Dry spell ended with big downpour
  |  First Published: May 2013

The year began extremely dry in the Wangaratta area, and then in March the heavens opened up, spinning tornados that ripped through townships on the lower Ovens River and dropping over 140mm of rainfall into the Ovens River catchment in a 24 hour period.

This sent a decent flush down the Ovens River, which is just what the doctor ordered after such a dry spell.

Prior to the rain, the river was very low which provided us with some exceptional surface fishing for Murray cod, but most other forms of fishing were a little slow.

At the time of writing this report the flush is pushing through Wangaratta and the water is high and dirty. By May everything should be settled (provided we do not get too much more rain) and the fishing should be great. I would expect the Murray cod fishing to be OK.

Bigger Murray cod tend to get caught in May and June, whereas the smaller fish seem to disappear each year. If targeting Murray cod in the Ovens River during May, be prepared to put in long hours for little result, but just know that the bigger fish turn up at this time of year. Try trolling in the far lower reaches of the Ovens River around Bundalong with very large hardbodied lures, particularly in bright colours.

The Murray River itself at Bundalong is also worth a fish and is proven hot spot for large Murray cod around May and June. If you're fishing for Murray cod upstream around Wangaratta during May, do not expect too much as the cod fishing can be very unpredictable at that time of year upstream in the Ovens and King Rivers.


When you talk about redfin in May in the Ovens and King catchment, the first place that springs to mind is Lake William Hovell. Each year I look forward to long days on Lake William Hovell in April and May chasing redfin and trout. The lake always fishes well for redfin in May. I prefer to use soft plastics, such as Strike Tiger 3" curl tail grubs or Damiki D-grubs and just gently bob them up and down off the bottom in around 8-10m of water. The lake has a lot of very small redfin in it, however there are some real thumpers over 40cm if you look hard enough. As well as small soft plastics, small yabbies are also dynamite bait up there in May. Just make sure you take plenty of warm clothes and hot drinks though as early mornings at Lake William Hovell in May can be bitterly cold.


The trout fishing in May is very weather dependent. The trout become very active in May as they move upstream to spawn, but without much rain and very little stream flow they can’t always move upstream. If we get some rain and the streams have a decent flow, the trout will move all over the place and can be picked up just about anywhere.

The Rose River has been very low and fished quite poorly all summer. If we get some decent rain and the river has a good flow in May, the Rose River may be worth a fish, and the upper Buffalo River is in the same boat. The small streams will also fish very well provided we get some decent rain. If not, then concentrate on areas of the streams that hold the most water and have the deepest holes. Water temperatures will not be a problem as the water will be icy cold, it is the flow that will be of most concern.

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