High water again
  |  First Published: May 2012

Late summer and early autumn rainfall left the Kiewa River and its tributaries looking more like the September run off than the usual low clear water experienced during autumn.

With the spring like conditions came some excellent spring like fishing, with anglers drifting lightly weighted worms catching plenty of trout. The main Kiewa River itself was hard to access at the peak of the floods, however within only a few days of the deluge my cousin Rhiannon and I were fishing in some of the small feeder streams with worms and catching trout.

By May hopefully the weather should have stabilized and the river levels will have subsided enough to enable anglers to wade upstream again. The water will be icy cold, and the trout fishing will be patchy in most waterways as it often is at this time of year when the brown trout are preparing to spawn.

I would start off using fluorescent orange bladed spinners as this bright colour is usually productive this time of year. If that does not work then perhaps try using a small minnow style hardbodied lure such as a Rapala or JD minnow.

If the water levels are high try drifting a bunch of worms weighted down lightly with a split shot sinker or two, or find a calm backwater and just cast your line into it, let it sink then sit back and wait for a bite.

Lake Dartmouth can be a very worthwhile lake to target trout in May. Try flat line trolling with winged lures such as Tassie Devils as the water surface temperature is very cold. Troll around the river arms of the lakes as some of the lakes bigger trout are either about to head up the streams to spawn, or head back down into the lake after they have finished spawning.

While in these arms of the lake try angling with a bunch of worms under a float, and if you can get hold of them, mudeyes. Mudeyes are dynamite trout bait, even in winter when they are hard to find.

Just downstream of Lake Dartmouth is the Dartmouth Pondage, otherwise known as Banimboola Lake which will also be worth fishing in May. This little lake has limited access, but gets stocked with trout each year and contains some lovely-sized trout. Casting lures from the bank is the most commonly used techniques in this lake, and bait fishing is popular also.


Redfin fishing is limited in May to only a few places. Allans Flat Waterhole may produce a few redfin, so too with Lake Hume which is just down the road. With Allans Flat Waterhole, don’t expect to catch large numbers of redfin like you would expect in the summer months, however there may still be a few willing to take your bait in the cooler water.

In Lake Hume, for your best chances at catching a redfin try and get out into deeper water of around 10m which may be a bit warmer, and fish with soft plastics which can be allowed to sink all the way to the bottom and then slowly worked across the bottom.

As with any redfin fishery, don’t be afraid to fish with bait! Redfin will take small yabbies and garden worms at any time of the year; they are not fussy eaters. If I was heading out to fish Lake Hume in May, I would look for around 10m of water, then use two fishing rods, one with a soft plastic and one with bait. I would drop my first rod down, which would be rigged with a paternoster rig with two droppers, one with a bunch of worms and one with a small yabby.

Once that is in I would then begin casting soft plastics around with my second rod. If you do this, and keep moving all around trying different areas, eventually you should pick up a few redfin in May.

Native fish

The Murray cod fishing in the lower Kiewa river will be tough at best. If we don’t get too much rainfall leading up to May, the lower Kiewa will be worth fishing for Murray cod, but they will be very slow. If there are any big fish around they will be more likely to strike your lure in the icy cold water than the smaller fish.

If we do get a lot of rain leading into May, and the river is high and dirty, forget all about targeting Murray cod in the Kiewa, and head elsewhere like Lake Mulwala.

The golden perch in Allans Flat Waterhole will still be there, but will most likely also be pretty slow going. Angling from the bank with a bunch of worms, a small yabby or a small freshwater shrimp at sunset should provide you with the best chances of picking up a golden perch. I would not write Allans Flat Waterhole off completely in May, between the golden perch and the redfin you still have a good chance of catching a fish, however it will be slower going than it is during the warmer months.

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