Some anglers put away their rods about now but don’t be tempted – you’ll miss out on the best time of the year to pursue trout up in these parts.
May is when the water has cooled down to a comfortable level for trout and they really come on the bite. This month, brown trout in particular, are getting ready for their spawning journey to the rivers. The big browns can become very aggressive and many anglers come from far away to target the trophy trout that Jindabyne is renowned for.
The biggest I’ve seen over recent years was a 6.33kg brown. It might be worth a trip because you might just be the lucky angler to beat that fish.
Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a steady lake level due to works carried out on the dam wall. This has meant that weed beds have been able to establish. Good weed allows plenty of insect larvae, yabbies and other food to build up, so the fish are in fantastic condition.
In contrast to last year, which was wet, this season has been dry and hot, probably hotter than for many years, which has affected river levels. We could do with more rain to get the brown trout into the Thredbo River on their spawning run.
Remember, if you fish the Thredbo this month the rules change and you can keep only one fish over 50cm.
Over the past few months temperatures have been above average but at least we have had a few frosts. Over recent weeks the lake rainbows have really been on the bite with fish to 1kg common, and even a few browns up to 3kg.
It’s normal now for the lake level to be low and still dropping in time for the spring snow thaw. The dropping water is good for fishing because it brings weed beds closer to shore. That means we can start to get a little polaroid sight fishing happening, which will only improve over the coming months.
On the trolling front, we should see more surface fishing. Normally pink lures work best but don’t be surprised this year if green and yellow lures are still working.
Over the past few months the Tasmanian Devil No 36 Yellow Wing has been fantastic, as has my Red Nosed Yellow Wing. I would have numbers 6, 36, 48, 50, 55, and maybe Y82 handy in the box and if you haven’t got a No 36 you’d better purchase a handful.
I understand all of these numbers are confusing but a new colour chart has been released so if you’d like one, send me a self-addressed DL size envelope.
If the days are sunny, try trolling deeper using lead-core line 3 colours out (30m) which will get the Tassie down to 4m. This is also the time of the year for getting the best out of the dual depth Tassies, which provide an erratic action that the bigger trout love.
It’s increasingly evident that anglers coming into my shop don’t really understand how to troll these correctly. Most try and troll the lure like the standard 13g Tassie, which is fine if you’re running your line through the centre of the lure. But if you run the line through the top hole of the lure to get the extra depth, you need to look for a totally different action on your rod tip.
Speed is critical as well. When run at the correct speed, the lure should dive down and sway from side to side, swimming in a figure-eight pattern. The lure will then stop momentarily, float up a few centimetres or so, kick in and dive back into the motion. This action will give the tip of the rod a stop-start motion, not the constant action that you would expect from the standard Tassie.
‘Snaking’ the boat during the troll or a dropping a lure on the inside line of a tight turn will often trigger a strike because the action of the lure has changed, however slightly. This can turn lookers into takers!
If you want to catch more trout, then make sure you are running the lures at the speeds that they are designed for. Running a Dual Depth through the top hole for the extra depth requires the speed of the boat to be accurate; too slow and the lure will not kick about, too fast and the lure may spin out, causing line twist. I always recommend a good ball bearing swivel or just run a keel ahead of the lure.
May is usually very good for spinning the lake at sunrise and sunset. I like Tasmanian Devils in numbers 36 and 48 but for deeper water I use the Legend brown trout deep diver or a brown trout or rainbow trout patterned Rapala.
We may need a little more rain to get the best out of the Thredbo River but since that can happen at any time, it’s a matter of checking the local rainfall reports.
The mudeye fishing has been a little disappointing, possibly due to recent years of drought, but bardi grubs have been very good fished off the bottom. If you can’t get bardi grubs then a nice bunch of worms is always worth a try or a dual rig of worms and orange PowerBait.
Other types of PowerBait that’s catching trout at the moment are the new Worm and the Maggot. I have had some success using the Grub with the addition of a little garlic scent.
Flyfishing on Jindabyne and in the rivers and streams has been hard going lately due to low water levels but I can see an improvement with the little rain we have had. I am sure as soon as we get more we will have some fantastic fishing.
Some trout, although only small, have been caught on the Moonbah and Thredbo rivers. By far the best fly has been the Royal Wulff. Over the next month we will see a few more brown trout move into the Thredbo. The best flies will be Black Nymphs and Glo Bugs.
Early in the run you will find that the trout will take a nymph and a Flashback Pheasant Tail is one of my favourites, fished through the faster water. In even faster runs use a faster sinking bead-head nymph.
On the lake my own Williamson’s Goldfish, Mrs Simpson and black Woolly Buggers have been the best over the weed beds early in the mornings.
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The author’s back-to-back Gamakatsu No 1 single-hook rig has proved fantastic for Tasmanian Devil lures, giving an almost 'dangerous' hook-up rate. And it’s relatively weed-free!Reads: 499