Gaden Trout Hatchery at Jindabyne has now released all of the ex-brood Atlantic salmon and brook trout and over recent weeks some huge Atlantics have been caught.
One salmon of 6.3kg has been the best so far and many more are to come in yet as well. If you want that big salmon, now is the time to get down to the mountains and get your line in the water.
The lake is still quite high and I see no reason why the fantastic shore-based angling will not continue well into Spring and early Summer.
During Winter, it doesn’t matter what method you are using, you must remember that the fish are close to the edges and you need not cast out too far.
In particular this year, with the lake so high, there is a lot more cover for fish to hide among.
Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in Winter but you must tow your lures a lot slower than over Summer.
The best trolling lures for big lake trout in Winter are the jointed Rapalas in various colours; it seems that it’s the action that the trout like most.
Tasmanian Devil lures in pink 55, orange 57 and brown Y48 are the best on the rainbow trout. Y82 and Holographic are another couple of colours worth a try.
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 they can be dynamite over the weed.
Good areas for trolling this month are the South Arm, the Snowy Arm, East Jindabyne Islands and Hayshed Bay.
Slowly retrieved Tasmanian Devils in pink No 55, yellow wing No 36 and brown No 48 are probably the best lures in the middle of the day.
A variety of soft plastics work better when the fish are off the bite and hard plastics and metal lures are not catching fish. Plastics work at this time possibly due to the smell impregnated into these products.
The smaller the better, they are best in natural or cool colours for the inlets and orange or pink for open water.
Strike Tiger plastics have been great in Lake Jindabyne especially the 3” curl tail in princess pink and vodka ’n’ orange.
Casters also must slow down the retrieve and leave the fly or lure in the fishes’ faces for longer.
Bait is a very productive in Winter and simple rigs work best. When worm fishing use plenty of tiger worms or a single scrub worm fished off the bottom using a running sinker.
There is a lot of weed about so it is best to put Mucillin dressing on your line to keep it floating off 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.
Because the fish move about the lake so much in Winter there is no particular spot better than another but try shallow water early and late and slightly deeper water in the brighter parts of the day.
Through polarised glasses you can see fish cruising the shoreline.
Polaroiding trout is best done on sunnier days and that is when I like to fly-fish the lake anyway. I never have gone much on fishing when it is snowing or on cold nights.
Something like a brown nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a shrimp pattern will get results as will my Williamson’s Gold Fish in the weedy bays.
Best polaroiding areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sids Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake. Also try the Snowy Arm, Creel Bay and, after rain, Wollondibby Inlet.
My shop at the Snowline Centre is open 7 days with extended hours over July and August and I run fishing tours right through Winter.
July and August are when Jindabyne is flat out with snow skiers and most accommodation is booked out or very expensive. But because you don’t need to get out of bed early to catch a Winter trout, you can always stay in towns close by where there is accommodation at a reasonable rate. Cooma, Berridale and Dalgety have great accommodation at reasonable rates.
July is when we get most of the snow on the mountains and the weather can change very quickly, so always check for any major changes before heading out in a boat. It takes only minutes for the lake to go from mirror flat metre-plus waves and 100kmh winds.
Just 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 lifejacket.
If you were to fall into the water, which is getting colder by the day, once you get wet there is a very good chance that you will die.
If it isn’t by drowning, after all your wet clothes drag you to the bottom or your waders fill with water, you will not last long before hyperthermia will get you.
We have already seen far too many anglers die on our waterways this year and I don’t want to see any more.
Wearing a lifejacket when out in the boat is a must but remember, a lifejacket will not save you from hyperthermia – it just makes it easier to find your body. So always fish with a buddy or else stay close to town where people from the shore can at least see your boat in case you get into trouble.
The NSW Maritime alerts that you may have signed up for don’t work for the Snowy Mountains – check the BOM website for a proper weather forecast.
Best method – bait
Best tactic – scrub worms and artificial bait fished off the bottom
Best lake lure – Tasmanian Devil pink 55 or Holographic, Rapala Pinkie 7cm
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 Closed until October 5.