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Lake Dartmouth a great option for winter
  |  First Published: July 2013



The Kiewa River fished pretty well in the second half of autumn until around the middle of May when it just shut down.

Brenton Richardson fished a stretch one Saturday and had 8 or 9 strikes and fish following his lure, but landed only one. The fish were about but not super-aggressive at all. The following weekend Brenton headed back to that same stretch of river full of anticipation and did not even see a fish, let alone catch one! At least we know there are numerous trout in that particular stretch and by opening weekend in September they should be finished spawning, and in the middle of lining their stomachs and putting on weight.

This sub-alpine corner of Victoria is pretty much dominated by trout fishing in July as the few areas of native fish such as the lower Mitta Mitta River, the lower Kiewa River and Alans Flat Waterhole tend to fish very slowly as the water is icy cold.

On the other hand Lake Dartmouth is at its peak in winter. On some weekends the boat ramp can be absolutely packed as people travel from all over the state to fish this giant lake. The lake is so big that it does not matter how many cars are at the boat ramp you can still fish the lake and not bump into anybody all day! Flat line trolling with winged lures such as Tassie Devils is by far the best, and most popular method to catch trout in Lake Dartmouth during winter.

I prefer the bright pink colours, or a spotted pattern such as the Tassie Devil in Loaded Dog or Fruit Salad colours.

Anglers fishing with bait often pick up a few fish as well. My mate Sandy Hector pulled up for lunch in one of the sheltered bays a couple of years ago. He threw out a couple of lines baited with garden worms under a bubble float while he had lunch and was surprised at the lack of relaxation he got while eating lunch as he landed several trout, mainly rainbows and one Macquarie perch which was released.

Across a hill or two to Khancoban Pondage and it is a quite different fishing experience. As mentioned in previous reports Khancoban Pondage replaces good numbers of fish with bigger fish, but not as many. The Pondage is very hit and miss, but does contain some massive wild brown trout from time to time which usually make their way into the Pondage in July after spawning. Khancoban Pondage is quite shallow and has a very weedy bottom. My preferred technique is definitely live mudeyes suspended under a float of some type.

Being a pretty basic angler, I am happy to just use a plain red and white el-cheapo bubble float: I find this does the trick. My mate Sandy on the other hand, who is always quite intricate prefers to use the long skinny fancy quill floats and pencil floats to minimise the amount of resistance the trout feels as it strikes at the mudeye.

Whether you are one of these gear-savvy anglers like Sandy or a basic angler (and person) like me, both techniques will work well. The hardest part is finding the mudeyes in July. Some decent tackle stores will stock them all year round, so it may pay to do a ring around and just see who has them.

Finally, don't forget the family friendly waterways which are always jam packed with rainbow trout ready for the kids to catch in July. Some of these waterways are Alans Flat Waterhole, Felltimber Creek wetlands and Les Stone Park (Wodonga), Upper Sandy Creek dam and the Mt Beauty Pondage.

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