Snowies Update (and Tumut River)

Drifting the Tumut. A truly relaxing fishing experience. Zen fishing at its best.

It’s been a solid month for the Snowies’ lakes and rivers, with early rain freshening the rivers, and encouraging a small early run of fish from the lake. I spent some time this month drifting the Tumut River with Mickey from Aussie Fly Fisher. I’ve decided this is my favourite flyfishing for that Zen fishing experience. Sometimes you just forget you’re fishing at all, and after a while it really doesn’t matter if you catch yet another spirited rainbow on a jig-head UV nymph as you drift through beautiful Tumut Valley countryside. An exciting diversion was the successful rescue of a bullock, stranded after wandering down a rock wall.

Keith thrilled with a Tumut River drift rainbow. After two weeks of hotel quarantine this was “The best!”


Bovine rescue skills are an important ability for drift boat captain Mickey!

The Thredbo has been fishing well and was very popular over Easter. Most days the car park was full at Paddy’s Corner. Likewise, the Eucumbene River has been busy. A good run of browns came up from the lakes at the end of March and soon distributed up the river. Certainly not in the league of the May ‘honey hole’ runs, but fun none-the-less if you could find a couple. Keep an eye on the¬†Riverwatcher¬†website for movements up the Swamp Creek tributary of the Eucumbene River.

Fresh run lake fish enjoying a rest in the sun.

On Lake Eucumbene, reports are that Buckenderra, Middlingbank, and Wainui have all been fishing well as the lake drops. Not big numbers of fish, but really good quality. Lake Jindabyne reports are scarce, but those I’ve had talk of good fish in Hatchery Bay and the river arms, with several good condition 2 lb (ish) Atlantic salmon in the catch. I fished the Snowy arm and Hatchery Bay last week. There were hundreds of very freshly stocked mini-trout popping up everywhere, with dozens of cormorants hot on their tails.

Chunky rainbows in top condition.

March-April is a real transition time. The hopper patterns are pretty much back in the box and the nymphs and Woolly Buggers are getting a good work out. Swinging big blingy green and black Woolly Buggers across and down on the rivers is working really well right now. Tungsten beads are important in the faster water to get flies down into the strike zone.

Col swinging big Woolly Buggers down and across the Eucumbene River: technique of the month.

Just about time to give up on the hopper coloured big dries, although the pheasant tail nymph behind turned out to be a good option.

Lake Eucumbene is at 29% and has been steadily dropping for four months now. A long time since the glory days in mid-November when it topped out a notch short of 38.5%. There is plenty of evidence of yabbies, which were missing last year. As the water retreats down the bank, so the yabbies follow, encouraging the browns to cruise close-in and fatten up for the spawn run.

Fresh run brown in good colour.

Just above the top of Lake Eucumbene. Muddy banks and silty stream beds mean extra caution to avoid bogging.

Tantangara is at 12.8% and has been rising steadily since a low of 8.7% on 16 March. The Portal grading works are flying along but are still a couple of weeks from completion; hence a rising Tantangara (always my hot tip for bank fishing) while the Portal is switched off.

The Providence Portal grading works are in full swing. The banks will be graded and stabilised, with boulders for safety and to reduce erosion. In the meantime, Tantangara rises nicely.

Lake Jindabyne is at 75.7% and is fairly stable with just a small downturn from 76% over the last few weeks. Just enough to create a small mud scar and dirty up the water in the river arms and mess up the polaroiding with even a bit of wave chop.