With October comes the start of the really warm weather. One day can be 30C with a late afternoon thunderstorm then change to 12C the following day with low level snowfall.
This change in weather can kick-start the fishing for the upcoming warm season, and this is why we start to see increased captures of just about all species in October, especially towards the end of the month.
By October the Victorian trout season has already been open for four weeks. Trout feed well all year round and September is a great month to fish for them, but so too is October and with the onset of warmer weather comes a larger variation to the trouts diet as more insects begin to hatch, more flies begin to appear and mudeyes start to climb out of the water and grow wings and turn to dragonflies.
This activity can really stimulate trout feeding habits and for this reason the trout always seem to bite well in October. Not only do they bite well, but they also put on a lot of condition and can be quite fat.
If September is wet then the water levels should still be quite high heading into October, and the trout will be feeding heavily on worms. As the weather warms and the dragonflies appear, the trout will know to head to the areas with aquatic weed in search of mudeyes as they venture out from under logs, rocks and weeds to make their way to the water's surface.
Worms are still a great bait in October, particularly early in the month when the water is highest. Shiny bladed spinners with copper or metallic blades also work very well in October, and so will small minnow type lures, particularly in trout patterns.
The local redfin usually start to show a bit of movement during October, especially towards the end of the month as the weather starts to warm up a lot more. Lake Sambell in Beechworth is one of the better spots in the area to target redfin, however the size of the fish in there are not huge.
Lake William Hovell also has a lot of redfin, as well as some bigger fish that appear from time to time, however due to its location, being set so far back into the mountains it can be a little slower to start fishing well due to the cold water. The large amounts of water entering the lake from the upper King River are still usually ice cold in October keeping the lake temperatures down. The upside to this is that Lake William Hovell still fishes well for trout throughout October!
Lake Buffalo can be a bit hit and miss at the best of times and October is no exception. In saying that, it is certainly well worth fishing, especially towards the end of the day towards sunset as there have been yellowbelly stocked into the lake. If the redfin are not biting you may snag a yellowbelly as a by-catch if you're really lucky.
The yellowbelly usually begin to turn up around October as the water starts to warm a little. The yellowbelly have been stocked into Lake Buffalo, but not in huge numbers so don't go there expecting to catch 30 yellowbelly in a day because it just won't happen. The upside to the fact that there are not a lot of yellowbelly in there is that there are some very big yellowbelly in lake Buffalo.
As with most waterways, there are usually lots of small fish or a few big ones, and when it comes to Lake Buffalo yellowbelly, it is more the case of few big ones! I have heard several reports of yellowbelly around 4kg being caught up there now, but rarely ever hear reports of more than 1-2 yellowbelly per trip.
Lake Sambell in Beechworth also has some pretty good yellowbelly fishing thanks to regular stocking of the species and the lower Ovens River around Bundalong usually see's a few yellowbelly turn up each year in late October, provided the river is not too high and flooded.
If targeting yellowbelly, try bobbing small yabbies off the bottom by rigging a running sinker rig, allowing the sinker to run all the way to the hook. Hook on a small yabby and gently bob the bait up and down a few inches off the bottom. The same technique will work using small crustacean like soft plastics like the 3" Zman Shrimp.
If lure fishing, try lipless crankbaits such as Jackalls and other similar lures or small to medium sized hardbodied lures like number 2 Stumpjumpers. Don't overlook small spinner baits of around 3/8oz and even bladed spinners like the number 2 or 3 Super Vibrax as yellowbelly are a sucker for anything with metallic blades!Reads: 2223