Trout on the bite
  |  First Published: May 2003

May is one of my favourite months for trout fishing in the Snowy Mountains, as the water is cooling down on our lakes and the trout are normally well and truly on the bite.

Even in the rivers the fishing starts to improve, especially on the Thredbo when the brown trout start their spawning run. So far it has been a wet and mild Autumn with good rainfall and warmer days throughout. However, the weather is starting to cool down, with overnight temperatures often close to freezing.

Over the past few weeks the rainbow trout have been really on the bite on the lake, with fish to 1kg common and even a few brown trout up to 3kg. It is normal for this time of year for the lakes water levels to be low and still dropping and that is true of the present conditions. The dropping water brings the weed beds close to shore, so we actually also start to get a little bit of polaroid angling happening. That will only improve over the coming months. The water temperature is also starting to drop.

Surface trolling

On the trolling front, we should see a bit more surface fishing happening. Normally, pink lures work best but do not be surprised this year if green and yellow lures are still working well into May.

If surface trolling, I would have Tasmanian Devil No 6, No 48, No 50, No 55, and maybe No 56 handy in the box. And if you haven’t got a No 36 Yellow Wing in your box already, you had better purchase a handful.

If the days are sunny, try trolling deeper using lead-core line three colours (30 metres) out, which will get the Tassie down to four metres deep. This is also the time of day for the Yellow Wing Tassie to really come into its own.

Some anglers are having success trolling soft plastic lures behind dodgers or cowbells. It does take a little skill to get the plastic lures to track straight, but they do catch trout if you set them up correctly. Rainbow or brown trout patterns are best colours.

Spin early, late

Spinning at the start of May is usually very good at sunrise and sunset. In the lake I like to use No 36 and No 48 Tasmanian Devils. For deeper water use the Legend brown trout deep-diver.

I must also confess to using soft plastics with good success of late in the river and the lake. Just as in the saltwater, you have to get used to working the plastics slowly and you do need to use a braided line when spinning or you will miss the take too often.

River spinning should improve, now that we have had a little rain and the cooler nights are here. I would also say that if the weather continues the way it has, we will see an early spawning run for the brown trout this year.

The best lures to use there will be bladed spinners such as the Gillies Killer Spinner in gold early and in silver during the day. Try also the smaller 7g Pink Panther and the No 55 Tassie Devil. For those who like minnows, rainbow trout and brown trout Rapalas are worth a try, as is the Legend shallow diver.

The best soft plastic to use on the river has been the Assassin gold/orange shiner, a curl-tail, and the Slider Crappie Grub in motor oil colour with an orange jig head. Another great soft plastic for the rivers has been the Storm Wildeye in orange. The upturned hook makes soft plastics fished on a jighead almost snag-proof .

For those bait-fishing on the lake, mudeyes (dragonfly nymphs) will still work well in May if you can find or buy them. Fish them about one metre under a bubble float to keep them off the lake bottom.

If you can’t get mudeyes, bardi grubs will also work very well when fished off the bottom of the lake and if you can’t get bardis, a nice bunch of worms is always worth a try.

Fly-fishing great

Fly-fishing has been great since the rain and we should be in for a good May on the lake and in the rivers and streams. So far this season the best fly on the Moonbah and Thredbo rivers has been the Royal Wulff but there are now a lot of little black crickets about, so black cricket patterns are also worth a try.

On the lake, my own Williamson’s Goldfish, Mrs Simpson and Craig’s Nighttime have been the best performers. With the stable lake level, we should be in for some excellent Autumn fly-fishing on the lake. Fish over the weed beds early in the morning for the best results.

Celebrity Trout challenge

Over coming months you will hear more about the Snowy Mountains Celebrity Trout Challenge, a boat and lure event set down for October 16 to 19. While this is possibly going to be the biggest trout fishing competition seen in Australia, it is an invitation-only event and you will need to apply to me, as organiser, to compete. There will be only a limited number of places for boat and non-boat entrants.

There are, however, lots of other things happening at the same time, including family fishing competitions and trout workshops and it will be worth the trip to the Snowy Mountains just to join in the fun.

For more information or for entry forms, please snail-mail PMB 5, Jindabyne, NSW 2627, fax 02 6456 1342 or email --e-mail address hidden-- . Please don’t phone me about this one.

For other inquires on the latest fishing conditions or for information on our tours, phone me on 0408 024 436.



Jindabyne regular Amanda Walshaw with a brace of fine trout trolled up from the lake.


The author’s son, Jason, with a prime Lake Jindabyne rainbow.


Some fly platform! The author casting a fly at Waste Point from the foredeck of his six-metre Marlin Broadbill.

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