Gold Fish or similar to represent the food the fish are feeding on.
Rivers reopen on October 6.
This is when we get most of our snow and the weather can change very quickly, so always check for weather changes before heading out in a boat. It takes only minutes for the lake to go from mirror-flat to 1m-plus waves and 100kmh winds.
Remember that when on a boat all rugged up, sometimes with waders on, you are a death wish 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 wet there is a very good chance that you will die. If not by drowning when your wet clothes drag you to the bottom or your waders fill with water, you will not last long before hyperthermia will get you.
Tahnoe Duncan with a great brown trout at the Rapala Discovery Family Fishing Competition, which raised $2465 for multiple sclerosis.
Hollie Sherrot scored this neat rainbow on the lake.
Mark France caught this brown on a Rapala brown trout in the Thredbo River before the end of the season.