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Prime summertime fishing conditions
  |  First Published: December 2016



The weather remains the constant topic of conversation here. Mostly it’s about rain – how much we’ve had, how much more we’re going to get and how much is too much. It’s ironic that in an area where we were always short of rain, we now have more than we need and it looks like there’s more to come.

There’s also plenty of snow – and there’s more of to come. The thick mantle of snow on the main range in the Kosciuszko National Park is an enchanting sight for tourists, as they climb up the hills and head out of Cooma. It has special significance for anglers on the way to Eucumbene and Jindabyne, because it means we’ll have water refreshing the streams and lakes for months as the region thaws and snowmelt seeps through the mountain bogs and fens to where the fish live.

Streams Clearing

After long periods of high water, floodwater and turbid water, all of which made fishing impossible or unproductive, regional trout streams have dropped to a more fishable level and cleared delightfully. Nice fish have been taken on lure and fly. One angler had a good session in the Thredbo River upstream from Gaden Hatchery, landing some nice fat browns and post-spawning rainbows in reasonable condition. The fish were taken on stick caddis and stonefly nymph, fished directly into the strongly-moving rapids. The fish put up quite a tussle. Other fish were taken further down at Paddys Corner on small red and black matukas. Some late spawning rainbows were left to finish their breeding ritual in peace.

A few nice fish came from the Eucumbene River. Nice-sized browns were caught on brown nymph and Stimulator flies in the section of river near Sawyers Hut. Several rainbows were taken on white moth near Kiandra. Another angler used a Royal Coachman as a sight fly with a drifting nymph in the small water at the top of the Murrumbidgee, and landed three browns in a morning session and two more after lunch. The largest fish weighed 1.2kg.

It might seem like small pickings, but it’s satisfying just to be able to catch anything given the poor stream conditions we’ve endured since the opening of the season. Lure fishers have reported taking a few fish on Celta, Imp spoons and Mepps spinners. The best fishing was in some of the small creeks, still carrying good heads of water and providing easy passage of fish into and from the main stream. None of the fish were large, but again it was satisfying to catch something.

Lakes High

Rain and snowmelt have added a lot of water to the big mountain lakes. Jindabyne is sitting on 84% of capacity, Eucumbene 56% and Tantangara 71%. Nice fish have been taken while fossicking in the shallows, where water flooding over new ground has brought all the critters to the surface.

Fishing has been great in Tantangara. This is not an especially large reservoir, but it carries many browns and rainbows and is a favourite for lure and flyfishers. With nothing on the backcast to inhibit casting, it’s a good location for new chum flyfishers to practice the delicate art. It’s also a good location for loch-style fishing with 5-6m leaders.

Natives Active

In Lake Burley Griffin, golden perch have sprung into action. Most have been taken on bait, but a few have fallen to Hogbacks, Burrinjuck Specials or Berkley black plastic grubs. Nathan Walker landed a 59cm specimen on a black grub fitted with two flashers. The fish have been taken from dawn until 9pm. The best baits have been scrub worms and small yabbies.

A couple of Murray cod have been caught accidentally and immediately released, because the season was closed until 1 December. One angler on Lake Burley Griffin was seen sneaking a big cod into the boot of his car and was reported to Fisheries. He can expect a “Please explain.” Another angler at Burrinjuck spotted with a big cod tethered at Good Hope was given an ultimatum from other anglers – “Release it right now or else.” He released it.

Burrinjuck
Migration

The annual golden perch migration up the Murrumbidgee Arm of Burrinjuck to the Murrumbidgee River is now in full blast. Lots of fish have been caught, mostly on bait, at Good Hope, Hume Park, Bloomfields and Taemus Bridge. Yabbies, scrub worms and wood grubs have been the best baits. The fish will spend all summer in the river before returning to the reservoir in autumn.

Lake George

I’ve kept on the pressure to stock Lake George with native fish as soon as possible. There is a lot of water in the lake and it’s a prime time to stock it. The food is there, so what’s holding us back? As far back as 1830 when it supplied food to the Mongarlowe, Majors Creek and Araluen goldfields, it was one of Australia’s greatest native fisheries, with up to nine sail trawlers working the area. With stocking, it could again reach that pinnacle of success, but we have to do it now.

1

Trout are becoming easier to find now that lakes and streams have cleared. There should be good lure and flyfishing through spring and early summer, if there are no more significant rainstorms.

2

Golden perch have come on the bite in Lake Burley Griffin, with plenty of prime fish on bait and occasional healthy specimens on lures, like this one Nathan Walker caught at an overhanging tree hotspot, on a Berkley black grub.

3

Coarse fishers in Lake Burley Griffin are enjoying catching plenty of carp at the moment, but are wondering what the fishing will be like in the future after the lethal koi carp virus is released.

4

Large numbers of golden perch are migrating from Burrinjuck Reservoir to the Murrumbidgee River, where they’ll spend the summer before returning to the reservoir in autumn.

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