Trout fishing could be under threat
  |  First Published: May 2017

Do we have Snowy Scheme Mark II? I’ll believe it when I see it. There are far too many questions to be answered before I get too excited. We might have a big problem though – our world-class trout fishery might be under threat!

So far we have been very lucky. Guthega, Island Bend, Tantangara, Eucumbene and Jindabyne dams are all free of vermin fish. These are pristine trout lakes! While there is no definitive plan yet, it seems that the most likely solution will be to pump water from Talbingo Dam to another dam such as Tantangara or Eucumbene.

The other alternative might be reusing the water from Khancoban Pondage. Most of you will be aware that both Khancoban and Talbingo have redfin. Redfin have been responsible for the decline of many trout lakes across NSW and are carriers of Epizootic Haematopoietic Necrosis Virus (EHNV), which has a significant impact on rainbow trout and Macquarie perch.

My concern is that any water from Khancoban or Talbingo pumped to any dam that does not have redfin poses the threat of introducing redfin into a new waterway. Once that happens they will be everywhere and the problem is compounded if the destination dam is either Tantangara or Eucumbene, because Tantangara feeds directly into Eucumbene via the Providence Portal and from there Eucumbene can service every other dam in the system.

A redfin explosion across the whole of the Snowy Scheme is a distinct possibility if not managed appropriately. This could be a disaster! At the moment the Monaro Acclimatisation Society is onto the problem. In the past Snowy Hydro have been supportive of our supposedly annual 70 million dollar trout fishery, but hey – this is politics. There’s no way they’re worried about a few trout fishers.


Thredbo River rules change this month, so only one fish is allowed to be kept 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.


Meanwhile, Lake Jindabyne’s water level has been reasonably high over summer and has only now started to drop as we prepare for winter and the eventual snow melt in spring. How fast the water level drops will of course depend on how much rain we get over coming months.

Let’s look at what we should expect for fishing over the coming month. This month is one of the best months for bait anglers 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 artificial baits and fished off the bottom are 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. If you’re a lure angler, minnow lures like Bullet Lures and the small 3” StumpJumpers and a variety of others are all worth a throw. Pick the right colour and get 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. When you can’t get depth out of a minnow, try a blade. The Thredbo River is my river of choice from now until rivers close on the June long weekend.

On the Thredbo River, another 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 Glo-Bug (artificial egg) and let the rig bounce along the bottom with the aid of some split shot. This is one way to catch trout on artificial flies using a normal spinning outfit.

On the lake, the water is cooling down. The lake spinning will improve, but lure colours have been a little different to previous years. Orange and pink are always regarded as aggression colours for when the trout are in spawning mode. Holographic lures have been good too.

Good spinning areas to try are Creel Bay, Waste Point, and the Snowy Arm. For fish that are still actively feeding try 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. If you’re trolling early in close you don’t need any lures that dive too deep. 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.

Trolling deeper to 4m will also help during the middle of the day, but make sure you don’t troll too fast. 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 flyfishing on streams and rivers will still have good days even this late in the season. Fish will still take a well-presented dry fly. Over recent weeks most fish however 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 trophy fish and fly anglers will have the best success using Glo-Bugs and nymphs. Black and brown nymphs in about a size 10 or 12 are good. 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 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. 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 or black Woolley Bugger and Mrs Simpson.

For the very latest day to day fishing reports, call into my shop at Discovery Holiday Parks Jindabyne next to the Shell servo. For tour bookings call us on 02 6456 1551 or send details to Steve Williamson P.M.B. 5 Jindabyne 2627. For more info you can email me at --e-mail address hidden-- Check out my new website at www.swtroutfishing.com.au. Also join me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LJTFA for daily updates.

May roundup – the best of the best!

Best method Surface trolling early and then using lead core lines at 30m out
Best depthTrolling at 10ft deep in the deeper middle of the day
Best lake lureTasmanian Devil pink number 55 or Holographic
Best lake areaHatchery and Hayshed bays
Best lures for Thredbo RiverBullet Minnows in bright spawning colours or Strike Tiger soft plastic nymphs
Best fly methodGlow Bugs and nymphs on the Thredbo River
Best RiverThredbo River
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