Brilliant water, hungry fish
  |  First Published: March 2008

The lakes and rivers have produced exceptionally well over the past month with many regular fly fishers commenting that the fishing in the Murrumbidgee and Eucumbene rivers and the many smaller creeks is as good as it was 10 years ago.

We have some excellent rain and the water flow is brilliant. This should continue right through March.

After many years of drought, the quality of the fish has come back and river trout from 1kg to 2kg are not uncommon.

Useful dry flies during March include hopper patterns, Red Tag, Royal Coachman, Royal Stimulator, caddis patterns, Humpies, Parachute Stimulators, Shaving Brush and of course anything that resembles a particular hatch while you’re fishing.

Nymphs always fish well in the rivers and many fly fishers use nymphs exclusively any time they fish.

Tantangara Dam has been a bit hit-or-miss recently but with lowering temperatures should become more consistent and it certainly is a great place to visit regardless of the action.

I have recently taken delivery of one of Peter Hayes’s specially designed drogues and at the first opportunity we get, Col Sinclair and I will be up at Tantangara to try it.

Lake Eucumbene has also fished quite well, although patches of dry grass blown from the banks have proven an issue in some areas. Wet flies such as Woolly Worms, Woolly Buggers, Fuzzy Wuzzies, Muddler Minnows, Red Setters and Craig’s Nighttimes are regularly successful. Often it’s a case of try until you find something that works.

Popular areas include Seven Gates, Cemetery Point, the boat ramp area, Homeleigh Bay and Observation Point.


A good number of nice browns and rainbows in excellent condition are being caught on bait daily. Baiting from the bank is best in the early morning, late afternoon and into the night.

There are plenty of weedy bays with banks full of grass and there’s a good number of grasshoppers ending up in the water. It’s ideal to fish with mudeyes under a running float, but remember to grease the fishing line so it doesn’t sink.

During the day it’s better to fish in deeper water with a fat scrub worm or bardi grub with a PowerBait dropper under a running sinker. This combination is very successful year-round and counts for most fish caught by bait anglers from the bank.

Good spots include Adaminaby Bay, Cemetery Point, Springwood Bay, Frying Pan Arm at Seven Gates and Anglers Reach, to mention a few.


If you put in the time, you get the fish. During the winged lures like the Tassie Devil or Lofty’s Cobra in gold or yellow with red and black marks or spots are effective in the deeper water if you let the lure sink before retrieving it.

When fishing the shallower, weedy bays during morning or late afternoon, you’re better off using soft plastics or smaller Celtas.

Why not try something different after dark? Tie a bubble float half-filled with water onto your line and then attach a few 15cm droppers with flies above the float. Cast it out as far as you can leave it for 10 seconds and slowly retrieve. One of our locals is having great success fishing this way after dark.


Trolling is great – the fish are in excellent condition and biting well. But if you want to use line and lures meant for Murray cod or saltwater species, don’t walk around town after a day’s fishing without a bite whingeing to everyone that there are no fish in Lake Eucumbene!

The lake water in March is still warm so it’s essential to get your lure down to deeper water in the middle of the day.

The easiest way is to use lead-core line on an overhead reel. The line is marked in a different colour every 10m so put 40m of backing onto your reel, add five to six ‘colours’ of lead line and then tie on a 10m leader of 6lb to 8lb monofilament.

Four colours should get your Lofty’s Cobra down to 6m or 7m, depending on your trolling speed. Winged lures have the best action at 3kmh to 4kmh so it’s important to troll at the right speed.

Recommended lures include Tassie Devils in numbers 89, 50, s12, yo5, y48, y62, Eucumbene Special and a few specially painted for Lake Eucumbene that you can find in the Adaminaby Angler.

Good spots include Adaminaby Bay, Cemetery Point, Frying Pan Arm, Coppermine Bay, Collingwood Bay, Tolbar and the dam wall.

For recent weather conditions in the boat ramp area visit www.eucumbenechamber.org.au . For regular updates about fishing visit www.alpinetouristpark.com.au/fishing.shtml and www.adaminabyangler.com.au/reports.shtml . To general area information visit www.alpinetouristpark.com.au/adaminaby.html .


The Monaro Acclimatisation Society is deeply concerned with plans by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission to remove ‘alien’ fish species, including trout, from the basin.

Society president Steve Samuels has written to NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald to convey the concerns of the society and the Monaro community at large over these plans.

In December Steve learnt that the Murray-Darling Basin Commission (whose jurisdiction includes the Snowy Mountains) had released a tender document for the removal of ‘alien fish species’. This document makes it clear that the alien fish species include trout. Minister Macdonald

The tender document goes on to highlight that the eradication of trout ‘is a priority’. One of the proposed methods of eradication listed in the document is the use of Rotenone, a poison that indiscriminately kills all aquatic life when introduced into a waterway.

A lot of you are probably thinking by now that this is some sort of a joke but it is not. It is plainly stupid to propose the use of a poison which kills all aquatic life while the long-term effects of this poison are not yet known. Even more stupid is to consider doing this and to be happy to leave it to the next generation to find out what’s going to happen.

To propose the elimination of trout is equally stupid. One has to seriously wonder about the state of mind of the people involved in this decision-making process. Politicians and bureaucrats often make comments like ‘the decision in based on strong scientific evidence’ or ‘after extensive scientific research’. One can only suppose that these types of comments were made when, over the years, on the basis of ‘scientific evidence’ or ‘research’, bureaucrats and politicians authorised the introduction of prickly pear, cane toads, European carp and rabbits.

The trout fishing industry in the Snowy Mountains is among the main economic drivers of the region. Its value to the Snowy Mountains region alone has been calculated at well over $70 million annually. Does the NSW Government or the Murray-Darling Basin Commission have any plans to compensate the many businesses in this area that provide for the needs of trout anglers?

What about the thousands of anglers who enjoy fishing for trout? Has anyone consulted them or considered their views? Is there any evidence, scientific or otherwise, that trout actually cause harm or damage to lakes and streams?

Be assured that this is not a time to sit passively and watch our interests, hobbies and enjoyments being surreptitiously taken from us. It’s time for action and it’s time the fishing industry’s voice was heard.

We have many representative organisations endeavouring to enunciate the views of the angling communities and it’s time for all of us to give them a hand. Join a fishing club, write to your local State member and express your views; write to the Minister, write to the Premier.

Do whatever you can because it’s every politician’s priority to be re-elected. And if we make it perfectly clear that we will do everything we possibly can to ensure that those responsible for these ludicrous policies and decisions are not re-elected, they might, for the first time in their political lives, actually listen to the views of the enormous majority rather than those of an ill-informed and radical few.

– Peter and Lars

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