Hot action in cooling water
  |  First Published: March 2004

AUTUMN is here – it’s amazing how fast the year has gone already and with Winter approaching, the lake water will cool down and the surface trout fishing will improve.

Over the past month we have seen Lake Jindabyne’s water level slowly dropping in readiness for the construction of the new dam spillway. So far this has had very little or no effect on the fishing.

I can honestly say that the fishing has been nothing but spectacular over the past few months. The high lake level of early Summer – the highest the lake has been for over 16 years – gave the fish extra food around the margins and the trout have put on amazing condition this season, with big, fat rainbow trout being caught all over the lake.

The browns went a little quiet over Summer, preferring to hide down on the bottom and eat big yabbies. This made them a little hard to catch but now that the water is cooling down, the yabbies will once again hibernate for Winter and the brown trout will start thinking about feeding elsewhere, to put on more condition for their spawning run.

This cooler weather will bring the fish out of hiding and we should see a couple of record browns caught in the next few months.

Autumn sees an end to our dry-fly fishing on the streams but by next month we will start to see a few early-spawning browns moving into the rivers. While fishing for spawning fish is often frowned upon by the purists, I see no problem with catch and release. Anyhow, for this month at least, we will still see some excellent dry-fly action on the Thredbo and Mowambah rivers

As long as the weather stays warm, we might see that dry-fly fun continue into late April. Anyhow, predicting the fishing is easier than predicting the weather, so at least I can guarantee that you can still catch a trout in the Snowies.

If you’re having problems with catching trout at the moment, it’s time to seriously rethink what method you use. Fish often feed differently from day to day and the real trick is knowing what method to use and when. That’s the secret to being a successful trout angler.

For the bait angler fishing the edges of the lake (remember, bait is illegal in the streams and rivers) mudeyes, the nymphs of dragonflies, are still the best baits for this time of year. Fishing a mudeye suspended one metre under a bubble float at sunrise and sunset can be just perfect for what the average trout is looking for.

If you can’t get hold of a mudeye, then worms are the next-best bet. Worms teamed with orange Berkley PowerBait fished off the bottom is a method that is working well at the moment on Lake Jindabyne.


For the lake spin angler, Tasmanian Devil lures in green and gold colours such as No 6, No 23 or No 55, and brown colours such as No 48, will catch you fish. On the lake use the medium-sized Tassie in 13.5g and in the rivers use the smaller 7g lure. Another good lure for the rivers is the Gillies Spina Lure and green is the fish’s favourite colour at this time of the year. Another lure that is working well is the Spanyid Maniac spoon, whose action is hard for the trout to resist.

Trolling the lake is a great relaxing way to fish and March and April are often the months when you can troll up some very good-sized rainbow trout, well in excess of a kilo. The rainbows usually start to fight better as the water cools down and they are a great sporting fish for catch and release. The rainbows are, more often than not, surface-feeding fish which have a diet of insects and the best time to troll for them is in the early morning or late evening.

Lures to use include Tasmanian Devils in the darker colours in low light conditions and the brighter colours as the sun gets up. Try numbers 6, 50, 48 and 55 in the colour range and you are sure to have the best chance. The Gillies Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout are also catching some good-sized rainbows on the surface. These lures are only new and are worth having in your tackle box for trolling and spinning.


The streams and rivers recovered very well from Summer’s heat and the fishing is the best I have seen for a while. They should continue to fish well because the seasons have been a little late this year. With plenty of grasshoppers still about, we should continue to see some great fishing for a few weeks yet.

The best dry fly over the Summer was the Royal Wulff and next-best was the Red Tag. I also caught a lot of fish on a Yellow Humpy on the Mowambah River over the past few weeks.

Lake Jindabyne and Lake Eucumbene fished a little on the slow side over Summer due to the warm water but they are now fishing much better and will continue to improve as the water cools. Flies to try over the coming months will be the Black Woolly Bugger and mudeye patterns .

The lake levels have been reasonably high over Summer and, as they drop over the coming months, lake polaroiding will also improve. We will also be in for some great fly-fishing on the lakes over July and August this year.

For the very latest day-to-day fishing reports, call into my shop at the Snowline Caravan Park, next to the Shell servo, or call us on 02 6456 1551. For tour bookings call me on my mobile 0408 024 436 or send details to Steve Williamson, PMB 5, Jindabyne 2627 or email me at --e-mail address hidden--

Yasmine Rankin from Melbourne with a nice 1.4 kg Rainbow trolled up on a Tasmanian Devil No 36 in Lake Jindabyne.

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