The cooler, the better
  |  First Published: April 2004

AUTUMN is now well and truly here and all trout anglers know that the fishing at this time of year gets even better as the weather gets cooler.

Lake Jindabyne is in terrific condition and the fishing is better than it has been for many years. Last month we continued with the fantastic downrigging we experienced all Summer and I think there will be a little left for early this month.

Over the next few months, the water will cool and the trout will again start to come closer to the surface and feed closer to shore, making them easier to catch for the land-based angler.

Lake Jindabyne’s level has been dropping steadily now for a couple of months, but it is still higher than we have experienced over recent years so don’t worry about the water. The fish are in fantastic condition with record-sized brown and rainbow trout getting caught. Even the Atlantic salmon are in better condition than they ever have been.

We are still waiting for Snowy Hydro to announce the successful tenderer for the construction of the new dam spillway and floodway. This decision should have been made a couple of months ago so it looks as if the construction will now not be finished until mid-2006.

I would say that we will now see little difference to our normal yearly fluctuation in water levels. The lake level will be low over Winter but should be about normal for next Summer, although nowhere near as high as this year’s record Summer level.

Easter is a little later this year and with the NSW School holidays going right through to Anzac Day, we should see lots of happy anglers enjoying some excellent Autumn trout fishing.


For the land-based angler, mudeyes will still be a great bait to use but if you can’t get any, try A good old bunch of worms suspended about one to two metres under a float. We also have some fantastic scrub worms for sale at the shop and even Berkley PowerBait is catching some big rainbow trout.

Try fishing early and late in the day for the best action but if you have the time to keep the line in the water longer, you can catch fish all day. The best areas to try will be up at Waste Point, Creel Bay and Hatchery Bay.

While most spin anglers will work the shoreline of the bays early and late in the day, you can catch trout at any time if you find some deep water and allow the lure to sink a little deeper before retrieving. Tasmanian Devil lures are the best in the lake because you can throw them a fair way out and slowly bring them back to the edge-cruising trout.

On the Thredbo river, the best lures to use would be small bladed spinners like the Gillies Cocktail Spina but all these spinners will catch trout. Successful river spinning this month will depend a lot on rain. If we get good falls we might even see an early start to the brown trout spawning run.

If we don’t get any rain, why not try floating down a fly about a metre under a bubble float. Remember, while it may be illegal to use bait under a float, it’s not illegal to use an artificial fly and if flies work for the fly-casters, then they can catch fish for you, too.

River fly-fishing over the next month will also depend on rain. If we don’t get rain, we will still be able to catch fish but they will be very spooky and a longer leader and your best cast might be needed. There will still be a little dry-fly fishing on the warmer days, with caddis and mayfly patterns the best choice.

If we get rain then black and brown nymphs will be worth a try through the runs and if we get lots of rain, glo-bugs will be best for the early-spawning brown trout.

Lake fly anglers will have a little more luck this year with the weed beds already close to the edge of the lake. We might even see some excellent polaroiding once the water cools down a little more.

If you have a boat to cast from then you can try sinking lines on the lake and you may be surprised – you can actually get some excellent rainbow trout even in the middle of the brightest days just by drifting around with flies down to about five metres deep. Don’t keep stripping them in all the time, just leave the fly in the water (that’s where the fish are) and twitch the tip of the rod about 5cm to 10cm.

The best flies using this method are bigger ones, like large No 4 or No 6 black or green Woolly Buggers or a Mrs Simpson.

If you are land-based and fishing early and late, again a Mrs Simpson or a Hammill’s Killer are good flies. When fishing in the little sheltered bays you had better put on a Williamson’s Goldfish as this fly was especially designed to represent the wild goldfish that hang around these locations.


The next few months are when the trolling is at its best. Surface trolling Tasmanian Devils in gold and green, No 50, and plain gold colours like No 36 will be best. When surface trolling early, stay in about three metres of water and you might just be lucky enough to land a nice big brown trout. The best colours to try will be brown colours like the Tasmanian Devil No 48 Halo.

Once the water temperature cools down to around 14° you will find that the fish will get into spawning mood and colours will change to Tasmanian Devil No 55 Pink Panther or the No 56.

For the late risers, lead-core lines at three colours (30 metres of line out) will still work best late morning and in the middle of the day. If you don’t have any lead-core line, then try a Downunder Trolling Sinker, which we also stock.

If you’re coming down to Jindabyne for Easter, call in to my shop next to the Shell Service Centre at the Snowline Caravan Park and pick up up-to-date information on the latest fishing conditions and locations. Fish do move around the lake, depending on water temperature and winds, so it’s a little hard to predict more than a few days ahead.

For more info on dates of our Fly and Trolling schools, please give me a call or email me. If you would like some personal guiding, I will be available over the coming months for fly-fishing tuition and trolling trips. If you want to know more give me a call on 0408 024 436 or check out [url=http://www.fishnet.com.au/snowyfish].


The next Trout Challenge looks like being in early March, 2005. It is not too early to register you interest in competing as there will be only limited positions available. If you would like to get involved with the 2005 event, send your details to me C/- PMB 5 Jindabyne 2627.

Highlights of the 2003 event are also now available and the video/DVD made around the event, called Secrets of the Trout Experts, will be available some time this month. More details next month.


Harold Baxter, 88, who started fishing the Snowy mountains with his father as a boy. Harold enjoyed some excellent trolling with Steve Williamson, catching his bag limit in just one hour and then continuing to catch and release the rest of the trip. Most fish were caught down rigging a Steve Williamson No 36 Tassie Devil'.


Barry Hein with a Rainbow Trout caught on a gold Maniac spoon.


The author with a 1kg male rainbow caught on a gold Maniac trolled off a downrigger at 10 metres.

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