Excellent results on the surface
  |  First Published: January 2016

Happy New Year from all of us at Steve Williamson’s Tackle Shop and Fishing Adventures. I hope Santa was kind to you and you have some new fishing tackle to try out over the coming month.

In the Snowy Mountains, January is when the dry fly fishing is at its best, with plenty of grasshoppers about. There are many different grasshopper patterns available. You just have a look around and see what the size and colour the real ones are and find a fly to match. It can depend on how hot it has been as to how big the hoppers are, so you can never predict what size to choose as it can vary from place to place depending on the microclimate.

In the early stages of hopper development we like to use smaller patterns; even flies like a yellow Humpy will imitate the local hoppers. However, 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 Woolly Bugger or other dark streamer patterns are good flies to try. Craig’s Nighttime is 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.

Boat trolling in January is very popular, because all you have to do is get the lures down to the right depth and wait for the trout to bite. We start the day off by surface trolling lures like Warlock or Bullet minnows, just a couple of the many brands that work on trout. Minnows are very good for the bigger brown trout fished off the surface line early, or you can troll these off lead core lines to get them a little deeper if it’s very bright.

Surface trolling Tasmanian Devils in green colours (like the number 111 Willy’s Special) is also 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 Y48 Yellow Wing brown bomber or other darker lures will be best.

The best areas to fish have been Hayshed, Hatchery, Rushes Bay and the South Arm, but if you are smart you should look for the wind lanes early in the day. You will often locate these by looking for the ducks and gulls (lake gulls, not seagulls) because these birds often also feed on the surface insects that the trout love to eat.

Later in the morning, the best fishing will be deep using lead core lines, paravanes, trolling sinkers and so forth, but the best way to achieve results is to use a downrigger so as 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.

Lake spin anglers will also do best in the first hour or so of light or dusk as the sun sets. Again, I like to spin with lures, the same as the trollers. I like to use those little metal blades that are often used by bream anglers in the saltwater. Blades definitely work on trout, and gold colours are best.

By mid-morning you’d be lucky to catch a fish on the lake in summer. You may be better off 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. There have been some good trout caught by those anglers prepared to walk a little further away from the holiday crowds. Look for 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 Gillies Spinners are also a must for any tackle box. Change lures often and never work one area of water over any more than a half a dozen casts.

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 are the best times. Fish the bays and move to deeper water as the day brightens up. The shallow bays are the best nighttime fishing locations, however look out for the snags.

If you want to bait fish in the middle of the day, you are best to look at bottom fishing using either a tiger worm or a local scrub worm. Artificial baits are also good, and there are several colours to choose from. Everyone has a favourite, but you can always drop into my shop and ask which one is best at the time.

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. Always fish with the reel bail arm open so the fish can run with the line. The best line grease is silicon muclin as it will not harm the line.

Until next month, hope you catch the big one.

• If you’re down in the mountains, 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. If you would like to book a tour or fly fishing lesson you can always check us out at www.swtroutfishing.com.au or give my shop a call on (02) 6456 1551.

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