The holiday rush is over, kids are back at school and now is the time to get down to the mountains for a peaceful session on the trout.
This month the weather usually starts to cool down a bit and the edge bite in the lake starts to improve, so land-based anglers should do much better.
Last month we saw a sudden drop in the lake over a couple of days while water was released down the Snowy River for an environmental flow. Funny how it was Australia Day and funny that the so-called ‘environmental release’ was out of normal season!
Reports are there will also be another release of water into the Snowy River later this month as well.
That will mean that the lake will drop suddenly again and we may be down near 50% by the end of February.
The biggest problem in the lake over the last month or so has been the amount of weed on the surface, mainly brought about by powerboats chopping it up as they race around the lake.
The Australian water ski speed and marathon event last month didn’t help the weed problem, either.
The floating weed was an issue when surface-trolling lures but if you worked out which direction the wind was blowing and fished the other side of the lake, the problem wasn’t as bad.
However, if you were downrigging, you didn’t have a weed problem since the best fishing was at 35 feet, anyway.
In February, the rivers are often at their lowest, mostly dependent now on rain to keep up a decent flow, but that doesn’t mean that the fishing is bad. In fact, the dry fly fishing is still excellent.
We are still having plenty of fun catching trout and whatever type of trout fishing you do, you are going to have a great time over this next month or so.
The lake stayed a little cooler this year, due to storms and cooler weather and that has been good for surface trolling early in the day, but you still need downriggers later in the morning.
Lead line trolling has been excellent and this should continue over the next month or so. Try two colours (20m) early and three colours (30m) later in the morning.
The Tasmanian Devil No 50 frog pattern is always good in February and No 36 yellow wing has by far been the best overall lure over the past month. My new black/gold Tasmanian Devil has been very good for downrigging.
As the water cools further, bring out the No 55 pink panther. We have even had overcast January days when this colour has been best.
Good trolling areas this month will be Hatchery and Hayshed bays. Sids Bay to Rushes Bay will fish best early in the day for big brown trout.
Best spinning has been on the lake but fish are still being caught in the Thredbo River on small floating Rapalas. Best lake spinning will be early and late in the day where there are steep drop-offs with plenty of rocks.
Bays like Creel, Hatchery and the Snowy Arm all fish well. As the sun rises, change to a Tassie and cast further out over drop-offs, letting the lure sink before you retrieve slowly.
Best areas have been down at the South Arm or near Banjo Patterson Park.
On the Thredbo River, a variety of lures will work but the best will be small bladed spinners like the Gillies Spina or No 1 or No 2 Celtas.
Bait fishing will improve over this month. Mudeyes and worms under floats will still be best.
If you can’t get mudeyes, try tiger worms under a float and let the waves move it about or if there’s no wind, wind it in very slowly with a pause every turn of the handle.
Another bait worth suspending under a float is the old faithful grasshopper. You don’t often see them used much these days but they work a treat and there are plenty about at the moment.
You might need the kids with a butterfly net to help you collect the bait.
Best bait fishing areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Rocks. Another great area is the bottom of Discovery Holiday Park near Widows Creek Inlet.
Some of the best lake fly fishing is during coming months as the water cools. With so much weed around the edges of the lake we should see some big fish caught.
Try any of the streamer patterns such as Mrs Simpson and Williamson’s Snowy Mountains Gold Fish. Olive green nymphs and shrimp patterns are also worth a try.
The South Arm, Creel Bay and Kangaroo Bay are all great.
The Thredbo River will improve as the days get cooler but there is still plenty of dry fly fishing for another month or so yet.
The Alpine streams are still looking OK and plenty of small fish are being caught on dry fly.
Fly selection is not too critical in these streams but placement is. Otherwise you just scare all the fish.
We are looking good for at least some great lake fishing over coming months, so get your gear together and come on up!
If you’d like some personal guiding, I will be available for fly tuition and lake trolling. Lessons can be from two hours and trolling trips from 3 hours to a full day. For the latest in fishing conditions call me on 02 6456 1551 or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au.
This month’s hot tips
Best method: Trolling.
Best depth: Downriggers at 35 feet
Best lure: Tasmanian Devil No 36 yellow wing or black/gold
Best area: – Deep off Lion and Cub Islands.