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 peaceful fish.
Last month we talked about the late Summer season we were having and that is not such a bad thing now, because we will have an extended dry-fly season on the streams and rivers. Normally in the mountains the stream fishing starts to slow down by now but this year we will have a few more months of great fishing to come – and with a little extra rain, maybe well after Easter.
On Lake Jindabyne the water level is still good and I don’t expect that to drop all that much until Winter because work on the dam wall is a little behind schedule. The lake will be dropped again over Winter to a very low level and this should see us with time to extend and widen the boat ramp, with also a possibility for another concrete ramp at East Jindabyne. The only way we will get this done is for you to help by writing to the Snowy Hydro and the Snowy River Shire Council to express your concern that they are not taking the opportunity of low lake levels to improve facilities. Write to the shire c/- PO Box 163 Berridale NSW 2628.
With the lake surface water in the low 20°s, land-based angling is often best in the early morning and late evening as the fish cruise the edges looking for a feed. Never totally discount the middle of the day, as the trout are always looking for a feed, just fish deeper drop-offs.
Bait fishing is best early morning and late evening. Remember you can bait-fish only in the lake, it is illegal to fish the rivers and streams in this area with bait.
Best lures to use are Tasmanian Devils in colours such as green and gold/yellow or brown, such as No 6 Aussie and No 50 Frog. The most popular lures over the past couple of months have been the No 36 Yellow Wings and my own ‘signature’ 36, which has been designed especially to imitate the wild goldfish found in large numbers in the lake.
The best deeper trolling lure colour is the No 48 Red Nosed Brown Bomber. Tassie Devils are cheap, catch fish and they are Australian made. Legend minnows are also great for spinning the lake; use similar colours to the above.
Gillies’ Bendbacks and Wobblers in rainbow trout and brown trout patterns have also been very good on the lake.
Spinning the Thredbo River has been great. Recent rain and last season’s good snowfalls have kept plenty of water in the rivers. Fish early and late in the day, especially if it’s a hot one, but if it’s overcast you can cast all day long. Best lures have been Gillies Spina, and gold Celta spinners and Rapalas and StumpJumpers in brown trout and rainbow trout patterns. Help look after our rivers by returning any fish caught and take only those fish that are very big and may dominate other fish in the river.
Fly fishing is best in alpine streams during the day with Royal Wulff or Royal Humpy the best dry flies. The Gungarlin River has been fishing well this year and even the top of the Thredbo has been excellent.
Lake Jindabyne early mornings and evenings will be good, especially after a warm day. Try the shallower bays and use patterns like mudeye imitations, Hammill’s Killer, Mrs Simpson or Craig’s Night-time. This is also the time of the year to tie on a Williamson’s Goldfish and try the inlets where the real goldfish hang out. Fish the fly deep and slow late at night for best results.
On the lake, the trout have been coming on late at night for fly anglers. The water has been very warm and the trout have been late coming in close. Widows Creek, Taylors Inlet and Mill Creek Inlet have been great locations.
I have also just developed small boxes of the best flies for each and every waterway in the mountains. So if you’re going to fish the Gungarlin River you will be able to purchase the Steve Williamson Gungarlin Selection from my shop and get a special selection of the best flies for that river, taking all the guesswork out of it. The selection is priced a lot cheaper that purchasing individual flies.
Towing lures will continue to be excellent with the lake at a good level but will still be best in the early morning and late evening. Lures to try will be Tassies 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 trolling. StumpJumpers in rainbow and brown trout patterns are great and come with interchangeable bibs, one to dive deeper for the middle of the day fishing.
Downriggers between seven and 10 metres have been best and it’s a toss-up day to day between Tassie numbers 36 and 48. Downrigging in the deep water just off Lion and Cub Islands or down at the South Arm has been constantly producing rainbow trout to 1.5kg.
If you don’t have a downrigger you had better set up a lead-core line. Set out three colours of lead core (30 metres) and put on a dual-depth Tassie through the deeper diving hole. That should get down to about six metres, which is where you have to be to catch fish on warmer days.
The most popular Summer live bait is the mudeye, the nymph of the dragonfly. It is fished one to two metres below a float and is best early and late in the day.
The other bait used is the common worm. A bunch of tiger worms, or even a scrub worm, fished with a running sinker is a great way to catch trout. Fished in deep water, this method often catches a cruising trout on even the hottest days.
Artificial baits will again work well this month, especially for rainbows. 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 best. The South Arm and in front of the township have been great places for browns and Creel Bay and the Snowy Arm near Waste Point is always a Summer favourite.
• Special guest instructor at my trolling clinic on February 19 and 20 will be Bill Presslor, author of the new AFN book on trolling. There is a limit of nine people; pay a deposit and mention you read about it in NSWFM and receive a free gift pack.
After last month’s tragic report of 2 anglers drowning on Lake Eucumbene, it is very sad to report that just before Christmas a life was lost on Lake Jindabyne. This time a 29-year-old swimmer drowned about 100 metres from shore.
It was a hot day with no wind, a perfect day for a swim. The young man apparently cramped in the cold water.
This again brings me to warn anglers of the dangers of mountain lakes. On this very hot day with your body temperature so high, jumping in for a swim to cool off may not be such a good idea. The lake surface water at the time was 18° but there are lots of cold currents in mountain lakes. Sudden changes in body temperature can trigger cramps and even hyperthermia very quickly.
In December, another boat also capsized on Lake Jindabyne. This time there was no tragic result as the anglers were not far from shore but by the time the police boat was launched it may have been too late.
Unless more is done about emergency services on Lake Jindabyne and Lake Eucumbene, there will be more lives lost. At least have a boat on the water ready to go in case of an emergency.
Andrew Penny with a 2kg Brown trout caught trolling with a number 36 Steve Williamson personalised Tasmanian DevilReads: 1996