It’s the middle of spring and where better to head than the Kiewa Valley where patches of snow are still overlooking the valley, lush green grass stands almost knee deep and the dairy cows are in good condition.
The Kiewa River can go either ways during October; it can really turn it on, or it can be a raging torrent. It really all depends on how much rain falls during September. On an average year by around mid October you can expect the Kiewa River to still be too high to safely wade, but be low and clear enough to comfortably fish from the bank.
Anywhere from Dederang upstream will be worth trying, including the bridge at Dederang itself where there is a large rest area on the river.
The spillway at Mt Beauty where the Kiewa River flows out of the flood gates is always a very popular angling spot, especially during the spring months. Each year many fish are caught by anglers angling off the footbridge at the spillway just using worms as bait. Every once in a while a monster brown trout of around 5lb will turn up to surprise even the most experienced anglers.
Throughout the Kiewa River from Mt Beauty to Dederang, drifting worms with a small split shot sinker will be an excellent technique and will account for many fish. If conditions are favourable, casting metallic bladed spinners will also produce trout.
As the Kiewa River is such a fast flowing river at the best of times, during October a reel with a high speed gear ratio will be beneficial for anglers casting lures as the high speed will assist in making sure the lure comes in fast enough to work with the current. A reel with a gear ratio of 5:1 or higher is advantageous.
Across in the Mitta Mitta River it should be a similar story, although the water levels may be a bit lower and more user-friendly depending on whether Lake Dartmouth fills or not. So far it is almost 92% and there is a lot of rain in the forecast!
Once again try using metallic bladed spinners in the Mitta Mitta River, and focus on the area between Eskdale and Dartmouth Pondage.
Throughout the whole area the small streams should be in tip top condition during October and should all be fishing very well. Now is the time of year when the trout are in the best condition after feeding heavily on worms all winter.
During October, try using small minnows in the smaller streams, if this does not work try metallic bladed spinners and if water levels are still high, drifting worms will be a great option.
Lake Dartmouth should still be fishing very well. Water temperatures at the surface should still be very cold and the trout should continue to feed freely near the top, especially during the low light periods of the day. Try trolling with Tassie Devil lures of an evening, with the Loaded Dog and Fruit Salad patterns usually being quite successful.
The region’s yellowbelly, (golden perch), and redfin (English perch) should start to get active around mid October.
Alans Flat waterhole near Yackandandah is a great place to target both species as the weather warms. Yellowbelly are stocked annually into the waterhole, which provides great fishing during the warmer months, however don’t head there chasing monster yellowbelly as you’ll be disappointed. A yellowbelly of 3-4lb is a big fish for Alans Flat.
If it is monster yellowbelly you are after, head down the road to Lake Hume where they grow massive! Specimens over 20lb are not unheard of, and yellowbelly over 10lb are common for experienced anglers.
Look for rocky outcrops in the lake as they tend to heat up just that little bit quicker and can attract the yellowbelly early in the season.
In both waterways try casting blades and lipless crankbaits for redfin and yellowbelly. Both species will take both lures. I like to cast my lure, let it hit the bottom and gently bounce the lure up off the bottom in short sharp motions. This technique can be used with lipless crankbaits and blades.
Blades will generally cast further and sink quicker, whereas lipless crankbaits usually contain a loud rattle. Both species will fish well all day however I prefer the low light periods of the day for yellowbelly.
A lovely Alans Flat yellowbelly caught on an Asari Karasu lipless crankbait lure.
A typical Kiewa River rainbow trout caught on a lightly weighted scrubworm driften down the high river last October.
Graham ‘Chicky’ Chick is well known for his many epic Murray cod captures. However, last October Chicky fished the Kiewa valley where he proved his fishing talents extend beyond catching 1m+ Murray cod! Chicky caught this small, but fat brown trout on a soft plastic.
As the weather warms during October, snakes become more active and are frequently encountered by fishers. Watch where you put your feet! (Photo courtesy Lauretta Alexander)Reads: 2014