Trout predictions
  |  First Published: May 2014

The talk of late, reported in all different types of press, has of course been about the mystery disappearance of rainbow trout in the Snowy Mountains lakes.

I blame a few idiots who don’t know either how to trout fish or are incapable of being able to change methods to suit the conditions. Or else they are just purists who refuse to change their ways – to their own disadvantage of course.

The fact was that we had had the hottest summer that I can remember with very high water temperatures, and the trout went to deeper, colder water. Meanwhile, some anglers persisted in standing in lukewarm water expecting the trout to cruise by right in front of them! These people seem to think they’re fishing for coral trout in the tropics, rather than brown trout and rainbow trout that prefer water temperatures up to 18ºC.

Anyway, if you have some thoughts send me an e-mail as we have a meeting of they Snowy Lakes Management Committee later this month and it would be your chance to send me your views on any matters that are of concern to you.

Meanwhile, Lake Jindabyne’s water level has been pretty much stable all summer and autumn so far, maybe only about a metre difference for the whole season. There are no plans for any major environmental releases until spring so I would expect only a minor drop of water levels throughout winter, and even that would depend on how much rain we get over coming months.

Thredbo River rules change this month, reducing the bag limit to only one fish, and that fish must be over 50cm. All other fish must be released, no matter what species. The close of the rivers and streams to fishing occurs at midnight on the Monday of the NSW June long weekend. The rivers open to fishing once again on the Saturday of the October long weekend.

Let’s look at what we should expect with the fishing over the coming month.


This month is one of the best months for the bait angler fishing the edges of the lake. Big brown trout are cruising the edges looking for a feed before they head into the rivers on their spawning run.

Worms teamed with an artificial bait fished off the bottom is a method that’s working well at the moment on Lake Jindabyne.

The best areas to try over the next couple of months will be Waste Point at Creel Bay, as this is where a lot of the trout will congregate in readiness to move into the mouth of the Thredbo River on their spawning run. Hatchery and Hayshed Bays are also both worth a try.

When trout move into the river on their spawning run they get very territorial. For this reason, if you are a lure angler you’ll find that minnow lures like the Rapalas (especially the jointed ones) and the small 3” StumpJumpers and a variety of others are all worth a throw. You still have to nut out the right colour though, and get to the right depth.

Use sinking or deeper diving minnows when the river is high and stick to smaller lures when the water is low and clear. Don’t worry about the size of lures if the river is in flood because you might find that bigger is better. Metal blades cut through fast flowing water and get down easily, so when you can’t get depth out of a minnow I recommend trying a blade.

A new lure we have been trying out is from Australian-owned Bullet Lures. It’s a very small 3cm minnow but with about 4g of weight that actually does make the lure cast like a bullet. It also gets down quite deep. A rattle version might also be good when the water is dirty but only time will tell, as testing is in the early stages at the moment.

The Thredbo River is my river of choice from now until rivers close on the June long weekend.


On the Thredbo River, one method that works well when you have fast flowing water is the drift rigging technique. Team up a fly like a weighted black nymph with a glowbug (artificial egg) and let the rig bounce along the bottom with the aid of some split shot. It’s one way to catch trout on artificial flies using a normal spinning outfit.


Another way to use a glowbug on a spin rod is to use a float.

On the lake as the water cools the lake spinning will improve, but lure colours have been a little different than in previous years. Tasmanian Devil lures in colours that have a bit of orange and pink are always regarded as aggression colours for when the trout are in spawning mode. Other colours that are consistent are holographic and also number 48, the red-nosed brown bomber. My Steve Williamson Orange and Black Tasmanian Devil has also been working a treat lately, especially off the lead core line and downriggers.

Last year we saw the re-introduction of the Rapala Pinkie and that was a fabulous lure over the previous winter. You should also try some bigger jointed Rapalas here, and 11cm and 13cm are not too big for aggressive brown trout. Good spinning areas to try are Creel Bay, Waste Point, The Snowy Arm and (for fish still actively feeding) Curiosity Rocks, Wollondibby Inlet, Hatchery Bay and The Claypits area.

Lake trolling is interesting in autumn as some days the fish will strike out of aggression and some days they will be feeding. Knowing what the weather is about to do will help. If there is a cold front approaching the fish will often get territorial and this is ‘big lure’ time. Big jointed lures are well worth a try for big browns.

The weed beds are close to the edge and so if trolling early in close you don’t need any lures that dive too deep. The Rapala Pinkie is a good aggression lure. Tasmanian Devil lures are still well worth a try and this month is the time I quite often change to pink or orange coloured lures. These colours seem to work best on the aggressive spawning fish. Tasmanian Devils in colours 55 pink or 56 orange are good lures to try for non-feeding fish.

Even at this time of year the day will often warm up and the fish will still go deeper. Lead core lines and downriggers will still be very useful over the coming month. Remember all the photos in the magazines of big fish caught off downriggers with big minnow lures trolled slowly?

Duel Depth Tasmanian devil lures rigged through the side hole to troll deeper to 4m will also help during he middle of the day, but make sure you don’t troll too fast when this lure is rigged in the deep dive hole.

Lion and Cub Islands always fish well in autumn for rainbow trout, and as the brown trout move to the end of the lake ready to spawn, Creel Bay and the Snowy River Arm are well worth trying.

The fly fishing on streams and rivers will still have good days even this late in the season. You will possibly even find that fish will still take a well-presented dry fly. However, over recent weeks most fish have been taken on brown or black nymphs out of the running water.

As the rain comes, and more trout move into the Thredbo, anglers’ minds will change to chase big trophy fish and fly anglers will have the best success using glowbugs and nymphs. Black and brown nymphs in about a size 10 or 12 are good, and make sure you have some weighted flies for when the river is flowing hard, as you need to get the fly down to the fish before you will catch them.

Lake Jindabyne will fish better this month as the edge water cools down. Water temperatures have a big effect on how close to shore the fish come, but it’s cooler now and the fishing is much better and will continue to improve as the water cools even further.

Flies to try over the coming months will be the purple/black Woolly Bugger and Mrs Simpson. Don’t forget the Williamson’s Gold Fish around the creek inlets during the late evening.

May roundup – the best of the best

Best method - Surface trolling early and then using lead core lines at 30m out.

Best depth - Trolling at 10ft deep in the deeper middle of the day.

Best lake lure - Look out for the new Rapala Pinkie and pink number 55.

Best lake area - Hatchery and Hayshed bays.

Best fly method - Glow Bugs and nymphs on the Thredbo River.

Best River - Thredbo River.

For the very latest day-to-day fishing reports, call into my shop at Discovery Holiday Parks Jindabyne (next to the Shell Servo) or for tour bookings call us on 02 64 561551 or send details to Steve Williamson P.M.B. 5 Jindabyne 2627 for more info or e-mail me at --e-mail address hidden-- .

The website for prices is www.swtroutfishing.com.au . Join me also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Steve-Williamsons-Lake-Jindabyne-Trout-Fishing-Adventures for daily updates.

Good luck with your fishing over the coming months and I hope to see you in Jindabyne soon.

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