Trout rise higher
  |  First Published: March 2006

As autumn extends its hand, the lake water will cool and fishing the surface layers for trout will improve.

Although the weather has been warmer than normal over the past month and most of the trout have gone deeper, the fishing has been spectacular for some time.

The steady lake level has allowed good weed growth and has given the fish extra food around the margins. They have put on amazing condition this season, with big fat rainbow trout caught all over the lake.

The browns went a little quiet over summer, preferring to hide down on the bottom eating big yabbies. This made them a little hard to catch but now that the water is cooling, the yabbies will hibernate and the browns will start thinking about feeding elsewhere before their spawning run. We should see a couple of record-sized browns caught in the next few months.

Autumn usually sees an end to our dry flyfishing on the streams but I think we will have at least another month of dry fly action. We will also see some excellent dry fly fishing on the Thredbo and Mowambah rivers.

If you’re having problems catching trout at the moment, it’s time to seriously rethink your methods. Fish often feed differently from day to day and the real trick is knowing what method to use and when.

Fishing the edges of the lake (remember, bait is illegal in the streams and rivers), with mudeyes (dragon fly nymphs) is still best very early or late in the day as the water remains warm around the edges.

Find a deeper drop-off and maybe a few rocks around the edges. The deeper water allows the trout to come up and feed and then retreat back into the cooler water.

Suspend a mudeye one to two metres under a bubble float and make sure you grease your line to reduce its grip on the water. Any feeling of drag and the fish will spit the bait.

If you can’t get mudeyes, worms are the next best, teamed with orange PowerBait fished off the bottom.

As the water cools, a bardi grub on a long leader will bring in most of the bigger brown trout because it will float a little off the bottom and give off an odour similar to the artificial PowerBaits.


Medium size 13.5g Tasmanian Devil lures in green and gold colours such as numbers 6, 23 or 55, and brown colours such as No 48, will catch lake fish.

In the rivers, use the smaller 7g Tassie, Celtas or Gillies Spinas in green. Rapalas, Predatek Min Mins and River 2 Sea Humbugs and Static Shads in gold and black have been very good.


March and April often produce rainbow trout over 1kg but then the rainbows will go off a little and the brown trout will come out to play.

The rainbows also usually start to fight better as the water cools and they will also feed off the surface for longer periods. These fish fight so well when the water cools towards winter.

The rainbows are mostly surface feeding on insects and the best time to troll for them is in the early morning or late evening unless you have deep trolling devices to get down to the fish in the middle of the day.

Use Tasmanian Devils in darker colours in low light and brighter colours as the sun dominates. Try numbers 6, 50, 48 and 55. The River 2 Sea Humbug 65su in gold and black has been very good when trolled three colours off lead-core line, which brings the lure down to about 14’.

Trolling areas have been a little all over the place of late as the trout do seam to be moving about a bit. Definitely try the shallow, weedy bays like Hayshed and Sids early for morning surface trolling, while the deeper trout have been found at the northern end of Lion and Cub islands.


The streams and rivers recovered very well from the summer heat and are fishing the best they have for a while. This year the seasons have been a little late and with plenty of grasshoppers still about we should continue to see some great fishing for a few weeks yet.

The best dry flies over the summer were the Royal Wulff and the Red Tag. I also caught a lot of fish on a Yellow Humpy on the Mowambah River.

Lake Jindabyne and Eucumbene fished a little slowly last summer due to the warm water but they are now much better and will continue to improve. Flies to try over coming months will be the black Woolly Bugger and mudeye patterns.

As the water levels on the lakes drop over the next couple of months you will find that the wed beds in the sheltered bays will start to become exposed. This usually means great flyfishing.

My beginners flyfishing weekend is on March 11 and 12 and there are still a few vacancies – mention Fishing Monthly when you book for a 10% discount on this course.

My new Polycraft is now in commercial survey. I will be using for some trolling trips and can now also offer tours for lake wind-lane flyfishing. The best thing with boat-based flyfishing is that you don’t have to be the world’s best caster to catch fish.


I am now working as a consultant for those anglers who might like to become fishing guides in NSW. I have had nearly 18 years of successful professional guiding and have just set up my fifth charter boat so I know all the ins and outs, including with NSW Maritime. Running a successful guiding business is not easy but maybe I can guide others through the process.

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