Water levels still good for fishing
  |  First Published: March 2007

The talk is still all about the drought, but as I write I can say we are probably one of the luckier of the mountain lakes here at Lake Jindabyne. While the level has been dropping slowly over recent months our water level is still quite good.

Lake Jindabyne is pumped from the top end of the lake where the Snowy River flows in, and because of this there is still plenty of water in the lake. Down at the South Arm near the dam wall, the depth is still nearly 100ft.

Fishing has been fantastic over the last month, with great catches – especially for those anglers who have boats that are fitted out for deep trolling.

The rainbow trout are in fantastic condition after feeding up over summer on a diet of daphnia (water fleas). These small crustaceans are about pin head size, and the trout and Atlantic salmon just love eating them.

There is a fair amount of weed about around the lake edges at the moment. This has been great for fly anglers fishing the sunrise and sunset periods, as there have been plenty of cruising trout. One fish reported last month was a brown trout of 6.3kg caught on fly at Stinky Bay.

If you want to fish bait from the shoreline, just be aware of the weed and make sure you grease the fishing line. If you don’t, it could sink down and get caught up. Float fishing is best at the moment as some areas the weed is a metre or more in length.

On the rivers it has been a little quieter. Naturally, the better fishing has been after we have had a shower or a storm which freshens up the water and brings the fish on the bite. It is mostly fly fishing at the moment as the trout have been a little shy of spinners.

As we head into autumn the water will cool down and the streams will fish better again, and it won’t be too long before the brown trout will be thinking about their spawning run.

So despite the lower water levels we still have some excellent fishing at the moment and things are not anywhere near as bad as some people think.

Easter is not too far off now so why not come on down for a little trout fishing? The fish are waiting!

On March 10 I will be holding a one day Beginner Downrigging course. Places are limited and the cost is $150. If you’d like more information or want to make a booking you can reach me at the shop on (02) 6456 1551.

Now let’s have a look at how to catch the fish in a little more detail.


The lake water temperatures stayed down a little this year and that was mainly due to the cooler than average January and February. Conditions like these are good for surface trolling.

Lead line trolling has been excellent and I expect we’ll see this continue over the next month or so. Try two colours (20m) early and three colours (30m) later in the morning.

The Tasmanian Devil No. 50 Frog pattern is always good at this time of year and Tasmanian Devil No. 36 Yellow Wing has by far been the best overall lure to use on the lakes over the past month. As we get closer to Easter, bring out the No. 55 Pink Panther Tassie.

Some of the better trolling areas this month will be Hatchery Bay and Hayshed Bay. Sid’s Bay through to Rushes Bay will fish well early in the day for big brown trout.


Lure spinning will be confined to the lake over the next couple of months, or at least till we get some rain and the rivers get a little more water.

The best spinning will be early and late in the day, and areas where there are steep drop-offs with plenty of rocks will be the best places to try. Bays like Creel, Hatchery and the Snowy Arm all fish well.

A variety of lures will work, but small bladed spinners like the Gillies Spina or Celtas used over the weed beds will be the best early. As the sun rises, change to a Tassie and cast further out over drop-offs, letting the lure sink before you retrieve with a slow wind.

The best areas have been down at the South Arm and near Banjo Patterson Park.

Bait Fishing

Bait fishing will improve over this month and mudeyes and worms under a float will still be the best bait.

If you can’t get mudeyes, try a Berkley Micro Nymph. Fish it under a float and let the waves move it about or, if there’s no wind, try to wind it in very slowly with a pause every turn of the handle. The fish are more likely to take the nymph if it looks as if it’s alive.

Another bait worth suspending under a float is the old faithful grasshopper. This is a bait you don’t often see used much these days, but they work a treat. There are plenty of grasshoppers about at the moment but you might need the kids with a butterfly net to help you collect the bait!

The best bait fishing areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Rocks. Another great area is the bottom of Snowline Caravan Park near Widows Creek Inlet.

Fly Fishing

Some of the best lake fly fishing will be during the coming months as the water cools. This year, with so much weed around the edges of the lake, 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.

On the rivers and streams the fishing may be a little difficult. The Thredbo will start to improve as we get rain and a few early spawning browns start to move into the river.

The Alpine streams are still looking OK and plenty of small fish are being caught on dry fly.

Fly selection is not too critical in these streams but placement is critical or else you’ll just scare all the fish.

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.

Best Option

Best method – Trolling.

Best depth – using downriggers at 35ft deep.

Best lure – Tasmanian Devil No. 36 Yellow Wing.

Best area – Deepwater off Lion and Cub Islands.

If you would like some personal guiding, I will be available over the coming months for fly fishing tuition and lake trolling trips. Lessons can be booked from two hours and trolling trips from three hours to a full day.

If you want to know more about the latest in fishing conditions just give me a call on (02) 6456 1551 or check out my website at www.swtroutfishing.com.au

Until next month, hope you catch the big one.



The author with a 1.4kg rainbow trout, which is typical of the well-conditioned fish we are catching at the moment on downriggers. The gun approach is to use a No. 36 Yellow Wing Tasmanian Devil lure at 35ft.


Anglers trolling hard-bodies have been rewarded with some good brown trout like this one.

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