Pre-spawn browns get edgy
  |  First Published: April 2008

The brown trout are starting to think about their annual spawning run and that makes them a little edgy. If we get any serious rain and a rise in river levels then the trout will move up rivers like the Thredbo and that is when they are vulnerable to anglers chasing them on fly and lure.

So far there is no sign of the browns going and it is likely to be May before any serious number of fish arrive in the river but you never know with the silly weather patterns we are having.

Last month we saw a lot of people in the mountains for what was an early Easter and the water really wasn’t still cool enough for serious surface fishing. But with the signs of the first frosts, the water is now much cooler and the surface activity has started with plenty of rainbows caught early in the morning.

Downrigging is still very good with lots of fish holding in the south arm of the lake at 10m so the season is not quite over yet although the fish are becoming fussy.

This is supposed to be one of the best months for trout fishing so let’s hope so. The lake has continued to drop a little but the level is still much higher than last year and boat launching is no problem. Water is about 15° and dropping as the nights get colder.


Try lead-core lines and surface lines at first light for the best action. The Tasmanian Devil No Y48, the yellow wing brown bomber, and the No 36 yellow wing have by far been the best lures over the past month although new black/gold Tassie has been very good for downrigging.

Sids Bay through to Rushes Bay will fish well early in the day for big brown trout. Try the South Arm or Creel Bay for downrigging.

The best spinning will be early and late where there are steep drop-offs with plenty of rocks. Bays like Rushes, Hatchery and Creel fish well.

As the sun rises, change from a minnow to a Tassie and cast farther out over drop-offs, letting the lure sink before you retrieve slowly. We will be starting to use pink and orange Tassies this month.

Best areas have been down at the South Arm or near Banjo Patterson Park but as the month 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 jointed minnows as the brown trout start to become really aggressive and territorial. Other lures like the Gillies Spina or Celtas in the running water will be best early.

If we get rain you might start to work the faster runs with some bigger-than-normal minnow lures up to 12cm long.

Bait fishing in the lake will further improve over this month with scrub worms and tiger worms under floats most effective, especially teamed up with PowerBait.

As the big brown start to feed you might also try some bardi grubs, which are a favourite of these fish. Best bait areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Rocks.


The lake fly fishing has been best at night but during coming months as the water cools, and this year with so much weed around the edges, we should see some big fish caught during the day.

Try any of the streamer patterns such as Craig’s Nighttime or a black Woolly Bugger. Olive green nymphs and shrimp patterns are also worth a try. The South Arm, Creel Bay and Hayshed Bay are all great spots to try.

As the month goes on and the water cools even further you might start trying a black nymph and if we get that heavy rain and a rise in the river we might see a start to Glo Bugs and nymphs being effective.

The Thredbo River still has some dry-fly action and the alpine streams are also still looking OK and plenty of small fish are being caught on the dry.

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

It’s well worth a look at the lower Mowamba River near the weir on the Dalgety Road.

For the latest in fishing conditions call me on 02 64 561551 or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au and www.fishingcourses.com.au .


• Best method: Surface trolling early and then using lead core 30m out.

• Best depth: Trolling or jigging at 3m.

• Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil Y48.

• Best lake area: Sids Bay at East Jindabyne.

• Best fly: Parachute Adams or Black Cricket.

• Best river: Thredbo River above The Diggings

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