Pondage the go for trophy trout
  |  First Published: June 2008

At last the weather gods have smiled on the trout fishers. After a long warm spell we are finally starting to see some genuine autumn weather.

As I write this, Huey is chucking it down. Higher up the Alpine Way, from Tom Groggin to Thredbo, cars are sliding everywhere as we experience the season’s first blizzard. Luckily Khancoban, at an elevation of only 300m, misses out on all the drama. It’s just wet and cold, with all but the bravest angler tucked up in front of the fire, nursing a heartstarting cup of coffee.

This weather change has saved me. I’ve been hearing nothing but bad fishing news and was wondering what I was going to write about. This time last year, we had some of the best fishing in 10 years, with 5-10 pounders everywhere. Trout were absolutely jumping into the boats! So far this autumn the drought and lack of Hydro generation has had the Khancoban Pondage surface temperature up around 20˚C. Normally, the water temperature in the Pondage is lucky to be in double figures due to the regular infusion of icy Snowy-Hydro water. Unfortunately, The Snowy-Hydro is facing severe challenges, with storages at their lowest (around 20-30%) since construction.

Since Anzac weekend with its accompanying cold snap, the trout have really got moving. The next couple of months should provide some excellent trout fishing. Worms, particularly scrubworms, are working well, as are the last of the season’s mudeyes. Good lures and colours are green frog and Christmas trees, with a couple of trout also taken on green Celtas. Flies include Woolly Worms and moth patterns. There have been some lovely evening rises, which can be frustrating when nothing you throw will tempt the trout. Snowy Hydro has kept the Pondage very steady, with plenty of water. The Lower Swampy fluctuates according to irrigation demand, but seems generally higher toward the end of the week.

Now for this month’s fishing story. On Saturday 26th April at about 7am Terry Upton and his friend Ed were walking the bank between the boat ramp and Murray 2 Tailrace. Using his trusty 25-year-old rod, with 4kg line and 60cm of leader, Terry loaded a juicy scrubworm and cast out 15m, sat back and waited. After a fruitless hour, Terry rebaited, cast out again. He was rewarded with an immediate strike. The ensuing battle lasted 25 minutes, and with Ed manning the net, a monstrous brown buck trout was landed. After 25 years of trout fishing, Terry was rewarded with a beautiful 10 pound brown, which is headed for the taxidermist. Terry will be talking about that day in Khancoban for the next 25 years. This is why trout fishers head for Khancoban, one of the few places where trophy trout are still to be had.

If you want some good trout fishing, in these times of drought, winter fishing on the Pondage is the way to go. The vast majority of large trout caught are taken during the cooler months. The months from April to November are the best, usually with a bit of a lull during spawning.

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