Consistently inconsistent
  |  First Published: October 2012

Inconsistent local river heights have made fishing for natives tough lately.

Over the past two years our rivers have been all over the shop in terms of fishability, with really only 6-8 months of good fishing.

But once things do settle down, the fishing will be superb.

Every time we have had steady, clear rivers for at least a couple of weeks the action has been sensational so let’s cross our fingers that by the time Murray cod season comes on December 1 the rivers are looking good.

There have still been a few fish landed when the weather is good and those who are persistent are the ones who are achieving the best results.

If we get a few bright, clear days in a row, the results can be outstanding but there has been a distinct lack of golden perch. Out-of-season Murray cod and protected trout cod have dominated and both need to be returned to the water immediately.

To lure early-season golden perch the best approach is with low-profile spinnerbaits without trailers. These need to be presented as close as possible to the structure you’re fishing.


The Eucumbene and other trout rivers will be loaded with anglers and hopefully some late spawning rainbows. If you don’t mind fishing with a crowd there will be plenty of fish on offer for those who know how to work high-flowing streams.

The key is to get your lure or fly to the bottom where the fish are holding.

Soft plastic lures offer the greatest ability to get down into the strike zone. Natural to bright colours on 2g-4g jig heads should put you in with a shot. Cast up and across the stream and allow the lure to find depth before you retrieve.

Flies can be a little more difficult in high flow but there are a couple of options to enable you to get your fly down.

Tungsten beadhead flies are quite heavy and will find more depth than your average beadhead.

Early season flows usually dictate that more weight is needed so you can add small split-shot to a short dropper off your leader. Vary the weight for each flow and depth.

The added weight can be difficult for a beginner caster so it would be well worth practising with added weight before you head onto the river.

The lake fish are being caught close to the shore. With the spawning run pretty much complete, these fish have come back into the lake and are hell-bent on feeding.

The Eucumbene staple flies are Woolly Buggers, Woolly Worms, Craig’s Nightime and beadhead nymphs.

Best lures are jointed Rapalas or a natural to bright soft plastics. And always carry some smelt pattern stickbaits to fish shallow bays at dawn and dusk.

Bait is by far the most successful option at the moment with some amazing catch rates. One group of five anglers landed 68 rainbows in one day on PowerBait in a variety of colours. They also caught five browns on bardi grubs and scrub worms.

Trollers who have fished to the conditions have also been having a ball. Winged lures in pink, orange, yellow wing and natural colours have been best trolled in close.

These are busy times in the mountains and we need to be respectful to each other. Most people understand this and the crowds shouldn’t stop you having fun.

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