Cooler water, hotter fishing
  |  First Published: April 2006

Even though it was a late finish to Summer, Autumn is now well and truly here and all trout anglers know that the fishing gets even better as the weather gets cooler.

Lake Jindabyne is in terrific condition and fishing better than for many years. Over the next few months the water will cool down as we approach Winter and the trout will again start to come closer to the surface and feed closer to shore, making them easier to catch for the land-based angler.

The lake water level has been dropping a little for a couple of months but it is still not too bad and the fish are in fantastic condition with record brown and rainbow trout caught. Even the Atlantic salmon are in better condition than ever.

Easter is only a couple of weeks away and with the NSW school holidays going right through to Anzac Day, we should see lots of happy anglers enjoying some excellent Autumn fishing.

For land-based anglers, mudeyes will still be great bait to use but if you can’t get any, try a bunch of worms suspended about one to two metres under a float. Scrub worms and PowerBait make a good two-hook combination for big rainbow trout. The best PowerBaits have been rainbow or chartreuse nuggets.

If you can get bardi grubs there are some big brown trout to be around areas like Waste Point and the Snowy Arm near the pumping station.

While most spin anglers will always work the shoreline of bays early and late in the day, you can catch trout any time if you find some deep water and allow the lure to sink a little deeper before retrieving it.

Tasmanian Devil lures are the best in the lake because you can throw them a fair way and slowly bring them back to the edge-cruising trout. Best colours at the moment have been Yellow Wing No 36 and Y82. Pink or orange will start to work well as the water cools towards 16°.


On the Thredbo River the best lures have been small-bladed spinners like a No 2 Celta or a Gillies Spina, cast near the bases of overhanging shrubs.

Successful river spinning this month will depend on rain. If we get a lot we might even see an early start to the brown trout spawning run. If we don’t get any, why not try floating down a fly about a metre under a bubble float? Remember, while it may be illegal to use bait under a float, it’s not illegal to use an artificial fly and if flies work for fly fishers, they can catch fish for you, too.

River fly fishing over the next month will also depend on rain. If there is none, we will still be able to catch fish but they will be very spooky and a longer leader and your best cast might be needed.

There will still be a little dry-fly fishing on the warmer days with caddis, mayfly and grasshopper patterns the best choices. If we get rain then black and brown nymphs will be worth a try through the runs. If we get lots of rain, Glo Bugs will be best for the early-spawning brown trout.

Lake fly anglers will have a little more luck with the weed beds already close to the edges. We might even see some excellent polaroiding once the water cools down a little more.

If you have a boat you can try sinking lines on the lake and you might be surprised. You can get some excellent rainbow trout, even in the middle of the brightest days, just by drifting around with flies down to about five metres. Don’t keep stripping them in all the time, just leave the fly in the water (that’s where the fish are!) and twitch the tip of the rod about 5cm to 10 cm.

The best flies using this method are bigger ones, like size 4 or 6 black or green Woolly Buggers or a large Mrs Simpson.

If you are land-based and fishing early or late, a Mrs Simpson or Hammill’s Killer is good. In the little sheltered bays put on a Williamson’s Goldfish, designed to represent the wild goldfish that hang around these locations. My 4.1-metre Polycraft is in full survey and I intend to offer lake fly tours to cast or simply drift flies trough wind lanes and for all methods of loch-style fishing.


Surface trolling Tasmanian Devils in the gold and green No 50 and plain gold colours like No 36 or my Red-Nosed Yellow Wing will be best. When it’s early, stay in about three and you might be lucky enough to land a nice big brown on a brown colour Tassie No 48 or Halo.

Once the water cools down to around 14° the fish will get into spawning mood and colours will change to No 55 Pink Panther or No 56. A variety of pink and orange lures are well worth a try.

For the late risers, lead-core lines at three colours (30 metres of line out) will work best late morning and in the middle of the day. If you don’t have any lead core line, try a Downunder trolling sinker.

Further into April, more anglers will come to target the spawning browns up the river end of the lake, especially after a little dirty weather. Minnow lures, especially the bigger jointed models, go well here. Try the gold jointed Rebel, the bigger Rapalas or last Autumn’s standout, Huey’s spotted dog.

If you’re in Jindabyne over Easter, visit my shop next to the Shell servo at the Snowline Holiday Park for the latest info on what’s biting, our fly and trolling schools or personal guiding. Or you can email me or call 0408 024 436.

Barry Hein with a couple of rainbows caught downrigging at 10 metres with a red-nosed yellow wing Tasmanian Devil lure designed by the author.

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