Gear down for more trout
  |  First Published: December 2008

I have put in my letter to Santa but I am not sure if he will take notice of my request for a new 4WD and boat – can’t hurt to ask, though.

My family never buy me tackle as they reckon I already have everything, but that just can’t be true as there is always room for a couple of extra flies and lures in the tackle box.

So far this season it has continued to dry, the rivers and lakes are low and so we are going to need to be well-equipped to be able to get the best out of our trout fishing holiday.

This year the fly angler is going to get the best fishing out of the alpine streams. They may be catching only small trout but will have a lot of fun doing it.

Spin anglers will also have to fish the smaller streams so will have to get a very light spin rod and reel and spool up with some 1kg line. The best lures will be spinners like a small No 1 Celta.

On the lakes, there is less water and I expect it will warm up quickly, meaning the best boat fishing will be with downriggers or lead core lines. Downriggers will produce the best fishing on the lakes but you also need a good depth sounder to go with it.

Bait anglers will need to get up early to get the best action but there will be plenty of fish about and with the low lake level, there are now more fish per hectare than ever before.

With a long, hot and hopefully not too dry Summer ahead, let’s look at the different methods and the best way to catch a trout.


Start as early as you can and troll surface lures using longer than normal drop-backs, 60m to 100m is not too far if you use light 3kg line. Use braid with a 2m 3kg fluorocarbon leader if you wish.

Lead-core lines will be good at three colours out (30m). If you team the lead line with a deep diving Tasmanian Devil Dual Depth you will get down to where the fish are normally sitting. Lead core of 18lb will go down 1m a colour and the Dual Depth Tassie will go down 3m rigged through the side hole. With three colours of lead line out, the lure should be near 6m deep depending on boat speed.

The best lures early on the surface will be small minnows, like Rapalas, Rebel Crickhoppers and 3” StumpJumpers, to name a few, trolled on very light line (or braid) 60m away from the boat.

Fishing these over the weed beds in shallow water will get some big brown trout if you’re lucky, but be on the water early. Brown trout and rainbow trout patterns and best but yellow and gold will also catch fish.

Later in the morning when fishing deeper, the best colours will be Tasmanian Devils like No 36, or various yellow wing colours, and my lime green yellow wing. Others worth trying are the No 48 or Holographic.

Soft plastics, even the Gulp baits, trolled behind Ford Fenders or Cowbells are also well worth a try and some anglers are doing better with this method than with real baits.


On the lake there are plenty of trout biting, especially early and late in the day. In the middle of the day you will find it hard to catch anything and you are better fishing fast water on the rivers and streams.

Even early on the lake it is better to fish deeper drop-offs, allowing the lures to sink a little before retrieving. Jointed Rapalas and Rebel lures have caught more trout, possibly because of the better tail action.

Use the 7g Tasmanian Devils go for natural trout colours. Soft plastics have again been good on the trout with Smelt Gulp 3” minnows working very well, as has the Squidgy in natural prawn or Gary Glitter colours.

On the Thredbo River the water has been mostly low and only time will tell how long it will fish before the water gets hot. The upper reaches are better and the faster runs hold most fish.

Red and gold Celtas and a variety of minnows are catching a few good trout.


Soaking a bait in the lake this month will be for the early birds. The water is warming and the best fishing has been before sunrise or at night.

Worms are best for brown trout while Berkley PowerBait or Gulp are best for rainbow trout and salmon.

Live bait is commanding a premium price at tackle stores – if it is available. If the drought continues you may have to look at the options like PowerBait.

The best areas have been over the weed beds, with mudeyes if you can get them and if not, try worms fished off the bottom in the deeper water.

No place is better than any other because the fish continue to move about the lake.


The lake is fishing better than I thought, with the late evening being the best time to fish larger streamer flies over the weed beds. Williamson’s Gold Fish fly is very good.

As we get a few more insects hatching we are also seeing good early morning rises, best fished along the wind lanes from a boat. The best flies depend on what is on top of the water at the time.


On the streams the fishing has been good with brown and green nymphs best, especially fished through the faster runs in the middle of the day.

The Thredbo River is also producing some fish in the faster water and already there has been plenty of dry fly action.

It shouldn’t be a bad December and January but with the February heat it may be harder fishing without rain helping us along. Let’s hope the rest of the season has some regular rain to freshen up the streams and cool the water.

I thank my readers for all the kind letters, phone calls and emails. It’s great to hear from you all and it has been a pleasure to do these fishing reports for such a great magazine. From me, my family and staff, all the best and I look forward to seeing you in the near future.

If you want to make a booking for a tour or need the latest update on fishing conditions you can always visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au or phone my shop on 02 6456 1551 or email me.



Trolling: Surface lures at first light and then downrigging to 10m.

Bait fishing: Mudeyes over the weed beds on the lake.

Fly fishing: Dry fly on the mountain streams.

Spinning: On the lake, work floating minnows over the deeper weed beds and on the river cast Celtas in the faster water.



Trolling: Rapalas early and yellow wing Tasmanian Devils later.

Bait fishing: Mudeyes or various PowerBaits.

Flies: Royal Humpy, Yellow Humpy, Snowy Mountains Hopper and Brown Nymph.

Lake Spinning: Rapalas and 13g yellow wing Tasmanian Devils

River Spinning: Celtas in gold colours and Rapalas or small StumpJumpers in natural trout colours.

Josh Elliott with a rainbow trout caught trolling a No 82 Tasmanian Devil. This fish is typical of the huge number of rainbow trout caught this season.

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