HERE it is July already and Winter is really with us in the mountains.
The ski resorts are now in full swing and there are plenty of people about, making it a little harder to get local accommodation.
Work on the dam wall spillway is continuing and the lake water level is now quite low, but while it may seem a long way down to some people, in fact it is not really any lower than normal and is well within typical operational levels.
If you’re coming to Jindabyne from the Cooma side, just remember there are traffic delays of up to half an hour while blasting occurs on the dam wall. Mostly the blasting happens between 9am and 3pm Monday to Saturday, so if you intend to arrive during those hours it would be better to take a diversion from Berridale to Dalgety and into Jindabyne via the back road.
On the fishing front, anglers have been catching some excellent trout over recent weeks and, as predicted, all the fish have been in better than average condition.
Lake trolling has been fantastic, with plenty of rainbows being caught off the surface and some bigger brown trout taken off lead-core line over the weed beds.
Bait fishing is at its Winter best and you can catch fish all day long at the moment. Spinning is still better early and late in the day and we might have to wait until next month to get the best fly-fishing as the polaroiding is always better in August.
While the No 36 Tasmanian Devil lure has been the best on the sunnier days, there has been a move to the pink No 55 on some early mornings and it’s worth keeping one in the water. The No 48 Brown Bomber is catching some good-size brown trout, up to 3kg, when used off three colours of lead-core line.
I have also been trying the little Rebel Crickhopper in brown (F7394) and also green and yellow (F7356). This little lure, although more expensive, has certainly found a place in my tackle box, as it has been getting some excellent brown trout when trolled over the weed beds in the shallower bays.
For the soft plastic anglers, there are quite a few rainbow and brown trout patterns available now but the secret to catching trout on them is that you must give them some action. If you use the larger size 2 Action Disc just in front of the plastic, you will catch a lot more trout than you will without it.
Lead-core line is a must to get the larger fish over the next couple of months and, as we proved over the past week, the bigger fish are coming off the lead lines. The Tasmanian Devil Halographic is a great lure to represent the colours of the yabbies in the lake and has proven itself to be a taker of bigger fish when used just off the bottom.
Trolling minnows above weed beds is the way to catch the bigger browns and little 7cm Rapalas in black and gold and rainbow trout colours, as well as the Rebel Crickhoppers, Legend Lures, and small StumpJumpers, again in the same basic colours, will all catch fish.
But if you want to catch even more fish try adding an Action Disc in front of the lure. You may have to experiment a little with distance between lure and disc, but the general length is about 50cm to 75cm for best action.
For those anglers who worry about losing expensive lures on snags when trolling close to the bottom, I have just discovered how effective the Titanium Lure Savers are. These act like your split ring on the lure but when you snag a hook you just give a gentle tug on the line and the clip will open, releasing the hook – but you get the lure and ring back.
Make sure you match the line breaking strain to the ring but besides that they work well and will eventually save you a lot of money. Well worth the investment.
For trolling, Waste Point and the Eucumbene Arm of the lake have been fishing well, as have Hatchery Bay and Stinky Bay to target bigger fish over the coming month. We have been getting some good-size rainbows in Curiosity Bay.
Lemon, lime and orange twist PowerBait colours have been very popular at the moment. The next-best has been the rainbow nuggets. Also try the PowerBait Gulp Worms and 2” and 3” Grubs.
For the traditionalists, garden worms and scrubbies are still going to catch the bigger browns and you would be mad not to have a real worm in the water as well.
Areas that have bait-fished well at the moment have been Stinky Bay, Wollondibby Inlet, Widows Creek and Rushes Bay, and down at the Claypits has been good of a morning.
With the rivers now closed, you are best to concentrated on the lake’s bays early and late in the day and fish deeper water in the middle of the day
The best lake lures have been Tasmanian Devils in No 48 Brown Bomber and No 55, hot pink. Don’t forget the No 36 Yellow Wings if it’s sunny.
Fly anglers use polaroiding techniques during the Winter and cast just in front of the cruising trout. Spin anglers can do the same and, once you work out the trout’s ‘beat’, you can cast a floating minnow well in front of the fish. As it approaches, start your retrieve, allowing the lure to dive down to the fish.
This takes a little practice and you need to know what lure to use, but besides floating Rapalas, another lure to try is the Willy’s Wobbler put out by Producer Lures. These lures dive down very quickly and are almost impossible to snag, with just a single treble at the rear. Worth a try, at least!
In Winter I would rather spin the township end of the lake, where there are still plenty of fish feeding. Try bays like Wollondibby Inlet and Rushes Bay over at east Jindabyne.
On the lake there have been a few fish cruising the shallows in the weedy bays but the best is still to come, in August.
I have been using small green nymphs and have suspended them under an indicator and twitched the fly as I have been waiting for the fish to cruise by. This has been more successful as the fish have been very spooky.
The Williamson’s Goldfish, used near creek mouths and quite little inlets where the goldfish hang out, has also been fishing very well. Hatchery Bay, Hayshed Bay, Sid’s Bay, Curiosity Rocks and Rushes Bay are all fishing well at the moment.
I will hold a beginner’s fly-fishing school over the October long weekend to allow that extra day for people to travel home – or have another day’s fishing. The dates are October 2 and 3 and any NSW Fishing Monthly reader who books and pays before August 30 will receive a complete Gillies fly fishing outfit absolutely free if you mention NSWFM.
Brochures are available with itinerary and cost packages with accommodation. For tour bookings phone 0408 024 436 from 7am to 7pm or call me at the shop on 02 6456 1551, fax 02 6456 1342. You can also email me at the address on this page or visit [url=http://www.fishnet.com.au/snowyfish].
Greg Arnott and Colin Bird from Sydney with a couple of kilo rainbows caught surface trolling a No 36 Tasmanian Devil lure in Lake Jindabyne.Reads: 816