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Trout still possible in cool Kiewa
  |  First Published: December 2013



Throughout spring the Kiewa River remained the most consistent trout fishery in this corner of the state. Hopefully this pattern continues throughout January.

During January, the hottest time of the year, the trout fishing generally slows down right across North East Victoria.

The Kiewa River usually fishes the best out of the lowland streams. Although the water still gets reasonably warm, it is usually cooler than those found in other nearby waterways. This is because the water upstream of Mt Beauty spends a lot of time underground as it gets diverted through several power stations before emerging from the hills just upstream of the Mt Beauty pondage.

Trout

As mentioned the Kiewa River will be well worth a look during January if you are targeting trout, especially upstream of Tawonga where the water is likely to be that little bit cooler.

The Mitta Mitta River between Eskdale and Dartmouth could be another spot worth trying as the water flowing out of Lake Dartmouth should be quite cold. The level of the Mitta Mitta River will be subject to irrigation demands and could fluctuate a bit. The higher it is, the cooler and more productive it will be for trout.

Upstream of Mitta Mitta township, the Snowy Creek may be worth a look. I fished the Snowy Creek in November and the going was a little bit slow, however I did see a few fish. Not a lot, but enough to warrant a return visit. The Snowy Creek drains the back of Victoria's highest mountain, Mt Bogong and the water stays quite cool through summer, especially high up in the headwaters.

One area not to be overlooked is the alpine resort of Falls Creek. There are two lakes at Falls Creek, Rocky Valley dam and Pretty Valley dam. Both lakes have pretty good numbers of brown trout in them and in November Victorian fisheries released 600 yearling chinook salmon into Rocky Valley dam, which will offer something different for anybody heading up there.

Both of these alpine dams sit at over 1500m above sea level, with Pretty Valley dam being the highest and is almost above the treeline. The air temperature is rarely over the mid 20ºCs at this altitude, and rarely, if ever reaches 30ºC, which makes both of these mountain lakes an attractive option during the heat of January.

Pretty Valley dam is a lot smaller than Rocky Valley dam, however it seems to house the bigger fish out of the two lakes.

Native fish

January is a great month to target the Murray cod in the lower reaches of the Kiewa River around Kiewa township and Kergunyah. The biggest problem with fishing for Murray cod in the Kiewa River is that the water level is constantly fluctuating because of the water released in the mountains when they generate electricity. As a result cod fishing in the Kiewa River can be very hit and miss.

In saying that, there are some great cod in the Kiewa River, and they must eat at some stage, so if at first you don't succeed… come back another day! The law of averages dictates that eventually you will land there on a great day and Murray cod will be smashing your lures left right and centre!

The Kiewa River is stocked annually with Murray cod, so too is the lower reaches of the Mitta Mitta River around Pigs Point. I have heard of the odd cod being caught in the Mitta Mitta, but I don't hear a lot of reports from up that way apart from trout reports. I did read somewhere recently though of some electro fishing results, including Murray cod over 10kg being found in the lower reaches of the Mitta Mitta River.

Yellowbelly will be on offer in January in Lake Hume, and also in Allans Flat waterhole. The schools of yellowbelly that form in spring in Lake Hume would have well and truly dispersed by January, so expect to catch yellowbelly more frequently, but not in big numbers!

Redfin

Lake Hume and Allans Flat waterhole are the two main places to head if you are after redfin during January. Lake Hume is the better bet as it has some bigger redfin if you are willing to put in the hours searching for them.

During January I would be fishing in around 20-25ft of water.

Redfin are very much a schooling fish, so make sure you keep moving around if you are not catching any. Most people like to tie to the standing trees in the lake, but I like to fish over grassy flat bottoms and anchor up in the middle of nowhere. I find redfin fishing to be better over open flat ground than I do around timber, provided the water is deep.

Catchments

1

A small rainbow trout caught recently on a 40mm Metalhead soft plastic in the West Kiewa River.

2

This small brown Kiewa trout was taken on a Strike Tiger Nymph soft plastic just after sunset.

3

Rocky Valley dam at Falls Creek offers relief from the scorching summer heat in January, and has recently been stocked with yearling chinook salmon.

4

Murray Ainsworth with a lovely Lake Dartmouth brown trout. (Photo courtesy of Marc Ainsworth)

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