You can bank on the trout
  |  First Published: October 2008

By now all the browns and most the rainbows are back in Lake Eucumbene after their spawning runs in rivers and creeks.

With the water now rising, they are much closer to the banks during the mornings and afternoons, making them easier targets for bank anglers using lures, bait or flies.

We just been through a very cold Winter with the lake’s surface temperature reaching only 3.4° in late August, an important reminder never, ever, to fall into the water – at least until it warms up a bit in January.


Winter snowfalls were the best for many years.

The snowmelt is now well under way and large areas of Lake Eucumbene are underwater for the first time in many months. These newly covered areas are a haven for fish.

In the early mornings and late afternoons large fish have been caught within a metre or so of the banks.

On bright sunny days polaroidng the edges is great sport and size 10 to 14 Woolly Worms, Mrs Simpsons and Muddler Minnows, among a host of other wet flies, will usually produce fish.

If fishing deeper water, don’t be frightened to use an intermediate line with slightly larger flies.

Suggested areas include Seven Gates, Frying Pan, Rushy Plains, Braemar and Homeleigh Bay.

Tantangara always fishes well this time of year and loch-style fishing casting into the grassy banks can produce some spectacular fishing.

It can still get extremely cold in this area over the next few months so don’t forget to take appropriate clothing.

On October 3 the streams reopen and all the fun begins for another season. All signs and the long-range weather forecasts indicate another potentially great period of fly fishing from October to January.

There could perhaps be a bit of a lull in February and early March and then the game will be on again through to May.

Early in the season the rivers and creeks will be flowing quite hard and tungsten-headed wets or lead-weighted flies will be needed to get down to where the fish are. Large Woolly Worms or Woolly Buggers are frequently used this time of year and account for many fish.

This is not the time of year to turn up with a 3- or 4-weight fly rod because the wind blows frequently. Similarly, ultra-light leaders should be discarded because there will be some big fish about which delight in destroying tackle and leaving bewildered anglers pondering what went wrong.

Many fish are lost this time of year because some fishers don’t maintain direct contact with their lines – they have too much slack line dragging through the water or they are unsure if any slight bump may be a take.

A simple rule of thumb is that if you feel even the slightest bump or notice your line tighten even fractionally, assume it is a take and respond accordingly.

For those less confident, don’t be afraid to use a strike indicator, which can be as simple as a piece of wool or a large, easily visible dry fly or any of a myriad of the commercial ones.

In mid-November the Australian Fly Fishing Championships will be held in the Lake Eucumbene area and we will see the highest echelon of competition fly fishers in action. Peter will be involved as a controller and will present a full report in the January issue.


It now pays to troll close to the banks early morning and late afternoon. We work the banks in 5m to 8m and them move out to 10m to 16m during the middle of the day and use two to four colours of lead line to get close to the bottom.

But we also always have some rods just flatlining for the fish higher up.

You’ll be right if you just follow the rule and use darker lures during morning, evening and overcast days and brighter ones when the sun is high in the sky.

We mainly use Lofty’s Cobras or Tassie Devils which are amply stocked and well-priced in our local tackle stores, where you’ll get advice about what to buy for the time you’re here.

There are many more excellent brands of lures that are catching trout, but if you lose five Rapala lures during a day of trolling you wont’ be too happy because they’re so expensive. Make sure any lure is towed at the recommended trolling speed.


Worms, grubs, PowerBait or mudeyes (if you can get any) are all great bait. Remember the water is still cold and the fish are hungry after the Winter and their spawning run.

Now, when the water is rising, there are plenty of suitable banks where you can park the car close to your fishing spot so why not bring the whole family?

You’ll get the kids away from the computer and those games to experience Nature’s wonders in the Snowy Mountains and get excited when they hook a rainbow and see it leap out of the water.


It’s a great month for walking the banks spinning and keeping an eye open for cruising fish. Cobras or Devils are very good and soft plastics can be very useful around rocky outcrops and clusters of trees, where you should retrieve a little slower.

For regular fishing updates visit www.alpinetouristpark.com.au/fishing.shtml and www.adaminabyangler.com.au/reports.shtml . For Eucumbene weather scroll under the Alpine Tourist Park’s fishing report and click the link to the weather station.


Online value

Recently I was in a tackle shop up north as a customer and I witnessed an interesting exchange between the tackle shop proprietor and a couple of fishermen he obviously knew.

The conversation began with discussion about some newly released lures and then the merits of particular types of fluorocarbon line. The shop owner mentioned that he had the new lures in various colours and sizes and he also had the particular brand of fluorocarbon they were discussing.

One of the fishermen looked at the lures and then informed the tackle shop owner that he had purchased a number of them on the internet and saved himself a fair bit of money.

After some further discussion and questioning from the store owner, it was established that on a purchase of 10 lures and an expenditure of around $150, plus $15 postage, the customer had saved around $8 on what it might have cost him at the tackle shop.

Some further discussion ensued about the merits of online purchases and then I witnessed the piece de resistance. The two blokes then tried to interrogate the tackle shop owner on what parts of the dam were fishing best, what times were best, local weather information and myriad other questions.

It was about at this time that things became less than friendly and the tackle shop owner very pointedly suggested to the customers that they should go online to their tackle supplier to get the local fishing information that they so desperately wanted.

After the two blokes left, the shop owner, still fuming, turned his attention to me and I purchased some soft plastics that I needed, a couple of packets of jig heads and I also asked about his thoughts on fluorocarbon line.

About an hour later I left his shop with marks on a map of the dam that he drew for me, changed a couple of the soft plastics that I’d selected to ones he suggested and got some good advice on where to have a drink and where the best meals were in town.

I went back to the shop a few more times during my stay, probably spent only $100 all up, shared my fishing stories with him and made a fishing friend for life.

I know shopping online is a modern phenomenon and is undoubtedly here to stay, I just wonder sometimes if people think the whole thing through and consider all of the ramifications of maybe saving just a couple of dollars.

I also know that the next time I go back up to fish that, I can confidently return to the same tackle shop and get all the latest information that I need. This will help to ensure a far greater chance of success for me and an immeasurably enhanced fishing experience.

– Peter Schroeder

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