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Trout still to be found even in the hottest of conditions
  |  First Published: December 2012



The Kiewa and surrounds area is unique, in that even at the hottest time of the year there are still trout to be found.

Trout

As the water warms right up to its maximum in January, the trout can become a little fussy. The Kiewa River itself should still fish well as it usually maintains a decent flow all through summer due to the fact that it drains Victoria’s highest mountains. The area between Tawonga and Mt Beauty will be the most productive trout water, however trout will still get caught as far downstream as Dederang.

Bladed spinners will be the weapon of choice for most anglers, however soft plastics and small minnows will also work well, and fly fishers usually have a lot of success in the Kiewa River in January, particularly close to evening on the really hot balmy afternoons when insect life is prevalent.

The upper reaches of the Mitta Mitta River near Anglers Rest will be worth fishing in January, with the low light periods of the day usually proving to be the most productive. This is a magical area to fish and worth a visit even if the fish are not biting just for the breathtaking scenery.

The high country around Falls Creek will be a great place to head during the heat of summer. Both Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley dams can be accessed via Falls Creek by two-wheel drive vehicle, although the road to Pretty Valley Dam gets a little rough in some places. These lakes are high altitude lakes sitting at around 1500-1600m above sea level and are surrounded by stunted snow gums and high plains.

The temperature is usually around 12-15C cooler at these lakes than it is in the surrounding valleys. As a result the water is very cold, even in the middle of summer. Both lakes have very good self-sustaining populations of brown trout and are quite popular with anglers during the summer months. Boating is permitted on Rocky Valley Dam, but not Pretty Valley Dam. Pretty Valley Dam is the smaller of the two lakes, however my personal experience points to it holding the bigger fish.

Both lakes fish well with winged lures such as Tassie Devils, as well as small minnow type lures, and both lakes are very popular flyfishing waters as the high country supports a large amount of insect life. Anglers bait fishing with crickets, grasshoppers or mudeyes suspended under a float usually have a lot of success. One day a few years back I fished Rocky Valley Dam for hours only landing 2 or 3 small brown trout on lures, while the people not far up from me were catching trout one after the other on live crickets fished under a float!

The many high altitude creeks and rills that feed these lakes also carry quite a few brown trout however the average size is pretty small. They are fun to fish, and can be quite challenging but not worth fishing if you are looking for a feed of fresh fish!

Redfin and yellowbelly

As usual the main redfin hotspots in this area are Lake Hume and the Alans Flat Waterhole. In January both of these waterways will be worth fishing for redfin, with Lake Hume being the more consistent producer of redfin. Over the past few years as the number of yellowbelly has increased in Alans Flat Waterhole, the number of redfin being caught seems to have decreased. The redfin that I have caught there have been slightly larger than they once were however, and have all been caught while targeting yellowbelly late in the afternoon.

Cod

Anglers wanting to catch a cod should head to the lower reaches of the Kiewa River between Kergunyah and the Murray River junction. There are quite a few cod in this section of river, however it can be very hit and miss with fluctuating water levels caused by electricity generators in the headwaters turning the fish on and off with the flick of a switch.

There are some decent-sized cod in this section of river but they do not come easy. The river is too small to boat in most areas so anglers fishing from kayaks, canoes and the bank usually reap the rewards. Kayak and canoe anglers usually have to content with logjams and fallen trees whereas bank anglers usually have to content with one of Victoria’s best black and tiger snake populations! There is a reason Murray cod are seen as a trophy fish, because like all trophies you have to work for them!

Just a quick note on the Mitta Mitta River cod, I am not sure how the Mitta Mitta River will fish this year as Lake Dartmouth recently reached 99% capacity and the water authority are releasing a lot of water. I fished it in mid-November near Eskdale for trout and the river was a raging torrent of icy cold water which is great for trout but not so great for natives.

If they put the plug back in Lake Dartmouth early in summer the river may drop and warm up a little and may be worth targeting Murray cod in again, particularly in the lower reaches near Pigs Point.

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