As much as it pains me to say this, the fishing in the Ovens and King regions towards the end of Autumn was as tough as I can ever remember.
Once the cold nights arrived the cod went off the chew in a big way. Quite a few evenings were spent walking the banks of the Ovens and King rivers tossing surface lures and spinnerbaits, to no avail.
Trout and redfin fishing has been equally as tough in most places, especially in the always reliable Ovens River where I have not even spotted a single trout in two fishing sessions. Sadly, the majority of anglers who have headed out have missed out.
The super-switched on anglers of the world have still found fish, though. Marc Ainsworth and Steve Booth fished the Ovens River during a 10-day camping and fishing trip to the region. Among a few cod to 70cm, they landed several golden perch over 50cm, including one thumper of 54cm, all on cast hardbodied lures.
Let's look at what July has to offer in the Ovens and King catchments. There is a strong focus on the family-friendly waterways, which are stocked with yearling rainbow trout a few days prior to the July school holidays each year and provide great fishing for kids and families.
I get a real thrill out of taking young people to these easily accessible waterways and helping them onto a few trout. I also use these waterways to hone my own skills, particularly with the fly rod! I practise catch and release at all times because these fish are stocked for a purpose, and that is for families, kids and people with mobility issues.
Right throughout July the following lakes will be stocked and ready to fish: Fosters Dam (Glenrowan) Lake Sambell (Beechworth) Stanley Ditch Dam (Stanley) and Anderson Lake (Chiltern).
My favourite way to catch trout in these small waterways is with a small soft plastic, such as a Strike Tiger 1" Nymph fished very slowly on a light jighead. PowerBait is great and is available from most tackle stores. And a few trout even turn up on the humble garden worm.
Away from the family-friendly waterways, in July the only real opportunity is Lake William Hovell, which holds a very good population of brown and rainbow trout which tend to bite freely all Winter. Trolling winged lures or small minnows is a great way to catch trout in Lake William Hovell.
If casting from the bank or a boat, try 7g blades such as the TT Switchblade or the Damiki Vault 42, which both cast a mile and are both deadly on trout in lakes.
The best times to fish Lake William Hovell are sunrise and sunset. The water is crystal clear up there and once the sun is up, the trout tend to push down deeper into the water column. Dull, overcast days can also be advantageous as the trout are likely to feed closer to the surface in poor light.
Dull days at William Hovell can also be extremely cold, so make sure you take plenty of warm clothes. I have fished up there when the mercury has barely hit 4° or 5, so be prepared.Reads: 1319