Too many rivers, too little time
  |  First Published: October 2011

Early indications for this spring are that it is going to follow a similar path to last spring and be wet, wet and wet.

However I have a feeling that we may see typical spring conditions with average rainfall, and if that is the case, October should really start to see some great trout fishing in this area. That is by no way an official forecast, just a feeling I have based on the winter weather conditions this year being similar to that of a normal winter.

I guess the positive to all this rain is that the fish should hopefully be fatter than me this coming summer.

Lake William Hovell has really been a standout fishery all winter, with most people catching either trout or redfin, or both! Those targeting the redfin have still been picking a few up, although people targeting trout alone tend not to catch too many redfin.

I have found small blades around 40mm to be the best trout lures in Lake William Hovell during the colder months, and soft plastics weighted down with 7g jigheads to be the best for the redfin.

Heading into October these methods should still account for good catches of trout and redfin, and the redfin numbers should start to pick up a bit, especially towards the end of the month as the water begins to warm up a bit.

The average size of the trout in Lake William Hovell in recent times has not been anything flash, with most fish being around the 30cm size.

Over the hills a little to Lake Buffalo, the fishing has been very quiet. My mate Peter Condron fished there a couple of weeks ago off the bank, just angling with a bunch of worms and landed two small redfin and a small yellowbelly.

I took my kayak up there the other day and never had a touch on blades or soft plastics, the techniques that have served me well in Lake William Hovell all winter, so I tried Pete’s technique, just angling from the bank with a bunch of worms and two fishing rods… and never had a bite!

Don’t let the poor fishing of late in Lake Buffalo put you off though, because around mid October, as the water begins to warm, the redfin fishing should start to pick up and so to should the yellowbelly fishing. With the yellowbelly, as with most lakes, I personally prefer the low light period in the evening.

Although I have heard a few reports of trout being caught in Lake Buffalo, I personally have never caught a trout there.

Away from the lakes, the rivers will no doubt still be carrying quite a lot of water by early October. With all the winter rain we have received, there will be an abundance of food in the streams, mostly worms, and the trout should be in peak condition heading into October.

Both the Ovens and King rivers should fish well during spring, and hopefully in October the rain will ease off a little and these rivers will start to really clear up.

The Ovens River has a much larger population trout than the King River, however I think the King river has some larger fish thrown into the mix.

Either way they are both great rivers to fish for trout, and not to be overlooked is the nearby Rose River which fished superbly all last season. I didn’t hear of anyone having a fishless trip to the Rose River all season. Everybody that fished it seemed to catch fish, which is incredible considering how dry the river was for almost 10 years. The rapid recovery of the Rose River is a real testimony to the trout’s ability to survive and the way they have adapted to Australian conditions over the last 140 years.

The Buckland River near Porpunkah bounced back really well last season, and should continue to fish really well this coming season. In October, the Buckland will be carrying a fair amount of water, however provided we don’t get too much rain it should be really clear and fish very well. Last season I caught a 2lb rainbow trout, the biggest I’ve ever caught, in the Buckland River.

It’s quite an accessible river, with many great camping grounds and day areas along the road that follows the river.

Further downstream on the Ovens and King rivers it becomes even harder to predict what the water levels will be like.

October is a great time of year to target yellowbelly in the lower reaches of the Ovens River around Bundalong, provided the river is not flooded.

Using shrimp, or worms as bait and fished as closely as possible to the standing timber in the far upper reaches of Lake Mulwala has proven to be a good technique over the years to catch the yellowbelly in that area.

Yellowbelly numbers are not as great in this area as other lakes, such as lake Hume and Nillahcootie, however there are a few there to be caught, and October and November is the best time of year to catch them.

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