After a prolonged warm summer, plenty of trout have come on the bite in the big mountain lakes as air and water temperatures fall to a more comfortable level.
In Jindabyne, some splendid rainbows to about 1.9kg and nice browns to about 2.8kg have been taken on fly, lure and bait by shore-based and boat anglers. Some of the best areas have been Hayshed Bay, East Jindabyne, the Thredbo Arm and the western side of Kalkite.
Lure anglers have fared best with Rebel Minnows, especially jointed models, and yellow-winged or green Tasmanian Devils.
Fly fishers have taken some nice fish with various mudeye patterns and particularly Steve Williamson's goldfish fly.
Bait anglers have taken their best fish on PowerBait and scrubworms. Mudeyes fished under a bubble or waggler float have also been productive.
Most of the trout caught had mudeyes, stick caddis and small yabbies in their stomachs. All of the fish were in splendid condition, well muscled, with beautiful pink flesh.
In Eucumbene, browns predominated, and although plenty came from the main body of the lake, a couple of captures suggest some may be moving into the Eucumbene River as early pre-spawners. Several fish over 3kg came from the mouth of the river and 1 angler landed the fish of a lifetime — a 6.2kg brown — on an olive Woolly Bugger. A lure angler fishing the bottom end of the river landed 5 fish around 1kg and dropped 4 others, including 1 he said was "a monster".
Massive mudeye hatches have brought trout close to shore at night, so fly anglers have landed some good fish. One angler at Buckenderra had a 3kg brown, 4 others to 2.1kg, and 4 big rainbows for 1 session, then backed up and did it again the following week. A Compleat Angler group also did well, with nice rainbows and a brown on Western Mudeyes and Fuzzy Wuzzies in Frying Pan. I tried Frying Pan also, but got blown off the water by a rotten westerly that blew all night.
Boat anglers did well fishing mudeyes under a bubble or waggler float during the day, and on mudeye fly patterns fished on sinking line. The best locations were flooded creek beds that could be picked up on the sounder.
The Canberra Cup, a social fishing competition fished over 8 weeks each Thursday night in Lake Burley Griffin, wound up this month, with 20 finalists vying for prizes. It was a close finish, but the winner was Matt Tyler who brought in the largest native fish on the final night, a 63cm Murray cod caught on a lure.
Elsewhere in the local lakes, there have been some nice golden perch in the 34-42cm range and a monster that looks to be about 60cm plus caught by Jason Naumann on a surface lure intended for a cod in Burley Griffin. A reasonable sized cod was caught in Lake Ginninderra on a bardi grub made out of mozzarella cheese!
Another big competition, the Australian Yellowbelly Championship, was fished at Burrinjuck Reservoir. Some 42 teams participated, landing 297 fish in 13 1/2 hours. The average size was 41cm and the largest 60cm. Most anglers fished the Murrumbidgee Arm with plastic grubs in 10m of water over flooded trees. The winning team consisted of Jamie Loomes and Paul Brown, with Tim and Matt Papworth runners-up.
Elsewhere in the lake, Murray cod have gone quiet as the water level falls to around 30 per cent of capacity. The best chance of catching a fish comes from using large deep divers and spinnerbaits, and have them bumping on the bottom whilst trolling or retrieving. Visibility is about 1m.
Wyangala Reservoir has also fished well, with small cod on bait off the bank, occasional silver perch to around 30cm on scrubworms, some nice golden perch on bait and lure, and most pleasingly, some thumping big catfish. Catfish used to be common in the lake, but the population has declined in recent years, probably because of egg predation by foraging carp. They are now a welcome, but novelty catch.
Jason Naumann's big golden perch from Lake Burley Griffin was a surprise, because it took a surface lure intended for a Murray cod.
Redfin in Canberra's urban lakes will attack lures of any size, including, in this case, an extra large spinnerbait. The larger fish are welcome as fun and a feed.
These youngsters were delighted with 1 of the good-sized rainbows being caught in Jindabyne and Eucumbene at the moment. The good fishing is a direct result of falling water temperatures in the mountain storages.Reads: 670