Summer really ended with a bang here in north east Victoria with record rainfall being recorded right across the area.
Despite the extensive flooding, there was still some fantastic fishing opportunities for those keen enough to head out.
The old Lake Mokoan outlet channel ran really hard following the rain and the yellowbelly came on the bite, trout in the small streams woke from their summer warm water hibernation with the influx of cool fresh water and the redfin went off their heads in all of the regions lakes.
The first half of autumn has seen some fantastic fishing which should continue into May as many of the region’s fish go on a feeding binge before slowing over the coldest months.
Many trout anglers have hung up their waders by now due to the cold water and they know the brown trout are spawning. Brown trout begin spawning in May, exactly when varies greatly from stream to stream due to water temperatures and flows. One thing I do know is that this year, with all the extra water the trout will be able to swim upstream and spawn much more freely.
For those brave enough to head out and try their luck in the icy cold water, a good starting point would be a fluorescent orange Super Vibrax spinner or Rooster Tail spinner. If it continues to be wet then drifting a bunch of worms downstream with a small hook and a split shot sinker or two could be worth a try also.
Away from the streams and Lake William Hovell will be worth fishing for trout in May, trolling small hardbodied lures or winged lures such as Tassie Devils at the low light periods of the day should be productive. If the wet autumn continues, lightly weighted scrubworms will work well in the submerged King River arm of the lake, and if you can find them, mudeyes under a float will work well over the weedy southern end of the lake.
The redfin fishing right across the board has been fantastic since the drought broke in late 2010. The streams have all fished well all summer, but with the onset of cold weather the lakes will be the places to head.
Lake William Hovell is my favourite redfin destination in May, each year I head up there targeting the bigger fish which I usually find down deeper than. My favourite technique is casting a soft plastic as far out from my kayak as I can, then let it sink to the bottom, then work it very slowly across the bottom. My recommended soft plastic is a 3” curl tail grub, and in the deep water I like a heavy jighead of around 5-6g.
Small yabbies and worms will also work very well on Lake William Hovell redfin in May, with any types of worms including garden worms, scrub words, tiger worms and so on are all worth trying.
Lake Buffalo will be hit and miss during May. At the time of writing this article the lake is fishing very well, but in May it is not as reliable as lake William Hovell. If I head up there I will start off trolling ultra-deep diving small hardbodied lures like the 50mm AC invaders with the large bib and the 50mm Halco Crazy Deep lures. Small lures that can get down very deep are excellent lures to troll for redfin in lakes, particularly during the colder months, and both of the above mentioned lures can get down to around 8-10m when trolling.
If I catch a redfin while trolling, I will stop and cast soft plastics around that area using the exact same techniques as I do in lake William Hovell in the hope of locating a school of fish.
Exactly where to fish for Murray cod during May is very dependent upon the weather. If the wet continues then pretty much all of the Murray cod fishing in this area will be in Lake Mulwala which is not as effected by floods. If we don’t get too much rain, the lower reaches of the Ovens River around Bundalong and Parolas Bridge on the Murray Valley Highway will be worth trying for large Murray cod.
May is a great month to target the big boys as they start becoming aggressive and feed on large food items in order to gain as much condition as they can before they spawn in spring time. It is for this reason that ultra-large hardbodied lures are a great choice. Not only do you need an ultra-large lure, but you also need an ultra-large amount of patience; these big fish don’t come easily.
In Lake Mulwala itself the fishing should be ticking over nicely. I find May to be quite a reliable time to fish Lake Mulwala, with the large autumn high pressure systems and stable barometers lending themselves to some great cod fishing. Trolling deep diving large hardbodied lures around the submerged Murray River course is a great way to target Murray cod, so too is trolling randomly throughout the shallow timbered section of the lake.
From my kayak I like to cast chatterbaits and spinnerbaits around the timbered areas during the day, and as the sun lets I get a real buzz out of tying on a large surface popper for that extra rush at the end of the day.Reads: 2606