The holiday rush is over and youngsters are back at school, so now is the best time to get down to the mountains for a little trout fishing, where you may just find that the waters are all yours.
Summer has been a little later than usual this year and we really didn’t have any hot weather until last month, so the rivers are just starting to fish well on the dry fly. There are now plenty of insects about and there have been some spectacular evening rises on the Thredbo River.
On Lake Jindabyne the water level is still good with very little change over January. I don’t expect the lake level to drop all that much until winter.
With the lake surface water now in the low 20°s, land-based angling is often best in the early morning and late evening as the fish cruise the edges of the lake looking for a feed. Never totally discount the middle of the day, as the trout are always searching for a meal – just fish deeper drop-offs at that time.
Trollers probably did the best over January. There has been the odd day when the fish have gone off the bite with an impending weather change but on average most anglers have managed to catch a few trout, even on the worst days.
Downrigging has been fantastic in the late mornings and should continue into February. If you would like to learn how to use a downrigger, then book into my trolling clinic.
The best lures to use this summer have been Tasmanian Devils in green and gold/yellow or brown during the evening. Best colours have been no. 6 Aussie and no. 50 Frog and the no. 36; my own signature Yellow Wings 36, designed to imitate the wild goldfish found in large numbers in the lake, has also fished well. My new Red Nosed Yellow Wing is also catching lots of rainbow trout early in the morning.
Gillies Bendbacks and Wobblers in rainbow trout and brown trout patterns have also been very good. The River 2 Sea goldfish look-alikes are coming into their own as the lake goldfish are reproducing. The Static Shad 60SU and the Baby Vibe 35 in colour HA-11 are excellent.
Spinning on the Thredbo River has been great early and late in the day, especially if it’s hot, but if it’s overcast you can fish all day long. Best lures have been spinners like the Gillies Spina and gold Celta, although Rapalas and StumpJumpers in brown trout and rainbow trout patterns have been successful too.
Minnow lures are always great on the rivers when nothing else works. Help look after our river by returning fish caught and take only those fish that are very big and may dominate other fish in the river.
Flyfishing is best in alpine streams during the day with Royal Wulff or Royal Humpy the best dry flies.
The Thredbo River has been great in the late evening and the Mowambah River has been good for novice anglers that just want to catch a fish and do not care how big it is. Best flies there have been a White Moth or Royal Wulff in size 14. Best Thredbo River flies have been size 12 Yellow or Red Humpy or a Stimulator.
The Gungarlin River has again been fishing with a small Royal Wulff or Humpy the best choice, although the fish haven’t been fussy up there.
The upper Snowy River above Island Bend Pondage has been great for the better casters but it is very slippery wading the river at the moment. A dry fly like a Royal Humpy with a little black nymph as a dropper is the best combination.
Lake Jindabyne will be good, especially after a warm day. Try the shallower bays and use mudeye patterns, Hammill’s Killer, Mrs Simpson or Craig’s Night-time. This is also the time to try a Williamson’s Goldfish on the inlets where the real goldfish hang out. Fish the fly deep and slow and late at night for best results.
The trout have also been coming on about 1am if you’re keen enough. The water edges have been very warm and the trout have been late to come in close. Widows Creek, Taylors Inlet and Mill Creek Inlet have been great.
This month trolling will continue to be excellent early morning and late evening. Lures to try will be Tasmanian Devils in colours like no. 48 and no. 36 early and late, and no. 6, no. 23 or no. 50 during the day. Rebel Crickhoppers and Jack’s Hoppers will also be worthwhile.
Downriggers from 7 to 10m have been best and it’s a toss-up day to day between Tassie no. 36 and no. 48 as to which catches the most. The Yellow Wing models have also been good.
Downrigging in the deep water just off Lion and Cub Islands or down at the South Arm has been consistently producing rainbow trout to 1.5kg.
If you don’t have a downrigger you had better set yourself up with a lead-core line. If you get out three colours of lead core (30m) and put on a dual-depth Tasmanian Devil through the deeper-diving hole, you should be down to about 6m.
You often need attractors to stir up the trout and the Protroll E-Chip flashers have been working with a lure or bait about 40cm behind.
Pisces Products have also recently released new mini-trolling attractors, which are small cowbell-like attractors that have proved very good about 1m in front of your lure. They don’t have the drag that the larger cowbells have and are also excellent when used off the back of a downrigger bomb.
The most popular live bait during summer is the mudeye, the nymph of the dragonfly, fished 1 to 2m underneath a float early and late in the day.
A bunch of tigerworms or even a scrubworm fished with a running sinker is also a great way to catch a trout in deep water, even on the hottest days.
Artificial baits will again work well this month, especially for rainbow trout. PowerBait in orange twist and rainbow nuggets will be worth a try teamed with a few small worms for brown trout and Atlantic salmon.
The deeper, rocky drop-offs have been producing the best trout. The South Arm and in front of the township have been great and Creel Bay and the Snowy Arm near Waste Point are always summer favourites.
Drop in and say hi at my shop at the Snowline Holiday Park for the latest information or to book a tour. Bill Presslor is guest instructor at my trolling clinic on February 11 and 12 and there is a discount for Fishing Monthly readers who mention the mag when they book. You will also get a chance to see my new Strike Vision underwater camera on the downrigger. A beginner fly course will be on March 11 and 12 and the same reader discount applies. Call me on 0408 024 436 or email me.Reads: 986