Still time for a trout
  |  First Published: June 2014

We are at that time of the year again where my reports tend to focus on one or two spots in the Kiewa/Mitta Mitta region, which is Lake Dartmouth and Khancoban Pondage. At least with June there is still a little over a week of trout fishing available before the season officially closes at midnight on Monday 9 June (Queen's Birthday weekend).

If you are targeting trout on the closing weekend of the trout season, head upstream in any of your chosen waterways as this is the time the trout are either spawning, about to spawn or about to head back downstream if they have finished spawning early.

The Mitta Mitta River upstream of Mitta Mitta township is always worth a crack at this time of the year as the big brown trout, which are residents of the big deep holes downstream towards Eskdale, move up into this area looking for somewhere to spawn.

We have had stacks of early and mid autumn rainfall in this area and all of the creeks are flowing very well, meaning that the trout can swim upstream much more freely to spawn. Even the smaller creeks and tributaries will be worth a look, but once again, head upstream.

Look for artificial barriers that hinder the upstream migration of trout. The small weir in Mitta Mitta township on the Snowy Creek is one of them, so too is the Mt Beauty pondage spillway right in town, which is a very popular fishing spot, and with good reason!

If you are planning on hooking the boat up, try heading to the enormous Lake Dartmouth. Fishing does not come much easier than trolling for trout in Lake Dartmouth during winter. You simply just tie on a winged lure such as a Tassie Devil or Wigstons, cast it out the back and troll around the lake with a blindfold on. You do not need to look for structure on a sounder, or look for depth or drop-offs. The trout will swim freely anywhere in the lake looking for food.

There are a couple of things you can do to increase your chance though. Look for wind lanes in the lake, especially around points and outcrops where food can fall out of the bush and into the lake, and then get blown by the wind into the open water. These areas can be real hotspots. Also look for river entrances where the larger trout may be returning to the lake after swimming upstream to spawn. These trout are usually very hungry but not always in good condition.

Sometimes taking off your winged lure and replacing it with a minnow of some kind can bring rewards, and if you have a downrigger, don't be afraid to troll down deep around river mouths with quite large minnows of 9-10cm in length. The Rapala Husky Jerk seems to be quite popular for this method of fishing and I have heard of it being very successful in Lake Eildon and Lake Eubembene in NSW.

If you want to catch something other than trout at this time of year you will have to work very hard. Lake Hume will see some pretty big redfin caught during June, particularly by the local gurus from Albury/Wodonga that know the lake very well and fish it regularly. If I was heading up there chasing redfin I would be looking for deep water of around 25-35’ as the water down that deep is usually a little bit warmer during June than the water at the surface. I would try bait fishing with small yabbies, as well as soft plastics bobbed up and down along the bottom.

Anglers targeting yellowbelly can head to Lake Hume or Alans Flat waterhole. Yellowbelly like the water a little bit warmer, so I would not be expecting too much in June. However, you've got to be in it to win it! So try Alans Flat waterhole over Lake Hume as it gets stocked every year; the increased competition for food will increase the likelihood of the yellowbelly feeding ‘outside the square’.

If you are chasing Murray cod… well, you can only try I suppose! I would like to give you better news but I would only be lying. Although each of the Mitta Mitta and Kiewa rivers get stocked each year with a decent numbers, both rivers are fed by snowmelt during winter and are exceptionally cold waterways. You could always try drowning a bardi grub or large yabby in one of the deep holes in the lower reaches of either river, but make sure you take a set of bells for your rod and a good book!

Reads: 1957

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