Spawning season about to crank up
  |  First Published: May 2015

May in the Snowy Mountains is when the rules for spawning rivers like the Thredbo and Eucumbene change to a bag limit of only 1 trout over 50cm, so keep that in mind and always check with the local NSW Fisheries regulations before fishing any waterway.

As I have stated previously, the last spring and summer period was cooler and wetter than normal and therefore great for trout fishing, but recently we have not had a lot of rain and the brown trout are yet to run. That could change any day and may just do that before this article hits the newsagent shelves.

Another fact that we have to take into consideration is that with the stable lake levels over summer, the weed beds are well established. We have had some great mudeye hatches and there are yabbies everywhere, which of course the big browns have been feeding up on for months now. It will be interesting to see how many big brown trout are caught over the next few months, firstly on the spawn runs, and then in the lakes when the rivers close to fishing.

If coming to fish the spawn run this year and you manage to hook what you consider to be a big fish, it is best to land it as quickly as possible so as not to stress it too much, and if it’s undersize you can release it promptly without any harm.

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


This month is 1 of the best for the bait angler fishing the edges of the lake. Big brown trout are cruising looking for a feed before they head into the rivers on their spawning run.

Worms teamed with artificial baits and fished off the bottom is working well at the moment on Lake Jindabyne. Best areas to try are Waste Point at Creel Bay, and the Snowy Arm near the pumping station.


Minnow lures like the Rapalas (especially the jointed ones) and 3” StumpJumpers and the like will be the best choice for big fish, which have been really on the bite every time we have had rain. Jointed lures have a great action and can be worked fast or slow.

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. The Thredbo River is my river of choice from now until rivers close in June.

On the Thredbo, if we get rain and the brown trout start to run, then you might like to use the drift rigging technique to catch the trout as they sit in the deeper, faster water. This method works well, and teaming up a fly like a weighted black nymph with a Glow Bug and letting the rig bounce along the bottom with the aid of some split shot is 1 way you can catch trout on flies while using a spinning outfit.


Now that the water is cooling down, the lake spinning will improve. Tasmanian Devils in brown like number 48, the red-nosed Brown Bomber, and Holographic will all catch you fish. The Steve Williamson Tasmanian Devil in orange and black is also working a treat at the moment. When the water temperature gets below 14 degrees, pink or orange lures always fish well.

Try some bigger jointed Rapalas — 11 and 13cm are not too big for aggressive brown trout.

On the lake, good spinning areas to try are Creel Bay, Waste Point, the Snowy Arm, and for fish still actively feeding, try Curiosity Rocks, Wollondibby Inlet, Hatchery Bay and the Clay Pits 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.

As with spinning on the lake, big jointed lures are well worth a try for big browns.

The wed beds are close to the edge, so if trolling early in close, you don’t want them diving too deep.

Tasmanian Devil lures are still well worth a try and this month is the time I quite often change to pink or orange colours. These seem to work best on the aggressive spawning fish. 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 go deeper. Lead core lines and downriggers will still be useful over the coming month. Remember all the photos in the magazines of big fish caught off downriggers with slow trolled big minnow lures?

Dual depth Tasmanian Devils rigged through the side hole to troll deeper to 4m will also help during the middle of the day, but make sure you don’t troll too fast when this lure is rigged on the deep setting.

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 streams and rivers will still have good days, even this late in the season. You may find fish that will still take a well presented dry. Over recent weeks though, most trout 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 chasing big trophies. Fly anglers will have the best success using glow bugs and nymphs. Black and brown nymphs in about size 10-12 are good, and make sure you have some weighed flies for when the river is flowing hard, as you need to get the fly down to the fish in order to 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 so the fishing is much better and will continue to improve as the temperature drops even further.

Flies to try over the coming months will be the purple/black Woolly Buggers and Mrs Simpson. Don’t forget the Williamson 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 10’ in the deeper areas, middle of the day.

Best lake lure: Rapala Pinkie and Tasmanian Devil colour 55 (pink).

Best lake area: Creel Bay and the Snowy Arm at the pumping station.

Best fly method: Glow Bugs and nymphs on the Thredbo River after heavy rain.

Best River: Thredbo River for the bigger brown trout when the spawn run starts.


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. Alternatively, send details to Steve Williamson PMB 5 Jindabyne 2627 for more info, or e-mail me at --e-mail address hidden--

Web site for prices is www.swtroutfishing.com.au

Join me also on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LJTFA for daily updates.

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