Welcome to the start to another great trout fishing season in the Snowy Mountains. The rivers are open to fishing from October 4 and they are in great shape after what was a reasonably good snow season.
At least there is more snow on the mountains to melt than there was last year.
The rainbow trout spawn run in the Thredbo River is just about over but there are still some fish to be found and you can bet that when the river reopens, the trout will be attacking lures and flies with a vengeance.
Last winter we saw the level of Lake Jindabyne fall to the lowest on record. You could even 4WD out to Lion Island from the Claypits!
This was interesting because it allowed me to photograph some of the shorelines and check out just why we catch fish in certain areas. The huge yabby bed near the Claypits is just one reason why we catch so many huge brown trout trolling over that area.
Structures that we could never see before were out of the water and it’s been a great chance to mark some special spots on the map so we can fish them when the water returns.
The lake is rising quickly with the snowmelt and now is the time to get down to the mountains to experience some of the great fishing. The water is around 11° and the fish are happy to feed on top early and late in the day.
Let’s look at the different methods to catch them.
Trolling has been excellent lately and should continue or improve as the lake continues to rise. A very cold finish to Winter will affect the fishing as well.
The usual technique is to flatline troll the shallows at first light and then move out into deeper water with 20m to 30m of lead-core line out to extend the action into late morning.
The best lures early will be small minnows trolled over the weed beds on long drop-backs and lighter mono or braid, to keep them as deep as possible.
Rapalas, StumpJumpers and Rebel Crickhoppers are just a few worth trying. Choose darker colours early and brighter colours later on. Brown trout and rainbow trout patterns in all the above brands of lures are best for this.
If you just want a feed of rainbow trout you might be best to troll Tasmanian Devils close to the edges, but not as close as if you were targeting browns. Weaving the boat will put a little variation in the lure action and result in more hook-ups.
The best early colours will be darker, with the number Y48 yellow wing red nosed brown bomber and No 94 a little later as the sun is about to rise over the horizon.
After the sun hits the water, change to a No 36, a Y82 yellow wing or my Red nosed yellow wing and get the lure lower into the water with lead-core lines or downriggers.
Remember, there are still plenty of those monster ex-brood Atlantic salmon in the lake and October is the time to catch one of these beauties. There is really no special place or lure colour, you just have to be in the right spot at the right time.
It’s already been a great season for spinning the lake edges. With the water level rising over new ground, there are plenty of trout biting with early and late in the day around the edges.
I think the reason has been the relatively stable water levels over the past 12 months with only a couple of metres’ variation, and this has helped the weed beds stabilise.
In the middle of the day you can still catch a fish if you work the deeper drop-offs and allow the lures to sink a little before retrieving. Tasmanian Devils have been best for this method because they sink quite quickly to any depth you want.
Some of the Berkley Gulp baits are catching trout when you retrieve them like a lure and I am sure it is the smell that attracts the trout.
The Thredbo River still has a few late-spawning rainbows which are a lot easier to catch early in the day. Gold Celtas or Gillies spinners and a variety of minnow lures are catching their fair share.
I like the jointed Rapalas that you can work with a slow, stop-start retrieve through the pools and undercut banks.
Remember, no bait fishing is allowed in most Snowy Mountains rivers. Always check the rules before using bait in rivers or streams to avoid hefty fines and check with DPI Fisheries on the legalities of using artificial products like Berkley Gulp baits in their various forms.
Lake bait fishing has been excellent for months. At some time of day the fish are coming on the bite and you just need a line in the water to catch them.
Worms are best for brown trout while the new Gulp models are great for rainbow trout and salmon.
This year it is going to be even harder to get live bait and if tackle stores do have mudeyes and bardi grubs, you are going to be paying top dollar.
If you want to catch a big brown trout then the best baits are still going to be bardi grubs or scrub worms fished with greased line to float it and prevent it sinking into the weed and getting caught up.
We are going to be in for an interesting fly season. While the is rising it will fish very well.
When the days warm up and as we get a few more insects hatching, we may get some good early morning rises.
The best flies have been small shrimp patterns and olive nymphs and it’s been better to fish these slowly under an indicator.
Spotting fish around the edges is possible at the moment but fish have been spooky so far this season.
On the streams, the fishing has been good with brown and green nymphs best.
The Thredbo River will produce some fish on nymphs and Glo Bugs in the faster water and on warmer days there will also be a little dry-fly fishing with Royal Wulffs and Humpies worth a try.
Let’s hope the season experiences regular rain to freshen up the streams and cool the water.
It’s not too late to sign up for my beginner fly school on October 18 and 19. Don’t forget my readers’ special of a free fly rod, just mention of Fishing Monthly to be eligible.
My trolling clinic on November 22 and 23 covers everything from boat set-up to downrigging but is limited to only six people. For any information call 02 6456 1551, email me or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au .Reads: 565