Lakes cooling off
  |  First Published: March 2005

With the arrival of Autumn the water in the lakes will cool down and the surface trout fishing will improve.

Over the past month we have seen Lake Jindabyne’s level slowly dropping in readiness for work again on the wall. Construction is well under way on the new spillway and the new tunnel through the wall to the proposed power station is almost half-finished. But the water level will have to be lowered to minimum operational level (as it was last Winter) to finish off the intake.

Last year this work had no effect on the fishing and I see no reason why it should this Winter.

The brown trout again went a little quiet on the lake over Summer, preferring to hide on the bottom eating big, fat yabbies. This made them a little hard to catch but now that the water is cooling, the yabbies will hibernate over Winter and the browns will start thinking about feeding up elsewhere to ready for their spawning run. This will bring the fish out of hiding and we should see a couple of record size browns caught in the next few months.

Autumn normally sees an end to our dry-fly fishing on the streams but this year the seasons are late and I see no reason why we won’t see continued great dry-fly fishing for another month at least.

The Thredbo and Mowambah rivers will continue to fish well and as long as the weather stays warm, we might see dry-fly action into late April. The Summer has been the best fishing I have experienced in the Snowy Mountains for many years and I see no reason why this shouldn’t continue right throughout Autumn.

If you are 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.

Let’s look at what we should expect over the coming month.


For the bait angler fishing the edges of the lake (bait is illegal in the streams and rivers), mudeyes –dragon fly nymphs – are still the best bait for this time of year. Suspend the mudeye one to two metres under a bubble float at sunrise and sunset.

The next-best are worms teamed with orange or lemon twist PowerBait fished off the bottom. The other new artificial bait is Majic Morsels in anchovy or aniseed flavours. Bardi grubs will also start to be a great bait over the coming month.

Best areas will be Waste Point and the Snowy Arm, Hatchery Bay and Hayshed Bay.


Tasmanian Devil lures in green and gold colours such as numbers 6, 23 or 55, and brown colours such as No 48, will catch you fish. On the lake use Tassies in 13.5g and the 20g dual-depth for warmer sunnier days (to get deeper). In the rivers use the smaller 7g lure.

This month the Thredbo River water level is normally at its lowest so small slight spinners are best. Floating minnows like Rapalas can be cast these out and floated downstream a little before retrieving them. This way the fish are spooked less.

On the lake good spinning areas to try are Curiosity Rocks, Wollondibby Inlet, Hatchery Bay and Waste Point.


March/April is often when you can troll up some rainbow trout well over a kilo. The rainbows usually start to fight better as the water cools. They are more often than not surface-feeding with a diet of insects and the best time to troll for them is in the early morning or late evening. Use Tasmanian Devils in the darker colours in low light and move to brighter colours as the sun comes up. Try numbers 6, 50, 48 and 55. The Gillies rainbow trout and brown trout pattern wobblers are also catching some good rainbows on the surface. The Spanyid Maniac spoons are also well worth having in your tackle box.

As the day warms up and the fish go deeper, lead-core lines and downriggers will still be very useful. Dual Depth Tasmanian Devils rigged through the side hole to troll deeper to four metres will also help you catch fish but make sure you don’t troll too fast.

We have had a very late downrigging season this year with fish holding from 10 to 12 metres and I think this trend will continue. Lion and Cub Islands always fish well in autumn and as the brown trout move to the end of the lake ready to spawn, Creel Bay and the Snowy Arm are well worth trying.


The streams and rivers really didn’t start to fish well until the end of January so with plenty of grasshoppers still about, we should continue to see some great fly fishing for a few weeks yet. The best dry fly flies over the Summer have been hopper patterns, of course, but the Royal Wulff was the next-best, followed by the Red Tag. I also caught a lot of fish on a Yellow Humpy on the Mowambah River.

Lakes Jindabyne and Eucumbene will continue to improve as the water cools. Flies to try over the coming months will be the black Woolly Bugger and mudeye patterns. Don’t forget Williamson’s Goldfish around the creek inlets during the late evening.

For the very latest day to day fishing reports, call into my shop at the Snowline Holiday Park (next to the Shell servo) or call 02 64 561551. For tour bookings call me on 0408 024 436, mail to PMB 5 Jindabyne 2627 or email me at --e-mail address hidden--

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