Cooler water, hotter fish
  |  First Published: April 2009

The Snowy Mountains were very lucky last Summer to miss all the bushfires but we certainly had the heat, which dried out the countryside and warmed the waters of our lakes and rivers so they were a little uncomfortable for our trout.

The cooler weather lately has been great and the trout have managed to recover and now it’s the fishing that is getting hotter!

This year Easter is a tad early and we are now only days away from another holiday break. Easter in the mountains draws many anglers to our waterways before the weather gets too cold.

Early April is also when brown trout emerge after the long Summer, feed up and put on bodyweight before heading up the rivers for their annual spawning run.

Now that the lake water is cooler, the browns start to come to the edges of the lake to feed, making it easier for shore-based anglers to catch a feed.

Boat-based anglers are happier because they can catch a feed of trout using basic surface trolling methods – no need for downriggers now! Just get out of bed early enough and you can have some great fun.


People are still asking if the Gaden Trout Hatchery is going to close and the answer to that at the moment is no.

Fishing licence money has come through from the Recreational Fishing Trust to run the hatchery for about the next seven months while the legal issues of transferring some sort of title to guarantee that the hatchery can never be sold.

After this is done, a business plan has to be drawn up to manage the hatchery so hopefully one day it can become self-funding. The process is slow but hopefully will see the hatchery’s future secured.


Water temperatures now reach comfort zone for the trout and early morning surface fishing can be quite productive. Water of 15° or slightly lower brings the trout on the bite.

Later in the morning the trout will go deeper and you will still need lead lines or a downrigger at 5m to 6m to get the best fishing.

The Tasmanian Devil number Y48, the yellow wing Brown Bomber and the holographic Devil have been the best overall lures on the lakes lately but this is when we sometimes move to pink or orange colours. My new black/gold Tassie has still been very good for downrigging and is worth a try.

Some of the better trolling areas this month will be Sids Bay through to Rushes Bay but this is a tricky area with the lower lake levels and you need to be diligent – there are trees and shallows that can pop up out of nowhere.

Also try Waste Point or Creel Bay for downrigging as there may be a few early spawning brown trout about but they will mostly be deeper, at 8m or so.


The best spinning will be early and late in the day where there are steep drop-offs with plenty of rocks. Bays like Rushes, Hatchery and Creel 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. We will start 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 aggressive and territorial.

Other lures like the Gillies Spina or the Celta will be best early in the running water. A lot depends on rain so it’s a little harder to predict what the season will bring.

If we get rain try to work the faster runs with some bigger than normal minnows up to 12cm.


Most rivers and streams in the Snowy Mountains are fly and lure only, if in doubt don’t use bait in rivers.

Lake bait fishing will further improve this month with scrub worms and tiger worms under floats best. Team them with PowerBait to lift your catch rate. As the big browns start to feed you might also try bardi grubs.

Best areas are Creel Bay, Hatchery Bay and Curiosity Rocks in the deeper water near the point.


Some of the best lake fly fishing is during the coming months as the water cools and this year, with so much weed around the edges, we should see some big fish. Try any of the streamer patterns such as Craig’s Night-time or a black Woolly Bugger. Olive nymphs and shrimp patterns are also worth a try.

The South Arm, Creel Bay and Hayshed Bay are all great.

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 dry fly.

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

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

As April goes on and the water cools further, you might try a black nymph and if we get that heavy rain and a rise in the river of course it’s time for Glow Bugs or a weighted nymph. If we get rain it might be an early start to the spawning season this year.

For more about the latest conditions call me on 02 6456 1551 or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au . I’m also starting to build my new site www.fishingcourses.com.au , I’d be grateful for your feedback.



Lake level: Dropping as usual in April. We’re after Summer’s heat that it’s not lower.

Lake temperature: 15° and cooling.

Best method: Surface trolling early, then lead core at 30m out.

Best depth: Trolling at 10’, deeper in the middle of the day.

Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devil Y48.

Best lake area: Hayshed Bay; Waste Point worth a look.

Best fly: Dry fly – Parachute Adams or Black Cricket.

Best river: Thredbo River above The Diggings

Reads: 856

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