Snowy Mountains late April Update

Up in the mountains, the good times roll on. Autumn rains are keeping the rivers fresh and the lakes topped up, the first of the brown trout have found there way out of the big lakes and into the Eucumbene and Thredbo rivers, and the lake browns and rainbows are eating everything in sight to put on spawning condition as they feed for their thousands of (soon to be) offspring.

Verdant Murrumbidgee Valley scene – more like October than April.

Starting with lake levels, Lake Eucumbene is still above 47.5% – if we were looking at an electrocardiogram, it’s been flatlining since January – but definitely not dead! There’s a small scar around the foreshore which makes it easy to walk around; but watch your step, it’s slippery in spots. Tantangara has been stable at around 13% since March, and over Easter was jam-packed with weekend warriors and their tent cities. I don’t begrudge them, but looking for a bit of sunset peace and quiet wasn’t easy, with the footy call at full blast from across the lake. I left, irritated, with Manly either two tries up or two tries down (who cares) after a subdued millpond-like two fish session. Jindabyne at 97% has also been more or less stable all year. Whilst the fishing reports are not as good as for the other lakes, it’s my pick for a boom year next season. Surely some of those small fish all around the lake will fire?

Getting spawn-fit on hoppers (among other things).

Anyway, we’re in late April and the hoppers are still going gang-busters. A cold, wet spell that might have been the end of it, doesn’t appear to have been. We haven’t had the first of the big frosts yet and until we do, if the sun’s on the water, I’d still fish hoppers. I only just found out there is a debate about the ethical use of Henneberry hoppers? Apparently they’re too lifelike! They sure are, but isn’t that kind of the point? I had two lake sessions, and three river sessions without really thinking I hadn’t used any other fly for very long. And having caught way too many fish.

The smaller lake rainbows are a lot of fun – and promise great things for the year ahead.

I took one of my nephews out for his first flyfish. The hard lesson was, with big, strong trout, hooking the fish can often be the easy bit – beyond that, just about every possible fish-wrangling calamity befell the poor young fella.

The Eucumbene River is unlikely to be this placid (and uncrowded) for much longer, so make the most of it.

Tip of the day is go fishing while the going’s good, and before winter sets in. If you’re going to fish the annual brown trout river migration, be nice to others and whilst normal river etiquette is kind of suspended, still try to give others a bit of space – at least stay half a pool away if you possibly can! Either that or get up earlier. And remember, a minimum size limit of 50cm, a daily bag limit of one and possession limit of two trout applies on the rivers from 1 May to the end of the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, when the river closes.


Vale Richard Tilzey, who passed away on the 18th of April. One of our most highly regarded and published Australian trout scientists, and an unrivalled expert on Lake Eucumbene and the Eucumbene River. Oddly, I never met him, but we communicated from time to time about his work. Richard had retired to the NSW South Coast. He was a regular at the Dromedary Hotel at Tilba, and was still fishing until very recently.