Insect season has the trout going bug-eyed
  |  First Published: February 2017

Like last month, the river fishing season was very late this year and is only now about to peak. Due to the late season and cooler conditions, flyfishers are only now experiencing the best fishing for years. With lots of bugs about, the trout are leaping for joy!

With the heat, the flowers blossomed and the insects came out, heralding the start to the dry fly season and we finally started to get a little bit of river fishing action. It now looks like it’s going to be a late but great season with plenty of water in the streams once again, and still snow to melt in the higher peaks of the mountains. The Alpine streams are still at their best and plenty of small fish are being caught on dry flies.

Fly selection is not too critical in these streams, but placement is – or you just scare all the fish. Flies you must have are brown beetle patterns, Snowy Hopper, Stimulator, Royal Wulff and Parachute Hoppers. Maybe a brown and a black nymph if the fish are not rising and a white moth or white Wulff. And maybe you had better throw a midge pattern, brown mayfly and an Adams in as well to make certain you have all the bases covered.

With the Thredbo River starting to fish much better now, there is still a reasonable flow of water and the dry flyfishing is good. White moth and beetle patterns are best when flyfishing. Grasshopper season is also just about to start. The Mowamba River is fishing OK towards the weir and is also worth a try with some great dry flyfishing, especially on late evenings.

Some of the best lake flyfishing is during the coming months and this year, with the steady lake level, we should see some big fish caught. Try any of the streamer patterns such as Mrs Simpson and Williamson’s Snowy Mountains Gold Fish. Olive green nymphs and shrimp patterns are also worth a try. The South Arm, Creel Bay and Kangaroo Bay are all great.

Bait fishing on lake Jindabyne has been good over recent months with the higher water levels. Mudeyes have been good used under a float or even worms under a float. Either let the waves move it about, or there’s if no wind, try and wind it in very slowly with a pause every turn of the handle.

Another bait worth suspending under a float is the meal worm, which is one you don’t often see much these days. They work a treat. Maybe to a trout they look like maggots – whatever! They are a very popular bait in most other trout fishing countries, but not a bait Australians use that often. The best bait fishing areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Rocks. Another great area is the bottom of Discovery Holiday Park near Widows Creek Inlet.

The boat trolling this year has been very good and we are still catching trout on the surface, as the water temperature is not as warm as in previous years. We have been using downriggers on the really hot and bright days. The downrigger depth hasn’t been as deep as in previous years, so 25-35ft is about perfect. We should see this formula continue over the next month or so.

The Tasmanian Devil number 111 Willy’s Special is still about the best Tasmanian Devil colour at the moment, followed by the yellowing brown bomber. My black/gold Tasmanian Devil and the holographic have been the best for darker conditions and also downrigging.

I have been doing well with Bullet Minnows in gold colours down off the downrigger and lead lines. Gaden Trout Hatchery released the baby rainbow trout fingerlings into Jindabyne last month, so all natural rainbow trout colours are working well.

With water levels still high, some of the better trolling areas this month will be Hatchery Bay, Hayshed Bay and Sids Bay through to Rushes Bay. Watch the rocks, as the East Jindabyne Islands start to reappear as the water levels drop.

The best lure spinning has been on the lake in the shallow bays, early and late in the day. You can start by spinning the edges with bladed spinners like the Gillies Feathertail or flicking 3cm and 5cm Bullet lures and small StumpJumpers. Try areas where there are steep drop offs with plenty of rocks will be the best areas. Bays like Creel, Hatchery and the Snowy Arm all fish well.

On brighter days, change to a Tassie and cast further out over drop offs, letting the lure sink before you slowly retrieve. Try Tasmanian Devils in gold and green for the best results. The best areas have been down at the South Arm or near Banjo Patterson Park.

Fish are still being caught in the Thredbo River on small 3cm Bullet lures. The best colours are rainbow trout and perch. You can also try some Strike Tiger soft plastics very early and late in the day or with olive pepper over the weed beds – this is great for rainbow trout. Strike Tiger nymphs also work well on the bigger brown trout using the lightest jighead possible and worked very slow.

On the smaller streams like the Moonbah or upper Snowy, a variety of lures will work, but the best will be small bladed spinners, like the Gillies Spina or Celtas in number one or two. All in all, we are looking good for at least some great lake fishing over the coming months, so get your gear together and come and try some our fantastic trout fishing.

If you would like some personal guiding, I will be available over the coming months for flyfishing tuition and lake trolling trips. Lessons can be booked from two hours and trolling trips from three hours to a full day. Don’t forget our Gillies beginner flyfishing weekend is being held from 18-19 February and you can book day one for beginners’ casting and lake fishing. If you like, join us on day two for river fishing techniques.

If you want to know more about the latest in fishing conditions, give me a call on (02) 6456 1551, or check out my website at www.swtroutfishing.com.au. Check out our daily Facebook updates. Until next month, I hope you catch the big one.

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