Kiewa Valley gives some respite from long hot summer
  |  First Published: February 2013

The Kiewa River itself is one of the better summer trout waterways in North East Victoria as it maintains a decent flow even during drought years.

Upstream of Dederang the water is usually a little cooler than other surrounding waterways. The best times of the day to fish the Kiewa for trout in February are in the mornings and in the evenings, and for the dedicated anglers, right throughout the night.

On warm balmy evenings, look under street lights for crickets. Collect them and head to the Kiewa River and float the live crickets into the deeper pools. At night the trout will disperse a little to feed, but during the brighter parts of the days they will usually hang around the deep holes where the water is cooler. A very light split-shot sinker may help to get your cricket down a bit deeper into the holes. Trout love live crickets and climb all over them. Personally I believe that crickets are the best bait for trout, even better than grasshoppers and mudeyes. Bladed spinners will also work well in February, especially those with a black blade or body. February is a great time to use anything black on any of your lures!

If you are looking to escape the heat, head up the road to Falls Creek where there are two lakes and a number of small creeks packed with trout. Most of the trout are small, but at 10-12C cooler than the hot valley floor below, chasing these small high altitude brown trout certainly has its merits in February. And besides, not all of the trout are small. Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley dams both have some larger brown trout in them with the smaller Pretty Valley dam being the pick for bigger fish.

At any time of the year the water is very cold in the small creeks up there, and crystal clear so make sure you dress in something that will help you blend in, and use a very stealth like approach. Dry fly fishing is the best way to fish the small creeks as they are often so small that bladed spinners and minnows will foul up on slime. Crickets fished under a float is a very popular technique in Rocky Valley dam, whereas Pretty Valley dam is popular with fly fishers and lure casters.

Murray cod

The 2012-2013 cod season got off to a slow start in this corner of the state this summer with a few early summer thunderstorms leaving the rivers high and off colour. The Kiewa River was already high and dirty from the storms and then was topped up with increased cold water releases from the hydro electricity system. This fast flowing icy cold water turned the Murray cod completely off the bite for the start of summer.

On the Mitta Mitta River it was a similar story. With Lake Dartmouth sitting at 99% capacity for several months large volumes of water were released from the bottom of the lake to prevent the lake from overflowing. As with the Kiewa River the Murray cod in the Mitta Mitta River just switched off, and to be honest I have not heard a single report of a Murray cod from the Mitta Mitta River all season.

On the flip side, I have had more reports of Murray cod being caught in Lake Hume this spring and summer so far than the last 10 or more years put together. I am just starting to wonder if the cold high water flows in the Mitta Mitta River might be pushing a few cod downstream to Lake Hume in search of more favourable conditions? Typical of all fishing, there are always so many unanswered questions that we will never know.

In February I would expect the Kiewa River to be fishing well for cod. This is when the water is usually at its lowest and warmest. The best spots to try will be anywhere from Boyds Bridge downstream to the junction of the Kiewa and Murray Rivers near Wodonga.

All the usual cod fishing techniques should work such as bait fishing with bardi grubs and large yabbies, or casting large hardbodied lures and spinnerbaits. Don’t be afraid to tie on a surface lure of some description after dark in the Kiewa River.

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