The Snowy Mountains Winter Pull

winter polaroiding

Driving to a perfect winter polaroiding day.

After another day being blown off the Snowy Mountains, a quick summary of tips and techniques might encourage you to take advantage of the COVID-19 regional travel permission in NSW from 1 June (please check the latest).

First up, a grateful acknowledgement for the fisheries officers working the Snowy Mountains at this time of year. Being out in these conditions is fun when you’re holding a fly rod, but for them it’s a tough gig. I’ve been checked three times by officers rotating through the area in support of local officer Michael Piontek at this busy time of year – and I’m always happy to stop fishing and show my licence.

Mark’s got that upper Eucumbene River smile!

And a quick comment that there aren’t many people down at the moment. Good to see people resisting the temptation; fish-v-COVID-19 risks, but that’s going to change and with proper hygiene and distancing, we can keep this under control and get to our new-normal quickly. For all businesses, but especially our regional businesses, this is critical.

Snowy Lakes polaroiding – high banks, river approach – this one on the Thredbo.

Building on Ashley Allen’s post focused on Jindabyne, I’ll talk quickly about Tantangara and Eucumbene. Tantangara is also a fickle water. You have to believe there are fish there, and there are, but at times they are difficult to find. I’ve fished it one day and you’d swear there wasn’t a fish in the lake – then on the next I’ve had a blinder with steady, consistent fishing all day. My advice is to keep walking and trying different spots, and if you’ve got the means and the energy to get onto the eastern shore up-lake from the dam wall (1 to 2 kilometres) for the dusk session, it’s a great spot to catch a fish when everything else is difficult. That’s certainly worked recently. Right now the lake level is at 18%, but with the portal to Lake Eucumbene running flat out, it is just starting to tip down. Remarkable that for two weeks, inflows to Tantangara were considerably greater than the portal could take out!

Lake Eucumbene brown getting into condition.

Lake Eucumbene begs polaroiding in winter. High sun, low cloud, low wind – that perfect mix of conditions which allows fish to be stalked along a high bank. But there’s another feature that increases likelihood of success with this strategy, and that’s proximity to a river or creek where the fish are either heading, waiting their chance to run and spawn; or are heading back to the lake after doing their work upriver. Weather-watching and the ability to drop everything are critical. And the right breeze for the bank you are planning to fish. There are vehicle/walk-accessible spots at Anglers Reach, west and east of the Old Adaminaby boat ramp, Yens Bay, Seven Gates, Frying Pan, Rushy Plain, Middlingbank, Braemar, and the Dam Wall. My pick for June to August are… all of the above in the right wind.

Providence Portal running flat out.

The level has been rising fast (about 1% a week) and is currently 29% after the recent rain, snow, and the portal open. And this despite a huge amount of Snowy water pouring into Lake Hume.

Only another two weeks before the rivers close, but don’t hang up your rods then: there’s plenty of lake fishing to be had for those who can brave the odd bit of weather!