April is one of my favourite times of the year to fish as stable high pressure systems lend themselves to mild sunny days and cool nights, and best of all improved fishing conditions.
As with most years it is hard to predict what condition the streams will be in with regards to water flow. A dry start to autumn this year could see many of the smaller waterways completely dry up, whereas a decent autumn break of rain could lead to some fantastic trout and redfin fishing.
Provided we get some early autumn rainfall the small streams in the area should fish very well for trout as many of the larger trout make their way out of their deep dark permanent holes and start to swim upstream to begin their annual spawning run.
During this time I prefer to fish with fluorescent coloured lures, with the fluorescent orange Super Vibrax bladed spinner delivering constant results each year in autumn. Small waterfalls or weirs, or any other kinds of obstructions in the waterway can be great places to look for fish in autumn as the trout are moving upstream. They often reach these points and cannot get any further until decent rain falls, as a result these can be real hot spots.
As mentioned earlier, fluorescent bladed spinners can work a treat, so too can small soft plastics and natural coloured minnows which the trout will often hit out of aggression as they swim upstream looking for places to spawn. Bait anglers should try using crickets in April. Crickets are still a large part of the trout's diet in April, especially the first part of the month and are a dynamite bait for trout.
If we get some substantial rain, just about all of the small streams will bounce back to life really quickly. If the autumn rain fails, then try heading to the upper Ovens River upstream of Porepunkah where there is always a decent flow. Even in the event that we get a total rain fail there should be a reasonable flow in the upper Ovens River. In the past, during the most extreme dry seasons, water has been pumped out of the dredge holes at Harrietville to keep the river flowing. These dredge holes are not there for irrigation purposes, however they are handy water storages to have in order to maintain an environmental flow along the upper Ovens River.
The great redfin fishing of last year has all but disappeared this year as many of my favourite redfin streams have almost stopped flowing. In fact, a few of them have completely stopped, leaving deep stagnant pools of water in the stream bed. A couple of streams are still ticking along, but nowhere near as good as they were last year.
As a result, during April I would recommend that anglers chasing redfin head to Lake Buffalo or Lake William Hovell. April is a time of year when the larger redfin seem to get caught more frequently. If fishing from a boat or kayak, try using a soft plastic rigged with a reasonably heavy jighead of 6-7g. The soft plastic can either be cast out, then retrieved slowly back towards the boat, or lowered directly beside the boat and bobbed gently up and down off the bottom to attract redfin. Both of these techniques work very well in lakes Buffalo and William Hovell.
Bait anglers should try using baits such as small yabbies and common garden worms. Anglers chasing redfin from the bank in either of these lakes should try using 7g blades which can cast a mile and help you cover more water while being land based.
The Murray cod fishing has been sensational all summer in the Ovens and King river catchments. I expect this to continue in the first half of April, however I am expecting to see the cod fishing taper off slowly by the end of April as the water starts getting cold.
Anywhere along the Ovens River from Myrtleford downstream to Bundalong will be worth trying. As with the trout, I seem to do well with brightly coloured lures in autumn with Murray cod. Why this is I do not know, but I know when April gets here I will be digging out the bright lures, especially bright orange.
One tip I can give about cod fishing in April, and any time after when the water is cold, is to really slow your retrieve speed right down.
I find I get more strikes on a really slowly worked lure.Reads: 1349