Hoping for a deluge
  |  First Published: May 2008

This is the month the brown trout really get fired up in readiness for their spawning run. Given that the season is a little late, it may be late May before things really happen.

The more rain we get and the faster the rivers flow, the better the run of fish. The biggest of the brown trout will mostly wait until the rivers are in flood and there is enough cover from the extra water flow.

So if we manage to get good rain in May, you can expect some great fishing in the rivers. So far with the rain and cooler changes in April, the conditions are looking promising.

This month the Thredbo River rules change to only one fish per day per angler, and that fish must be over 50cm long. Be aware that DPI Fisheries officers are out and about so make sure you have your licence on you.

On the lake, this is when we can target some of the monster trout Jindabyne is renowned for. Downrigging big minnow lures will get an aggression strike from these monsters.

Bait anglers will know that the best fishing is in May and early June when the water edges are cold enough and the fish come into the shallows to feed. Spin anglers also have good success.

As last year, lake water levels in Jindabyne are dropping and we will most likely get down to 46% again over Winter. The Murray River still needs water after the very hot Summer and Autumn; it’s still a dust bowl as you head towards South Australia. As long as it stays dry, the Snowy Mountains water will go towards replenishing the Murray. Again we are praying for a bumper snow season to have enough water to fill our lakes.


Most rivers and streams in the Snowy Mountains Region are fly and lure only. We recommend that you first check the NSW fishing rules. If in doubt, don’t us bait in rivers.

Big brown trout are cruising the lake edges looking for a feed before they head into the rivers to spawn. Bardi grubs or local scrub worms are the best baits but they must be presented well before you can trick these very wary monsters.

The natural oils in the bardi grubs will help them float off the bottom so they need to be held down with a running sinker. Scrub worms are best fished with no weight at all, just a worm on a hook, preferably with the line greased to help it float off the bottom out of the weed. You can also use worms under a float over the weed beds.

Worms teamed with an artificial bait like PowerBait and fished off the bottom are working well on the lake. The new type of Gulp baits, in jars like the PowerBaits, are well worth a try.

Best areas will be Waste Point at Creel Bay and the Snowy Arm near the pumping station.


When we get rain, minnow lures like Rapalas (especially the jointed ones), 3” StumpJumpers and the like will be best for big fish. The jointed Rebels in rainbow trout pattern are another that you should have at hand. Jointed lures have a great action and can be worked fast or slow.

Use sinking or deeper-diving minnows when the river is high and stick to smaller lures when the water is low and clear. Don’t worry about the size of lures if the river is in flood because you might find that bigger is better.

The Thredbo river is my river of choice from now until rivers close in June.

Now that the water is cooling, lake spinning will improve. Tasmanian Devils in brown colours such as No 48 will catch fish. When the water temperature gets below 14°, pink or orange lures will also work well.

Try some bigger jointed Rapalas here as well; 11cm and 13 cm are not too big for aggressive brown trout.

Good lake areas include Creel Bay, Waste Point and the Snowy Arm. For fish still actively feeding try Curiosity Rocks, Wollondibby Inlet, Hatchery Bay and the Claypits.


Trolling is interesting in autumn because some days the fish will strike out of aggression and some days they will be feeding. Knowing what the weather is about to do will help.

Big jointed lures are well worth a try for big browns and Tassie Devils of course. This is the time I quite often change to pink or orange lures, which seem to work best on the aggressive spawning fish. Tassies in colours 55 pink or 56 orange are good to try for non-feeding fish.

Even at this time of year the day will often warm up and the fish will still go deeper. Lead-core lines and downriggers will still be very useful. Remember all the photos in the magazines of big fish caught off downriggers with big minnow lures trolled slowly?

Dual Depth Tasmanian Devils rigged through the side hole to troll deeper to 4m will also help during he middle of the day but make sure you don’t troll too fast.

Lion and Cub Islands always fish well in Autumn for rainbow trout and as the brown trout move to the end of the lake ready to spawn, Creel Bay and the Snowy Arm are worth trying.


The streams and rivers will still have good days, even this late in the season, with some still taking a dry fly, although most have been taken on brown or black nymphs out of the faster water.

As the rain comes and the trout move into the Thredbo, anglers will turn to big trophy fish and fly anglers will have the best success using Glo Bugs and nymphs. Black and brown nymphs in about size 10 or 12 are good.

Make sure you have some weighed flies for when the river is flowing hard because you need to get the fly down to the fish.

Lake Jindabyne will fish better this month as the edge water cools. The fishing is much better and will continue to improve as the water cools even further. Flies to try over coming months include purple/black Woolly Buggers and the Mrs Simpson, with the Williamson’s Gold Fish working around the creek inlets during the late evening.

If it’s early in May when you’re reading this, I will be up at Koala Shores at Lemon Tree Passage running a fishing competition, getting a little saltwater in the blood for a change. While I am up there I’ll be writing a bit for NSWFM about how the competition went so hopefully I will have a good story for you to read in a future issue.

For the latest daily fishing reports, call in to my shop at the Snowline Holiday Park. For tour bookings call on 02 6456 1551, visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au or e-mail me.

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