Rivers hit a peak
  |  First Published: February 2013

What a busy time January was in the Snowy Mountains, with plenty of people enjoying the mountain air, the beautiful scenery and the fantastic trout fishing.

In February we return to normality and with fewer people about, this is the time to get down for a fish while it is not too crowded on the rivers and streams.

As reported last month the river fishing season was very late and is only now about to peak.

Due to the late season and cooler conditions, the fly fishers are only now experiencing the best fly action for years. With lots of bugs about now, the trout and the flycasters are leaping for joy!

The streams are lower and clear, but river lure spinners are still doing OK with small spinners and minnow lures.

Over the past month, Lake Jindabyne’s level dropped a tad but it is still high and fishing well.

It was also a late start to the boat fishing this season but the trollers are now doing OK early and late with flatlines and in the middle of the day on lead-core lines and downriggers. We have seen some very big rainbow trout caught in recent weeks.

This really is the time to hit the mountains for a little trout fishing, while the weather is warm and the fish are biting.


The trolling this year has been very good and we are still catching trout on the surface because the water temperature has not been as warm as in previous years.

We have been using downriggers on the really hot and bright days but not set as deep as in previous years; 25’-35’ is about perfect.

We should see the following formula continue over the next month or so.

We start off early with surface lines and the trick is to have at least 60m and up to even 100m of line out to get best results when trolling the edges of the shoreline.

After about an hour, we add a lead-core line into the equation. With lead lines you should start with two colours (20m) early and three colours (30m) later in the morning.

The Willy’s Special Tasmanian Devil No 111 is still about the best colour at the moment, followed by the yellow wing brown bomber. My new black/gold Tassie or the Holographic have been the best for darker conditions and also have been good for downrigging.

I have also been doing well running 9cm Rapalas off the downrigger and lead lines. Best colours are rainbow trout and brown trout.

The Gaden Trout Hatchery released the baby rainbow trout fingerlings into Jindabyne last month so all natural rainbow trout colours are working well.

With the water still high, some of the better trolling areas this month will be Hatchery, Hayshed and Sids Bay through to Rushes Bay.

Watch the rocks as the East Jindabyne Islands start to reappear as the water drops.


Best lake lure spinning has been in the shallow bays early and late in the day. You can start by spinning the edges with Celtas or flick floating Spotted Dog Rapalas.

Best spinning late in the day is where there are steep drop-offs with plenty of rocks. Bays like Creel, Hatchery and the Snowy Arm fish well.

On brighter days, change to a Tassie and cast farther out over the drop-offs, letting the lure sink before you slowly retrieve.

Best areas have been down at the South Arm or near Banjo Patterson Park.

Fish are still being caught in the Thredbo River on small floating Rapalas, with the best patterns rainbow trout and perch.

You can also try some Vibrax Glow spinners very early and late in the day or soft plastics like the Strike Tiger, olive pepper and the Berkley Swim Shad.

On the smaller streams like the Moonbah or upper Snowy, a variety of lures will work but the best will be small bladed spinners like the Gillies Spina or No 1 or No 2 Celtas.

For deeper water the Rapala CD5 in spotted dog or the Gillies Tailbender will do the job.


Bait fishing on lake Jindabyne has been good over recent months.

Mudeyes have been good used under a float, or even worms under a float. Let the waves move the float about or if there’s no wind, wind it in very slowly with a pause every turn of the handle.

Those using the new Ecogearaqua Bream Prawn 40s under a float have had good results. These look very much like a real mudeye.

Another bait worth suspending under a float is the old faithful grasshopper, which you don’t often seen used much these days but they work a treat and there are plenty about.

The new artificial Dynamite bait is gaining favour, with the bloodworm and honey flavours working well over the past month.

Best bait fishing areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Rocks. Another great area is the bottom of Discovery Holiday Park near Widows Creek Inlet.


Some of the best lake fly fishing is in coming months and with the steady lake level we should see some big fish caught. Try any of the streamer patterns such as Mrs Simpson and Williamson’s Gold Fish. Olive green nymphs and shrimp patterns are also worth a try.

The South Arm, Creel Bay and Kangaroo Bay are all great.

The Thredbo River has been spectacular as the season has been late this year and we should continue to see some fantastic dry-fly fishing again this month.

The alpine streams are still at their best and plenty of small fish are being caught on dry fly.

Fly selection is not too critical in these streams but placement is, or you just scare the fish.

Flies you must have are brown beetle patterns, Snowy Hopper, Stimulator, Royal Wulff and Parachute hoppers. You should have maybe brown and black nymphs if the fish are not rising and a white moth or white Wulff.

You also better have a midge pattern, brown mayfly and an Adams to make certain you have most circumstances covered.

All in all, we are looking good for at least some great lake fishing over the coming months, so get your gear together and come and try some our fantastic trout fishing.

I will be available over coming months for fly tuition and trolling trips. Lessons can be booked from two hours and trolling trips from 3 hours to a full day. To know more call 02 6456 1551, visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au or see our daily facebook updates.

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