Spring has finally arrived and most of the trout have returned from their spawning run but I am sure that there will still be a few late-spawning rainbows left in the Thredbo River ready for the opening of the river season on September 29.
Snowfalls in the alpine region were not too bad, at least a lot more than in 2006, and the runoff over the next couple of months should hopefully put lots of water into our lakes.
The rising lakes are excellent for land-based anglers and I am sure we will see some very big trout landed over the next couple of months.
While I’m excited about the start to the river season, in fact we should be excited now because the fishing has been spectacular over Winter and it looks like it will be a year to remember, regardless of the lower lake levels.
There have also been some big Atlantic salmon caught over recent weeks and although the really big ones were mainly old hatchery brood fish, they can still put up a fight. After a few months roaming the lake looking for a feed, they are now hungry and the hatchery food taste has gone. So if you catch a big fish they are not too bad to eat.
If they are over 4kg, as many are, you may just want to mount your fish and stick it on the office wall to remind you of where you really should be. But you had better get down to Jindabyne because you have to catch it first!
With the water rising again, the fish should come in close to the lake edges, particularly in the early morning and late evening. When spinning in Spring, remember that the fish can be right at your feet so always look first before you get too close to the edges and spook the fish.
Lures such as the Tasmanian Devil in gold No 36 (or Steve Williamson’s red nosed yellow wing) will again be the Spring/Summer favourites while green and gold frog-pattern No 50 is always a favourite.
The Gillies Spina or a No 1 or No 2 Celta in green and gold work well in the shallows while the lake is rising.
Flicking small Rapalas around the margins is also a great way to fish. Be sure to use a floating lure so you can take your time letting the lure dive and then float back up to the surface. The lazy trout just love this erratic action.
One new little lure I have been using with success is the Storm Scatback. I’m not sure why but the unique action seems to excite the trout. I have been having most success using the phantom black colour, flicking it over the areas where there are yabby holes in the water. Well worth a try if your walking the margins of the lake and want to try something new.
Rushes Bay, Curiosity Rocks and Taylors Bay at Kalkite are great Spring spots.
Because the rivers open late this month we had better touch on what we should be doing there. As usual, the best lures will be minnows going by the closure last June, the best will be Rapalas in a variety of patterns. The articulated lures catch a lot of fish.
The size and depth will depend on how much water is coming down the river but you can guess that with the Spring thaw you will need deeper lures to handle the current.
Drift-rigging with Glo Bugs and nymphs will also be worth a try so make sure you call into my shop and we will set you up with the best gear to suit the conditions.
It looks like it will be a great start to the river season. Fish will take the traditional Glo Bugs and nymphs but you may need to ensure the leader is weighted to get the flies to the bottom. Use sinking fluorocarbon leaders for better results and invisibility.
For the start of this month, at least, we are restricted to the lake and there is no problem there because the edge fishing is very good.
Spring is a great time for polaroiding fish in shallow, weedy bays like Sid’s Bay, Hatchery Bay, the Claypits and Creel Bay at Waste Point. Best flies are olive nymphs and yabby patterns but the fish are pretty hungry at the moment so it shouldn’t matter what fly you use.
But presentation is very important. Again, look before you cast – there could be a trout cruising right under your feet.
Trolling is one of the easiest methods to catch trout in Spring because the fish are often cruising the shallows early in the morning. After sunrise, lead-core lines run out about two colours (20m) will run about 3m deep with a Tasmanian Devil and you will need to troll in about 4m to get the bigger brown trout. If you don’t have lead line, try the Dual Depth Tassie.
Over the past few months you can’t go past the brown bomber No 48 early and then the yellow wing No 36 on the brighter days.
We have come to the conclusion that trolled soft plastics are even better when accompanied by a set of attractors such as cowbells or Ford Fenders.
Best areas should be the East Jindabyne Islands, The South Arm and around Waste Point.
Worms and Berkley PowerBait are very effective at catching trout and, with the water still cold, the fish stay close to the edges.
The best PowerBaits have been the lime and orange twists but the new Gulps are starting to make their presence felt and there have caught some great fish. These actually float and the baits are best fished off the bottom using a sinker.
Hatchery Bay and Waste Point are both good areas but most shallow bays that have water covering new grass will attract the trout to feed in close. Be careful not to scare the fish.
I’m planning only one beginner fly fishing school, for November 20 and 21, with a readers’ special of a free fly rod if you mention of FM when you book. There’ll be a two-day trolling clinic on November 3 and 4 to tie in with the Snowy Mountains Trout Festival week. Call my shop on 02 6456 1551 or email me.Reads: 432