Jindabyne is getting very busy with people turning up for the winter. While most are here for either work or snow play, some anglers come to the mountains because Winter is when the biggest of the trout and salmon are caught.
While the accommodation prices rise during the peak snow periods, there are cheaper options available for anglers, especially during the June fringe season. There are also plenty of cheap options just outside Jindabyne and because it is not so important to get up early to fish in Winter, a little travelling time to the lake is not a worry.
The rivers will close to fishing at midnight on Monday of the long weekend, so early June is also the last chance for trout anglers to fish the rivers in the hope of catching a trophy brown trout.
As you will probably read this report before the closure, I again would like to have my annual gripe about fishing ethics on the rivers over the spawning period. Each year the respect for other anglers slowly diminishes, to the extent that over the past few years I have even seen anglers physically fighting with each other.
There are certain crews on the Thredbo and Eucumbene rivers who think they own the rivers and they have no respect for other anglers.
‘Dropping in’ on other anglers is the art of fishing water already claimed by another and is sure to lead to at least angry words. I have also seen an angler toss a lure over the top of the line of another angler fighting a fish – do you think that won’t start a fight?
Correct river ethics have always been to never fish in front of another angler and always ask the angler if he/she is intending to fish upstream or down stream and does he/she mind if you fish where he/she has already fished.
The annual spawning run sees shoulder-to-shoulder fishing at popular spots like Paddys Corner on the Thredbo River and it takes a particular type of angler to actually enjoy this type of fishing. However, each to their own.
If you want to join these anglers on the river that is up to you, just remember that there are other anglers like myself who like to enjoy fishing where there are no other anglers. Should you ever see me, or others like me, fishing then please ask before you jump in front of us because to us old-timers it’s just plain bad manners not to do otherwise.
While the rivers will close, the lake fishing continues and with less food in Winter the fish tend to be less selective and will often feed all day long. Trout often cruise close to the lake edges looking for anything that might be edible, making it easier for anglers to catch them.
A fly or bait will catch you a big one but there are also some good fish caught spinning and trolling. In fact the record-size brown trout come mostly from trolling lures on those perfect sunny Winter days.
Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in Winter. Siting back relaxing while waiting for the fish to bite might be boring for some but I cannot think of a better way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the snow-capped mountains.
Most of the very big brown trout are caught in June and early July trolling and to do this successfully you need to target the aggressive nature of these pre-spawn fish. Large lures are often used, the bigger the better. Large jointed Rapalas are a popular choice but other lures do equally well including Huey’s 13cm Spotted Dog and Tasmanian Devils in pink 55 and orange 57. These are both ‘aggression’ colours and the brown No 48 is a great lure as well.
Any lure you choose must be trolled a little slower than in the Summer and erratic action is very important . This is why jointed lures work so well at this time.
Surface trolling methods will catch fish all day long during the Winter but on brighter days it is an advantage to have lead-core line to get down a little deeper.
Downriggers can also be used in early Winter to great effect, especially when a big weather change is coming through to stir up the pre-spawn trout.
The better areas to try are at the creek and river mouths with Creel Bay one of the favourites. Other areas for trolling this month are the Snowy Arm, Hayshed Bay and Hatchery Bay.
June is probably not the best month for lake fly fishing but if you’re keen enough, use polaroid glasses to spot the fish moving around the edges of the lake. This year we may see some early polaroiding because the lake is so low but the best fly fishing will not happen until late August.
Something like a Brown Nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a shrimp pattern will get good results during the Winter. Don’t forget my Williamson’s Gold Fish in the weedy bays, the big fish feed on Jindabyne goldfish.
Best areas for Winter polaroiding are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sids Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake.
Spinning from the shore works well during June and you often see people throwing lures into the water late evening after a hard day on the ski fields. Tasmanian Devils are probably the best lures to use because you can throw them a fair way out and let them sink a little before retrieving. Colours like pink 55, yellow wing 36 and brown 48 work best at a slow retrieve. Good areas to try are, the Snowy Arm and Creel Bay while Wollondibby Inlet is excellent after rain.
Bait fishing with worms brings results. When worm fishing, use plenty of tiger worms or a single scrub worm fished off the bottom with a running sinker. Another great bait is the bardi grub, well worth trying for trophy browns.
Orange twist and fluoro orange PowerBait has also been catching a lot of good trout over the past couple of months at areas like Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Taylors Bay, Curiosity Bay and the Claypits.
Over the past couple of years the staff at Gaden Trout Hatchery have released the ex-brood Atlantic salmon up to 10kg at this time of the year, so if that happens again you had better think about upgrading your line class with possibly some of that new Platypus Super Braid which is reported to be the world’s strongest braid – you just might need it.
Call in to my shop at the Snowline Centre on Kosciuszko Road for a full range of tackle, bait and the latest info or call 6456 1551 for boat charters and fly fishing lessons. Updated weekly fishing reports can be found at www.swtroutfishing.com.auReads: 1509