What a year it’s been!
  |  First Published: December 2003

THE JANUARY bushfires had a dramatic effect on tourism in the Snowy Mountains and the drought didn’t help, but by the time Autumn came, we were back to normal with some excellent fishing.

However the people still stayed away, thinking that the rivers and lakes were badly affected and the fishing was not worth worrying about. Well they were wrong, but by the time Winter had arrived, a lot of businesses were already in trouble. Good Winter rain and snow helped the area recover and by November, Lake Jindabyne was at an abnormally high level of 90% and the fishing was fantastic.

Water was covering new ground and the fish were in close to the edges with all methods working well. Unfortunately, the cold weather kept the lake temperatures very low. The rain and snow fed the rivers and streams to an extent that the fast flow made fly-fishing especially difficult. While that may sound bad, the fact is the best fishing is yet to come, because with so much snow still on the mountains we are now assured of some of the best Summer river fishing the area has seen in years.

The snowmelt will ensure that the mountain springs feed the streams well into next March and fly-fishing, in particular, will be fantastic.

For those planning a trip to the mountains this December or January, remember the seasons are about a month later this year and, in comparison with last Summer, probably more like two months. The lake water is also colder than normal and with the very high lake level in Jindabyne, it will help the fishing for the next couple of months.

By the time you read this the Snowy Hydro will have started up the pumps in readiness to drop the lake’s water level so they can construct the new dam spillway and power station. The lake will be taken down to minimum operational level by early next year but don’t worry, this will not affect the fishing. The level they are talking about is only what we normally experience in the middle of Winter, anyway.


Spinning from the shore should be productive early and late in the day and the best Summer Tasmanian Devil colours are gold No 36 ‘yellow wings’ or green and gold ‘frog’ pattern No 50. The best spinning areas should be those near the rocky points, spots like the dam wall, Curiosity Rocks and even right in front of Banjo Patterson Park near the Bowling Club.

For fly fishing, places like Hatchery Bay, The Claypits and Creel Bay at Waste Point are good locations. The best flies to try are black Woolly Buggers and yabby patterns.

As we get into later December, the rivers will start to fish well with dry flies such as grasshopper patterns and beetle patterns. We will also see a start to dry-fly fishing on the smaller streams like the Mowambah, with Royal Wulff and caddis patterns the best flies to try.

Surface trolling will be extended this year, with the water still cool enough for the fish to stay on the surface, so surface trolling lures will be very productive until at least late December. You can’t go past the Tassie Devil No 36 ‘yellow wings’ to catch its fair share of Jindabyne trout. If the day is very sunny and bright, try lead-core line at three colours (30 metres) and fish the deeper water near rocky areas. If you don’t have lead-core line, try using a dual-depth Tasmanian Devil. When rigged correctly these lures will dive to four metres but watch your speed – keep it slow so the lure won’t spin instead of wobble.

Over the next few months, the best areas to try are East Jindabyne Islands, the South Arm and the Waste Point area. I have been fishing the township end of the lake for the past month, concentrating on the shallower bays early in the morning and then moving out to deeper water as the sun gets higher. The yellow wing Tassie has been by far the best lure.

For those keen on bait fishing, mudeyes have been excellent for a few weeks now but worms are also good. Bardi grubs are another popular bait for catching trout. They are best fished off the bottom using a sinker. Because there is little in the way of insect activity over the cooler months, trout mainly feed off the bottom of the lake.

Areas to try with bait are Hatchery Bay and Waste Point, but most shallow bays that have water covering new grass will attract the trout to feed in close. Remember in these areas be careful not to scare the fish.

Whatever method you use you are sure to enjoy a very relaxing day on the lake. I’d like to wish all readers the very best Christmas and New Year from all of us at Lake Jindabyne Trout Fishing Adventures, and don’t forget that if your in the area, please call into my new shop at the Snowline Centre, next to the Shell servo, and say hi. We will have the very latest fishing report waiting for you. If you would like to join me on one of my boat charters, just give me a call on 0408 024436. I fish seven days a week and would love to have you join me. For more information and prices just give me a call or log onto www.fishnet.com.au/snowyfish


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