Rivers are in great shape
  |  First Published: September 2009

Welcome to the start to another great river fishing season in the Snowy Mountains.

The rivers are open to fishing from October 3 and they are in great shape after what was a reasonably good snow season. We still have a bit of snow to melt yet, which will help feed the rivers for a little while longer.

So far weather forecasters are predicting a dry Summer so every little bit of water we can get will be appreciated by the trout.

The late snowfall of September helped also with lake levels, which weren’t looking good for Summer, but so far I expect similar lake levels to last season – one of the best fishing seasons in memory.

The rainbow trout spawning run in the Thredbo River is just about over but there are still some fish to be found and you can bet that when the river opens, the trout will be attacking lures and flies with a vengeance.

Last Winter we saw the level of Lake Jindabyne fall to the lowest since construction of the dam. Now that the work is finished on the new dam wall outlet, it is possible to take Lake Jindabyne down further than ever. Before it was possible to pump the water out only from Waste Point.

This year water was released in early August for more environmental flows for the Snowy River and what surprised me was that the actual amount of water being released was more than what was coming into the lake.

That could not have been classed as normal environmental flow because less in than out is just not normal. Anyhow, the fact was that even with extra flows the water was not reaching the mouth of the Snowy in Victoria. I guess that shows just how dry it is.

The continuing push for more water down the Snowy will again hit the headlines this coming season but what effect more water going down the Snowy will have on tourism in Jindabyne remains to be seen.

We are lucky that we still have great trout fishing even at low lake levels.

What Summer will bring we just don’t know but for the time being we are in for a great Spring fishing season so you had better get down here because there are some big brown trout being caught.


As the lake rises this month the trolling will be best near the edges early and late in the day. Fish on the surface in shallow water at first light and then move into deeper water with 20m to 30m of lead core line will extend the good fishing well into the late morning.

If you just want a feed of rainbow trout you might be best to troll Tasmanian Devils close to the edges. Use darker lures early, like Y48 or 94. Try the yellow wing Devils a little later as the sun is about to rise over the horizon.

After the sun hits the water, to change to a No 36, Y82 yellow wing Tassie or my Steve Williamson Red Nosed yellow wing.

As the sun gets higher it’s time to get the lure deeper with lead core or downriggers go.

There are still plenty of those monster ex-brood Atlantic salmon in the lake and October is the time to catch one of these beauties – if you’re lucky.

For trophy brown trout try small minnows trolled over the weed beds on long drop-backs and lighter line or braid well before the sun comes up.

Rapalas or StumpJumpers in brown trout and rainbow trout patterns are good but there are many good brands of lures that will do the job if you know what speed to troll to get the best action from them. It is not a good idea to mix and match different brands because no two brands of lures will work best at the same speed.

Trying to run a Tasmanian Devil and a minnow lure, for example, will not get perfect results from either lure at the same time.


What a great season it has been for spinning the lake edges! With the lake rising over new ground there are plenty of trout biting around the edges early and late in the day. Tasmanian Devil lures have been best as they sink quite quickly to any depth and can cast a mile.

The weed beds are too far from the edge now so minnow lures have not been as effective in the shallow bays.

The Thredbo River still has a few late spawning rainbows that are a lot easier to catch early in the day. Gold Celtas or Gillies spinners and a variety of minnow lures are catching their fair share.

I like the jointed Rapalas that you can work with a slow stop-go retrieve through the pools and undercut banks.

While the river is still running hard with snowmelt it is always good to try a little drift rigging with a Glo Bug and a nymph.

Use floating nylon mono such as Siglon Floating and join it to some fluorocarbon leader and keep the tag ends of the locked half blood knot long. Crimp some split shot to the tag end of the main line and tie a Glo Bug fly to the 20cm tag of the leader and tie a nymph to the leader about 50cm from the knot.

If you need further help with the rig you can always call in to my shop and all will be explained.


Lake bait fishing has been excellent for months. At some time of the day the fish are coming on the bite and you just need a line in the water. Worms are best for brown trout while the new Berkley Gulp is proving itself for rainbow trout and salmon. The flavours of the moment are rainbow and chunky cheese.

For big brown trout the best baits are still going to be bardi grubs or scrub worms fished with a greased line to stop it from sinking into the weed.


The lake water levels are great at the moment and the lake will fish well this season. When the days warm up and we get a few more insects hatching we may get some good early morning rises.

Best flies have been green or olive flies like Hamill’s Killers, small shrimp patterns and Olive Nymphs. Spotting fish around the lake edges is possible at the moment but fish have been spooky.

On the streams the fishing should be good with brown and green nymphs best.

When the Thredbo River opens there will be lots of people about so find a quiet location away from the crowds and your best fishing will be with nymphs and Glo Bugs in the faster water.

Late in the month when the days warm up there will also be a little dry fly fishing, with Royal Wulffs and Humpies worth a try.

Let’s hope we get regular rain to freshen up the streams and cool the water.

It’s not too late to sign up for my beginner fly fishing school on October 24 and 25, where Fishing Monthly readers who mention the mag get a free fly rod.

The ever-popular weekend trolling clinic covers everything from boat set-up to downrigging and will be held on November 14 and 15 but book early, we are limited to only six people.

For any information and bookings call my shop on 02 6456 1551, email me or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au



Best method: Lake Trolling

Best depth: Surface lures early and late in the day.

Best lake lure: Tasmanian Devils with yellow wings or Holographic.

Best lake area: East Jindabyne Islands and Creel Bay.

Best lake fly: Hamill’s Killers.

Best fly river: Thredbo River

Best river fly: Brown or black nymphs, Glo Bugs worth a try.

Best River for spinning: Thredbo River using small deep diving minnows in brown trout patterns

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