Soft plastics the flavour of the month
  |  First Published: June 2016

June has arrived and we only have a couple of weeks before the end of the river fishing season in the Snowy Mountains. This year we get another week of fishing, as the rivers don’t close until the second weekend so we have until midnight on Monday 13 June for one last flick for early spawning trout.

If we get a fair bit of rain leading up to the closing weekend then the fishing will be great, but if we don’t the fishing will be hard on the rivers. My suggestion is to fish the lake instead, as the trout fishing on the lakes has been great over recent months. Let’s have a look at what I think will happen over the month in more depth.

If you do decide to target the spawning trout on the Thredbo River, then you should know that good rainfall triggers the trout into action. If the river water level is low and the water is clear then the fishing can be tough as the trout are spooky and not switched on.

If it rains and the river level rises, the fishing can be fantastic – and not just for the early spawning brown trout either as there are rainbows in the river early this year. If the river is flowing hard, lure spinners with bigger minnow lures will do best or spin rods with drift-rigging rigs consisting of weighted nymphs and glowbugs are best. As the river level drops, the fly anglers seem to do better with the same nymph and glowbug rigs.

Flyfishing in June and July on Lake Jindabyne is the hardest and coldest months for flyfishing. With higher lake levels and fish hanging about the bays, the better areas are Creel Bay, Hayshed and Hatchery Bay, Mill Creek Inlet, The Claypits, and the Snowy Arm. Boat trolling over the last month has returned good reports with plenty of hard fighting rainbow trout in excellent condition giving the lake trollers a lot of fun. I would expect this pattern to continue. We might even see some of those big Atlantic salmon caught over the coming month or two, and if you are lucky enough the brook trout should also come on the bite.

Winter trout are more aggressive and likely to take a bigger lure; so jointed minnow lures similar to the ones we spin the lake edges with are worth a try – the bigger the lure the better. We quite often troll 9-11cm lures for the bigger fish.

Stumpjumpers in gold to represent the little gold fish in the lake are also great and a 7cm gold Rapala will do a similar job. Troll these and other gold coloured lures off leadcore lines (if conditions are bright) over the weed beds for the best results, as this is where the goldfish hide.

Other lures to use in the middle of the day are Tasmanian Devils in pink number 55 or orange number 56 colours. These are aggression colours in winter and the trout will strike these hard. Keep in mind a number Y36 Yellow Wing for the sunnier days and Tassie Devil holographic or say a number 48 or Y48 are always worthwhile early and late in the day (off three colours or lead core line). The other good areas to troll are in the shallow bays like Hatchery and Hayshed Bay, or Sids Bay at East Jindabyne – a favourite weedy bay with lots of food for trout. Lure spinning the lake in summer is a great time to catch a trout as the fish are in closer now that the water temperature has dropped to a more comfortable level. You can spin lures all day in winter, however on sunny still days choose the deeper drop-off where the fish are cruising looking for something to eat.

In winter, smaller 7g Tasmanian Devils are the best choice for the deeper water on still days and the 13g Tassies on windy days. Another lure that has been worth a throw is the 3” Stumpjumper (pink is a great colour in winter). Orange minnow spins are also great off the bank. Jointed Rapalas with a little bit of orange on the tummy are another lure that will get the trout to take notice, and if you work these jointed minnows like a wounded fish you will get a lot more strikes. Soft plastics are worth a try and the Strike Tigers in vodkar and orange and princess pink colours do well. The Tasmanian Trout Frogs are also going great.

Overall, soft plastics for trout would have to work the best in winter. Flick them out and work them slowly through the snags and above weed beds when the lake is low. Like bream fishing down the coast, blades work well on trout both in the rivers and the lakes and are well worth a try. Some of the better blades are TT Switchblade Golden Boy, Strike Pro Cyber Vibe 35 BLG and Cyber Vibe 50JU009. Some of these look like our lake goldfish and the trout love to eat them!

Baitfishing – once again, with all the extra water this year I think the bigger trout will be cruising the bays and inlets for a feed so that is where you should also be fishing. You can fish all day during winter, but don’t fish too deep as the fish often feed in close to the shore. Baitfishing with scrub worms or artificial bait works well in winter, so long as you don’t mind sitting back and waiting, any time of day or night. Artificial salmon eggs have been very good for catching bigger trout at the moment.

Both the worms and artificial baits are fished off the bottom with a running sinker. Remember to fish light and keep the bail arm open to let the trout run with the bait. Grease the line with muslin to reduce friction if the trout are running and dropping baits.

Artificial baits are great in winter and you only need to use a small ball of artificial bait, just a little bigger than a pea, and a small size 12 hook will catch more fish than big hooks and big bits of bait. Gamakatsu do a fine wire hook called a single egg hook and these are great for power bait. You can use a size 8 or 10 hook for trout in winter.

Over the next few months, the areas to catch a trout on bait are Wollondibby Inlet and Creel Bay at Waste Point and Stinky Bay nearer to town. Just remember, the lake is weedy, but that’s where the fish like to hang out.

Rug up and enjoy your trip to the Snowys, and if coming down for a snow play trip – don’t forget your fishing rod!

• If you would like some personal guiding, I will be available over the coming months for fly-fishing tuition and lake trolling trips. Lessons can be booked from 2 hours’ duration, and trolling trips from 3 hours to a full day. If you want to know more about the latest in fishing conditions, just give me a call on (0264) 561 551 or check out my website at www.swtroutfishing.com.au. You can also see our daily Facebook updates at https://www.facebook.com/LJTFA.

June roundup – the best of the best

Best method – Baitfishing with scrubworms teamed up with artificial baits

Best depth – Bottom fishing baits

Best lake lure – Tasmanian Devil in pink 55 or Rapala Brook and perch patterns

Best lake area – East Jindabyne pumping station and The Claypits

Best fly method – Black Woolley Buggers on the lake

Best river – Rivers closed to fishing from Monday 13 June until October long weekend

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