Autumn Jindabyne

 

A sense of expectation

A sense of expectation

Autumn is a great time for a trip to the lakes. Water temperatures are falling and the fish are livening up as they feed to get condition before spawning.  There are two things I really watch when boat fishing Snowy Lakes. The first is the weather, the second, lake levels.  Weather issues are primarily about safety, and second about when and where I’ll fish. I like to see wind strength less than 10 km/hour, ideally around 5 km/hour.  Enough to get food moving off the land and across the lake; not enough to mess up nice steady boat drifts. Just enough to keep the boat moving in a nice controlled way. Overcast is pretty much always better than full sunshine. Intermittent drifting cloud cover can be excellent. With cooler weather coming, a steady breeze and cloud cover can push down surface temperatures which can also help fishing a lot. Don’t expect good wind lane fishing on the Snowy Lakes, the winds swirl too much. Good wind lanes need a steady direction. I don’t watch the barometer too much. Some people say a falling barometer puts the fish down. That is clearly not always the case. I am a firm disciple of “west is best” when it comes to wind direction.

James on bow

I like lake levels to be steady or rising. Rising is best, it brings the fish to the bank looking for food on new ground. My experience is that a falling lake moves the fish offshore and makes them sulky for a day or two.

So a recent trip to Lake Jindabyne had me watching the weather and lake levels and not particularly liking what I saw.  The lake has been at 80 to 81% from August to November last year steadily rising to 84% through December and holding through to March.  Now it’s at 81%, falling steadily for the last 3 weeks. The wind was going to be strong and from the east, or north east.  James and Jess were driving down from Sydney and meeting me in town for an afternoon and evening session. With the 20 km/hour breeze forecast to ease off into the evening I was optimistic on that front.  The falling lake level and full sun sky, well we’d just have to deal with them.  My reconnaissance trip showed plenty of hoppers around the bank, and mud eye shucks in the scrub around the bank, but not much surface activity. They stayed overnight in Canberra but had a delayed start with a flat battery and it was well into the afternoon before we finally got going.

Rainbow at the boat

The wind swirled around the headlands and bays and even though James in particular had a strong cast we struggled to cover the fishy water properly even using the electric to nudge the boat into the best bay spots – at times we were bobbing around like a cork in the ocean.  We headed north west to find some more favourable water to drift through and picked a nice bay near Waste Point where we managed a steady drift through 2 to 5 metres of water. As the afternoon passed into early evening the wind dropped away, but still not much more than an odd swirl or tap on the fly. We started to see some small fish move against the shore before James eventually (and thankfully) hooked up – perseverance pays.  Without much surface bug activity there wasn’t a lot of science to the technique.  We stripped woolly buggers with a stick caddis on the dropper for the hang and it felt like it should have fished a lot better than it eventually did – full of prospect but short on action. Definitely warrants some further attention.

Small rainbow

Tight tippets all

Steve (Snowy Lakes boat charters http://nakedtrout.com.au/stuff/charter/)