Trout surface as lake cools
  |  First Published: March 2008

The amazing downrigging that we have experienced since Christmas continued through last month, with eight trout in an hour not uncommon at all, but the water is cooling now and the fish are coming up from the deep and spreading out more.

This means a return to more conventional fishing techniques where you will have to work lures, bait and flies around the edges and in the surface layers early in the morning and then fish a little deeper as the day warms up.

All fish caught over the past month have been in fantastic condition and that tells us the lake is also in perfect condition.

The brown trout are full of yabbies and the kids have been having lots of fun catching the yabbies as well. Find yourself an area that is not too sandy and put a bit of chicken liver in a lift net (no enclosed traps are allowed in trout waters) and you’re sure to catch a feed of yabbies for dinner – or bait.

Easter is early this year so the water will be warmer and there is less chance of any early-spawning brown trout in the Thredbo River. But the river fishing could be good with some excellent dry fly fishing still very possible.

The streams will also fish on dry fly with the Moonbah in particular performing down near the weir off Dalgety Road.

This month bait-fishing picks up again and with the water temperatures dropping quickly, we should see some good fish caught.

Last month’s Beston’s Trout Challenge went off well and plenty of fish were weighed in. More on that in the next issue.

The lake level has dropped a little and will continue fall, which is normal at this time of year. Work removing the coffer dam after the wall upgrade should now be well under way and completed by winter. The water has been around 17° and dropping as the nights get colder.


Try lead-core line and surface lines at first light and then fish deeper once the sun gets higher. On cloudy or rainy days you can work the surface until about 10 am. Tasmanian Devils number 82 and 89 have been good but No 36, yellow wing, has by far been the best overall. My new black/gold Tassie has been very good for downrigging.

Some of the better trolling areas this month will be Hatchery Bay and Hayshed Bay but Sid’s Bay through to Rushes Bay will fish well early in the day for big brown trout.


The best lures on the lake have been sinking Rapalas used early and late in the day where there are steep drop-offs with plenty of rocks. Bays like Creel, Hatchery and the Snowy Arm all fish well.

As the sun rises, change to a Tassie and cast further out over drop-offs, letting the lure sink before you retrieve slowly.

Best areas have been down at the South Arm or near Banjo Patterson Park but as the moth progresses, Waste Point and the Snowy Arm will start to fire.

On the Thredbo River, a variety of lures will work but the best will be small bladed spinners like a Gillies Spina or a Celta worked over the weed beds early. Floating Rapalas have been best for the slower runs and pools.

If we get rain and the river rises, you can try deeper lures to get closer to the bottom where the fish lie in wait.


Most rivers and streams in the Snowy Mountains are fly and lure only so first check with the DPI Fisheries on which rivers in the area you can legally use bait. If in doubt, don’t us bait in rivers.

On the lake, bait-fishing will improve this month with scrub worms or tiger worms under a float working best. Team them with PowerBait to lift your catch rate.

Another bait worth suspending under a float is the old faithful grasshopper. You don’t often seen used much these days but they work a treat and there are plenty about at the moment. You might need the kids with a butterfly net to help you collect them.

Best bait areas are Creel and Hatchery bays and Curiosity Rocks although the bottom end of the Snowline Caravan Park near the Widows Creek inlet is also good.


The lake fly fishing is best at night and with so much weed around the edges this year we should see some big fish caught. Try any of the streamer patterns such as Mrs Simpson and Williamson’s Gold Fish. Olive green nymphs and shrimp patterns are also worth a try. The South Arm, Creel Bay and Kangaroo Bay are all great.

The Thredbo River hopper fishing is still very good and there are plenty of evening rises and fantastic dry-fly fishing.

The Alpine streams are still looking OK and plenty of small fish are being caught on dries there. Fly selection is not too critical in these streams but placement is or you just scare all the fish.

Try a small hopper pattern, Royal Wulff or Royal Humpy. A caddis moth fly is also not a bad option.

For more about the latest conditions a me on 02 6456 1551 or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au . I am starting to build my new website, www.fishingcourses.com.au so have a look and I would be grateful for your feedback.


Best method: Trolling lead core 30m out.

Best depth: Troll or jig at 25”.

Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil in yellow wing or black/gold.

Best lake area: Deep off Lion and Cub Islands.

Best fly method: Dry fly, hopper patterns and Humpies.

Best river: Thredbo River above The Diggings

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