Spring bounces the trout addicts into action
  |  First Published: September 2013

Spring is finally here thank god and now we can look forward to improving fishing conditions and opportunities right across the region.

The final weeks of last season were not great by anyone's standards with few reports filtering in. Winter has been very wet, the rivers are very high and dirty and hopefully the trout will be on a feeding frenzy so that by the time the season opens there should be some reasonable sized fish around again.

I am not sure how the Ovens River will fish upstream of Bright once the season opens. Towards the end of last season it fished very poorly after bushfires and floods caused some poor water quality in the river. The trout will bounce back though, but how long it will take is anybody’s guess. The good news is that the Ovens River is not the only river in the Ovens catchment, but it is the only river that was affected by the natural disasters early this year. The Buckland River should fish quite well as it has been ticking over nicely in recent years. The Buffalo River upstream of Lake Buffalo will also be worth a try, so too with the Catherine, Rose and Dandongadale rivers. All of these rivers are tributaries of the Ovens River and all offer great trout fishing.

Trout numbers right across the board did drop off last season in comparison to previous seasons, probably due to hot weather and minimal rainfall. But as I have said a million times in the past, in any river, less trout equals bigger trout.

Given the amount of rain we have already had, and the fact that the rivers are all in minor or moderate flooding, it will be pretty safe to say that drifting worms will be a dynamite technique in all streams once the season opens. There will be scrub worms everywhere in the rivers that would have washed in with the floods at the moment.

As they are occurring naturally in the system, they will be the best bait on offer. Many people have the belief that worms only work in dirty water, this is not the case. Worms will work in very clear water as well, as long as the water is high. If the streams are high and clear, and the catchment is saturated, worms will work a treat. Try using a very small hook with 1 or 2 worms on it, and as light a split shot sinker as you can get away with and just drift it into the back waters off the edge of the current and you can't go wrong!

The King River upstream of Lake William Hovell will also be worth a fish. The river up there always seems to fish best early in the season, but be very careful of the river crossings as the current in the King River will be very strong and powerful in September.

Lake William Hovell itself will certainly be worth fishing for trout, with trolling winged lures like Tassie Devils giving the best results. Fishing a lightly weighted scrub worm in the submerged King River at the top end of the lake may also produce a few trout. pRedfin will be very quiet in there at that time of year though as the water will be icy cold.

The regions family friendly waterways will be well worth fishing in September. Lake Sambell and Stanley Dam will both be stocked with yearling rainbow trout again in time for the September school holidays. A few redfin may start to show up in Lake Sambell towards the end of September as the water starts to warm up, but do not expect too much.

The lower Ovens River will fish very quietly, and will most likely be very high if not flooded. Downstream around Bundalong a few yellowbelly might start to show up close to Lake Mulwala towards the second half of September, but it is still very early and the water will still be very cold so do not expect too much.

Remember the Murray cod season is closed right through spring and if you get caught fishing for Murray cod during the closed season you face some pretty steep fines. They are off limits for a reason, and that is so that they can spawn uninterrupted.

Even practicing catch and release has detrimental impacts on Murray cod during spawning season so they are best left alone.

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