Best fishing in memory
  |  First Published: April 2012

We are currently leaving what has been one of the most memorable summer and spring periods that I can remember.

The Murray cod fishing in the Ovens and King rivers has been the best I have ever seen it, the redfin fishing in some of the smaller streams has been mind blowing and the trout fishing in spring was absolutely sensational, but tapered off as expected during the heat of summer.

Hopefully as the longer cooler nights lower the water temperatures in the many streams in the Ovens and King catchment, the trout will become much more active again. I fished a small stream recently, and had a few quite large fish follow my lure in, but they would not take it. This is common during periods of high water temperature, so I know the trout are in these places waiting for the water to cool.

April and May are my favourite times of the year, not only because of the fantastic fishing that is on offer but also because of the beautiful, stable weather and the fact that it gets dark earlier and I can fish the lowlight evening period of the day and still be home in time to see my kids before they go to bed.

Murray cod

The Murray cod fishing can get very quiet very quickly in the Ovens River upstream of Wangaratta during April. The lower Ovens River also slows right down, however this is the time of year the big fish start to make their presence known, particularly in the far lower reaches of the Ovens river around Bundalong. The 3 P’s are vital elements to successful fishing when targeting big Murray cod in the lower reaches of the Ovens river during autumn, Patience, Persistence and Perseverance.

If you want to catch the really big fish, you need to be prepared to spend hours, even days sitting in the boat trolling ultra large hard body lures such as the 150mm JD Superbug, 150mm AC Invader and 140mm JD Python.

Closer to Wangaratta the cod fishing will become very hit and miss. I have had some memorable days fishing the Ovens River around Wangaratta during April, and I have also had some absolute shockers! During summer the Ovens River fishes very consistently, but during the autumn months, especially March and April that consistency disappears and the fishing becomes hit and miss.

The King River is a similar story, especially closer to Wangaratta. There are some large cod in the lower reaches of the King River which can be caught during April, but as with the lower Ovens River, it’s all about perseverance. The difference with the lower King River is that access is much harder in the lower reaches and boating is not possible; it is all bank and kayak fishing.


As mentioned earlier, the longer cooler nights should lead to lower water temperatures during April and with a bit of luck the trout will come back to life, like they did in spring. The upper Ovens River should continue to fish very well, and hopefully the King River will fire up between Whitfield and Lake William Hovell as it has been quiet all summer.

Other streams worth trying during April are the Buffalo, Rose and Buckland and for those that have a decent 4WD, the King River upstream of Lake William Hovell. All of these waterways fished very well during springtime and I am expecting them to fish well again in autumn.

When autumn fishing for trout, I like to start with something vibrantly coloured, like a fluoro orange super Vibrax bladed spinner, or a bright orange soft plastic. It may not always work, but fluorescent coloured lures are a very good starting point when autumn trout fishing.


Lakes William Hovell and Buffalo should both have a few redfin on offer during April. Lake William Hovell has been producing a lot of small fish as I write this article, but Buffalo has been quiet. April is usually a good time to fish both lakes and this is the time of year the bigger redfin usually start to show up.

My favourite technique is to cast a 3” curl tail grub soft plastic with a heavy 7g jighead from my kayak, let it sink and work it slowly back in bouncing it along the bottom. This technique worked very well last autumn and is a dynamite way to catch redfin. The lower reaches of many of the smaller streams in the area have been producing some thumping redfin during the summer. This should continue into April, but may taper off a little, especially towards the end of the month as it starts to really cool down.

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