Low water and fire threats slow action
  |  First Published: April 2013

I find it hard to give readers an accurate trout report from our area this month. I have spoken to a number of anglers and they are having mixed results; some are catching fish and some are not. There have been some good fish caught and also some really small fish.

Recently I fished the upper Mitta River above Blue Duck. The river was flowing as well as you could ever hope for this time of the year. At 10.30am the water temperature was a very sexy 14C. All seemed set for a great days fishing. My mate Mick and I got our fly gear out and entered the river full of hope and expectations. I fished a Royal Wulff dry fly with a bead head nymph trailing about 60cm behind. Mick elected to go with a heavy tungsten nymph and to bounce it along the bottom. All options covered we thought. Four hours later we got out of the water fishless and disappointed.

We covered a lot of river during those four hours and we only saw one small fish which we almost stepped on.

Plan B was then put into place. We drove downstream to the Hinnomunjie area of the Mitta. At this stage it was now late afternoon. Again I checked the water temperature and found it to be quite hot at 22C. Not at all conducive to good trout fishing and a whopping 8C warmer than the top end of the river.

The day was quite warm, being in the low 30's which had no doubt heated up the rocks and the river. We were also at a lower altitude where the air temperature was hotter. We fished for another 1 1/2 hours using various flies but again did not sight a fish.

It was interesting that up the top end of the river we did not see a grasshopper but in the Hinnomunjie area there were quite a lot of big ‘hoppers around. Dartmouth Dam is almost 100% capacity and the water is up over grounds that have not been inundated for many years. Perhaps the fish are in the dam feeding? Perhaps they do not like the high water temperatures in the lower end of the river? Who knows?

The other thing about Omeo at the moment is the ongoing fire problems. The fire in the Mount Hotham area continued to burn as I write this and had moved south and is burned along the Dargo River. The Great Alpine Road was closed between Harrietville and Dinner Plain.

Our main fishing area which includes the Cobungra, Bundarra, Livingston and other rivers are not out of danger.

The path of the fire is dictated by wind and it could change direction at any time. Anglers should be aware of the weather conditions and keep abreast of the developments with the fire. As I write this, there is no immediate danger in the Mitta valley but the towns of Omeo and Swifts Creek have been put on alert and it could all change very quickly.

Whilst I was fishing I spoke to a group of spin fishers who had fished the Indi River on the previous day. They had caught browns trout up to 1.75kg.

They reported that the river was running nicely and the overall conditions were good. As they were leaving, lightning struck and started a bush fire behind them. This just goes to show how dangerous it can be in the mountains at this time of the year. They were lucky as the fire was behind them. With only one road in and the same road out it can be perilous in these remote areas. I always carry an Epirb with me. It may not help in a fire situation but can be life saving for snakebite, broken bones and so on.

I hope to have a much better and more positive report next month. I am keeping my fingers crossed for some rain to put out these fires.

There is some great pocket water in the upper Mitta River

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