Where to fly fish | NSW Snowy Mountains

NSW Winter Fishing - Lake Jindabyne and the Eucumbene River - written by Matt Tripet

There's a few top chaps who know their stuff, and then there's top chaps like Matt Tripet from The Fly Program, a charity dedicated to Men's Mental Health. Matt is not only a superb fisherman, he also does a huge amount of work off the river as well. We asked him to give us the heads up for Winter Fishing in NSW, he wrote this straightaway. So, have a read, and then pop over to his website and say thanks there too.



Believe it or not, there’s always a sigh of relief when the streams close. The waders have a chance to dry out, less teaching days and your attention as a fly fisher funnels to the lakes, something I don’t choose to do a lot of in the summer months. 

Lake Jindabyrne Fly Fishing

When I think of lakes here in the NSW Snowies, my attention turns to accessing the fishery both land-based and from the boat. And very often, weather conditions will determine how I like to fish these massive systems. But for the purpose of this article, I’ll focus on what can help most of our readers based on easy access - land-based. 

Fishing off Points 

Our lakes are very exposed systems, which means it's always easy to find the wind on the lakes. When we have a Nor-Westerly ("nor-west is best”) blowing, I do like to find points that are exposed one side, and protected on the other. Fishing these points where current generated from wind intersects with that leeward, protected edge creates a great seam where fish will readily move in and around. 

NSW Winter Fly Fishing

Here, I'm not moving, just constantly hitting the exposed side of the seam with long casts, fishing intermediate to type 3 sink rate lines, pending the depth off the point with baitfish patterns like a WFF's Dimebag - Olive streamer from the Manic Fly Collection 

WFF Dimebag Olive
WFF's The Dimebag - Olive | Manic Fly Collection


Glassed out day, 10:00am - 2:00pm with sun high and over the shoulder doesn’t get better for a walk for a spot-and-cast/polaroid session. 

In the winter, we get a lot of crustaceans, or yabbies moving up and down the margins, coinciding with the shifting lake levels that the winter brings. Cruising browns, right in close are a very common occurrence, where spotting as many as 20 fish in a few hours is commonplace.  

NSW Winter Fly Fishing

Some big considerations, there's not a lot of places to hide as an angler. So attention to detail can be the difference in having a killer session, or a frustrating one. Walk slow and make sure you’re always below the skyline (always try to have land in the backdrop). I also like to stress, sun just over your shoulder as you will have better vision into the water. This should determine what direction you’ll walk, what bays and edges you’ll hit.  

When spotting a fish, I feel it is always most advantageous to let it cruise past and then make your cast to where it was moments earlier. This 'sets the trap’ for its next pass along its beat, which could take as long as 5 to 10 minutes. When the fish comes into vision, give your fly a little movement for attention, then be prepared to hold very still till that strike is needed. Sometimes you’ll get hard and fast eats, particularly on a bigger fly. Other times that white mouth kisses that fly for what seems an eternity before committing. 

NSW Winter Fly Fishing

Most days, a something like a Doyle's Shrimp HD Manic Fly will do the damage. But there will be some days you’ve got to get that leader super long and small on the fly front, like a size 16 or 14 Clear Water Caddis from the Manic Fly Collection. 

Clearwater Caddis Fishing Fly

Clearwater Caddis - Green | Manic Fly Collection

Snowy lakes can be pretty overwhelming, they are huge systems that dwarf Sydney Harbour. But they shouldn't frighten you from fishing them. From blind casting off a point, to poleroiding an edge, winter fly fishing our lakes is just bloody awesome fun and will probably produce for you some of the best quality of fish you’ll encounter in the year.  

Always happy to help anyone visiting the region, flick me any further questions to matt.tripet@flyprogram.org.au 

Get amongst it!

Matt Tripet Fly Fishing