Over the years, regular readers of this column will have noted that I often suggest that the trout fishing around the Dargo area is very poor, and that you fish elsewhere. The problem has been that this area has been devastated by a combination of bush fires, fire retardant washed into the rivers and, of course, drought. As a result the trout numbers have been extraordinarily low for many years.
I am delighted to report that this is no longer the case. The Dargo rivers are making a comeback. Fishing in the Wonnangatta River and the Crooked River was very good the first few weeks of this season. It has tapered off somewhat now, but fish are still being caught. Do not expect to catch large brown trout, but fish in the order of 200-300g. I expect the Dargo River will fish well this season too, and this river often yields the biggest fish in the area.
When fishing this area it is a good idea to carry a cheap thermometer. We were fishing the Crooked River last week. It was running at 10oC, there was little insect activity apparent and we were not catching any trout. We packed up and moved a few kilometres to the Wonnangatta River, above its junction with the Crooked River. A quick check revealed that it was 3oC warmer, running at 13oC and with a good mayfly hatch happening. It saved the day!
A Fisheries Victoria study of some of Victoria’s fire ravaged rivers, including rivers in this area, revealed low trout numbers with and problems with siltation. I am pleased to report the rivers are now running nicely, and are all clear.
The Crooked River has a lot of silt along its banks. The water is clear but wading disturbs the silt. Hopefully this silt will solidify quickly along the banks and the river will stabilise further.
On the other hand the Wonnangatta River is in absolutely pristine condition, with no sign of silt. Now that Fisheries have recognised the low fish numbers in these rivers, I hope they will do some much-needed stocking.
Around Omeo the fishing has been good. The snowfields still have some snow left, which is quickly melting, and all the rivers are flowing well.
The Mitta Mitta River above its junction with the Bundara River has been fishing very well for bait and lure fishers, but not so well for flyfishers. Beetles are just starting to appear and the odd caddis has been seen fluttering around, so it will not be long before the flyfishers join in the party. Some good fish to 1.5kg have been caught in this area. This will be a great place to fish over the next month. Lower down in the Hinnomunjie area, fishing is also good.
The Bundara River is also flowing well and fishing OK for small browns and the odd better fish. Nearby, the Cobungra River is a little quiet but should improve soon.
Livingstone Creek in the Cassilis area is also producing plenty of small browns. Bait fishing is the most successful method. It is quite low because it is basically rain fed and we have not had much rain.
The Gibbo River is flowing quite high still and is difficult to wade in the middle section. The lower section is, however, quite accessible and can be easily waded. Fishing in the Gibbo River should continue to be good over the next month. Most of the fish will be small rainbows, but the river often surprises with a good brown trout or two at times.
A very nice brown trout taken on fly from the Hinnomunjie area of the Mitta Mitta River.Reads: 6354