Fish early, late or deep
  |  First Published: December 2009

The Snowy Mountains continued to experience some strange weather over the last couple of months with above-average temperatures so the fishing has been just as changeable, with the days running hot or cold.

With water temperatures a little higher than normal, the trout in the lakes are going deep during the middle of the day, feeding around the edges for brief periods only in the cooler hours of the early morning. Keep that in mind if you are shore based.

Trollers who don’t have any deep-water tackle like downriggers need to make certain they are in the water by first light because by breakfast time the trout will head to deep water.

Spin anglers will also do best in the first hour or so of light and by mid-morning will be lucky to catch a fish. It may be best to head to the alpine rivers for a spin in the creeks where the water is cooler.

Fly anglers, like the spin anglers will find the best lake fly action will be in the wee hours before first light.

Most trout anglers know that the best fishing is early and late in the day but for those with boats and deep trolling gear, the fun can actually be better in the middle of the day.

The fish are in the layer of water that has the most suitable and most comfortable temperature, and if you have a good fish finder you will be able to see where they are hiding.

Fish finders good enough to see the fish are getting cheaper and better by the day and for as little as a few hundred dollars everyone should have one.

Lake Jindabyne has been dropping slowly since the November peak and at the end of this month there will be an environmental release down the Snowy River below Jindabyne Dam so we should expect a sudden drop in level for a day or so.

Don’t be surprised if this is on Australia Day and I won’t be too far wrong if there is some political motive for this expected release!


Troll near the surface before sunrise, but the best fishing will be deep using lead core lines, paravanes, trolling sinkers and especially a downrigger, which allows you to know exactly what depth you are fishing.

The best depth continues to vary from 35’ early in the day to 45’ later in the morning.

Rapala minnows work well on the rigger with the jointed versions doing very well on the bigger brown trout. To get the best results you need to troll close to the bottom in at least 20’.

Other lures that have been doing well include the Tasmanian Devil in green colours with the Steve Williamson special ‘slime’ the very best with the yellow wing Freddo next best. Other colours well worth trying are the red-nosed yellow wing and on overcast days the Holographic and No 48 brown bomber.

Best areas have been Hayshed, Hatchery and Rushes bays and the South Arm has been very good for downrigging.


This Summer has been very hot and most successful lake anglers have been fishing at night, when the big fish come in to feed.

The best way to fish during the day from the shore is to find the deepest water possible, like the South Arm near the dam wall, and let your lure sink down near the bottom before retrieving. This way you can get results all day long.

River spinning is much better than last year because the water levels are a little higher and there have been some good trout caught by those prepared to walk a little further away from the holiday crowds to find deep pools or deeper runs where the fish may lie under cover.

Small minnow style lures like CD Rapalas work very well and the old favourite green and gold Celta or Gillies Spinner is also a must for any tackle box. Change lures often and never work one area of water over any more than a half a dozen casts.

The best Summer bait is the mudeye (dragonfly nymph) hooked live through the wing case and allowed to swim around beneath a float.

Early and late in the day are the best times. Again, fish the bays and move to deeper water as the day brightens up.

Grease up the line with Mucelin to stop water drag. You need a trout to run with the bait without feeling any resistance and always fish with the reel bail arm open so the fish can run with the line. Mucelin will not harm the line.

The shallow bays are the best night fishing locations but look out for snags.

PowerBait and bardi grubs are more than worth a try and the newer Gulp bait is catching plenty of trout.


For fly anglers, this is grasshopper time on the rivers and streams. There are various grasshopper patterns available, just have a look around and see what the size and colour the real ones are and find a fly to match.

Keep your eye open for evening hatches of other insects, such mayflies.

On the lake at night, fish bigger dark or black flies like a Woolly Bugger or other dark streamer patterns. Craig’s Nighttime is also another Snowy Mountains favourite, along with my own Snowy Mountains Gold Fish in the bays and the inlets.

Drop in to my shop at the Snowline Service Centre next to the Shell Servo for the latest information or to book a tour. We still have vacancies for the February 21 and 22 Gillies Beginner Fly Fishing School, $390 for the weekend with everything supplied.

I will also have a one-day downrigging course very soon so call 02 64561551, email me or visit www.swtroutfishing.com.au and my new site www.fishingcourses.com.au

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