Less water between trout
  |  First Published: December 2006

The drought continues and things don’t look too good at the moment as far as lake water levels are concerned but while the levels are low the fishing has been great.

All of the experts from the water authorities have predicted that by the end of Summer all dams will be at their lowest levels and I don’t just mean the Snowy lakes, I also mean all of the lakes that feed the Murray-Darling irrigation system.

It’s a worry as the experts are all saying that the only water we will have for the Murray next Summer will be what falls over the 2007 Winter. We had better hope for record snowfalls!

On the brighter side, while the dams are low the fishing has been exceptionally good but you will need to change methods depending on the conditions on the day. Of course with drought come other associated problems and one problem most tackle shops are having is supplying live scrub worms, mudeyes and bardi grubs. The ground is so dry and hard and the farm dams are mostly dry.

All I can say is that it is a great thing that we still have compost worms and what would trout anglers do without Berkley’s PowerBait?

The rivers are low and clear but with the occasional rainy day and a few evening storms in the mountains, the fishing as not been too bad, especially in the higher alpine streams.

Most fish we have been catching are smaller and the best method has been fly but there is the occasional good fish coming out of the deeper pools.

The popular spots have been harder to fish and it’s better to find a place away from where most anglers congregate. When fishing rivers, never jump into the water and start fishing above another angler. It is OK to fish water they have already covered but never fish upstream of another angler who was there before you.


With the lower lake levels you will have to be aware of rocks and trees that you may not normally see so just take it easy when travelling at speed. The low levels of the past few years have allowed some weed and slime to grow but with the weed come good insect larvae and nymphs for the fish to feed on so use shallow diving lures around the weedy areas early in the morning.

Flatline troll Tasmanian Devils in gold and green colours early in the morning and Tassie Y82 has also been very good. Fish the shallow bays early and then move out to deeper water and fish lead-core line at three to four colours or use downriggers at 30 feet. Use darker lures when fishing deep, such as Tassie No 6, Y48 or Holo.

I expect downrigging to become more popular because you need to fish deep to catch the best fish. Last year the late Summer downrigging was just fantastic, almost unreal, and this year should be similar. You may have to go as deep as 50 feet or more but if you stay in deep water you will not have any problems snagging up. With a little slime and algae about, the water fleas (Daphnia) are having a great time feeding on it and the rainbow trout having a great time feeding on the Daphnia, which are one of the food sources that give trout that lovely orange colour.

Best areas to fish have been Hayshed, Hatchery and Rushes bays and the South Arm has been very good for downrigging.


Mid Summer is best for very early and very late for spinning on the lake as the fish go into deeper water when it gets too hot. I like to get up well before sunrise and fish the shallow inlets where the big brown trout prowl during the night. By targeting these fish and taking them home the average size of the rest of the lake’s fish is increased.

Most lake fly anglers fish only during the nights because they know that is when the big fish come in to feed. Smaller spinners are the best then with less splash to scare the trout. Some new lures worth trying are the new Gillies Bendbacks and Wobblers in rainbow trout and brown trout patterns.

River spinning is always tough when the water is so low but you can still catch fish if you’re early enough. Don’t expect to see too many fish in the middle of a hot sunny day.


Summer is the season of the mudeye, the nymph of the dragonfly, and anglers use them as livebait, hooking them through the wing case to allow them to swim around beneath a float. Early and late in the day are the best times. Fish the bays and move to deeper water as the day brightens.

It may be difficult to get live mudeyes this year but if you have a few left over after a trip you can always freeze them. Thawed mudeyes will still catch fish but if you can’t get any mudeyes, try either a bunch of tiger worms or a PowerBait Micro Nymph under a float. These do catch trout.

The secret at the moment is to grease up the line to stop the drag. You need a trout to run with the bait without feeling any resistance and greasing the line will help catch more fish. Always fish with the reel bail arm open so the fish can run with the bait.

The shallow bays are the best night locations but look out for the snags.


This is a grasshopper month on the rivers and streams and when a grasshopper drops into the water, trout will not hesitate to take them. There are various grasshopper patterns available but just have a look around and see what the size and colour the real ones are and find a fly to match.

Keep your eye open for evening hatches of other insects such as mayflies. I love the dry-fly fishing at this time of year.

If you are a lake angler, nights are best with dark or black flies like a Woolly Bugger, Black Phantom, Craig’s Nighttime and Snowy Mountains Goldfish in the bays and inlets.

My shop at the Snowline Service Centre has the latest fishing information and you can also book a tour with me while you are there. We still have vacancies for the February and March beginner flyfishing schools, call me on 02 6456 1551 or email me.

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