Snowy Lakes – Early Summer Update

Lake Eucumbene creeping up onto the Providence Flats. All that foreground green is now covered.

Well, summer’s arrived. I’m sitting in my kitchen in Michelago wondering whether to turn on the heating. The cold wet theme continues which I personally, like the trout, love – in the main. Although re-taping the seams on my Gore-Tex jacket got bumped up the priority list after this last week.  The rain comes in waves, usually, over a few days we get 40 mm. Last week we got 80 mm and my small dam went over the spillway. I drove to Adaminaby along the Billilingra Road last week, cutting across the Brindabellas through a verdant landscape more like Montana than the Monaro.

That’s a human near the motor; and a very wet one! Doug sitting out the thunder and lightning, and a deluge of hailstones.

Lake Eucumbene has been the pick of the fishing. I’ve had a few reports from Jindabyne and Tantangara, but judging by the faces I’m seeing around the shore, there are a few regulars from both those spots who are enjoying the rewards of Eucumbene in preference to their home turf. And its nice to see ACT and Victorian registration plates around the lake again as lockdown drifts into the past.

The browns are big and strong.

A couple of points on fishing. The fish are in close and cooperative. A few times a week I hear a story of an epic session, where someone has bumped into a patch of fish gorging on midge. Thirty fish (catch and release) sessions seem a daily occurrence…… somewhere. Predicting that “where” is however not as easy as catching the fish when you find them. And they never seem to be in exactly the same place two days running. But pretty much everywhere you can bump into fish. It’s not a normal year by any means. BOM has officially declared a La Nina, and it’s already officially much wetter than average.

The trout are bigger and fatter than average too; and fight like demons. In amongst the 1 to 2lb rainbows, are some much bigger fish. Not unusual to see 3 to 4lb fish, and I’ve seen one 6lb rainbow. This is an amazing turn around and just goes to show what happens when catch and kill rates are reduced (by the lockdowns in this case) and we get two good growing seasons back to back. It’s a true shame this can’t be capitalised on by our fishery managers to try and even out the peaks and troughs of the Snowy fishery.

Taken close to the shore, cruising and feeding.


Fly size is all important. If you’re fishing midge pupa; size 16 or 18 seems to be more important than the actual pattern. One of those 30 fish sessions reported was on a red and black epoxy midge – which I tried the next day and didn’t touch a fish. But then again I’ve tied on some pretty rough-looking remnants from my fly box and still caught trout, which reminds me I need to tie some more! But larger flies are also doing the trick. I tied a tungsten bead damsel with a bit of gold flash and have done very well, especially on browns.

That jerky golden damsel fly was too much for this rainbow.

Lake levels

Lake Eucumbene is at 44.6% and still rising. There is a lot of optimism that we might get to 50%, but who knows. The lake has passed the Portal junction pool at Providence and is starting to creep out onto the flats. I am breathless in anticipation. Middlingbank, Rushy Plains, Frying Pan, Seven Gates, and Yens Bay are all amazing midge factories.

Lake Jindabyne is at 93.8%, the highest for years. Covering all that fresh ground should have fish at the banks, but it appears stocks may be recovering a little slower than in Eucumbene. Time to have a look around I think.

Tantangara Reservoir is at 27% and the Portal is still running hard into Eucumbene. The Snowy 2.0 works are going flat out so watch for construction traffic and remember the lake shore banks are closed around the construction site, and there is very little accessible water from the dam wall side.


No river reports. The lakes are the big drawcard at the moment and the rivers are still tanking. But I’ll be having a look this week if the rain abates.


It’s going to be a busy holiday season and with the closure of Crows’ campsite after Josie passed this year, the end of an era, there are a few old wildebeest wandering around looking for a new home. So don’t leave booking until the last minute.

Tight lines and a happy festive season.