Swampy Plain and Tumut River Drift Boat Trips



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

The Swampy as it is affectionately known, and the Tumut, are two of Australia’s iconic trout rivers. Strafing the Snowy Mountain high country,  they are home to some of the best trout fishing and scenery in the country.

Although we are based on the Goulburn River in Victoria, we conduct drifts at both locations on set dates, or by arrangement from October through until April. Join us for a wonderful day (or two) of fishing from our boats.

Where and When

The Swampy is a four hour drive from our base of operations in Thornton VIC, so we tend to stay in the area for 5-9 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 NSW, as the drive from Sydney is not much further than for those coming from Melbourne.


Upcoming Dates NOVEMBER 2017

FRI 17,
SAT 18
SUN 19
MON 20
WED 22









The Swampy Plain River

The Swampy Plain River at Khancoban N.S.W, is a terrific trout river, at certain times of the year. We have been drifting it now since the mid 1990’s and we 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 as a nymphing river, we have taken what we know from our local tailwater, the Goulburn River, and applied much of this technical knowledge to fishing the Swampy. As such 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 onwards.

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 rolling a few fish. 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 also doing well with other techniques learned while fishing in Montana and Idaho every June/July. Ask about this when you book.

Browns average between 1-2 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 seeking shelter from the main current. Rainbows are most often found out in the open, and along the numerous rock walls, and are prone to attacking the surface fly from any depth.

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 engrossed in the day as it unfolds. 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 to fish 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, if the water temperatures are suitable.

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

The Tumut River

The Tumut River in and around the town of Tumut in NSW, is a drift boat guide’s dream. A lengthy section of river, much longer than the Swampy, allows us the chance to drift without much stopping, and still only just beat 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 the drift, 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 a fraction of it.

Long runs, gravel bars, willow lined bends; there is so much trout habitat that it can be difficult to focus on any one thing. The temptation to always fish every good bit 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.

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. 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 9am and finish in the evening at Bringenbrong Bridge. Tumut River drifts starts somewhere beneath the dam and end close to or in the town of Tumut. Also in the evening.

The rate for the boat is $750 regardless of whether there are one or two anglers. This is only $100 dearer than our two person full day rate on the Goulburn yet we have to cover accommodation, fuel, travel time etc. Plus we also stay out a bit longer than your typical day.

As this is a specialty trip that involves us booking accommodation for ourselves , payment in full is required at the time of booking.

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

There is a maximum of two anglers per drift (there will only be two anglers if you bring 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.

Upcoming Dates see below

Swampy Plains raft trips are run at scheduled times each season but this is not the only time they are available. Phone us to discuss the options as we can pretty much do them anytime subject to availbility. As such we can arrange weekend trips for people or customise trips of any duration, at any time of the season.

Last Word

The array of specialised techniques that we have developed for fishing from the drift boat, have come from the experience gained by being Australia’s longest established drift boat operators. We float the Swampy and Tumut regularly, and the Goulburn every day of the season. We have been doing this full time since 1994 and no other guide/guiding operation in the country can come close to making such a claim.

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.

Let us show you a great time on one of Australia’s best rivers. Phone us today on Free Call 1800 458 111 to discuss the options in more detail.

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