A season of all the wrong records
  |  First Published: June 2006

With the riverine trout season coming to a close on the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend, we can look back on what was a very interesting season.

An unusually hot summer and very little rain over the past few months has meant the rivers are a little low and anglers are still waiting for the first real run of spawning browns.

The Snowy Mountains have had the longest, hottest summer in history. The April average was a massive 3° above normal and has broken all records. January was 2° above average and another record. Rain was also low but not the lowest on record.

In early April we had about 10cm of snow in the mountains, but that was short-lived. It did, however, contribute a little extra water to the rivers, and saw a few more trout enter them.

By the time you read this report it just may be all happening because it takes only a day of rain to get the fish into the rivers and on the bite. But don’t hold your breath because there are only a few weeks before it all ends and the rivers close.

Jindabyne is getting very busy with skiers and most anglers are now hanging up their trout rods for a few months but from now is when the lake fishing just gets better and better.

The lake fish have to work hard during the winter to get a feed and that is the time when you can catch them off-guard. A fly or bait will catch you some big ones but there are also good fish to be caught spinning and trolling. The record-size brown trout come mostly from trolling lures on those perfect sunny winter days.


Trolling is boring for some but I can’t think of a better way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the snow-capped mountains, especially if you have just had a hard morning on the ski slopes.

The best lures to use when trolling Jindabyne for big winter trout are large minnows like the Huey’s Spotted Dog or nice big Rapalas. I have been doing well on the black and gold jointed Rebel Minnow over recent weeks.

Tasmanian Devil lures in pink 55, orange 57 and brown 48 are also winter favourites and are probably the best lures when you’re just after a few rainbows for sport or a feed. Rainbows always put up a better fight than browns and with the cooler water, this month is when the fish fight best.

Trolling minnow lures on three colours of lead-core line over weed beds in shallow, protected bays will often result in a strike from a big fish, almost stopping the boat. You just have to be lucky enough to hang onto the rod at the time of the strike. I have lost count of the number of anglers who lose big fish because they think they are snagged!

Good areas for trolling this month are Creel Bay, the Snowy Arm, Hayshed Bay and Hatchery Bay.

We still have a couple of weeks flyfishing and while most anglers are targeting the big browns in the Thredbo River, I prefer to hit the smaller streams for one last go with the dry fly. I find that black cricket patterns are good at this time of year but when the fish are on the bite they really aren’t too fussy.


When flyfishing the lake in June, it’s best to use polarised glasses to spot fish moving around the edges of the lake. This year we may see some early polaroiding as the lake level drops for more work on the new dam spillway. Most of the work will be over shortly but the completion date is December.

Polaroiding trout is best done on the sunnier days and that is the time I like to flyfish the lake anyway. I haven’t caught much flyfishing when it’s snowing or during the cold winter nights.

Something like a brown nymph, a Mrs Simpson or a shrimp pattern will get good results during winter. Don’t forget my Williamson’s Gold Fish in the quiet, weedy bays. Remember what I said in an earlier report about the big fish feeding on Jindabyne goldfish!

The best areas for winter polaroiding are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay, Sid’s Bay and the Kalkite end of the lake.

Spinning from the shore works well during winter and you often see people throwing lures after a hard day in the ski fields. Tasmanian Devils are probably the best: pink 55, yellow wing 36 and brown 48. Work them back with a slow retrieve. Good areas to try are the Snowy Arm and Creel Bay, while Wollondibby Inlet is excellent after rain.

bait fishing

Fishing with worms has always been a favourite winter method although it can get cold waiting for the fish to bite. When worm fishing, use plenty of tiger worms or a single scrubworm fished off the bottom using a running sinker rig.

Lemon Twist and Fluoro Orange PowerBait has been catching a lot of good trout over the past couple of months and Corn Nuggets usually work very well over winter. A jar of each in the tackle box is highly recommended. Bardi grubs are great for big browns that haven’t gone to spawn yet. Good areas to use bait are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Taylors Bay.

Call in to my shop at the Snowline Centre for the latest information or call me on 0408 024 436 for a big winter trout charter. By now, rumours will be flying about that my business is moving down to Pambula and Merimbula, but that is not totally true. With the Snowline Holiday Park being purchased by the Beston Group, which has also acquired the Holiday Hub Beach Resort at Pambula, I will be doing more instruction and guiding in the Merimbula/Pambula area.

I may also hold a flyfishing school down there in late August or September so I’d be interested in your comments if a coastal flyfishing school would interest you. I think winter is the time to learn how to fish so you can put what you have learnt into practice during summer.

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