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Lake really isn’t that low
  |  First Published: December 2004



Lake Jindabyne has been fishing exceptionally well over the past couple of months and I see no reason why that should change soon.

The lake was very low over winter due to the construction of the new dam spillway and although we have had good snowmelt and rain over the past couple of months, the lake level is way down on its height of 2003.

This is because of construction of the coffer dam so that the road can be diverted over the temporary wall while a bridge is built. The lake water level may be lower than last year and it looks low to some because of the exceptional high level of last year, but in fact it is not too far off a more average level.

While this work has been happening to Jindabyne Dam, water has been diverted to Lake Eucumbene, which has been good because Eucumbene needed the water badly.

December is usually a mudeye month for anglers but again this year the fish seem to be mainly feeding off the bottom and there haven’t been the normal insect hatches to encourage the fish to rise. This may affect the flyfishing and only with a return to really hot weather will we see any change. You may remember last year the fishing was the same.

As we get to late December and early January, the lake surface temperature will be in the low 20°Cs, meaning that the best bank angling will be early and late in the day. That’s similar for the trollers, but they can extend their chances of catching a trout to later in the morning and earlier in the afternoon with deeper trolling methods like lead-lining and downrigging.

Fly anglers should also see much better dry-fly fishing on the rivers and streams by early January. So if the fishing is going to be great over the next month, what are going to be the best methods?

TROLLING

This will be the best and most consistent method of catching fish over the coming months but the early angler will catch the fish, so get out of bed and enjoy one of our beautiful Snowy Mountains sunrises.

Yabby-coloured lures like the Tassie Devil Holographic have been catching a few brown trout over the yabby beds. Look for the darker, muddier shores for the yabby beds.

Rainbows and salmon are taking gold or green/gold lures with Tassie Devil numbers 36, 50, S12 and 89 being good, with most of the ‘yellow wing’ lures also catching fish regularly. The best areas have been around Rushes Bay, Hatchery Bay, Hayshed Bay and over near Rainbow Beach Estate at east Jindabyne. Also keep a No 55 ‘pink sparkler’ Tassie Devil handy as on the odd dirty weather day pink has still been catching fish due to the late spawning season. This was the best lure the other day when it was raining.

Lead-core line will be a must to get the larger fish over the next month and if you have a downrigger, keep it handy for the really hot days when the fish go below the thermocline, which is usually about 10m down at this time of year.

For the bigger browns you will have to get out of bed very early and troll minnow lures close to the bottom. Best lures have been brown trout or pink Legends and StumpJumpers and Rapalas in gold and black and ‘perch’. The Rebel Crickhopper has also been great in the black and gold and the Baby Merlins in BM5 and BM6 are also very good. Anglers have also reported the addition of garlic PowerBait scent to lures has increased their catch rate.

FLYFISHING

The Thredbo River has been fishing well and there has been some good restocking by DPI Fisheries. A variety of dry flies will be used including mayfly and caddis patterns as well as the usual summer favourites like the Royal Wulff, White Moth, Yellow Humpy and the occasional wets like brown, black and olive nymphs. Call my shop for the current best fly patterns as these can change dramatically from day to day.

The fishing on the Mowamba River will be good for those who like to present a dry fly to rising trout. My favourite fly for this water is the Yellow Humpy. Remember the two fish per angler per day rule and, whenever possible, practise catch and release when fishing the smaller streams.

On the lake, you can’t go past flies like Williamson’s Goldfish, Mrs Simpson, Craig’s Nighttime or a mudeye pattern. Lake Jindabyne has also been fishing well with cruising fish seen in the shallows. Bays like Hatchery, Hayshed and Creel Bay have all fished well in the early morning and during the night.

SPINNING

Lurecasting is great this season on the lake and in the rivers. Keep to the lake early mornings and late evenings and try your luck down on the Thredbo River during the day. Minnow lures are favourites at the moment. Rainbow and brown trout patterns are always top colours but the following colours are also worth trying: Baby Merlins in BM5, BM6 and BM18; sinking Rapalas in the perch pattern; Legends in any colour that has red and orange; StumpJumpers in colours 42 and 43; Rebel Crickhoppers in orange or yellow.

Don’t forget soft plastics at this time of year in the rivers. These can be almost snag-free if rigged correctly, allowing you to fish them along the bottom for amazing results. It takes a little practice but when you get the hang of using them in fast-flowing rivers they can be deadly to the late spawning rainbow trout.

The best lures for the lake will be Tasmanian Devil numbers 23, 50, 48, and the Yellow Wing No 36.

BAIT

Baitfishing is a great way to introduce youngsters to catching trout. It is illegal to use bait in the rivers in this area but the lake is open year-round and the baitfishing can be great in summer, when the mudeye (dragonfly nymph) is a great bait to use – when you can get them. Suspending a mudeye about a metre under a bubble float and it is very hard for the fish to resist such a tasty morsel.

Worms off the bottom and a PowerBait dropper is the favoured rig at the moment. Worms rigged under a float have still been producing Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout.

In the artificial baits, the orange nuggets, lemon twist and corn PowerBait have been fantastic. Others have reported great success using the new Majic Morsel Trout Baits in aniseed and anchovy flavours. Also on the market and getting great rave reports are Marshmallow Baits, which float unbelievably well and can even hold up a medium-size scrub worm.

I also trialled some of Mike’s Floating Glo Bait last week for three fish in just half an hour. There is no doubt that these new artificial baits are more often than not outfishing real baits. One thing with the artificials – you can always have a range or colours and flavours ready in the tackle box and they last for ages as long as you keep the lids on tight.

Baitfishing is best in the early morning and late evening, with the trout usually heading for deeper water during the sunny days. Some of the better bays for baitfishing are Hatchery Bay, The Haven, Rushes Bay and Creel Bay.

With the success of my October and November trolling clinics, I have decided to run another course 19-20 February. Again, trolling expert and author Bill Presslor will join me as a lecturer. Places are limited to nine people and if you pay a deposit and mention on the booking sheet that you’re a VFM reader, you will receive a generous sponsors’ gift pack free. Cost of the weekend is $330 per person.

If you would like to know more about trout fishing the Snowy Mountains, like a lesson on one of the fishing methods or would like to join one of my tours, call me on 0408 024 436 or email me. For the latest fishing conditions please call my shop, (02) 6456 1551.

From all of us at Lake Jindabyne Trout Fishing Adventures and Steve Williamson’s Trout Fishing Shop, all the best for Christmas and I hope to catch up with you in Jindabyne for some great trout fishing.

CAP (PIC FROM NICK)

Ben Dark tempted this nice brown to take a fly on Lake Jindabyne.

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