Rivers in top condition
  |  First Published: October 2005

The trout rivers open for fishing on October 1 and with good winter rainfall, the brown trout had an excellent spawning run and the rainbows have also done well.

With the snowmelt in full swing, the rivers are in fantastic condition and we’re going to have a great start to the season. I am sure there will be plenty of anglers down in the Snowy Mountains for the October long weekend.

Unfortunately last winter did not produce quite as much snow as one would think and this may have an effect on river and lake levels over summer.

Lake Jindabyne will not be as full as in previous years, partly due to the poor snow season and the work being done on the Jindabyne dam wall. The road diversion over the temporary coffer dam is now in use and the old road has been removed so a bridge can be built over the new floodway.

We can expect the work on the new bridge to last for about 12 months, after which the road will be diverted over the bridge and the lake will be lowered to minimum level so the coffer dam can be removed. You can see with all of this work being carried out that Jindabyne will not have a high level for probably the next two years.

As we’ve already experienced over the last 12 months, the lower water levels have had little to no effect on the fishing and, if anything, the action has been better, with last season a boomer.

Over the past month as the water has risen slowly, we have seen lots of trout cruising the lake edges so it’s been an excellent time for fly and bait anglers.


For bait anglers fishing the edges of the lake (remember, bait is illegal in the streams and rivers), a bunch of small tiger worms suspended one to two metres under a bubble float at sunrise and sunset can be just what the rainbow trout are looking for.

This is extremely effective around the mouths of creeks and river inlets where there is an inflow of water.

For the brown trout, worms fished off the bottom, teamed with orange or lemon twist PowerBait floating 25cm above, is a method working well at the moment.

Another PowerBait product worthwhile trying suspended under a float is the 1” Sparkle Craw, which looks like a little yabby, or a 1” Micro Nymph.

Suspend these one or two metres under the float and allow them to bob around aided by wave action or, if it’s a still day, by working the rod tip to keep the bait alive. The movement will help attract the trout.

The best areas to try will be Waste Point, the Snowy Arm, Hatchery Bay and Hayshed Bay.


For the lake spin angler, Tasmanian Devil lures in green and gold such as numbers 6, 23 or 55, and brown colours such as no 48, will catch fish. On the lake use the medium-sized 13.5g Tassie and the 20g Dual Depth to get deeper on warmer, sunny days. In the rivers use the 7g lure.

This month the Thredbo River is normally at its highest and fastest as the snow melts, so larger and deeper-diving lures are best. You can use the 7g Tassie or minnow lures that sink or dive, such as the Rapalas. Cast these out and let them sink a little in the stream before retrieving.

The bigger trout will always be in the faster, deeper water so if you can’t get down to them you won’t catch any.

On the lake, the water level is rising and the fish can often be found close to the banks, so try a small lure and work it around rocks and trees for best results. Good spinning areas now are Curiosity Rocks, Wollondibby Inlet, Hatchery Bay and Waste Point.

The bigger browns should all be back in the lake by now and they will be feeding in the more protected weedy bays. Target these fish before the sun rises for best results.


The fish are hungry after the spawning season so now you can troll up some rainbow trout well over a kilo. The rainbows usually fight best at this time of the year, as the water is at the perfect temperature to keep them active.

The rainbows are also more often than not surface feeding. The best time to troll for them is in the early morning or late evening.

Trolling attractors, like cowbells and ford fenders with a worm about 50cm behind, is always worth a try. You can also troll PowerBait 1” Nymphs behind attractors.

When trolling attractors, make sure you go as slowly as possible. Electric motors are best although trolling baffles are another option for bigger outboards.

The best lures to troll are Tasmanian Devils in darker colours in low light conditions and brighter colours as the sun rises higher. Try numbers 6, 50, 48 and 55 and you’re sure to have the best chance. The Gillies rainbow trout and brown trout pattern Wobblers are also catching some good rainbows on the surface.

As the day warms up and the fish go deeper, lead-core lines and downriggers will be very useful.

Dual Depth Devils rigged through the side hole to troll even deeper to four metres will also help you catch fish but make sure you don’t troll too fast when this lure is rigged in the deep-dive hole.


The streams and rivers will be running at their fastest at the moment and the best methods for the next month will still be Globugs and nymphs. Make sure these are fished in the faster runs and that the fly is getting to the bottom. A weighted fly will probably be a must and you can always try a sink-tip fly line or add a faster-sinking poly or braided leader to make certain you get the fly to the bottom.

There may even be a little dry fly fishing on the warmer days and the best flies over the next month will be the no. 12 Royal Wulff, Adams and maybe even the Yellow Humpy.

Lake Jindabyne will still fish well around the edges for a while yet and there will be some polarising for those who want to walk the edges. Flies to try will be small Green Nymphs over the weed beds. Early and late in the day a black Woolly Bugger or a Mrs Simpson is also worth a try.

I will host trolling clinics on October 22 and 23 and November 26 and 27 and a beginner flyfishing school on November 19 and 20. For information, phone (02) 6456 1551 or email me your postal address. For the latest reports call in at my shop in the Snowline Holiday Park (next to the Shell Servo). For tour bookings, call 0408 024 436 or send me an email.

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