Fantastic trout fishing for the north east
  |  First Published: December 2012

WOW, is probably the best word I can use to describe the fantastic trout fishing the far north east corner of the state has experienced all spring.

All of the rivers and streams have fished exceptionally well with the Kiewa River giving us its best spring trout fishing I can remember in a very long time.

December is set to be a great month to target trout in the Kiewa River. Spring has showed us that trout are there, with some of them being quite large. In December the Kiewa River should settle down to its summer level making wading much easier. As the river exits the mountains in Mt Beauty the section of river from Dederang to Mt Beauty should remain very clear and quite cool during December providing ideal conditions for trout.

As always in the Kiewa, casting bladed spinners such as Celtas, Rooster Tails and Super Vibrax will be a great way to start. If that is not working try using something a little more natural, such as a natural-coloured soft plastic or small minnow type lure.

Closer to Christmas, the entire section of river from Dederang to Mt Beauty will see a lot of fishing pressure as it always does. This will make the trout quite wary and harder to tempt into a strike. When this happens try and find the most natural presentation you can to fool them. The Strike Tiger 1inch soft plastic nymph is a great place to start, particularly in dark natural colours. Flyfishing can come into its own in these difficult conditions when the trout are skittish and reluctant to strike an artificial lure. Hopefully by December there will be plenty of grasshoppers in the area. If there is, try drifting them unweighted into the backwaters for the ultimate natural presentation. Trout cannot resist a meal of fresh grasshopper!

It is not just the Kiewa River that has been fishing well all spring, in fact all of the creeks and rivers in the area have been. The Mitta Mitta River has also seen plenty of action, which should continue into December. The Mitta Mitta River is a great trout river from Eskdale upstream, however the water tends to get a lot warmer than the Kiewa River. Because of this, during the summer months I like to fish the Mitta Mitta River early in the morning when the water may be a little cooler.

At the time of writing this article, the massive Lake Dartmouth is 99% full. Should the lake spill over, or water discharges increase from the bottom of the dam during December it could put a whole new spin on fishing in the lower Mitta Mitta River with increased flows of much colder water providing ideal habitat for trout. Only time will tell.

The regions many small streams should fish pretty well in December, however the creeks which are more exposed to the sun and prone to warming up may be quite slow as flows decrease and the water warms. This will force the trout to sit at the bottom of the deeper holes and just wait until conditions improve.

Sometimes a summer storm can flush fresh water into these creeks sending the trout into a feeding frenzy as they utilize the good conditions to put on condition before returning to the bottom of the deep holes again to wait. These times can be very productive and a great chance to catch a bigger fish, however the condition of the fish is usually poor.

Native fish

December 1 sees the opening of the new Murray cod season and plenty of keen anglers will be out and about targeting these wonderful native fish. The lower reaches of the Kiewa River should provide some good cod fishing however as any regular Kiewa River angler will tell you, it can be very hit and miss. The power stations in the headwaters of the Kiewa River cause wide fluctuations in water levels along the entire Kiewa River which also causes fluctuations in fish behavior.

Lake Hume has seen some magnificent yellowbelly caught during the spring months, and in December these big fat fish will still be on the chew. They may not be available in the same numbers as they are in November as the fish start to disperse and spread out around the lake, however they will still be actively feeding and many will turn up on the end of anglers’ lines. Small yabbies and worms are great baits for yellowbelly, and lipless crankbaits with a lot of rattles such as the Asari Karasu and Jackall TN60 are great lures. Many anglers catch yellowbelly in Lake Hume each summer as a welcome by-catch while targeting redfin.

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