The deep snow covering the Snowy Mountains at present is melting at a rapid rate as spring advances throughout the region.
Areas around lower altitudes such as Guthega and Kiandra already are free of snow, although there is still several metres on the Main Range. Anglers heading to the big alpine lakes or the higher-altitude trout streams, as they open for the season, now have free access to most areas, although for another month or so there is still the risk of late season snowfalls and anglers should pack and dress accordingly.
In this country it pays to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It is routine and sensible to carry enough food, water, firewood and clothing etc. to cope with unexpected events that otherwise could develop into an emergency. It is useful to carry chains if you don’t have a 4WD and to make sure your phone is fully charged in case you have to ring for assistance or reassure family back home of your whereabouts and status.
It’s a great time of the year with all trout streams in the ACT and NSW opening on 3 October. Most streams are in great condition, with high water flows and plenty more to come as the snow melts and water oozes from the alpine bogs. The bogs will act also as longer-term reservoirs, leaking water to the creeks and rivers for months to come.
Insect life also is at a peak since midwinter, as the sun warms the water and surrounding bushland. Eggs hatch, insects mature to a next stage in their development and overall there is a significant upsurge in activity.
The trout have responded accordingly, feeding closer to the surface and closer to shore and rising more frequently. This is a great time to be a bait, lure or fly fisher.
Recent fishing has been good. In both Jindabyne and Eucumbene there have been good numbers of rainbows in the 27-32cm range and another group around 40-43cm. Many already have spawned and returned from their run up the Thredbo and Eucumbene rivers to the breeding grounds and are now hungry and keen put back on condition.
Browns spawned some time ago and have since put on plenty of condition. They are feeding well on anything from chironomids to mayflies and larvae of a wide range of other creatures. They are mostly larger than the rainbows and many of the fish taken have been around the 45-50cm mark.
Bait fishers have fared well mostly with Powerbait, scrub worms and wood grubs for the rainbows and scrub worms and wood grubs for the browns. Light tackle, with a running sinker rig with two hooks fished just a little way outside the mud line along the shore has been the most productive. Most fishing has been during the daytime as the nights are still very cold.
Lure fishers have enjoyed success with Tasmanian Devils, small soft plastics and small hardbodied minnows from Rapala, StrikePro, Halco and Predatek and the redoubtable Burrinjuck Special. A few fish have been taken from the shore but most have been caught trolling.
Flatlining has been successful for rainbows but lead core line has been useful for some of the larger browns, which stay deeper down. A worthwhile strategy has been to fish the shallow areas early in the day then the deeper water later on.
Fly fishers have caught some nice fish, mostly on buzzers, dark nymphs and Woolly Buggers fished as a two-fly or three-fly rig. Best fishing has been in the middle of the day when there is a variety of insect life on the move.
Redfin are spawning at present and there are just a few on the move. This will change as the water warms up. Golden perch also are stirring but also waiting for warmer weather. The Murray cod season is closed until 1 December. In the meantime all the attention is on trout and the opening of the season.Reads: 1016