Welcome to Spring! The Snowy Mountains Winter is fading and as the snow melts we are looking forward to some great Spring fishing.
While the lake level remained quite stable over Winter due to rain and snowmelt, next month, around October 8, we will see another water release down the lower Snowy River as part of the annual environmental flushing.
With plenty of snow still to melt after the week of water releases, Lake Jindabyne should again rise quite quickly, as it did last year. It’ll be back to normal just in time for the Snowy Mountains Trout Festival in early November.
While some people say sudden falls and rises in lake affect the trout fishing, over the past few years when these water releases have occurred we have found that the opposite is true and the great fishing continues.
The lake has risen and fallen annually since the dams were formed in the 1950s and ’60’s so there is nothing new to the fish. The water releases are good for the lower Snowy and good for the fishing.
If steady releases continue while water levels in the dams are good, we should see a big improvement in the fishing down the Snowy. And of course recent releases of trout fingerlings downstream will also help the fishing.
Remember, the rivers and streams remain closed until the Saturday of the NSW October long weekend.
The lake fly-fishing has only just started to improve. Trout can now be polaroided in the shallows and are more responsive to flies cast delicately in front of them.
Stay high on the bank and spot the trout first and after watching its movements for a while you will get an idea of the ‘beat’ the fish is working and the best position to cast the fly.
While a lot of anglers prefer to use larger flies like Woolly Buggers, I prefer smaller nymphs or maybe a Jindy Bugger or a Tom Jones.
But when the trout are on the bite it doesn’t really matter much; if it is hungry it will not be that selective at this time of the season.
Wollondibby Inlet has been fantastic for fly anglers as the trout cruise among the grass.
As the water rises, trollers will find the trout close to the banks. Keep close to the edges and if you have an electric motor you may have an advantage; sometimes stealth is a key to success.
Use lures with a good action, like jointed Rapalas, at low speeds. Spotted Dog Rapalas and the new Pinkie are also still worth a try this month.
Soft plastics, even Gulp 1” Crickets, trolled behind Ford Fenders are also well worth a try.
I prefer to fish the township end of the lake in September because the water coming out of the rivers is very cold and the fish can be a little less active.
Other areas that have been fishing very well are Sids Bay and Rainbow Beach.
The sheltered bays are holding some good brown trout amid the weed and Hatchery Bay and Hayshed bay have a lot of rainbows in the shallows early and late in the day.
Use darker lures early in the day and as the sun rises switch to yellow wing Tasmanian Devils. Y48 and Y96 have been best.
Spinning works really well at this time of the year but you still have to remember to keep walking the shoreline and cover some area. Don’t just stay in one spot because the fish will not come to you – you have to go to the fish.
Remember also the trout are often seen cruising close around the edges and on a bright sunny day are very spooky, so it’s better to fish the deeper water unless you know how to cast small floating minnows without spooking the fish.
Sighting these fish through polarised sunglasses, like the fly anglers, is a smart way to fish.
Spin close around rocky outcrops for best results later in the day and use smaller lures.
Spinners like Celtas, Vibrax Spinners and Gillies are also worth a try around the shallow bays after dark. Don’t stay in one place too long and put in only a couple of casts in each area.
On the days when there is a little wind, Tasmanian Devils in No 48, pink sparkler S12 and the new Willy’s Special have been better.
On really windy days the Blue Fox Trout Quiver has been fantastic. These lures cast like bullets into the wind and have a great action that excites the trout.
Lake bait fishing has been good and artificial baits again have been catching most of the fish.
Because the artificial baits float, leave about 60cm of trace between the artificial and a big scrub worm sitting on the bottom. This twin-hook rig has been producing better catch rates as the scented artificial often helps attract the trout, even if they do take the worm.
It is always best to put some floatant like Mucilin on your line to keep it buoyant and to reduce the drag when the fish takes the bait. Always fish with the reel bail arm open to allow the trout to run with the bait.
Strike only when you think the fish has had time to swallow the bait.
Best areas at the moment have been, the boat ramp, Wollondibby Inlet in deeper water, Curiosity Rocks Bay, The Haven and Rushes Bay over at East Jindabyne.
I am now able to offer a nationally recognised ‘certificate of competency’ for those who wish to join my next beginner fly-fishing school on October 26-27. The weekend course has 16 hours of instruction for $390 plus $50 if you want the certificate. All tackle is provided and there are specials on tackle purchased during the weekend.
For those who book early there will also be a Fishing Monthly reader special – a free fly rod – but you must book and pay by the end of September. Visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au and for a copy of my Trout Tales newsletter you can email me.Remember, we have a full range of fishing tackle for hire at my shop and tours are now available. For bookings or updates call my shop on 6456 1551.
Trolling – flatline lures close to shore early morning.
Bait – scrub worms and PowerBait about 2’ off the bottom.
Fly – Polaroid fish, working out their ‘beat’, then drop a small Olive Nymph well in front.
Spinning – Small spinners and floating minnows in the shallows.
Make certain you always carry your current fishing licence. Quite a few anglers have been fined this year for not having their licences on them, even though they had one at home.