Trout on the up in the rivers
  |  First Published: May 2014

The Kiewa Valley itself has been fishing quite well so far this autumn, so too has its neighbour, the Mitta Mitta River. They have both been producing trout in the upstream sections as well as Murray cod in their lower reaches.

As we head into May both of these areas will become more and more hit and miss. The trout will be moving upstream to start getting ready for their spawning season, which usually starts around late May and the cod will be slowing down due to the colder water.

As mentioned, the trout will be moving upstream to begin spawning during May. Brown trout spawn a couple of months earlier than rainbow trout, which usually start spawning around late July. During May, if you know any particular waterway that is dominated by rainbow trout, then that would be the spot to head to as rainbow trout fishing is more consistent during autumn.

As the brown trout move upstream they can become very hit and miss. One day you can walk a river and catch nothing and the very next day that same river may really fire and you may catch a lot. This is typical autumn brown trout fishing. During this period I like to use fluorescent coloured lures, with my all time favourite being the fluorescent orange Super Vibrax bladed spinner with a gold blade.

As you walk upstream casting ahead of yourself, make sure you approach the pools from a long way back as the brown trout will often be sitting at the bottom end of the pools where the water picks up speed at this time of the year. They will often be in pairs as they get ready to spawn.

If fluorescent coloured bladed spinners are not working, try a minnow style lure such as a Rapala or Pontoon21, which the trout may see as a threat and attack out of anger. Expect a lot of follows at this time of the year too as the trout will often be more than happy to simply escort the minnow out of its hole. When this happens you need to find ways to tempt the following trout to strike the lure. One of the best ways to do this is to use lure scent, and also to choose a suspending minnow that you can pause in the water column. To the trout this will look like a stubborn fish that won't leave and needs some persuasion, the trout may nip at it and hook up. This may sound a little bit silly, but believe me, it works!

Another quick tip for autumn trout fishing in any stream is to look for barriers that prevent the trout from migrating any further upstream. Whether they are natural barriers like waterfalls, or man-made barriers like weirs it doesn't matter. As the trout migrate upstream and get to a point where they cannot go any further, often they will build up numbers in that area. A classic example of this each autumn is the Mt Beauty spillway where the water leaves the pondage. The little weir in the Snowy Creek in Mitta Mitta township is another great example of a man-made obstruction preventing fish migration that is well worth fishing directly downstream from in May.

The Kiewa and Mitta Mitta rivers have healthy populations of Murray cod thanks to continued stocking from the Victorian D.E.P.I. Both of these rivers still receive regular stockings of Murray cod and both were stocked with 10,000 fry in 2013.

I get a lot more reports of Murray cod being caught in the Kiewa River as it is not as far away and a lot more accessible than the Mitta Mitta; plus of course I have a few friends that fish it regularly. The Kiewa River can be an exceptionally hot and cold cod fishery at the best of times, let alone in May. This is due to its wide fluctuations in water levels caused by electricity generation.

There are quite a lot of cod in the Kiewa, including some large ones and they don't get that big by never eating. So at some stage the cod have to be on the bite! Last year Brenton Richardson fished the Kiewa heavily during May. He had several fishless sessions, and then one day in the middle of May he hit the jackpot catching 5 nice Murray cod including one that was over 70cm. The cod fishing in the Kiewa and Mitta Mitta rivers will be all about persistence during May, and also very dependent upon how much rain we get leading up to it.

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