Early bird catches the trout
  |  First Published: March 2017

I think most areas had record temperatures over the last couple of months, and I can guarantee I have never worn shorts for so many days in the last 30 years of living in the Snowy Mountains! I’m actually looking forward to cooler days and cold nights, which will stir the trout into action once again.

As we head into the first month of Autumn, we start thinking about the brown trout spawning run and this months temperatures and rainfall will dictate whether it will be an early or late spawning season this year.

If the trout run early like they did last season, it will be an interesting river fishing season, but we might have to wait a few more weeks yet to see just what happens.

With the warmer weather of the last couple of months, there have been plenty of yabbies in the lake this year, which have helped the brown trout to put on some serious condition, so you might see some record fish caught this year.

We all love catching big brown trout!

For the boat trollers, Lake Jindabyne’s normal downrigging season was late, and so I expect there will be plenty of deep trolling for the rest of March.

The best way to start off the day’s trolling this month will be by trying surface lines with lures to about 2m at first light, maybe with a lead core line at three colours to take the lures to 4-5m as a backup.

If you have been out a while and there are no bites, don’t persist, get out your downriggers and starting at 35ft with a lure dropback of 4m, you should start to see some fish.

As the day brightens further, maybe go to 45ft by mid morning and drop the lure back to 9-10m or even more for the best fishing.

On cloudy or rainy days you can surface fish until about 9am before going deeper.

The Tasmanian Devil 111 Yellow Wing ‘Willy’s Special’ or a black and orange devil are the best deep lures at the moment, with Tasmanian Devil number Y36 also doing okay on the surface and off leadcore lines early.

My black one side and orange the other side Tasmanian Devil has been very good also for downrigging or off the surface early.

Some of the better trolling areas this month will be deep water off Lion and Cub Islands or the deeper water off Hatchery Bay and Hayshed Bay. Sids Bay through to Rushes Bay will fish well early in the day for big brown trout, but the first hour of light will be the time to be there.

If you like to spin the lake with lures, then you need to be on the water very early before the trout head into deeper cooler water. Working a minnow lure around the edges of the shallow bays in about 4m of water will be the best way to pick up a bigger fish. But be early!

Later in the morning, look for deep drop-offs and allow the lure to sink deep and work the lure slowly back to the surface. The best colour lures have been in either natural brown trout and rainbow trout patterns and gold.

Bays like Creel, Hatchery and the Snowy Arm all fish well. As the sun rises, change to a Tassie and cast further out over drop-offs. The best areas have been down at the South Arm or near Banjo Patterson Park, but as the month progresses, Waste Point and the Snowy Arm will start to fire.

Spinning on the Thredbo River has been much better fishing this year, and with the higher water we are also seeing bigger fish. Small minnows in the sinking variety like the Bullet Lures are better in the faster water, with Celtas working better in the shallow water.

Other lures to try have been Gillies Bendbacks and Feathertails, but you could also try soft plastics! The Strike Tiger range of soft plastics have taken the trout fishing scene by storm with their excellent range, with the nymphs being perfect for rivers and streams.

Over this month, the best lake bait fishing will be with scrub worms off the bottom, teamed up with some artificial bait. Tiger worms under a float are good, and another bait worth suspending under a float is the old faithful grasshopper, which is a bait you don’t often hear about much these days, but they work a treat and there are plenty about at the moment. You might need some kids with a butterfly net to help you collect the bait though! The best bait fishing areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Rocks in the deeper water.

For lake fly anglers at the moment, the best fishing has been early morning and there have been a few wind lanes about, and if you see the ducks and sea gulls on the water, this is a tell-tale sign that they’re eating insects on the surface.

Some of the best lake fly fishing is during the coming months as the water cools, and this year with so much weed around the edges of the lake, we should see some big fish caught. Try any of the streamer patterns such as black Woolly Buggers and Williamson’s Gold Fish. Olive green nymphs and shrimp patterns are also worth a try. The South Arm, Creel Bay and especially Sids Bay are all great.

On the rivers, the best fly fishing is in the evenings and there should still be plenty of evening rises and fantastic dry fly fishing for a few weeks yet.

The Alpine streams are still looking good, and plenty of small fish are being caught on dry fly. Fly selection is not too critical in these streams, but placement is, or else you just scare all the fish. Try a small Hopper pattern, Royal Wulff, Royal Humpy or a caddis moth in these areas. The area on the lower Mowambah near the weir on the Dalgety Road is a great spot to have a look for small stream trout.

Until next month, hope you catch the big one.

• 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.

March roundup – the best of the best!

Best methodLake trolling – leadlines early, then downriggers.

Best lake lureTasmanian Devil Steve Williamson’s Lime Green Yellow Wing or number 111 Willy’s Special.

Best lake areaDeep water off Lion and Cub islands.

Best fly methoddry fly – hopper patterns and Yellow Humpies.

Best RiverThredbo River.

Best River luresBullet Minnows or Strike Tiger Nymphs.

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