Winter fishing is very relaxing for the simple reason there are fewer anglers around! You can go out and find a nice spot for your bait rods, preferably on a sunny bank, where you can put your feet up and have a nice cup of tea.
Not having other anglers surrounding you can be extremely rewarding both for your sanity and for your fishing. But of course, the weather is not always nice and sunny; in fact it can be quite wet, very windy and freezing cold. One of the most important rules for everyone is to stay warm and dry. If you are going to fully enjoy winter fishing that’s the rule you must follow. At this time of year your thermal wool underwear, good jumpers, trousers and thick wind and waterproof jackets are your best friends.
When considering thermal clothing you must know is that if it gets wet wool always stays warmer when compared with synthetic fabrics, so it’s worth the expense. Try to stay out of the wind if possible because of the ‘wind chill’ factor, which in winter makes it a lot colder than the thermometer shows.
At this time of year it’s extremely dangerous to fall overboard, as the Lake’s water temperature is around 6–8 degrees Celsius. One thing to remember is that water freezes up here, so after you use your boat always lower your outboard motor and drain all the water out. With the normal overnight temperatures of 5–10 degrees below zero, if you don’t do that the water left in your engine is going to freeze and you’re not going to be able to use it the next morning. You’ll have to wait until the ice inside your cooling system melts and that will keep you away from your fishing – no one wants that!
This fishing season has been the best for a few years and the quality of fish is excellent. They are good fighters so you are going to have a lot of fun before netting them. The best trolling spots depend a lot on the lake level, but normally at this time of year we troll the banks of the main body of the Lake and deeper arms like Addicumbene Reach and Eucumbene Cove. Another good fishing spot during the winter months is Providence Arm because the browns and later the rainbows travel this way to the Eucumbene River for their spawning run.
Even in winter we still use both leadcoreline and flatline to work out what depth most of the fish are hanging out. We hope the late autumn rain will continue so we get the flow we need in the rivers and creeks for the spawning fish. Good colours to use on your Lofty’s Cobras or Tassie Devils are orange, pink and yellow or gold. Lofty’s numbers are 40Y, 48Y, 100Y, 36, 14, 24 and 66. The Tassie Devils to try are PPglow, 56, 53, 15, Y62, Y5 and Y89.
On the clear, crisp days that we experience at this time of the year, flyfishing in the Lake can be most rewarding. There can be some fantastic polarising in some of Eucumbene’s more protected bays and stealth while walking the banks is vital.
Some big fish are caught during this period of the year and usually they’re cruising no more than a few metres from the banks amongst the rocks and weed beds. Fish a slightly weighted Mrs. Simpson or a Mrs. Simpson on a 3ft fluro carbon leader and watch carefully – you can sometimes see the trout coming from quite some distance to hammer your fly. It’s a real heart stopper when this happens.
During most of the year the very best flyfishing in the Lakes generally occurs early in the day and then in the evening. For the next few months it’s not so important to fish at these ungodly hours and we can allow ourselves the luxury of fishing the middle part of the day and be back home with a couple of good fish by late afternoon when the temperature starts to drop.
Loch-style fishing is also excellent at this time of the year. Travel to some of the shallower bays in the Frying Pan Arm, the Buckenderra Rushy Plains area, Coppermine or Wangravelle and cast toward the shoreline or fish the wind lanes for best results. Don’t forget that with this style of fishing you’ll be fishing with leaders around 20ft so casting into the wind is an absolute ‘no no’.
Tantangerra also fishes extremely well during winter and again you can fish from the banks or loch-style from a boat. Be prepared for rapid changes of weather up here, and to have too much clothing is far better than not enough. For those who camp at Tantangerra good quality water and wind proof clothing is a must and a sleeping bag rated to -10 is a prerequisite. You won’t be surprised when we tell you that fridges or plenty of ice in an Esky is not a requirement at this time of year - in fact food and refreshments freezing overnight can be a real problem! Perhaps the only other prerequisite would be a good quantity of Lars’s Glögg, the recipe which appears later in this article. You can take it from Peter - it’s seriously good stuff and he can’t recommend it too highly.
During winter bait fishing is always good. A winning combination is grubs and orange powerbait under a running sinker. Here’s tip for your comfort: find a bank where you can park your car close to the water and you get the shelter you need during the windy, cold days. Good spots are Adaminaby Bay, Old Adaminaby, Anglers Reach and Dam Wall area.
Not all browns go up the rivers and creeks at the same time and the rainbows don’t spawn until September, so there’s plenty of fish to catch walking the banks. Some of the biggest fish caught during winter are caught this way. Winter can have some very windy days and I use the Snowy Minnow as it is small, heavy, streamlined and cuts through the wind. When conditions are calmer and I want to spin or troll, my favourites are Lofty’s Cobras and Tassie Devils.
For regular updates about fishing information in this unique area check the following websites:
To find out everything that Adaminaby offers:www.alpinetouristpark.com.au/adaminaby.html
Now here’s your very special winter treat and this is also for the readers who didn’t see this recipe when it was published in this excellent publication a year ago. This is the recipe for the world famous Swedish Glögg and it will really heat you up after a demanding, cold day’s fishing.
This recipe makes about one gallon of this fabulous drink, so there’ll be plenty for yourself and you’ll also be able to entertain your fishing friends well.
1.5L bottle of inexpensive dry red wine, 1.5L bottle of inexpensive Australian port, 1 bottle of inexpensive brandy or aquavit, 5 sticks of cinnamon, 1 Tablespoon cardamom seeds (must be seeds), 2 dozen whole cloves, peel of one orange, 1/2 cup raisins, 1 cup blanched almonds, 2 cups sugar.
1) This is very important: ONLY use stainless steel pots, don’t use aluminum or copper as they interact chemically with the ingredients. Pour the red wine and port into a covered stainless steel pan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, orange peel, raisins, and almonds.
2) Warm gently, but don’t boil as boiling will burn off the alcohol. Put the sugar in a pan and soak it with half the bottle of brandy. Warm the sugar and brandy slurry over a low flame. The sugar will melt and bubble until it becomes a clear golden syrup of caramelised sugar. (This caramelisation is crucial to developing our Glögg’s complexity.)
3) Add the caramelised sugar to the spiced wine mix. Cover and let it mull for an hour. Just before serving, strain to remove the spices and add brandy to taste (about ½ pint). You can serve it immediately, or let it age for a month or two.
Make sure the bottle is filled as high as possible and sealed tight if you are going to age it.
To serve Glögg, warm it gently over a low flame or in a crock pot, and serve it in a mug. Garnish it with a fresh orange peel, twisted over the mug to release the oils.
Comments: Try brown sugar if you wish. The orange peel garnish, however, is essential to the fragrance. Drink while seated and give your car keys to a friend!