Make a wish-list for Santa
  |  First Published: December 2006

My family never buys me tackle for Christmas because they recon I already have everything but that just can’t be true – there is always room for a couple of extra flies and lures in the tackle box.

So far this season has continued to be very hot and dry. The rivers and lakes are low and so you are going to need to be well-equipped to be able to get the best out of your trout fishing holiday.

This year the fly angler is going to get the best fishing out of the alpine streams. They may be catching only small trout but they will have a lot of fun doing it. The alpine streams are a lot of fun to fish but you will need to ask Santa for a 4-weight fly rod to get the most out of the fishing. Rods of 5-weight and above are just too heavy and you had better ask for a double-tapered fly line to go with the rod.

Spin anglers will also have to work the smaller streams to be able to catch fish so they will have to ask Santa for a very light spin rod and reel with some 1kg line. The best lures will be spinners like a small No 1 Celta.

On the lakes, the water will be hot on the surface so the best action will be with downriggers but you’ll also need a good depth sounder to go with it. I find you need to spend at least $500 on a of the quality of my Lowrance. So if you have to ask Santa for a downrigger and a sounder you had better be on your best behaviour this month!

Bait anglers will do it tough over late Summer with the lake water temperatures expected to be very high. It may be that they have the toughest task of all, because to get into deeper water and away from all the other anglers, they’ll need to ask Santa for a boat.

If you don’t think you have a chance with a new boat, I would suggest a very good alarm clock because you will need to get up at about 3am to get the best land-based baitfishing.


Trolling results have been excellent if you get the lures deep enough. Downriggers have provided the best method but lead-core lines haven’t been too bad, especially teamed up with a deep-diving Tasmanian Devil Dual Depth.

Troll on the surface in shallow water at first light and then move into deeper water using lead core with 20m to 30m of line out to extend the better fishing into late morning. Then it’s downriggers at 10m or more to catch fish..

The best early lures will be small brown trout and rainbow trout pattern minnows like Rapalas, Min Mins and Rebel Crickhoppers trolled on very light line or braid 40m from the boat. Fishing these over the weed beds in shallow water will get some big browns if you’re lucky.

Later, when fishing deeper, the best colours will be Tassies like No 36 or various yellow wing colours, and my lime green yellowing. Other colours always worth trying are the No 48 red nosed brown bomber and the holo pattern.

Over the past couple of months I have been coming up with some interesting results from tests using my underwater camera. I am going to have a very interesting article for you in the New Year.


Plenty of trout are biting early and late on the lake but in the middle of the day it’s just hard work and you are better fishing fast-running water on the rivers and streams.

Even early on the lake it is better to fish deeper drop-offs and allow the lures to sink a little before retrieving. Jointed Rapalas and Rebel lures have caught more trout, possibly because of the better tail action.

If using Tasmanian Devil lures try the same colours as mentioned above but maybe use the 7g model instead of the bigger one.

On the Thredbo River the water has been mostly low and only time will tell how well it will fish before the water gets too hot. The upper reaches are better and the faster runs hold most fish. Red and gold Celtas and a variety of minnow lures are catching a few good trout.


Baitfishing over the next month will be for the early birds. The water is warming up and the best fishing has been before sunrise or around dusk. Worms are best for brown trout while Berkley PowerBait is best for rainbows and salmon. The PowerBait 1” Nymph, fished like a mudeye, is working well but the trick is to keep it moving slightly, sort of jigging it a little to give it life.

This year it has been hard to get livebait and you may find that if tackle stores do have mudeyes and bardis you are paying top dollar. If the drought continues you may have to look at options like PowerBait.

The best areas have been over the weed beds with mudeyes when you can get them. Try worms fished off the bottom in the deeper waters. No place is better than any other at the moment as the fish continue to move about the lake.


The lake is fishing better than expected with the late evening being the best time to fish larger streamer flies over the weed. Williamson’s Gold Fish fly is very good at this time of year.

As we get a few more insects hatching we are also seeing good morning rises on the lake, when you should fish the wind lanes from a boat. The best flies depend on what is on top of the water at the time.

On the streams the fishing has been good with brown and green nymphs best in the faster runs in the middle of the day.

The Thredbo River is also producing some fish in the faster water and already there has been plenty of dry-fly fun. It shouldn’t be a bad December and January but the heat of February may make harder fishing without rain. Let’s hope the rest of this season has regular rain to freshen up the streams and cool the water.

I’d like to thank my readers for all the kind letters, phone calls and emails; it’s been a pleasure being able to do these fishing reports for such a great magazine as Fishing Monthly. Most of you are aware that due to deadlines, contributors to FM have to be a bit like Nostradamus in trying to predict what the fishing is going to be like in a couple of weeks. We all do our best and most of the time we get it right but there is nothing better than getting local information at the time of your trip.

Last November I got a phone call from a person who wanted to know what the fishing was going to be like in March 2007 – it isn’t easy sometimes!

I know that I upset a lot of Adaminaby residents earlier this year when I told readers that the water levels in Lake Eucumbene were very low and I stated accurately that there was only very limited boat launching access for 4WD vehicles. I try not to be too negative and at no time do any of the writers for FM want to hurt their local tourism but we also have a duty to tell it as it is.

Over the next 12 months inland fishing areas will do it hard due to the drought and there is not much we can do about that. We also have a battle with the coastal marine park issues and I know I for one will not be fishing one of my favourite areas if it is declared a marine park. We have to stick together on this issue and it is coming up to an election year, so now is the time for anglers’ voices to be heard.

From me and all my family and staff, all the best for Christmas. To book a tour or for the latest on fishing conditions call my shop on 02 6456 1551 or email me at --e-mail address hidden-- .

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