Snowy lake levels & look, don’t touch on the streams

Eucumbene River

Eucumbene River above the treeline – good winter flow.

So, here’s a thing. With so much of NSW in drought, if I asked you what you thought the Snowy lake levels were compared to last year, I’m betting you’d guess down, for sure. Well, maybe not.

  • Eucumbene this time last year: 18.6% This year 24.2%.
  • Jindabyne this time last year: 62.2%. This year 67.9%

Why did that surprise me? It shouldn’t really because hydro lake levels don’t just reflect environmental conditions, they reflect power demand/sales. Maybe it hasn’t been a really cold winter (yet) and the heaters aren’t coming on. Maybe anything….. who knows? Well of course the answer to that question is Snowy Hydro, but they don’t say much publicly.

  • Tantangara this time last year: 31.4% This year 22.1%. Lower this year than last, presumably as they prepare for Snowy 2.0.

Again we rely on rumours about what they’re going to do for Snowy 2.0. Some say they will drop the lake level to 8% so they can access the old coffer dam when they have to pop up with their pipe from Talbingo for the pumped storage scheme; and there’s a rumour going around the main access road will be closed. I think they will have to do something to get their pipe up, but as for closing the road, I don’t think that one has legs. Snowy Hydro could clear that up!

On a grim, cold day I did go for a look up the Eucumbene River with Rod and Jack to see if we could spot some spawning fish. There was a great flow after the snow, and the water level had been much higher judging by the flattened grass well up the banks. The water was crystal clear. The high flow made spotting tough, but even on some of the well know spawning redds we didn’t see many fish. We could hardly miss the trout in the pic below though; it looked almost as long as my arm and was sitting in a metre of water with a couple of much smaller buddies moving in and out to help with the cause.

Not the most hi-res pic, but look for the eye almost in the centre of the pic. The fish is facing to the right (upstream).

Eucumbene River

Jack checking out some great lies on the far side of the river – whilst the old blokes stayed back a safe distance!

On the walk back we scrambled down to Alpine Creek. We saw quite a few dark shapes lurking under overhangs and in the tea- tree. These fish are super safe from all forms of predators, which is a nice feeling.


Alpine Creek waterfall.

Lake fishing… well, we’ve had a couple of amazing gales with 100 km/h gusts so it’s been quiet on the fishing front – in fact I haven’t had one report. We spent a couple of hours at Anglers Reach and Jack had a small brown chase his fly as he picked it up for a cast . But that was it, on a very cold and very windy afternoon.