With the first snow falls on the mountains for the winter season, the brown trout are well on their way for their annual spawning run and the rainbows are getting edgy as well.
A more normal spawning season this year. If you remember my reports last year you would have read that due to the rain in April and May the rainbows moved early, even sooner that the browns which was very unusual. This year, however, it was a much drier weather pattern and the browns spawned first which is how it happens normally.
This year the lake level is quite high again and I see no reason why the fantastic shore-based angling that we are currently experiencing will not continue well into spring and early summer as it did in 2013.
During winter, it doesn’t matter what method of fishing you are doing as long as you remember 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 in and around.
Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in winter – you just sit back, relax and wait for the fish to bite. If you’re out in a boat on the lake over winter, trolling lures a lot slower than you would in summer is also the way to increase the number of trout you catch.
The best lures to use when trolling the lake for big trout in winter are the jointed Rapalas in various colours, as it seems that their action is what the trout like most. Tasmanian Devil lures in pink 55, orange 57 and brown number 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 lines 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 on the lake. Good areas for trolling this month are the South Arm, the Snowy Arm, East Jindabyne islands and Hayshed Bay.
July is also the time when we get most of our 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 to over metre high waves and 100km/h winds.
Just remember that when on a boat all rugged up, sometimes with waders on, you are dicing with death if you aren’t wearing a life vest. If you were to fall into the water (which is getting colder by the day), once you get wet there’s a very good chance that you will die. Even if you manage to avoid drowning from having all your wet clothes drag you to the bottom or your waders fill with water, you could still fall victim to hypothermia, which sets in fast. We have seen far too many anglers die on our waterways this year and I don’t want to see any more. Wearing a lifejacket isn’t the be-all and end-all though – while it will save you from drowning it won’t save you from hypothermia, it will just make it easier to find your body. The safest option is to always fish with a buddy or stay close to town when people from the shore can at least see your boat if you get into trouble.
Spinning from the shore of the lake is another method that works well during winter, and Tasmanian Devils are probably the best lures to use in the middle of the day. Colours like pink number 55, yellow wing number 36 and brown number 48 work best at a slow retrieve.
A variety of soft plastics work better when the fish are off the bite and hard plastics and metal lures aren’t catching fish. Plastics work at this time possibly due to the smell that is impregnated into these products, and the smaller the better. It’s best if they are also 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 princess pink and vodka ‘n’ orange.
If you are flyfishing or spinning with lures you have to also be aware that you need to slow down your retrieve and leave the fly or lure in the fish’s face for longer.
Bait fishing is a very productive method of fishing in winter and simple rigs work best. Worms and artificial baits have always been a favourite way of winter fishing and always bring results. When worm fishing 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 floats) try a little split shot on the hook to keep the bait down.
As the fish move about the lake so much over in winter there is no particular spot better than another, but a hint is shallow water early and late and slightly deeper water in the bright sunny parts of the days – but not too deep!
Fly fishing has been very good and you will see fish cruising if you have your polaroid glasses on. Polaroiding trout is best done on the sunnier days and that is the time I like to fly fish the lake anyway. I never have gone much on fly fishing when it is snowing or during the cold winter nights. A well presented fly, something like a brown nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a well presented shrimp pattern will get good results during the winter months. Don’t forget my Williamson’s Gold Fish when fishing the quite weedy bays. The best areas for winter polaroiding in Jindabyne are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sids Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake.
Good areas to try at this time of the year are, The Snowy Arm, Creel Bay and Wollondibby Inlet is excellent after rain.
Best of luck with your winter fishing and if coming down to Jindabyne over the next few months, call in and get the latest fishing information at Steve Williamson’s Trout Fishing shop 1 ‘Snowline Centre, Kosciuszko road (next to the Shell servo).
I run fishing tours right through winter so why not come and catch a monster trout or Atlantic salmon on Lake Jindabyne. My shop is also open 7 days a week during winter with extended hours over July and August.
July and August are the months when the township of Jindabyne is flat out with snow skiers and most accommodation is either booked out or very expensive. However, 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 there is accommodation at more affordable rates. Cooma, Berridale and Dalgety are towns that come to mind that have great accommodation at reasonable rates.
If you want the very latest reports almost on a daily basis, check out my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Williamsons-Lake-Jindabyne-Trout-Fishing-Adventures.
July roundup – the best of the best
Best method: Bait fishing
Best depth: Scrubworms teamed with artificial bait fished off the bottom
Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil in pink 55 or Holographic. Rapala Pinky trout 7cm
Best lake area: Claypits and Banjo Patterson Park
Best fly method: Williamson’s Gold Fish or a similar fly to represent the food the fish are feeding on
Best river: Rivers closed, will reopen on Saturday 5 October