High times on a low Lake Jindabyne

Winter in the Snowy Mountains is a glorious time to fish. Snow-capped backdrops, crisp fresh air, and hard-fighting salmonids! Since the stream season closed, I’ve been floating around many of the Snowy Lakes with family and friends. The one that is really starting to shine is Lake Jindabyne.

Like Eucumbene, Jindabyne is gradually dropping but still fishing well. After having quite stable high levels for a few years, the receding levels have revealed established weed beds, yabbies beds and drop-offs that us anglers would never have got a fly to just months ago. These varied and newly-exposed features are extremely fishy and exciting to prospect.

Low water has left the flats behind the spillway gates exposed.

The lake at it’s present level of 63%, offers a lot to the avid fly fisher. On calm days, I like to polaroid rather than search blind. This form of fishing is proving very effective. It’s exciting to spot a decent lake trout cruising along within casting distance, and then it’s up to you to set the trap and hope the fish takes a liking to your fly.

The sight fishing comes to an end off an ideal polaroiding bank as the cloud rolls in. But no problem – new opportunities await! 

On bleak days it’s not all over; in fact we’ve found the rougher the conditions, the better. Featureless flats that are usually devoid of fish, come alive on windy days when the wave action and discoloured water seems to attract the trout. These are what I call ‘happy fish’ and can be easily persuaded to eat by searching the water thoroughly with generalist wet flies like Woolly Buggers, Matukas and nymphs. Pay extra attention to any wind-lanes or froth lines you come across, as we often find multiple fish hanging around nearby – and the better ones too!

Waves crashing on to the shore only seem to help when prospecting with wets.

During winter, some big ex-brood stock Atlantic salmon and brook trout are released into the lake, providing an interesting and colourful change from the regular browns and rainbows; especially when some of the salmon are up to 7kg! This is an added reason to fish heavy leaders and tippets at Jindabyne at this time of year. I use a minimum of 3x to reduce the risk of heartbreak. Even among the ‘regular’ trout which are averaging around 3lb, there are some seriously big fish out and about at the moment.

A brownie caught while sight fishing.

So if you’re planning a trip to Jindabyne anytime soon, pack your polaroids as well as your rain jacket. Jindi in winter can serve up different weather every day, but with the right approach, the fishing can be successful regardless of the conditions.