I hope Santa was kind to you and you have some new fishing tackle to try out.
The fishing in the rivers started off a little slowly with the cooler weather but now the fish are on the bite and the dry-fly fishing has been good.
January is grasshopper season for fly anglers and there are various hopper patterns available; just have a look around and see what the size and colour the real ones are and find a fly to match.
In the early stages of hopper development we like to use smaller patterns and even flies like a Yellow Humpy will imitate the local hoppers, but as the hopper develops wings then the Snowy Mountains Hopper pattern or a larger yellow Stimulator are a couple of flies you should have in your box.
Also keep your eye open for evening hatches of other insects, such as mayfly. I love the dry-fly fishing at this time of year.
If you are a lake fly angler, nights are best and bigger dark or black flies like a Woolly Bugger or other dark streamer patterns are good. Craig’s Nighttime is also another Snowy Mountains favourite, not to forget my own Snowy Mountains Gold Fish in the bays and inlets.
Last year at this time I was talking about how high the lake was, at 80%, but that of course became ancient history by March, when it rose to 100% and even after many metres of water were released down the lower Snowy River over the past eight months, Lake Jindabyne is still above 90%.
It’s incredible and the lake just looks so different and despite limited bank access, the fishing has been extremely good and should continue so.
When trolling in January, we start the day surface trolling lures like Rapala minnows, which are very good for the bigger brown trout. You can also troll these off lead-core lines to get them a little deeper.
Surface trolling Tasmanian Devils in green colours like the No 111 Willy’s Special are well worth trying and my special red-nosed yellow wing is also great when the sun starts to get higher in the sky.
On the overcast days the Holographic and the No 48 Brown Bomber or other darker lures will be best.
Best areas to fish have been Hayshed, Hatchery and Rushes bay and the South Arm but if you are smart you should look for the wind lanes early in the day. You can often locate these by looking for the ducks and gulls (lake gulls, not bloody seagulls!) because these birds are often also feeding on the surface insects that the trout love to eat.
Later in the morning, the best fishing will be deep using lead core, paravanes, trolling sinkers and the rest but the best way to results is with a downrigger so you know exactly how deep you are fishing.
At the moment the depth continues to vary from 35’ early in the day to 45’ later in the morning.
Lake spin anglers will also do best in the first hour or so of light. I like to spin with the same lures as the trollers but I also like the little metal blades often used by bream anglers. Gold colours are best.
By mid-morning you will be lucky to catch a fish on the lake in Summer and you probably should head for a spin in the creeks, where the trout may be a little more active.
River spinning is much better than last year because the water levels are a little higher and there have been some good trout caught if you are prepared to walk a little further away from the holiday crowds. Find deep pools or some deeper running water where the fish may lay under cover.
Small minnows like Rapala CDs work very well and the old favourite green and gold Celtas or Gillies Spinners are also a must for any tackle box. Change lures often and never work one area of water over any more than a half a dozen casts.
Summer is mudeye time. The mudeye is the nymph of the dragonfly, and anglers use them live, hooking them through the wing case to allow them to swim around beneath a float.
Early and late in the day are the times. Fish the bays and move to deeper water as the day brightens up.
The shallow bays are the best at night but look out for the snags.
In the middle of the day, you are best to look at bottom fishing using a scrub worm, bardi grub or one of the artificial baits.
The newest artificial bait on the market, and one we have been trying out for over six months now is the new Dynamite Bait put out by Rapala Australia.
Slightly different from some others, this bait seems to hold on the hook a little better and the different flavours are proving to catch some good trout. Call into my shop and we might have some samples for you to try.
The secret at the moment to catching trout on bait is to grease the line to stop drag on the water and prevent it sinking into the weed. The trout must run with the bait without feeling any resistance and greasing the line will help catch more.
Always fish with the reel’s bail arm open so the fish can run with the line. The best line grease is silicone Mucilin, which will not harm the line.
At my shop in the Snowline Service Centre I have the latest fishing information and you can also book a tour. We still have vacancies for the February 9-10 Gillies Beginner Fly Fishing schools for $410 for the weekend with everything supplied.
I will also have a one-day downrigging course very soon so call me on 02 6456 1551 or email. And check www.swtroutfishing.com.au and my new site, www.fishingcourses.com.au.Reads: 592