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Trout make way for natives
  |  First Published: December 2011



The trout season has been nothing short of sensational, with some superb fishing being on offer in many streams.

The King River has fished OK, but has been a little slower than expected, whereas the Ovens River has gone a bit the other way with some good catches being reported, and the same goes for the Buckland River.

One thing that is really jumping out at me at the moment is the importance of streamside vegetation, and general stream health. We have several streams in the area that are just a write-off at the moment.

The once-popular 15 Mile Creek is suffering badly. First the drought, then the bushfires, and to top it off a succession of major floods in the area has left the creek resembling a straightened out channel made up of gravel rocks. Where there is a deep hole in the creek, there is usually a trout in it, however the holes are that few and far between that a considerable amount of walking is usually required between pools, and I will probably be giving it a miss for a while.

On the other hand Middle Creek is in fantastic condition. Cool gin clear water with many deep holes and riffles. Enough to make any angler’s mouth water, with no fish in it! Wooragee Creek near Beechworth is in the same boat. It is a fantastic waterway in pretty good condition with nice deep holes, with no trout in it since the drought.

We use to catch heaps of lovely brown trout in these couple of streams now they are fishless. Wooragee Creek has a few redfin and Middle Creek has nothing but the safest nymphs and insects in the world!!

Speaking of fish stockings, one stream that does receive a boost each year is the popular King River. Each year a top up of 2500-3000 yearling brown trout is put into the King River. The fish are usually stocked at several locations between Lake William Hovell and Edi.

This top up makes the world of difference to the King River, and hopefully they continue to do it for many years to come.

The trout fishing should be very good, and casting bladed spinners such as my favourites, the Super Vibrax and Rooster Tails should catch a few fish. Small hardbodied lures such as the 5cm JD Minnows, Rapala X-raps and Pontoon21 Crackjacks should also account for a few trout.

Lake William Hovell should also be starting to produce good numbers of redfin. Like many redfin fisheries, size may be a problem, but if you are catching small redfin it keeps you entertained while your waiting for the big ones to come along.

The Rose, Buffalo, Buckland and Ovens rivers should all be fishing well in December. I know that sounds like a bit of a generalized report, but December is just a fantastic time of year to fish for trout throughout the entire region, and the only streams that should not be fishing well are the ones that have no trout in them!

Natives

Thursday 1st December sees the opening of the 2011/2012 Murray cod season.

No doubt there will be many people in the area on that weekend targeting Murray cod, especially downstream closer to Lake Mulwala where the annual Cod Classic draws thousands of anglers.

The Ovens River downstream of Wangaratta should see some very good cod fishing in December. This section of river, between Wangaratta and Bundalong is an amazing waterway. It is still in its beautiful natural state with hardly any erosion.

It is not really known as a ‘big cod’ water like the Murray River, however it is a known relaxation spot, with plenty of wildlife, good numbers of modest-sized cod with the odd monster amongst them and a few yellowbelly in the lower reaches.

The river is best fished either off the bank, or by canoe or kayak. There are limited spots to launch a boat, and even if you do get your boat in the many trees crossing the river can limit your access.

The vast majority of the Ovens River between Wangaratta and Bundalong is now part of the newly created Warby-Ovens National park so dogs and firearms are prohibited, and camping restrictions may apply. These areas are patrolled on a regular basis, so I strongly encourage people not to break the law.

Bardi grubs rigged with a paternoster rig are a proven favourite of the Murray cod in this area, so to are the easily obtainable freshwater shrimp.

The Ovens is much more suited to lure casting than trolling. I love the medium-large sized lures for casting, especially the ones that dive steeply like the 85mm JD Superbug which is easily my favourite, followed by the number 1 Stumpjumper and the 90mm AC Invader.

Although I don’t use them a whole lot myself, spinnerbaits are also very popular with many anglers along the Ovens river.

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