Send snow now, please!
  |  First Published: August 2006

August provides our last chance to get some real snow before the spring thaw. If we don’t get good snowfalls, and so far they have been below average, there won’t be enough snowmelt to feed the mountain streams over the summer so we’re all praying that this month is long, cold and dumps lots of snow.

Parts of July were almost too warm to ski and perfect for trout fishing on the lake. The trolling was good and the shore-based angling was excellent.

August is normally the start of the polarising season for those who like to walk the foreshores of the lake. This month marks the turn from the really cold days and by mid-August the weather is more spring-like with warm, sunny days perfect for trout fishing.

Polarising is the art of spotting trout with the aid of special sunnies, which remove the surface glare from the water and reveal the fish below. To catch these fish you have to be a little careful not to be seen and spook the trout, but if can manage this, the fish are often easy to catch.

Polarising is often a fly angler’s term but spin and bait anglers can also polarise trout with great success. This can be exciting fishing, spotting and casting accurately in front of the fish without them. Waiting for them to swim up to and hit a lure or pick up a bait or fly can be an adrenalin rush.

After you work out which way the trout is going, you cast your bait, such as worms, about 3 to 4m in front of the trout and hope it eats it. Small lures are cast wide out into the deeper water and then manoeuvred so they come a metre or two in front of the cruising trout. If you’re lucky, the fish will see the lure and hit it furiously.

Flies are cast to the fish in a similar way but you have to be very careful not to scare the fish with the thick fly line. Longer leaders are often a must but can be hard to cast on a windy day.

The lake water level is still low with the work on the Jindabyne Dam wall continuing, but we are much better off than Lake Eucumbene, where they are having great difficulty launching boats. Buckenderra has the only concrete ramp left in the water.

At least on Lake Jindabyne the levels are only slightly lower than they were last summer, which means that the weed beds are still in a perfect position for casting to trout and there is no problem launching boats.

Work on the dam wall is nearing completion and the new bridge is in place. The intake tower is operational and there is not a lot left to do, other than removal of the coffer dam. This may not occur until after summer.


Lures such as the Tasmanian Devil in pink No 55 or the brown No 48 are sure to catch a fish or two. If walking the lake edges, use smaller lures such as red Celtas or the Gillies Spina in gold and red. Floating Rapalas are also worth a throw.

The new pink Bandit has been going very well. These lighter lures will not scare the trout with big splashes. Remember, always look before you cast!

The better times are early and late in the day but you can still catch fish near the rocky points and deep drop-offs in the middle of the day. Some of the better winter areas include Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Point. Brook trout have also turned up at the base of Snowline Holiday Park at Widows Creek.


When polarising, flies like the Green Nymph fished near rocky outcrops should catch fish. Fish quietly and approach the water only after trying to spot a fish.

The western shoreline from Curiosity Rocks to Hatchery Bay is excellent to spot fish during August and don’t forget to keep away from ‘my’ area, over at Sid’s Bay!


The best lures to use at the moment are Tassies No 55, 72 and 50 (frog pattern) or the No 48 red-nosed brown bomber.

For the bigger brown trout I like to troll small minnow lures and the Legend brown trout pattern is a favourite, along with the Steve Williamson Signature lure. Other minnows worth a try are Rapala brown and rainbow trout patterns or the 3” StumpJumper in pink and purple.

Fish the township end of the lake during August because the water is just a little warmer and the fish a little more active. Lion and Cub Islands and East Jindabyne Islands are excellent trolling spots. Just look out for rocks because the lake is very low.


The brown trout are nearly all back from spawning now and are looking for something to eat. A bunch of worms fished on the bottom or suspended under a float should entice a fish.

There is no doubt that the PowerBait products are catching lots of trout with lime or orange Twist being the best, closely followed by rainbow or orange nuggets.

Again, fish the shallow bays early and late in the day and the rocky, deep drop-offs during the middle of the day.


The premiere of the movie Jindabyne was on July 20 so you had better get along and judge for yourself. It had rave reviews when first viewed at Cannes and it will be an international hit. If you want to know more about the movie, visit www.april.com.au .

The movie has a flyfishing theme and is a great drama, but that is all I am saying for now!

I have put together another two Gillies Flyfishing weekend courses, on September 20 and October 1 (the long weekend) and on November 11 and 12. VFM readers who sign up will get a free Gillies fly rod when they book. I’ll hold introductory flyfishing courses at Pambula on September 9 and 10 and all participants will go into the draw to win a complete Gillies saltwater fly combo. All equipment can be supplied free or bring your own.

The courses will be at the Holiday Hub Beachside Resort, Pambula, and accommodation is available. Cost is $150 and a 10% discount applies to readers of VFM who mention this offer. Call me on 0408 024 436 between 7am and 7pm or email me.

Phil Riley with a kilo rainbow caught on a downrigged No 48 brown bomber Tassie Devil.

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