The 2008/09 Victorian trout season kicks off this month, with all alpine waters including the Kiewa River at Tawonga in excellent condition.
Last year the Kiewa provided excellent results early on the Saturday morning of the opening weekend. Most anglers used drifted live baits, especially scrubworms, which were eagerly taken by brown trout to 950g. A few anglers used lures that brought some exciting action as well. However, movement along the river became somewhat subdued by around 10am, when most fishers adjourned to their favourite drinking hole to weigh their catches and compare notes.
Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley lakes on the Bogong High Plains will still be a bit snowbound for a few weeks after the opening weekend, but access is mostly good and improving every day. Anglers are advised to rug up well when fishing these lakes at this time of year as it’s very cold up there on most days. Rainbow trout to 8kg, average 2.kg, are a regular feature early in the season, when ravenous trout will take almost anything in their efforts to regain condition lost over winter.
Lake Guy is effectively empty this month but a wide, slow moving and deep stream flows through the old riverbed, with good access to all parts of the shoreline. Brown trout to 2.5kg are regularly taken from this water on live bait and lures each spring. This year should be no exception.
Lake Catani at Mt Buffalo is at 100% of capacity and the fishing is excellent, with lots of wild-bred brown trout to 750g on offer for rugged up anglers who are not afraid of a little cold weather. A small boat or canoe is a decided advantage when fishing this lake, as some of the best water is too deep for wading, or is difficult to reach from the shoreline. When fishing this water in winter or spring, anglers are strongly advised to take a change of clothing in case they fall in.
Thanks to the local fishing club, the Mt Beauty Pondage recently received an additional stocking of 1000 rainbow and 1000 brown trout, all yearlings, which when added to the already existing population provide some really good fishing opportunities this month. The Pondage is usually restocked only once annually, in November. Many trout caught in recent weeks were around 750g to 1.25kg in weight, caught mostly on lures and live bait.
The Kiewa River from Mt Beauty and Tawonga to Mongans Bridge is in excellent condition, if a bit low, for the opening weekend. After dark or before dawn, brown trout in excess of 1kg can be caught on drifted livebait, but during the day most fish caught are around 450g.
The lower Mitta Mitta River from Mitta Mitta to Eskdale is running clear and the flow rate is excellent, according to Ted Barber from the Magorra Caravan Park in Mitta Mitta. While larger specimens are just waiting to get caught, small to medium size brown trout abound in this water, the result of excellent spawning conditions and low fishing pressure.
The Snowy Creek at Granite Flat is flowing well and in pristine condition, according to locals. Anglers fishing the Snowy Creek always do well early in the season. Best results are achieved using big bunches of worms drifted or under a bubble float. Lures also take a few trout in September but bait is better.
Dartmouth Dam continues to hold steady and the fishing is patchy but improving. Regulars who are familiar with this water are achieving the best results, with many first-timers finding the going challenging. Despite cold, wet and windy conditions, some good catches have been reported recently by regular anglers trolling lures near the surface, with brown trout up to 1kg in weight and rainbows a bit larger coming to the net.
Lake Banimboola (the Pondage) is high and access is limited to just a few places around the shoreline. Fishing from a small boat is advised if you can find a spot to launch it.
Alpine fishing conditions can change very quickly whatever the season, so for the latest update phone Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on 03 5754 1466 or check out website www.anglingvic.com.au
Flyfishing on the West Kiewa River early in the season often produces brown trout in excess of 1kg, before they drop back into the Kiewa River as water flows ease.Reads: 1011