Snowy Lakes Update

Snowy Lake Fly Fishing Charters and guided charter boat and bank fishing on Caddigat Lakes.

We’re now well into March and interestingly, and despite the recent heatwave, lake levels in Eucumbene, Jindabyne and Tantangara are all pretty steady at around 40%, 80%, and 30% respectively with only very modest falls since December. It’s no secret this has been a tough season for rainbows in all the lakes and it’s good to hear NSW DPI Fisheries are looking into this and will perhaps do some research.  Obviously it’s the topic of a great deal of discussion around the shoreline (with anglers not too occupied with fish) and informed fishers seem to understand and accept these fisheries have always been a bit boom and bust. With limited spawning habitat (each lake basically has just one river), unnatural variations in lake levels (the primary purpose of these lakes is hydro-electricity), a limited food chain as a consequence of lake level variations and a lack of nutrients, and the high level of angler fishing pressure when the fishing is good – that’s not surprising. And of course we know it’ll come good next year or the year after. The real question is what can we do to even out the peaks and troughs – assuming of course that’s what anglers actually want to do? The key management options are individual and group/boat bag limits, possession limits, size limits, fishing method controls, area and time controls in lakes and rivers, and the stocking strategy. Hopefully we’ll all get a chance to have a say on this.

Lake Eucumbene at 40% - Yens Bay looking north

Lake Eucumbene at 40% – Yens Bay looking north

I spent an evening with 3 others fishing Yens Bay on Lake Eucumbene this week. The banks are showing a hint of green after nearly 3 months of stable water level and a bit of rain but there’s very little weed growth in the lake. In near perfect weather conditions with a moderate westerly creating a superb ripple, a modest  hatch of midge right on sunset brought on a rise of small fish one of which fell to a stick caddis on a slow retrieve.

Full moon - right on dark

My hope of a cruising brown after dark (the go to fishing this year) were dashed by an early rising full moon (sorry for the sloping image, blame the photographer, not the beer!).

My intel on Jindabyne and Tantangara says things are still a bit slow there too. Mark Fountain of Lake Eucumbene Charters does however still seem to have a fully functional mojo – according to reliable reports.

I will of course continue to try the same things, and pretend to mix it up with a few different things, and hope both for different results (of which I am totally confident) whilst also hoping not to be accused of being any more insane than usual.

Last weekend I fell victim to a second mega storm this season. After the massive boat-ramp-rain-event late in 2013, the most recent was a 2 hour hail storm at Caddigat Lakes on Dixieland whilst trying to guide Geraldine and Terry. It hailed steadily over a 2 hour period dumping thousands of tonnes of ice onto the property followed by a deluge of plain boring rain after dark. The next morning the hail hadn’t melted and the rain gauge was full at 125 mm. Hundreds of tonnes of ice had drifted into the top dams. All the dams had over-topped. Most of the surface of Kidney Dam was ice. The picture shows a mound of hail  well over a metre above normal water level – nearly all the water had been displaced by ice and the lake looked like a glacier. The maximum height of the ice can be seen by the bank of hail under the tree on the left.

Kidney Dam Hail Mountain

Kidney Dam Hail Mountain

As of yesterday only the two large lakes are clear enough to fish. A lot of debris has moved around and there’s a bit of work needed to some of the roads but all the dam walls are unharmed and the fish – well those that have survived – will be pretty chilled!

Tight tippets all

Steve:  Snowy Lake Fly Fishing Charters and guided charter boat and bank fishing on Caddigat Lakes.