Let’s all thank the snow gods
  |  First Published: September 2011

We can thank the snow gods for a good season and with all that white stuff on the peaks, we are now sure that the stream and river season ahead will be good.

The brown and rainbow trout have also thanked the snow gods for all the water in their spawning streams, which provided excellent conditions for breeding.

With a healthy snow depth and Lake Jindabyne still a high 80%, we’re ask ourselves whether it will top the 2003 level of 86%’. Lake Jindabyne rarely sees levels this high and when it gets to 90%, it’s a little scary, with water covering caravan park camping areas and the shared walkway underwater in some areas.

As the snow starts to melt this month, we can expect the lake to rise but just how much will depend on environmental releases down the lower Snowy River.

Water releases are good for the lower Snowy River and good for the trout fishing. If steady releases can continue while levels in the dams are good, we should see a big improvement in the fishing.

At a recent Catchment Management Authority forum in Dalgety, it was good to hear that the stocking of Australian bass in the higher reaches of the river was seen to be unproductive so will not continue.

Scientific evidence and talking to experienced bass anglers could have saved a lot of money over the past few years, with money wasted on stocking bass and most of the bass fry ending up as trout food.

Everyone knows that bass do not like cold water and I am still to see scientific evidence of bass ever occurring at the higher altitudes, so why did we bother? Even members of the Southern Bass club rejected the stocking, stating it would not be successful due to cold water.

With increased flow and more trout stocking in the Snowy, we might actually see a productive fishery that would be great for tourism and the economies of towns like Dalgety.

While the emphasis is always on the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam, why have we forgotten the higher parts, between Guthega Dam and Lake Jindabyne? You know the bit in the National Park? That could also be a great fishery if there was any water in the river.

Rivers and streams remain closed for the spawning season until Saturday, October 1.


This month trolling will be interesting in the higher water. My biggest tip is to slow the boat down and hit the shallows.

Lures with a good action at low speed, like jointed Rapalas, will also be a great help.

With the lake rising slightly the fish will be close to shore and you will need to be a little careful of submerged rocks.

The sheltered bays are holding some good brown trout amongst the weed. The first hour around daylight has been best and the weather hasn’t been that cold, so it’s been great watching the sun rise while we land trout.

Use darker lures early in the day and as the sun rises, yellow wing Tasmanian Devils have been better, especially Y48 and Y96.

For trolling through the shallows, rainbow or brown trout pattern jointed Rapalas have been best by far before the sun rises over the mountain.

Soft plastics, even the Gulp 1” Crickets, trolled behind Ford Fenders are also well worth a try.

I prefer to fish the township end of the lake in September because the water coming out of the rivers is very cold and the fish can be a little less active.

East Jindabyne Islands and Lion and Cub Islands have been fishing very well.


Lake bait fishing has been good and PowerBait continues to catch fish. Gulp is also great with chunky cheese and sherbet burst the popular choices at the moment.

Let the PowerBait float about 1m off the bottom and team it up with a bunch of worms for better catch rates.

It is always best to put some line floatant like Mucilin on your line to keep it on the surface and to reduce the drag when the fish take the bait.

Always fish with the reel bail arm open to allow the trout to run with the bait. Strike only when you think the fish has had time to swallow the bait.

Fish with worms or a bardi grub off the bottom and a PowerBait dropper will be best in the middle of the day for brown trout.

Best bait fishing areas have been the boat ramp, Wollondibby Inlet in deeper water, Curiosity Rocks Bay, The Haven and Rushes Bay over at East Jindabyne.


Remember, the fish are cruising close to the edges and on a bright, sunny day are very spooky, so it’s better to fish the deeper water unless you know how to cast small floating minnow lures without spooking the fish.

Spin close around rocky outcrops later in the day in the day and use smaller lures.

Celtas, Mepps or Gillies spinners are also worth a try around the shallow bays after dark. The gold Mepps Aglia spinner has been very good over recent weeks.

Don’t stay in one place too long and put in only a couple of casts in each area.

The best overall lake lures have been Tasmanian Devils in No 48 brown bomber, pink sparkler S12 and the Steve Williamson red-nosed yellow wing.

Floating Rapalas in rainbow and brown trout are also worth trying.


The polaroiding is most definitely improving and we should see some great fly-fishing over the next few weeks as the lake continues to rise.

On bright days use a small green nymph under an indicator and fish it very slowly; fish caught in the shallows have been full of small shrimp.

Bigger flies like Woolly Buggers, allowed to sink and then stripped quickly, will work best at night.

Try up at Creel Bay and Waste Point for some bigger browns this month.

We have a full range of tackle for hire at my shop in the Snowline Centre and fishing tours are available, call 02 6456 1551 to book. My next weekend introductory fly-fishing course will be on October 22 and 23, $380 for 16 hours of instruction. Accommodation and meal packages will be available at Quality Resort Horizons, all tackle is provided and there are specials on tackle purchased during the school. Fishing Monthly readers get a free fly rod if they book and pay by the end of September.


Trolling: Surface lures close to shore early in the morning.

Bait: PowerBait floating about 1m off the bottom beside, not over, weed beds.

Fly-fishing: Polaroid cruising fish and drop a small Olive Nymph well in front.

Spinning: Slowly work floating minnows or soft plastics over the deeper weed beds.

Rivers: Closed until October 1

It’s been great watching the sun rise while landing trout.

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