Trout Challenge will be tops
  |  First Published: September 2003

The Snowy Mountains Trout Challenge has really come together as one of the best social fishing events ever in these parts.

While the celebrity event is now nearly full up with competitors, we have added a three-hour fly fishing competition for Friday, October 17.

This competition is sponsored by NSW Fisheries and J.M. Gillies and includes more than $5000 in prizes, including a $2300 fly-fishing trip to New Zealand.

The event is open to all fly but you must register by October 14. Call me or email me to get an entry form.

I have had a few calls from concerned anglers that say this is just another fishing competition that will be detrimental to the local fishing. Obviously these people have not been reading the rules of the competition, in which is nothing to say that anglers have to kill all fish and weigh them in. The rules state that when a fish is captured it is measured and competitors, one of which is the ‘controller’ not known to the others, signs for the fish and it is up to the angler whether the fish is released or not.

Why do some anglers always want all fish ever captured released? Don’t they realise that our Snowy Mountains fisheries are all managed fisheries? Fish are stocked for anglers to catch and if they want to keep them there is nothing to say you can’t if it is of legal size and caught by a legal method.

What do these people want to do – close down our hatcheries? This is what will happen if we release all our fish and we don’t need to restock. Then when we get a bad drought or other environmental disaster, there won’t be a hatchery to restock our waterways.

We pay for a fishing licence and we, along with NSW Fisheries, help sustain our fishery. These are manageable waterways, not the open ocean, and anglers deserve the right to catch fish and keep at least one to eat.

The days of the meat hunters have gone, it just doesn’t happen any more. Rules have stopped that type of behaviour and our daily bags have been reduced now to only five fish per angler per day on the lakes. You might say that even five fish is too many but if our lakes can take the pressure, then the rules will stay. If not, we again reduce the bag limits.

The Celebrity Trout Challenge is a recovery event in the aftermath of the bushfires and we need to help the area recover and to educate all anglers that the fishery is still in a great condition. The challenge is supported by NSW Fisheries and the people fishing the event are Australia’s leading trout anglers, who are only too aware that they have to act responsibly.

I guarantee that very few fish will be actually kept – some celebrities and a couple of anglers may chose to keep a fish or two, and why shouldn’t they? For more information on the ‘Snowy Mountains Trout Challenge’ log onto [url=http://troutchallenge.fishnet.com.au/] (no www).


The snow is now melting in the mountains and the lake water levels are rising, bringing the trout in close to feed around the edges. With the fish in shallow water they are often a little spooky, so whatever method of fishing you prefer, presentation is of utmost importance during the next few months.

It is not a good idea, when bait fishing especially, to move about close to the water’s edge. The best approach in all methods of trout fishing is to try not to spook the fish. Cast the bait into the water, not too far out, move away and stay still, checking your bait only if you think you may have had a bite. I will often leave a bait undisturbed for at least an hour before I decide to try again or move locations.

Spinning from the lake shore with lures such as the Tasmanian Devil is very popular, with best lure colours this month gold No 36 or the green and gold frog pattern, No 50. The best spinning areas are those near the rocky points. Spots like the dam wall, Curiosity Rocks and Taylors Bay at Kalkite are great.

This is one of the best months for polaroiding trout (using polarised glasses to spot the fish) and you will often see flyfishers stalking in the shallows and casting their flies. Shallow, weedy bays like Hatchery Bay, The Claypits area and Creel Bay at Waste Point are good polaroiding locations. Best flies to try are Olive Nymphs and yabby patterns.

Trolling is another very popular method and over the past few months you can’t go past the pink No 55 Tassie Devil and, on the brighter days, the yellow wings, No 36. If the day is very sunny and bright, try using lead-core line at three colours (30 metres) and fish the deeper water near rocky areas. Best areas to try are East Jindabyne Islands, the South Arm and Waste Point.

Baits of worms or bardi grubs are also popular. These are best fished on or near the bottom using a sinker. Because there is little in the way of insect activity over the cooler months, trout mainly feed on the bottom. Hatchery Bay and Waste Point are both good areas to try, but most shallow bays that have water covering new grass will attract the trout to feed in close. Remember in these areas be careful not to scare the fish.

• I have one position left for my Beginner Weekend Course on November 1 and 2 and I am still willing to do a NSWFM reader special of a free Gillies fly combo, worth $250, if you book by October 1. For more details phone me on 0408 024436 or e-mail me at --e-mail address hidden--

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