In contrast to 2004, we had warm to hot conditions leading up to Christmas and with regular rain, the New Year looks full of promise.
With all of the rain the rivers and streams were running harder than normal and the dry flyfishing was very slow, although the nymph fishing has been good.
On the lake, the water has warmed up quickly and most of our trolling has been with lead-core lines or downriggers.
Bait anglers haven’t done too badly with some excellent mudeye fishing. Spin anglers have done better on the Thredbo River this year with the higher water level but on the lake the fishing has been best in the early morning or very late evening.
The lake came up to about the same level as in 2005 but with the work still in progress on the dam wall we don’t expect it to remain any higher than at present.
We should have a very good January on the lakes and rivers. Lake Jindabyne will fish best early and late in the day but those with downriggers may have some excellent middle-of-the-day fishing.
Fly anglers will get their best action over the next couple of months with the Thredbo and Mowambah rivers looking great with plenty of fish.
Bait anglers will it best from 5am to 7am will be best with a little more action around the just as it gets dark. Mudeyes or PowerBait will be best.
Best catches have been by surface trolling Tasmanian Devils in gold and green early in the morning in the shallow bays and then heading to deeper water with lead-core line at three to four colours or on downriggers from 6m to 8m. Darker lures are often better when fishing deep, try Tassie numbers 6, 48 or halo. A brighter, gold lure will be OK when the sun is high in the sky.
Most of the ‘yellow wing’ Tasmanian devils are good with yellow wing ‘Freddo’ and number 82 being very good at the moment. Bigger brown trout take minnow lures like Rapalas, Min Mins, Legends or StumpJumpers in a rainbow trout or brown trout patterns close to the bottom over weed.
Summer is also when you often need attractors to stir up the fish and the new Protroll E-Chip flashers have been doing that.
Best bays for early trolling have been Hayshed, Hatchery and Rushes bays while the best deep trolling locations have been just off Rushes Bay, the deeper water near Church Island, the South Arm and off Hatchery Bay.
Mid summer is best for early and late spinning on the lake and the middle of the day is best for the rivers when the lake fish go deep. I like to get up well before sunrise and fish the shallow inlets where the big brown trout venture during the night. By targeting these larger fish the average size of capture is increased.
Most lake fly anglers only fish during the night because they know that is when the big fish come into feed. Smaller spinners are the best during this period, with less splash to scare the trout.
Lures worth trying are the new Gillies Bendbacks and Wobblers in rainbow trout and brown trout patterns. The new River 2 Sea goldfish look-alikes are coming into their own now that the lake goldfish are spawning. The best of these lures have been the Static Shad 60SU or if you want something that is a replica, you can’t go past the Baby Vibe 35 in colour HA-11.
Summer is mudeye time, when dragonfly larvae are hooked through the wing case and swum around beneath a float. Early and late in the day are the best times.
The shallow bays are the best night locations but look out for the snags. During the brighter part of the day you could fish worms off the bottom with a little Berkley PowerBait floating on another hook just above the worms to help attract the trout.
This is a grasshopper month on the rivers and streams and when a grasshopper drops into the water, a trout will not hesitate to take it. There are various grasshopper patterns available but just have a look around and see what the size and colour the real ones are and find a fly to match.
Also keep your eyes open for evening hatches of other insects, such as mayflies – I love the dry flyfishing at this time of year.
If you have a very light 3 or 4-weight fly rod, why not try some of our small alpine creeks like Spencers Creek or Betts Creek on the way to Charlotte Pass or even Perisher Creek near the ski resort. All have small, hard-fighting trout. Size 12 or 14 dry flies like a Yellow Humpy will work well but you had better have good reflexes for the strike.
For easy release of these fish make sure you de-barb your hook.
For the lake angler, nights are best with dark or black flies like Woolly Buggers, Black Phantoms or Craig’s Night-time. Fish the bays and the inlets with my own Snowy Mountains Goldfish.
Drop at my shop in the Snowline Holiday Park next to the Shell servo for the latest information or to book a tour or class. We still have vacancies for my March beginner fly school and Bill Presslor will be my guest lecturer at the next trolling course, on February 11. Call me on (02) 6456 1551 or email me.Reads: 1099