AS THE river fishing season comes to a close on the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend, we can look back onto what was a very interesting season.
Very little rain over the past few months has meant the rivers remain a little low and anglers are still waiting for the first real run of spawning brown trout to happen. Some anglers would, of course, say that this is good because the fish are left alone to spawn undisturbed, but it is interesting that some people are so passionate about trying to protect a species of fish that is in record numbers.
We must also remember these fish are bred and stocked by NSW Fisheries into a managed fishery, for anglers who pay a fee for the right to catch them. Should there be a closed season at all?
Queen’s Birthday weekend is also the start of the ski season and Jindabyne is getting very busy with skiers. Most anglers are now hanging up their trout rods for a few months but in fact from it’s now is when the lake fishing just gets better and better. This year is predicted to be the ‘year of the monsters’.
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-guard. A well-presented fly or bait will catch you a big one, but there are also some good-size fish caught spinning and trolling. In fact the record size brown trout come mostly from trolling lures on those perfect, sunny Winter days.
Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in Winter: Sit back, relax and wait for the fish to bite. I know it’s boring for some but I cannot think of a better way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the snow-capped mountains and it’s especially relaxing if you have just had a hard morning on the ski slopes.
The best lures to use when trolling the lake for big trout in Winter are Tasmanian Devils in pink No 55, orange No 57 and brown No 48. Anglers who want a trophy brown might consider trying a small minnow lure like brown trout pattern Rapala or Legend.
Trolling minnows on three colours of lead-core line over weed beds in shallow, protected bays will often result in a strike that will almost stop the boat. You just have to be lucky enough to hang onto the rod at the time of the strike. I have lost count of the number of anglers who lose big fish because they think they are snagged.
Good areas for trolling this month are Creel Bay, the Snowy Arm, Hayshed Bay and Hatchery Bay.
When fly-fishing it is best to polaroid the edges of the lake – that is, use polarised-lens glasses to spot the fish moving around. This year we may see some early polaroiding as the lake level has been dropped for construction of the new dam spillway.
Due to that work on the dam, it may be a little hard to predict the best time to organise your polaroiding holiday. You may be best to keep in touch with me by phoning for the latest report.
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 the cold Winter nights. Something like a Brown Nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a shrimp pattern will get good results during Winter. Don’t forget my Williamson’s Goldfish when fishing the quiet, weedy bays. I’ve written plenty before about the big fish feeding on Jindabyne’s goldfish.
The best areas for Winter polaroiding are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sid’s 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 into the water late evenings after a hard day on the ski fields. Tasmanian Devils are probably the best lures to use and colours like pink No 55, Yellow Wing No 36 and brown No 48 work best at a slow retrieve. Good areas to try at this time of year are, the Snowy Arm and Creel Bay. And Wollondibby Inlet is excellent after rain.
Bait-fishing with worms has always been a favourite way of Winter fishing and brings 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 fished off the bottom using a running sinker.
Lemon Twist and Fluoro Orange PowerBait has been catching a lot of good trout over the past couple of months and corn nuggets usually work very well over Winter. A jar of each is highly recommended. Good areas to bait fish are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Taylors Bay.
Best of luck with your Winter fishing and if you’re coming down to Jindabyne over the next few months, call in and get the latest fishing information at my shop, shop 1 at the Snowline Centre on Kosciuszko Road, next to the Shell servo. If you would like to target some of our monster trout, give me a call on 0408 024 436.
Dennis Thompson - 1.5 kg Rainbow caught trolling 3 colours of lead core line on a number 36 Tasmanian Devil.
Ross Stephens 1 kg Rainbow trout caught trolling on a number 48 Tasmanian Devil Lure.
Rodney Buck caught this rainbow trolling a Steve Williamson-customised No 36 Tasmanian Devil.Reads: 547