Cold conditions contracts all action
  |  First Published: August 2013

The first thing that will jump out at you when you see this fishing report is the lack of fish photos! There are a few landscape and fishing related photos, but no photos of actual fish.

This kind of sums up the autumn fishing in north east Victoria for myself and many of my friends. Never before have I had so many fishless trips in succession as I did this autumn just gone. By the closing day of the season in June, I was so sick of having fishless trips that I did not even wet a line, choosing to go hunting instead.

Why the autumn fished so poorly I am not sure, one of the possibilities could be the scorching heat that we experienced during January when we had a week of 40+ days, including a couple of days nudging 45C. During that week I received reports of fish kills in several waterways. Perhaps these fish kills were more wide spread than I understand.

Now to the good news, trout are a very resilient fish, and have an amazing ability to bounce back. The way they bounced back from years of drought after the floods of 2010 was testimony to their ability to hang on. Provided there is plenty of food in the system they can be a very fast grower and before we know it we will have decent trout fishing at our fingertips again, and as I have said before, less fish in a system equates to bigger fish!

Now to August and what we can expect. For the boat anglers, try heading to Lake Dartmouth or Khancoban Pondage. Both lakes fish very well for trout during August as the bigger brown trout return from their spawning run with empty stomachs and large appetites. Trolling winged lures is a great way to start, and if that does not work try trolling small minnows such as Rapalas, Pontoon21, Wildbait minnows and so on. The minnows will probably work better in Lake Dartmouth as it is such a deep open lake, whereas Khancoban is quite shallow and weedy. The weeds are great for housing food sources such as water snails, mudeyes and small minnows, but can make trolling diving lures quite tricky.

Don't be scared to bait fish with a mudeye under a float in Khancoban, and in both lakes bait fishing with worms on the bottom at the river mouths can be a great way to pick up the trout as they swim back into the lakes.

For bank anglers, try the Dartmouth Pondage; (Lake Banimboola). This regulating pondage for Lake Dartmouth is regularly stocked with trout and contains a healthy population of fish, including some massive fish over 3kg. The fishing can be a little hot and cold though, but during winter when the creeks are closed it is a great option to wet a line. There are also redfin in the lake, and I have heard reports of fish over the old-fashioned 3lb mark being caught in there.

The family friendly waterways will all be worth a fish during August as well. Upper Sandy Creek Dam and Alans Flat Waterhole both get stocked in early July, and many of those fish will still be available throughout August, so there is no excuse to not take the kids fishing!

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