SO FAR the trout season has been good in the Snowies, but we did have to wait nearly until Christmas before the rivers fished really well – the weather was just so cold and wet last November and December.
The snow and rain in November and cooler conditions slowed the fishing down a little. No insects until mid-December meant that there was very little dry-fly action but with good rain and run off, we will have fantastic river fishing over the coming months.
Those visiting the Snowy Mountains over the past few months have commented on how low the water level is on Lake Eucumbene and, of course, how high it is on Lake Jindabyne. Jindabyne in particular has been the highest for about 12 years and it looks spectacular. Unfortunately at my base at the Snowline Caravan Park, most of the camping area was under water over Christmas, making it hard to find a spot to pitch a tent. There was even very limited trailer parking at the boat ramps.
With so much water in the lake, the fish have been a little harder to find, preferring to cruise up in among the grass and weeds around the edges looking for a feed. With so much debris around the water’s edge, spinning, fly-fishing and bait-soaking have been difficult, with many fish lost to the snags.
The rivers also now have lots of water and plenty of fish. When fishing rivers, never jump into the water and start fishing in front of another angler. It is OK to fish water they have already covered, but never fish upstream of another angler who was there before you.
On to the fishing predictions, and with lake levels high and rivers in great condition, we can expect some great times.
High water in the lake has destroyed a lot of our weed beds of last season, changing the way we have been fishing of late. Best way to troll up a trout has been by surface fishing Tasmanian Devil lures in gold and green early in the morning. Fish the shallow bays early and
then move out to deeper water and fish lead-core line at three to four colours, or use downriggers at six metres. Darker lures should be used when fishing deep – try Tassie No 6, No 48 or ‘Halo’. Best bays have been Hayshed, Hatchery and Rushes.
Mid-Summer is best for early and late spinning on the lake and the middle of the day is best for the rivers as the lake fish go deep. I like to get up well before sunrise and fish the shallow inlets where the big brown trout hunt during the night. By targeting these fish, the average size of the lake’s fish is increased.
Most lake fly anglers fish only during the nights because they know that is when the big fish come into feed. Smaller spinners are the best during this period – less splash to scare the trout. Some new lures worth trying are the new Gillies Bendback and Wobblers in rainbow trout and brown trout patterns.
Summer is mudeye time. The mudeye is the nymph of the dragonfly, and anglers use them as live bait, hooking them through the wing case to allow them to swim around beneath a float. Early and late in the day are the best times. Again, fish the bays and move to deeper water as the day brightens. Shallow bays are the best night locations but look out for the snags.
This is grasshopper month on the rivers and streams in the mountains and when a grasshopper drops into the water, the trout won’t hesitate to take them. 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.
Keep your eye open for evening hatches of other insects, such as the mayfly. I love the dry-fly fishing at this time of year.
At night on the lake, dark or black flies like a Woolly Bugger or a Black Phantom are good to try. Craig’s Nighttime is also another Snowy Mountains favourite, not to forget my own Snowy Mountains Goldfish. Fish the bays and the inlets for the best results.
If you’re down in the mountains this month, drop in and say hi at my shop at the Snowline Caravan Park next to the Shell servo. I will have the latest fishing information available and you can also book a tour. We still have vacancies for the February and March beginner fly fishing schools. Give me a call on 0408 024 436 or email me.Reads: 410