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Lake Looks Up
  |  First Published: June 2010



Anglers fishing Lake Jindabyne in July will see a totally different lake than in 2009; water levels are much higher and there are no hassles launching large boats.

Boat fishers are doing well with some very big brown trout caught over recent weeks, but keep close to the shore and troll over the weed beds very early for best results.

It’s great to see that Snowy River Shire Council have cleaned up the parking area around the boat ramp and have widened the top of the ramp to two lanes, which will be great for the peak season later this year. The money for this work was part of the NSW Maritime grant.

The lake level has been relatively stable. This has kept the weed beds, where trout feed, just within a good casting distance from the shoreline. Land-based anglers are having a great time catching fish at the moment.

As the lake has remained much higher this winter, we should see some good water levels this coming season. Predictions are the level next spring will be much higher than in recent years, but just how high will depend on how much snow or rain we get over the next few months. This is great news for next season as the water will head over newly covered ground and the fishing should be fantastic.

July is when Jindabyne is packed out with snow skiers and most of the accommodation is either booked out or very expensive. However, since you don’t need to get out of bed early to catch a trout in winter, you can always stay in towns close by for a much more reasonable rate. Cooma, Berridale and Dalgety all offer great venues.

Also this month we start to see some very big Atlantic salmon caught on Lake Jindabyne. Some of these fish are hatchery release brood that are beyond their used by date. Each year Gaden Trout hatchery release a few big monsters after they have been stripped of eggs for the hatcheries breeding program.

Besides the Atlantic salmon you also have a very good chance of catching a brook trout. Some of the bigger specimens are also hatchery released fish and you could catch one just over 1.5kg if you’re lucky.

At this time of the year it doesn’t matter what method of fishing you are doing, just remember the fish are close to the edges so don’t cast out too far.

Baits on the lake bottom or suspended under a float will catch trout as they cruise by. If you’re fly fishing or spinning with lures, be aware that you need to slow down your retrieve and leave the fly or lure in the fishe’ face longer.

Soft plastics have really started to have an impact in trout our waters. More and more anglers are experimenting now, and the most successful plastics are the Squidgy 65mm Wrigglers in colours golden eye, rainbow trout and bloodworm; and the Berkley Gulp 2” minnow pink and pumpkinseed colours and the 3” watermelon or smelt patterns, which are especially good over the weed beds on the lake.

The key to trolling in winter is to go a lot slower than you would in summer. It will definitely increase your catch rate.

July is also when most of the snow is on the mountains and the weather can change very quickly, so always check for any major changes before heading out in a boat. It only takes minutes for the lake to go from mirror flat to over metre-high waves and 100km/h winds. So keep safe – wear a life vest or at least have one handy. It only takes on gust of wind or a mate standing up and overbalancing and you could all be in the water.

Trolling

Trolling is one of my favourite ways to catch trout in winter; sit back relax and wait for the fish to bite.

The best lures to use when trolling the lake for big trout are jointed Rapala in various colours as it seems that the action is what the trout like most. Tasmanian Devil lures in pink 55, orange 57 and brown number Y48 are the best on the rainbow trout. Y82 and holographic are also worth a try.

Remember slow is good when the water is cold and the fish are sluggish.

Trolling flies off fly lines (harling) is also very productive in winter, and trolling flies on lead core lines during the middle of the day produces some big browns if you stay just over the weed beds. We have some flies in my shop that are designed for trolling and can be dynamite over the weed beds on the lake.

Good areas for trolling this month are the South Arm, the Snowy Arm, East Jindabyne islands and Hayshed Bay.

Because the lake is at a much higher level this year, fly fishing has been excellent and the weed beds are close to the shore. You will see fish cruising if you have your Polaroid glasses on.

Polarising trout is best done on the sunnier days, which is the time I like to fly fish the lake anyway. I’ve never really gone fly fishing when it is snowing or during the cold winter nights.

A well presented fly, something like a brown nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a well presented shrimp pattern will get good results during the winter months. Don’t forget my Williamson’s Gold Fish when fishing the quite weedy bays.

The best areas for winter Polaroiding in Jindabyne, are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sid’s Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake.

Spinning

Spinning from the shore of the lake is another method that works well during winter. Tasmanian Devils are probably the best lures to use in the middle of the day and colours like pink number 55, yellow wing number 36 and brown number 48 work best at a slow retrieve.

As mentioned earlier, there are also a variety of soft plastic that work better when the fish are off the bite and this is possibly due to the smell that is impregnated into these products.

Good areas to try at this time of the year are The Snowy Arm, Creel Bay and Wollondibby Inlet is excellent after rain.

BAit

Bait fishing is also a very productive method of fishing in winter and simple rigs work best. Worms and Berkley Powerbait has always been a favourite way of winter fishing and it really does bring results. When worm fishing, use plenty of tiger worms or a single scrub worm, and fish them off the bottom using a running sinker.

Orange and lemon twist and fluoro orange Powerbait have been catching a lot of good size trout over the last couple of months and usually works very well over winter; a jar of each in the tackle box is highly recommended. The newer jars of Gulp Powerbait are said to be specially formulated, and the rainbow candy and chunky cheese flavours are the most popular at the moment.

As the fish move about the lake over winter there is no particular spot better than another, however, as a general rule fish shallow water early and late and slightly deeper water in the bright sunny parts of the days, but not too deep!

Best of luck with your winter fishing and if you’re coming down to Jindabyne over the next few months, why not call in and get the latest fishing information at Steve Williamson’s Trout Fishing shop 1 ‘Snowline Centre, Kosciuszko road (next to the Shell Servo).

I run fishing tours right through winter so why not come and catch a monster trout or Atlantic salmon on Lake Jindabyne.

July Best Bets

Best method:Bait fishing
Best depth:Bait off the bottom
Best lake lure:Tasmanian Devil in pink 55 or holographic
Best lake area:East Jindabyne islands and the South Arm
Best fly method:Black Woolley Bugger on the lake
Best river:Rivers re-open on Saturday 3 October

The lake level is now 56% (last year it was only 46%) so launching boats should be no trouble at all.

Lake Temperature is 8ºC and dropping, especially at night.

1

Sam Kay from Millthorpe with a 3.75kg Atlantic salmon caught on a gold Celta on Lake Jindabyne.

2

Scott Munro with a 1.5kg brook trout caught spinning with a Steve Williamson custom black and gold Tasmanian Devil near Discovery Holiday Park Jindabyne .

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