Swampy Plain and Tumut River Drift Boat Trips


  • Trips are run at scheduled times of year, timed to coincide with some of the best fishing of the season
  • 1-2 anglers per boat. Non-fishing partners welcome.
  • Minimum two day booking required due to the travel distances involved.
  • Trips can be run outside of the scheduled times. See our Guide’s Road Trip for more detail.

Fish the Swampy Plain or Tumut River from one of our drift boats

The Swampy Plain and the Tumut rivers are two of Australia’s iconic trout streams. Sitting in and around the Snowy Mountain high country region,  they are home to some of the best trout fishing and scenery that Australia has to offer.

Although we are based on the Goulburn River in Victoria, we regularly conduct drifts at both locations on set dates, or by arrangement from October through until May.

We welcome you to join us for a wonderful day/s of fishing from our boats on these spectacular rivers.

Where and When

The Swampy is a four hour drive from our base of operations at Alexandra VIC, so we tend to stay in the area for 7-10 days at peak times each season. Staying locally in Khancoban, we meet clients at the dam wall each morning or we can do pick ups/drop offs locally if required. This trip attracts anglers from both VIC and N.S.W. in equal numbers, as the drive from either Sydney or Melbourne is not too demanding.










The Swampy Plain River

The Swampy Plain River at Khancoban N.S.W, is a terrific trout river that offers very good fly fishing at certain times of the year. We have been drifting it now since the mid 1990’s and can confidently say that it is one of the few, quality trout rivers in Australia, suitable for drift boat fishing.

Despite being rather well known for it’s good nymph fishing, we have also taken much of what we have learnt fishing our local tailwater, the Goulburn River, and applied it to fishing the Swampy. In doing so we have developed an array of techniques for finding visibly feeding fish, and then fishing small ‘match the hatch’ dry flies to them. We often find these surface feeding fish from mid-morning onward.

The Swampy is known for its extensive gravel bars that seem to run forever, with many of the best drop-offs only accessible via a combination of boat and wade fishing. Excellent indicator nymphing can be expected with a dry/nymph combination a very popular way of getting down to the fish in such locations. Occasionally the need to work gravel bars across and down will arise during times of high-flow, but most of the time we will pull in behind the bar with the boat and employ upstream nymphing techniques. Some very large fish have been taken this way.

More and more we are doing well with techniques learned while fishing in Montana and Idaho. We have been spending our Australian winters (June/July/August) in the USA since 2010; a place where the better guides lead the way when it comes to fly and technique development. The knowledge gained from these ‘Montana trips’ is invaluable for us as drift boat guides. This skill-set is common to all of our guides who spend a great deal of time ‘stateside’.

Browns on the Swampy average between .75-1.5 lb with a decent chance at fish between 3-4lb. Rainbows are caught at a lesser rate but are usually also of a good size, and are often in great condition. The browns are most often found behind shallow gravel bars and also tucked in close to the edge and along seams, seeking shelter from the main current. Rainbows are often found out in the open, along the numerous rock walls, and are prone to attacking the surface fly from any depth in any speed of water.

This is particularly apparent in summer when some great fish will come up from 15 feet down to eat big, rubber legged flies.

Hatches of caddisflies and our large Kossie mayfly are often superb. Evening rises can be a huge event with every fish in the river up and rising. The best evening rise sessions that we have ever experienced (in Australia), have been on this river, with numerous big fish rising until after dark.










The fishing and scenery is varied enough to ensure that both returning clients and first timers are equally enthralled with a day out on the boat. It really is a beautiful river, and very reminiscent of south-west Montana and the more temperate areas of Patagonia, for those that have traveled out that way.

There is also the chance to visit the Swampy outside of the scheduled times below; with January/February and in particular March/April, often offering quality fly fishing. Fishing with large size 8 rubber legged hopper patterns in the heat of the day can be outstanding in high-summer.

These trips are done on arrangement. Call for more information or keep an eye on the website for dates. Also check out our Guide’s Road Trips for more information.

The Tumut River

The Tumut River, in and around the town of Tumut in NSW, is a drift boat guide’s dream. A very lengthy section of river, much longer than the Swampy, allows us the chance to drift all day without much stopping, and still only just beating the sun going down when we get back to the boat ramp.

There are many S bends that add a sense of deja vu to a day on the Tumut, something that is very welcome when the fish are up and rising. This is a section of river that you could spend all day on, and never even get close to fishing all of it.

Long runs, gravel bars, willow lined bends; there is so much in the way of quality trout habitat, that it can be difficult to focus on any one particular method. The temptation to always fish every good bit of water or constantly change rods and methods to accommodate the different types of water, often leading to missed opportunities. This is where your guide will come into his own, discerning which slots and lies are the high percentage ones, and which ones to simply drift past with a cursory cast.

Sorting out the wheat from the chaff so to speak.

While the Tumut has all the hatches that the Swampy has, it also has a relatively unheralded willow grub fall that we often encounter in late summer/autumn. The timing being somewhat different to back here on the Goulburn.

This can be epic.

The grasshopper fishing is also first rate, and in summer through early autumn, larger terrestrials seem to account for most of the better browns that we encounter.


Swampy drifts start at Khancoban Pondage at around 9am and finish in the late afternoon at Bringenbrong Bridge. Tumut River drifts starts somewhere beneath the dam and end close to or in the town of Tumut. Also in the late afternoon. Start and end times can be amended to suits your preferences.

The rate for the boat is $775 per day regardless of whether there are one or two anglers. This is only slightly dearer than our two person full day rate on the Goulburn, yet we have to cover our interstate-travel (e.g. accommodation and fuel).

As this is a specialty trip that requires us to travel inter-state; we require a full payment at the time of booking.

For more information on prices and our booking and cancellation policies, please click here.

There are a maximum of two anglers per drift (there will only be two anglers if you book with a friend; if you don’t you will be on your own). The price includes all flies, drinks, lunch and a full day guided float fishing on one of the best rivers in the country.

Last Word

The vast array of specialised techniques that we have developed for fishing from the drift boats have come from the experience of guiding and drifting full-time since 1994.

During this time we have continuously refined our skills, techniques and approach, to the point where much of what we do has become second nature. Our team of hard-working and enthusiastic guides are always pushing each other to do better and to learn more about the rivers we fish, and the trout we chase.

Let us show you a great time on one of Australia’s best rivers this season. Phone us today on 03 5773 2513 or 0418 995 611 to discuss the options or make a booking.


MON 04 TUE 05 WED 06 THU 07 FRI 08 SAT 09 SUN 10
MON 11 TUE 12 WED 13 THU 14 FRI 15 SAT 16 SUN 17
MON 18 TUE 19 WED 20 THU 21 FRI 22 SAT 23 SUN 24
MON 25 TUE 26 WED 27 THU 28 FRI 29 SAT 30 SUN  01


Watch our retro Swampy promo video from the late 1990’s below: