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Poor snow means low lake
  |  First Published: September 2005



Spring has finally arrived and most of the trout have returned from their spawning runs but I am sure that there will still be a few late-spawning rainbows left in the Thredbo River, ready for the opening of the rivers next month.

Over the past Winter the snowfalls in the alpine region were a little disappointing, regardless of reports you may have read. The ski resorts again played the season up a little better than it was and in fact the snow depth was below average.

What this will mean for the fishing will depend on how much rain we get over the coming couple of months. At least with a lot of snow we can rely on a slow melt to feed the rivers and streams and keep the lake water levels rising at least until the end of November. Without snow we must have rain to keep our streams fishing well into the season.

TROUT MATTERS

On another matter, NSW DPI Fisheries has a discussion paper out on a review of saltwater and freshwater rules. The freshwater rules proposals affect local trout waters.

Proposal 1 Talks about reducing the number of trout water categories to just two. There would be a category for ‘fly and lure waters only’ and the second for ‘general waters’ which includes the use of bait. This is a positive step as the old categories were just too confusing.

Proposal 2 talks about a bag limit of five fish and a possession limit of 10 in all trout waters other than the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers.

This would be a great help to policing. As things stand, if you fished Tantangara Dam the limit is 10 per day and 20 in possession and then if you stopped off at Eucumbene or Jindabyne, you could be fined for having too many fish.

Having one set of rules does help eliminate that problem. But what if you went fishing on Lake Jindabyne in the morning and caught your bag of five fish and then went up and had a stop-off on the Thredbo River? Yes, you could be fined again for having too many fish.

It may be controversial but why not have five fish a day on the Thredbo and Eucumbene rivers as well? I only say that because I don’t personally believe that there would be too many anglers that would be able to catch five fish a day in the rivers and also, most anglers would release most river fish anyway. Worth thinking about?

Proposal 3 involves lifting the total closure of Khancoban Creek, Wildes Meadow Creek and Tumbledown Creek and manage them as fly and lure only, with a closed spawning season. This is another good move as I don’t believe that any stream or river should be closed because it again only confuses anglers.

Proposal 4 is another good change as it will allow three hooks per lure or fly line to allow for loch-style fishing in lakes. As The way I read the proposal, three-hook rigs will be allowed for lakes only – no rivers.

I think that the proposed changes are all good and should help stop some confusion but I am not sure whether that actually go far enough.

There will still be confusion over the Thredbo and Eucumbene rivers when they change the rules to ‘one fish over 50cm in May each year’. I have never agreed with this rule and see no reason why it was ever introduced.

Last May and early June I saw anglers catch fish they thought were over 50cm. They would play them out until the fish were exhausted and when they found they were undersize, they would release them, only to see the fish go belly-up and float downstream to die.

These fish would normally be kept, of course. I see absolutely no reason why the one fish over 50cm rule was brought in and there is absolutely no scientific reason for the rule, either. So why have it?

For far too many years the rules on inland waters, trout waters in particular, have been too confusing for anglers and I for one will continue to fight to have rules simplified so that anglers are no longer persecuted for their innocent ignorance.

If you haven’t seen the discussion paper, I suggest you get yourself a copy, have a read and let DPI Fisheries know what you think. You have until September 30 to do so. For further information you can contact fisheries on 1300 550 474.

SPRING PREDICTIONS

After what was a very low Winter water level, due to the work being carried out on the Jindabyne Dam wall, it will be interesting to see just how well the lake will fish over the coming months.

The rising water over new ground on our lake is great for fishing but if we don’t get rain then we might just be in for a lower than normal lake over the Summer.

With Spring now with us, the days are longer and a lot warmer and the fish will really come on the bite as the water rises over new ground.

With the water level rising the fish should come in close to the edges in the early morning and late evening in particular. Lures such as the Tasmanian Devil in gold No 36 will be the Spring-Summer favourite while the green and gold frog pattern No 50 is always reliable. The Gillies Spina or a Celta No 1 or No 2 and the green and gold are lures to use when the fish are in the shallows while the lake is rising.

Rushes Bay, Curiosity Rocks and Taylors Bay at Kalkite are great Spring fishing spots. The warmer water will make trout more active in their feeding habits so it’s not a bad idea to look closely in the shallow water to find cruising trout.

FLY FISHING

Spring is a great time for polaroiding fish (using polarised glasses to spot the fish in the water). Shallow weedy bays like Sids Bay, Hatchery Bay, The Claypits and Creel Bay at Waste Point are good locations and the best flies are Olive Nymphs and yabby patterns.

Again, look before you cast, there could be a trout cruising right under your feet.

Trolling is one of the easiest methods to catch trout in Spring because the fish are often cruising the shallows early in the morning so that’s where you have to fish. After sunrise, lead-core lines run at about two colours (20 metres out) will get about three metres deep with a Tasmanian Devil lure and you will need to troll in about four metres of water to get the bigger brown trout.

If you don’t have lead line, try the dual-depth Tasmanian Devil lure. You can’t go past the No 48 brown bomber early on and then No 36 yellow wings on the brighter days.

I mentioned a while ago the new E Chip lures from Pro Troll, which emit an electronic signal that simulates a wounded fish.

The E Chip lures I have been trying on the trout are the Trout Killer and the Kollonee Killer. These lures are catching quite a few fish and do work on days when the fishing is very hard.

There is no doubt that they are best used at a very slow troll or when using lead-core line or a downrigger.

There is also a Pro Troll E Chip salmon lure called a Stingfish, which looks like a very large Flatfish lure. This was effective on the large pre-spawn brown trout over last Winter and we will have to wait and see how they go over Spring and Summer.

The E Chip flasher, which looks similar to a dodger in shape, has been effective on the days when you need something to stir up the fish into action and there is no doubt again that when the fishing is hard, these attractors improve the catch rate. Well worth a try and I would be interested in hearing about how well they go for other anglers.

Soft plastics for trout have been another issue that we have previously talked about and we have come to the conclusion that trolled soft plastics are even better when accompanied by a set of attractors such as cowbells or ford fenders. The addition of a Wigglefin Action Disc will also increase your catch rate.

Last Winter I experimented with the PowerBait Micros 1” Power Nymph. When trolled behind some attractors like you would a mudeye, these little soft plastics have been fantastic and well worth having in your tackle box for the days when the fish are actively feeding. The best colour I have tried is the ‘toad’ colour.

Best areas to try are East Jindabyne Islands, The South Arm and Waste Point.

BAIT FISHING

With the water still cold, worms and Berkley’s PowerBait have been very effective at the moment close to the edges. The best PowerBaits at the moment have been the lemon, lime and orange twist. These float and are best fished off the bottom using a sinker. Areas to try include Hatchery Bay and Waste Point, but most shallow bays that have water covering new grass will attract the trout to feed in close. Remember not to scare the fish.

Bill Presslor will be my guest speaker at trolling clinics on October 22 and 23 and November 26 and 27, while there will be a beginner fly fishing school on November 19 and 20. Call in to my shop at the Snowline Centre in Kosciuszko Road next to the Shell servo for a full range of tackle and bait.

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