Now that the hot weather is here, early mornings and late afternoons will produce the best results.
While some dry-fly anglers who fish the rivers will do so in the middle of the day when the sun is high and polaroiding is at its optimum, many locals prefer between 7am and 11am and from 4pm until dark.
If there is insect activity on the water it’s generally between those hours.
The Murrumbidgee above Tantangara is fishing well and some good trout have also been landed in the lower reaches around Bolaro and up to Yaouk.
The Eucumbene River has been fishing really well and we expect that this will continue right through January, providing there is more rain.
Recently we ventured out onto the Eucumbene River for some quiet mid-week fishing and found vehicles parked the length of the river! We made a solemn promise not to praise the area or the fishing to much in future as it seemed to be becoming too popular.
We stopped to speak to a couple of groups of anglers from The Alpine Flyfishing Club in Victoria who had read some of our reports and decided to come and have a look.
They spent a most enjoyable week camping at Tantangara and then some of the group decided to spend some time fishing the river.
They spoke in glowing terms of the quality of the fishing and the magnificence of the area in general.
While Tantangara has been fishing really well over the past few months, fly fishing becomes a little more difficult as the weather stays warm for longer. So very early morning or late into the night will produce best results.
Fly fishing in Lake Eucumbene has been a hit-and-miss affair over the past month but should improve with increased insect activity. Over the next month or so, fly fishing the wind lanes from a boat with a two- or three-fly rig can prove enormously successful. More flyfishers should try this technique.
We recently mentioned one method of mending a flyline, the aerial mend, and it’s worth explaining.
It entails putting a bend or curve into the line while casting. This is achieved by making a normal cast and moving the rod either right or left and then back to the plane during the presentation cast.
How early or late you move your rod will determine where the curve is placed along the line. It’s a technique well worth learning and one that you need to practise on the water so that you can see how effective it can be and how, by landing the mend on a troublesome area of running water, your fly will drift downstream in a natural manner and not drag unnaturally.
Trout can’t resist mudeyes so if you can get your hands on cuda or spider mudeyes and fish them under a running float with a greased line, you’re not going to have any problem with catching fish.
Scrub worms or PowerBait in lime twist or lemon twist are always good for trout. They’re normally fished under a running sinker and are very successful year-round.
Good spots from the bank are: Adaminaby Bay, Old Adaminaby, Homeleigh Bay Wangrabelle Bay, Anglers Reach, White Rocks Inlet and Frying Pan Arm.
Our sacred trolling strategy is if the fish are not on the bite, just pour yourself a cup of coffee, take a big bite of your sandwich and we can almost guarantee that all your rods are going to go off at once. We’ll promise you that you’ll spill your coffee and drop your sandwich, but who cares?
In January you have to use overhead reels with lead-core line or downriggers to get the lures down to where the fish are. In the early morning and late evening you can get away with flatlining in some of our more shallow bays but, in general, two to six colours of lead line are needed during the warmer months.
Good lures include the Eucumbene Special and 3X from Lofty’s Cobra, and Sunburst S12 and Rowley’s Riot from Tassie Devil.
Best times to fish are early morning, late evening and after dark, when the trout get closer to the bank and into the more shallow parts of our many bays.
During the middle of the day they normally retreat to colder, deeper water so without a boat it’s pretty hard fishing. The exceptions to this are overcast, windy days when they seem to stay around the banks a lot more.
We have a local fisherman who always fishes after dark and does it differently from most others.
He uses a normal spinning rod but, instead of lures, he puts a bubble float half-full of water on the line and above the float attaches a few droppers with wet flies. He is very successful. For best spots see the bait fishing section above.
After lots of challenges the Lake Eucumbene Chamber of Commerce’s webcam is up and running. It’s a still camera and the picture is updated every 15 minutes. So check out conditions and get a visual on www.eucumbenechamber.org.au/fishing.html and then you can check the weather station at www.visitadaminaby.com.au/weather/details.html .
THE GADEN FIASCO
As part of the NSW Government’s cost-cutting program in mid-November, Treasurer Eric Roozendaal announced the closure of Gaden Trout Hatchery. Immediately Member for Monaro Steve Whan, president of the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers Steve Samuels and many others swung into action to overturn this ridiculous decision.
Fortunately this plan was put on hold but alternative strategies to achieve the savings required without jeopardising the hatchery have to be found. It was felt that there is genuine commitment by Fisheries Minister Ian Macdonald to keep Gaden open with the support of anglers and others in the community.
People in the fishing and tourism industries are amazed at the short-sightedness of this plan but it made us think about the importance of this hatchery, which annually stocks our lakes and rivers with hundreds of thousands of disease-free fingerlings vital for fishing to continue here.
The Government’s own research a few years ago determined the trout fishing industry is worth at least $70 million annually. The yearly cost of running the hatchery is around $780,000. Is the NSW Government serious about eliminating an industry that is worth over $70 million to this region to perhaps save a pittance? We think it’s time we saw a complete and accurate account of where our fishing licence fees go.
During a meeting with Peter and two other local fishing identities last February 12 the Minister for Agriculture and Primary Industries said neither he, his department nor the Government had any intention of doing anything that would place the Snowy Mountains trout fishing industry in jeopardy. We hope he intends to keep to these words.