Plenty of water
  |  First Published: March 2011

As we head into the first month or Autumn the waters start to cool and trout begin to feed up in readiness of the spawning season.

With so much water in the lake this year and with cooler water, the fishing has been completely different from previous years and I’d guess that we are still a couple of months later with our seasons this year.

For example, it was late January instead of early December before we started downrigging in the lake and the beetles and grasshoppers were far later than normal on the streams and the river.

Another difference that I noted was the lack of early morning rises on the lake, with the trout preferring to feed around the margins rather than hunt insects on the surface.

I think the water level has had a lot to do with this. With higher water we were also downrigging a lot deeper than we have ever done, and I have no reason for this. If any one has any suggestions I would like to hear them.

We have a lot more water in the rivers and the occasional rain or storm in the mountains has run off the saturated soil very quickly. The streams were really looking great compared with the trickles of water of Summer 2009/10.

If you haven’t been down to the Snowy Mountains this season, you had better think seriously about a holiday before you miss the great fishing that we are sure to experience over the coming months.

After a record seven-year high water level (85%) for Lake Jindabyne (10m vertical more than last year), the lake has been dropping steadily, as is normal for this time of the year.

Next month the lake will drop even further with another water release into the Snowy River downstream of Lake Jindabyne. Even with these releases the lake will remain a lot higher than in previous years so the fishing over the coming months should be great.


Surface trollers have battled a little because the fish seem to be holding a little deeper than normal, so lead core lines have almost been a must. Bigger and deeper divers just do not do the same job as smaller lures off lead lines or downriggers. These are trout, not cod!

The surface fishing will improve as the water cools this month, so try surface lines at first light, maybe with a lead-core line as a back-up.

If you have been out a while and there are no bites, get out your downriggers and starting at 35’ with a lure drop-back of 4m and you should start to see fish.

Maybe go to 45’ by mid morning for the best fishing.

On cloudy or rainy days you can surface fish until about 9am.

The Tasmanian Devil yellow wing Freddo or Steve Williamson’s lime green yellow wing are the best deep lures at the moment with Tassie No 36 yellow wing OK on the surface and off lead-core lines early.

My new black/gold Tassie has been very good also for downrigging and from this month orange and black will work well some days.

Some of the better trolling areas this month will be the deep water off Lion and Cub Islands or off Hatchery and Hayshed bays.

Sid’s Bay through to Rushes Bay will fish well early in the day for big brown trout but the first hour of light will be the time to be there.


Best spinning has been on the lake using sinking Rapalas early and late in the day where there are steep drop-offs with plenty of rocks. Bays like Creel, Hatchery and the Snowy Arm all fish well.

As the sun rises, change to a Tassie and cast further out over drop-offs, letting the lure sink before you retrieve slowly.

Best areas have been down at the South Arm or near Banjo Patterson Park but as the month progresses, Waste Point and the Snowy Arm will start to fire.

The Thredbo River has been much better this year and with the higher water we are also seeing bigger fish. Sinking Rapalas are better in the faster water with Celtas in the shallows.

In the still pools you can always be different and drift around a black or brown bead-head nymph suspended under a bubble float. It’s well worth a try in still, clear water when the fish are spooky.




Best method: Lake trolling with downriggers to 35’

Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil yellow wing Freddo or Steve Williamson’s lime green yellow wing.

Best lake area: Deep water off Lion and Cub Islands.

Best fly: Dry fly, hopper patterns and Yellow Humpies.

Best river: Thredbo River

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