With the Rapala/Discovery Holiday Parks Family Fishing Challenge happening on May 4 and 5, eyes are on the fishing conditions at Lake Jindabyne and it all looks great.
We should see some excellent fish caught.
Over the past month the water has cooled and is well within the trout comfort zone and with not much time now before the major spawning run in the rivers, the fish are feeding up in readiness.
Hungry trout mean that the shore angling will improve and if it’s anything like we had last Winter, it will be spectacular.
It is also evident that over the next month as the water cools, the trout will start to come to the surface to feed, improving the trolling as well.
Fly-fishing on the lake will also be better also with fish cruising the shallows early and late in the day.
The lake level has been pretty stable all Summer and Autumn and there are no plans for any major environmental releases, so I expect only a minor drop throughout Winter, and even that would depend on how much rain we get.
Thredbo River rules change this month for the spawn run. Only one fish can be kept and that fish must be over 50cm. All others must be released, no matter what species.
The river season closes at midnight on the Monday of the June long weekend, to reopen on the Saturday of the October long weekend.
This is one of the best months for the bait angler around the lake edges. Big brown trout are looking for a feed before they head into the rivers to spawn.
Worms teamed with an artificial bait and fished off the bottom are working well.
Best areas over the next couple of months will be Waste Point and Creel Bay because this is where a lot of the trout will congregate in readiness to move into the Thredbo River on their spawning run.
Hatchery and Hayshed Bays are also both worth a try.
When spawning trout move into the river they get very territorial so minnow lures like Rapalas (especially the jointed ones), 3” StumpJumpers, Dorados, Salmos and a variety of others are all worth a throw. Picking the right colour and getting the right depth are critical.
Use sinking or deep-diving minnows when the river is high and stick to smaller lures when the water is low and clear. Don’t worry about the size of lures if the river is in flood because you might find that bigger is better.
Metal blades cut through fast water and get down easily, so when you can’t get depth out of a minnow, try a blade.
We have been trying out the new Australian Bullet lures, 3cm minnows that weigh around 4g that actually do cast like bullets and they do get down quite deep. A rattle version might also be good when the water is dirty but only time will tell as testing is in the early stages.
The Thredbo is my river of choice from now until season close.
Another method that works well when you have fast flowing water is the drift-rigging technique that teams up a fly like a weighted black nymph with a Glo Bug (artificial egg) on a three-way dropper rig. Let the rig bounce along the bottom with the aid of some split shot and you can catch trout on flies using a normal spinning outfit.
Lake spinning will improve but lure colours have been a little different from previous years. Tasmanian Devils with a bit of orange or pink are always regarded as aggression colours when the trout are in spawning mode but other colours that are consistent include the holographic and the No 48.
My orange and black Tassie has also working a treat, especially off lead-core line and downriggers.
Last year we saw the reintroduction of the Rapala ‘Pinkie’ and that was a fabulous lure over Winter.
Also try some bigger jointed Rapalas here as well; 11cm and 13cm are not too big for aggressive browns.
Good spinning areas are Creel Bay, Waste Point, the Snowy Arm and for fish still actively feeding, try Curiosity Rocks, Wollondibby Inlet, Hatchery Bay and the Claypits.
Autumn trolling is interesting: Some days the fish strike out of aggression and some days they are feeding. Knowing what the weather is about to do will help.
As with spinning on the lake, big jointed lures are well worth a try for big browns. The wed beds are close to the edge so if trolling early in close, you won’t need lures that dive too deep.
The new Rapala Pinkie should be available by now. It was an amazing lure 20 years ago and we are excited about the re-release.
Tasmanian Devils are still well worth a try and this month I quite often change to pink or orange lures, which seem to work best on the aggressive spawning fish. Colours 55 pink and 56 orange are good for non-feeding fish.
Even at this time of year the days often warm up and the fish will still go deep. Lead-core lines and downriggers will still be very useful.
Remember all those photos in the magazines of big fish caught off downriggers on big minnow lures trolled slowly?
Dual Depth Tasmanian Devils rigged through the side hole to troll deeper, to 4m, also help during the middle of the day, but make sure you don’t troll too fast when this lure is rigged in the deep-dive hole or it will spiral upwards.
Lion and Cub Islands always fish well in Autumn for rainbow trout and because the brown trout move to the top end of the lake ready to spawn, Creel Bay and the Snowy River Arm are well worth trying.
The streams and rivers will still have good days, even this late in the season. You will possibly still even find fish will take a dry fly. However, over recent weeks most fish have been taken on brown or black nymphs.
As the rain comes and more trout move into the Thredbo River, anglers will chase big trophy fish and fly anglers will have the best success using Glo Bugs and nymphs. Black and brown nymphs in about size 10-12 are good; make sure you have some weighted flies for when the river is flowing hard, you need to get the fly down to the fish.
Lake Jindabyne will fish better this month as the edge water cools. Water temperatures have a big effect on how close to shore the fish come but it’s cooler now and the fishing is much better and will continue to improve as the water temp drops further.
Flies to try over coming months include the purple/black Woolly Buggers and the Mrs Simpson. Don’t forget the Williamson’s Gold Fish around the creek inlets during the late evening.
For the latest reports, call in to my shop at Discovery Holiday Parks Jindabyne next to the Shell servo. For tour bookings call 02 64 56 1551, email me, visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au or join me on Facebook.
Best method – Surface trolling early, then lead core 30m out.
Best trolling depth – 3m, deeper in the middle of the day.
Best lake lure –new Rapala Pinkie and No 55 Tassie Devil.
Best lake areas – Hatchery and Hayshed bays.
Best fly method – Glow Bugs and nymphs on the Thredbo River.
Best River – Thredbo River.