Swampy Plain 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 plus guide per boat. Non-fishing partners welcome.
  • Minimum two day booking required.
  • Trips can be run outside of the scheduled times for multi-day bookings.
  • Next scheduled dates are:
    • FRI 6  – SUN 15 NOV, 2020 
    • FRI 2  – SUN 11 APR, 2021


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APRIL 2021
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The ‘Swampy’

The Swampy Plain River near the town of Khancoban is one of Australia’s most iconic trout rivers. Sitting in the shadow of Mount Kosciusko at the foothills of the  Snowy Mountain high country region, the ‘Swampy’ as it is affectionately to fly fishers, is home to some of the best trout fishing and scenery that Australia has to offer.

Being a tailwater and one of only four rivers on the mainland suitable for drift boat fly fishing, the Swampy has been a regular fixture on our guiding calendar for well over 25 years. It offers a host of fly fishing opportunities from both the boat and bank; the latter being only while wading after gaining access via a boat. Something necessitated by the private property laws in N.S.W.

The Swampy can have terriffic nymph fishing and hatches of aquatic insects. It can also lay boast to some of the finest grasshopper fishing in the country; with huge numbers of these large critters descending on the valley from mid-summer on.

This is a river that every fly fisher should put on their to-do-list. The scenery is stunning, the bird life abundant, and the fishing can be first-rate

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 8-10 days each trip. Sourcing accommodation locally in Khancoban, we meet clients at the dam wall each morning or we collect them from local accommodation if required. This trip attracts anglers from both Victoria and New South Wales in equal numbers, as the location is approximately half way between Sydney and Melbourne.










The 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 where the fish are holding in certain sections of the river. 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 whilst 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 – 4 lb. 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 or or just behind shallow gravel bars, as well as 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 well after last light.

The fishing can be very good and the scenery while drifting is spectacular,  ensuring that both returning clients and first timers are equally entertained. It really is a beautiful river.

There is also the chance to visit the Swampy outside of the scheduled times below; with January/February and in particular March/April/May, often offering quality fly fishing. The hopper fishing at times has to be experienced to be believed.

These trips are done on arrangement. Call for more information or keep an eye on the website for dates.


Swampy drifts start at Khancoban Pondage at around 9am and finish in the late afternoon at Bringenbrong Bridge. Start and end times can be amended to suit your particular itinerary.

The rate for the boat is $775 per day regardless of whether there are one or two anglers. As this is a specialty trip that requires us to travel interstate; 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; we will not place you with someone else). The price includes all flies, drinks, lunch and a full day of guided drift boat 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 personable guides are out on the water every day; ensuring that you get the most from any time spent with us.

Let us show you a great trip drifting down 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.


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