Snowies update – lake winter rolls on; river season dreaming

The Magic Carpet – takes you to the places others can’t reach!

Good news for skiers, the season has been extended to mid-October on a two metre base of the white stuff. Even better news for we long-suffering winter fishers, is that the spring melt will be bigger and last longer. Woo hoo!

The stream opening day may have come and gone in Tasmania, and opening in Victoria is coming fast on 1 September, but in NSW we have to wait another month again.

By that time I will have been in Tonga, Fiji and Fiji again, and had at least one good trip to the mountains to check out the lakes. But on the October Long Weekend, barring unforeseen circumstances, my better 3/4’s will be in Sydney and I’ll be fishing. Mornings for the rivers, afternoons for the lakes. Get out of my way!

I read editor Weigall’s Stream post about fishing in the snow with his Simms gloves. To be frank, I always thought warm functioning hands were over-rated until I saw how really amazing they were and how little he whinged about the cold in those bitter, blizzard, and snow-laden days. Pink warm hands didn’t stop him whinging about my inability to press the shutter on the camera, having only my old waterlogged neoprene fingerless-evaporative-hand-coolers on! The more the wind blew, the faster they cooled down. Note to Santa!

This week’s trip – still bitter in even a light wind.

Anyway, suckers for punishment as we are, photographer Mark Kelly and I took the boat (aka the Magic Carpet) for a spin at the end of last week and got into some wonderful lake water, and some nice fish. I also found time for a good poke around the shoreline on Eucumbene.

Close up of Mark’s “Secret Sauce” – should see mark II: Secret Chilli Sauce”!

My lake of choice on the right weather day – low westerlies/nor’westerlies and blue sky – is Tantangara (and has been all winter), with Eucumbene and Jindabyne as close seconds. Tant is rising over grass, the other two are falling or steady, so they look like very different fisheries but with surprisingly similar tactics. Fish are generally catchable on big flies and close to shore. A selection of dark Woolly Buggers, black and olive base, with bling and beads, heavy and light will catch you fish, but don’t ignore a couple of bead-head nymphs with or without an indicator. I do like a full line cast and fast stripped Woolly Bugger although you’ll often do better if you just fish less than 10 metres from a steep bank, let the fly sink for a count of 20+ and hold on tight for the first couple of long, slow, steady strips. I think the splash attracts, and the draw initiates the hit.

Eucumbene is at 19.7% and falling, Jindabyne at 62.8% and steady/rising slowly. Check out Rod Allen’s Stream post on Jindabyne for some hot tips on that water.


A good scrapper – see the nymph under the rod tip?


This is what we want.


This is what we don’t want – grubs of the wrong kind.  (MK images).


No happier way to spend the day. Kept motivated by hot coffee, HCT sangers, and the odd muesli bar.


Check out those awesome red spots. (MK images).


On the way home. (MK images).


Half expecting a midge hatch. (MK images).