As the river fishing season comes to a close on the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend, we can look back on what was a very interesting season.
Of course the drought had a major effect on most areas, the Snowies faring a little better than most, but then came the January bushfires which put a temporary stop to most of our river fishing. At least the predicted fish kills from ash into the waterways, were not much of a problem in these parts and indeed the good fishing never really stopped.
On the positive side, large burnt out areas allowed better access to the streams and I was able to fish areas that were previously inaccessible due to the large amount of riverside vegetation. If planning a trip to the mountains next Spring for a little river fishing, you will be able to explore and fish a larger area than previously.
I’m not sure why, but in late April and May we saw rainbow trout of more than a massive 3kg caught on the lake, with fish over 2kg common. I haven’t seen rainbows like that since the 1980s and one can only guess that the growth rate was due to the large amount of food in the lake over the past couple of years. A lot of the rainbows have been full of goldfish. What a fight these rainbows have put up!
With June here, Jindabyne is getting very busy with skiers, but that doesn’t worry me –while my business might slow down, I get more time to have a fish myself. I just love Winter fishing, it is the time of year you tend to catch monster trout. The lake fish have to work hard during the Winter to get a feed and that is the time when you can catch them off their guard. A well-presented fly or bait will catch the big ones but there are also some good fish caught spinning and trolling.
When fly-fishing it is best to polaroid the edges of the lake, that is, use polarised glasses to spot the fish moving around the edges. Polaroiding trout is best done on the sunnier days and that is the time I like to fly-fish the lake anyway. I never have gone much on fly-fishing when it is snowing or during Winter nights.
A fly like a brown nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a shrimp pattern will get good results. Don’t forget my Williamson’s Goldfish when fishing the quiet weedy bays. Remember what I said earlier about the big rainbows feeding on goldfish? The best areas for winter polaroiding in Lake Jindabyne are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake.
Spinning from the shore is another method that works well during Winter and you will often see people throwing lures late in the evening after a hard day on the ski fields. Thank God fluoro ski suits have gone out of fashion –as those brightly-coloured suits made anglers stand out a mile on the lake shore and I’m certain the trout could see them, too.
Tasmanian Devils are probably the best lures to use in colours like pink No 55 and brown No 48 at a slow retrieve. Good areas to try are the Snowy Arm and Creel Bay, while the dam wall is excellent after rain.
Bait-fishing with worms has always been a favourite way of Winter fishing and that method does bring results, although it can get cold waiting for the fish to bite. When worm fishing, use plenty of tiger worms or a single scrub worm and fish them off the bottom using a running sinker. Good areas to fish include Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Taylors Bay.
Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in Winter Sitting back in the sun and waiting for the fish to bite may be boring for some but I cannot think of a better way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the snow-capped mountains, especially if you have just had a hard morning on the ski slopes.
The best lures to troll in Winter are Tasmanian Devils in pink No 55, orange No 57 and brown No 48. For minnow lures, then try the Legend Lures Steve Williamson’s Trout Minnow, available in shallow (5 feet) and the deep-diver. Good areas to troll this month are Creel Bay, the Snowy Arm and Hatchery Bay.
I will be down at Merimbula until about June 20. I’m looking forward to giving you a report on how I go with my few weeks’ holiday on the South Coast estuaries. I have some new soft plastics to try out. So far I have been catching lots of flatties and bream, but more on that in the August issue.
When I return I will be available for bookings so if you are down in the mountains and would like to catch a trout, give me a call on 0408 024 436. We supply all the necessary tackle on all of our trolling and fly-fishing trips.
Luke Taylor of Moss Vale with a high-jumping rainbow caught on a yellow wing No 36 Tassie Devil.
Simon Tosh of Melbourne caught this 2.6kg rainbow at Waste Point, where there should also be some good browns this month.
Luke Taylor of Moss vale, left, with a rainbow, and his Dad, Rick, with a well-conditioned brown trout.Reads: 465