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Browns enter the river
  |  First Published: May 2010



In May we saw some reasonable rain in the mountains, which at times triggered some early brown trout spawning runs up the Thredbo River.

There are still quite a few fish cruising around and anglers are having some good success on lures and flies.

You must firstly remember that on the Thredbo and Eucumbene rivers there is always a change of rules from May 1 until the rivers close on the Monday night of the June long weekend, this year June 14.

The rule allows for only one fish over 50cm per day to be kept and only two fish allowed in possession.

This controversial rule was put in place to protect the spawning brown trout but unfortunately, when you manage to catch a trout, how do you tell if it’s over 50cm and unfortunately anglers are playing out the fish until it is near death. By the time the fish is landed, measured, photographed and then released, the trout usually goes belly up and floats away downstream.

Even if they do manage to slowly swim off, they still often belly-up soon afterwards.

So what’s the answer? I don’t know. Land all fish caught as quickly as possible, I suppose, so that they can be released as quickly as possible.

There are some purists who would like the rivers closed to fishing altogether from May 1 but I think that’s pretty stupid when trout are a managed species bred solely for the purpose of fishing and to tell the truth, if I had my way I would open the rivers to fishing even longer. But that is an argument that needs a lot more angler support to see it happen.

This Winter Lake Jindabyne’s level will most likely be a lot higher than in previous years and at present is 10% higher than in 2009 – great for fishing and even better for launching boats, as there is still plenty of concrete at the Snowline boat ramp.

There also are some great weed beds holding plenty of feed for the trout, which can be found cruising the edges picking up yabbies, goldfish and the odd insect larva.

BAIT

The best bait fishing usually occurs when the weather is bad and that’s OK because fishing bait on the shore is possibly the most comfortable way of fishing in such the conditions.

During the day it can be an excellent way of catching a trout. You can fish all day during winter but don’t fish too deep because the fish often feed close to shore.

Tiger worms under a float have been good over recent weeks, especially close to the weed beds on the western side of the lake.

Scrub worms and PowerBait also work well in Winter, both fished off the bottom with a running sinker, just as you would in saltwater fishing. This method is best on the more open water on the eastern side of the lake, where you often get the biggest waves during windy days.

Remember to fish light and keep the reel bail arm open to let the trout run with the bait.

The newer Gulp series is performing well, as is the new P-Line Strike Bait, which is very similar to PowerBait but has some different colours and flavours that the trout have not seen before.

When using these artificial baits, a small ball just a little bigger than a pea on a small hook will catch more fish than big hooks and big baits. Gamakatsu do a fine wire hook called a single egg hook that’s great for PowerBait. Use a size 8 or 10 for Winter trout.

Best bait areas have been Wollondibby Inlet and Creel Bay at Waste Point and Stinky Bay, nearer to town. Remember, the lake is weedy but that’s where the fish like to hang out.

TROLLING

I like Winter fishing because you don’t have to get out of bed early to catch fish. Some of the largest of my Winter fish are caught in the middle of the day in the middle of the lake.

The best lures include Tasmanian Devils in pink 55 or orange 56, Y36 yellow wing for the sunnier days and Y48 early and late in the day or off three colours of lead-core line.

Jointed Rapalas similar to the ones we spin the lake edges with are worth a try and the bigger the better. We quite often troll 9cm and 11cm lures for the bigger fish.

There are still plenty of big fish at Creel Bay and if you know the bay and where the snags are, it is not too difficult to downrig some very big brown trout on those bigger minnows.

If you don’t have a downrigger then try putting a big Rapala onto four colours of lead core with another 20m of 20lb Dacron backing – this will get you down to where the bigger browns are holding. Troll slowly, at about 2kmh.

Other good areas to troll are in the shallow bays like Hatchery Bay and Hayshed Bay, while Sids Bay at East Jindabyne is also a favourite as it is a weedy bay with lots of food for trout.

SPINNING

Spinning is best early in the morning and it’s often hard to get out of bed, but you may have to suffer the cold.

In Winter smaller 7g Tasmanian Devils are best. You can also cast small bladed spinners like No 1 Celtas and Gillies Hoppers in the shallow weedy bays; I like gold or red.

Soft plastics are also worth a try and Squidgy Wrigglers in rainbow trout colour are going great.

Soft plastics work best for trout for trout in Winter. Flick them out and work them slowly through the snags and above weed beds when the lake is low. A boat is a big advantage.

Another lure worth a throw is the 3” StumpJumper, especially in pink.

Jointed Rapalas with a little bit of orange on the belly will get the trout to take notice. Work these jointed minnows like a wounded fish for a lot more strikes.

FLY FISHING

June and July on Lake Jindabyne would have to be the hardest and coldest months for fly fishing.

The best action occurs when the browns start to return from spawning in late July and cruise the edges. You may still find plenty of rainbow trout in the weed but they can be hard to catch, especially from the shore because they tend to be spooky.

If you are a reasonable fly caster, you will be able to polaroid these rainbows. Cast a fly a couple of metres in front and wait until the fish moves towards the fly before giving it a little twitch or a little strip of 10cm or 20cm.

Less talented casters can target these fish by suspending a nymph, using an indicator to hold it off the bottom.

Move the nymph very slowly, a twitch every now and then, to keep the fly ‘alive’. Don’t take your eyes off the indicator because the trout will often take the fly very gently, just sucking it in.

With the low lake, the better Jindabyne polaroiding bays are Creel, Hayshed and Hatchery bays, Mill Creek Inlet, The Claypits, and the Snowy Arm.

For more up-to-date information on Winter trout fishing on Lake Jindabyne, call in to my shop at Discovery Holiday Parks Jindabyne next to the Shell servo, phone 02 6456 1551. I operate guided tours throughout Winter.

Facts

JUNE BEST BETS

Lake temperature: 12° and dropping
Best method: Worms under a bubble float
Best depth: 1m to 2m
Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil pink No 55 or Y48.
Best lake area: East Jindabyne Islands, Creel Bay at Waste Point.
Best fly: Hammill’s Killer on the lake.
Best river: Rivers close June 14, reopen October 2.

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