Good catches around the mountain rivers
  |  First Published: March 2017

It’s pleasing to be able to report good catches of trout in the big mountain rivers at this time of year. Normally by now, stream levels have dropped significantly and the majority of the fish have retreated to the relative safety of the deeper water in the big reservoirs, namely Tantangara, Eucumbene and Jindabyne.

This year, however, continuing rain and good runoff from snowmelt have combined to maintain a good water flow in the streams. Fish have stayed there to enjoy conditions and the abundant food supply. In recent weeks, anglers have reported pleasing catches of browns and rainbows on fly in the Thredbo, Eucumbene and Murrumbidgee rivers, which are the main feeder streams for the reservoirs.

One angler found nice browns in the Thredbo when there was a sudden fall of ants hatching in mid-air. He had the exact match for the ant in his fly box and it was readily taken by fish in the 28-40cm range. At one stage he was hooking a fish a cast, which just goes to show how important it is to have the right fly pattern available when conditions demand.

There were two good reports on consecutive days in the Eucumbene River. One angler fishing chironomids and various small dries came across a patch of good-sized rainbows upstream from Denison and landed numerous fish in a three-hour session.

Another angler fishing well upstream in the river above Kiandra found browns to 45cm in gentle flowing water and tumbling rapids. He caught them on Red Tag flies and described it as some of the best fishing he has ever had. In the Murrumbidgee River upstream from Tantangara there were plenty of smallish fish to about 30cm, taking dries and nymph droppers in the middle of the day, despite the hot and bright conditions.

Anglers might be surprised to know that there is still a lot of snow on the Main Range in the Snowy Mountains. As that thaws it will help maintain good water levels in the big rivers, hopefully for weeks and months to come. That means we can continue to enjoy what is uncharacteristically good stream fishing at this time of year.

Big Lakes Successful

Fishing has been good in the big lakes. Flyfishers have landed decent fish on chironomids and Woolly Buggers, mostly in the mid to late afternoon. On some days fishing has been curtailed by the easterly breeze, which puts the fish down. On other days the good fishing has continued until late in the evening. Most of the larger fish have been browns. Good-sized rainbows are still hard to find.

Trollers have done well, especially with lead core line. Tasmanian Devils, Rapala and StrikePro minnows and goldfish-patterned Shad Alives have been working well. The Shad Alives have also been effective on larger browns searching the rocky shoreline in Jindabyne for fair-dinkum goldfish.

Bait fishers have caught mixed bags using scrub worms, wood grubs, PowerBait and mudeyes. The best fishing has been in the early morning and at dusk. Anglers are reminded that baited rods left in overnight constitute set lines, and the gear can be confiscated and the owners prosecuted.

Natives Erratic

Golden perch and Murray cod have shown various bursts of activity but persistent anglers have done pretty well in Canberra’s urban lakes, Burrinjuck and Wyangala. Cod have responded well to extra-large lures, especially Timberflash, Jackpot, Kong, Akame and StumpJumper lures, as well as Koolabung surface lures. A surprising number of anglers fishing for redfin with small hardbodied lures and soft plastics report being wiped out by golden perch or cod, which had obviously been eyeing off the redfin schools.

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