Happy New Year from all of us at Steve Williamson’s Tackle Shop and Fishing Adventures. Another year and with all the water about we are currently experiencing some of the best trout fishing for many years.
The lake is once again looking spectacular, with a high water level and recent rain topping up the streams.
Water temperatures on Lake Jindabyne are a little lower than in previous years and just right to keep the trout on the bite.
The Snowy Mountains is a little bit of a hidden secret for holiday-makers. Most anglers head for the coast, but did you know that the mountains are far less busier than the coast and has fantastic lake, river and stream fishing, as well as heaps of things to do for the kids without the coastal crowds. There are all the water sports like sailing and water skiing but it’s the fantastic bush walking and mountain bike riding that a lot of people do not know about.
Anyhow it’s not too late to think about heading to the mountains for your next holiday experience.
On the trout fishing front we have had a fantastic summer so far with the river fishing the best in years due to all of that snow that has been melting off the mountains and yes if you want to see snow there is still some patches on the top peaks for the kids to see and play in.
January is ‘hopper season’ for fly anglers and there are various grasshopper patterns available. 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 the mayfly. I love the dry fly fishing at this time of year. If you are a lake fly angler, nights are the best time to fish the lake and bigger dark or black flies like a Woolley Bugger or other dark streamer patterns are good flies to try. Craig’s Nighttime is also another Snowy Mountains favourite, not to forget my own Snowy Mountains Gold Fish where fishing the bays and the inlets will be best places to get results.
If you haven’t fly fished before and want to give it a go call into my shop and book into a lesson and you will soon realise that fly fishing isn’t as hard as it’s made out to be.
If you just want to do something like dangle a worm, well that’s all too easy. Bait fishing in summer is mudeye time. The mudeye is the nymph of the dragonfly, and anglers use them as live bait, hooking them through the wing case to allow them to swim around beneath a float. Early and late in the day is the best times and again fish the bays and move to deeper water as the day brightens up.
The cooler weather this year has made it hard to find mudeyes, so if that is the case you can’t go past a local scrub worm fished off the bottom. Scrub worms are going to catch that big brown trout that you have always wanted to catch and they are best fished unweighted, yes a big worm cast out without a sinker.
The shallow bays are the best night fishing locations, however look out for the snags.
If you want to bait fish in the middle of the day, then you are best to look at bottom fishing using either a scrub worm, bardi grub or one of the artificial baits. The secret at the moment to catching trout on bait, is to also grease up the line to stop the drag on the water and to stop it floating to the bottom into the weed and getting caught up. You need a trout to run with the bait without feeling any resistance and greasing the line will help catch more fish and always fish with the reel bail arm open so the fish can run with the line. The best line grease is silicon Muslin as it will not harm the line.
If sitting around waiting for a bite is not for you then try lure spinning, which can either be done in the lake or the rivers.
Lake spin anglers will also do best in the first hour or so of light, and again I like to spin with lures the same as the boat trollers but in smaller versions. Blades do work on trout as well, and gold colours are best. I rather like the Jaz Lure blades in gold like the little goldfish we have in the lake. Other lures that have been proving themselves very effective on the trout are the Bullet lures with some excellent colours in the range that also look a lot like the goldfish as well as the little trout fingerlings that have recently been released into the lake from the Gaden trout hatchery.
By mid-morning you will have to be lucky to catch a fish on the lake in summer and you may be best heading to the Alpine rivers 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 but find some deep pools or some deeper running water where the fish may lay under cover.
Small minnow style lures like CD Rapalas work very well and the old favourite green and gold Celtas or Gillies Spinners like the Feathertails. I also love the Vibrax spinners and there are some glow in the dark colours in this range that are great for fishing in the late evening. Change lures often and never work one area of water over any more than a half a dozen casts.
If you have a boat why not try trolling for trout?
When trolling from a boat in January, we start the day off by 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 number 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 number 48 brown bomber or other darker lures will be best.
Other lures I would recommend over the coming month for trolling would be Rapala Scatter Rap, Dorago minnows in goldfish-like colours, Balista LED for deep trolling, StumpJumpers in greens and golds, Gillies Natural Vibes that will always attract a trout when they are lazy and you can even try trolling a soft plastic like a Strike Tiger nymph behind flashers.
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 and you will often locate these by looking for the ducks and gulls (lake gulls, not bloody sea gulls) 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 either lead core lines, paravanes, trolling sinkers etc, but the best way to achieve results is to use a downrigger so you know exactly what level you are fishing. At the moment the depth continues to vary from 35ft early in the day to 45ft later in the morning.
If down in the mountains this month, drop in and say hi at my shop, at Snowline Service Centre, where you will find me next to the Shell Servo. I will have the latest fishing information available and you can also book a tour with me while you are there.
Please give my shop a call on 02 6456 1551 or e-mail me --e-mail address hidden-- and don’t forget to have a look at my web site www.swtroutfishing.com.au. Until next month, hope you catch the big one.Reads: 2484