Head for the hills!
  |  First Published: December 2014

Trout fishing in the Kiewa River was quite poor throughout springtime, which was quite disappointing for many anglers.

I was very disappointed myself after having a couple of fantastic sessions late in autumn. I had reasonably high expectations for the Kiewa River as a trout fishery this season, and sadly the river never lived up to them for me. There were a few trout caught in dribs and drabs, but I have received no glowing reports all season so far.

There will most likely be little change in the fishing in January as we enter the hottest month of the year and the water really starts to warm up, slowing down a trout fishery that is already struggling. A few trout will still be available for anglers willing to walk decent distances and put in the hours, however they will be few and far between.

I like to look at the positives wherever possible, and the positive to a fishery that is down on numbers is that the remaining trout that are in the Kiewa River should experience excellent growth rates with little competition for food, meaning there should be some very large trout getting around in the Kiewa River.

If you are fishing the Kiewa River during January, try and stay as close to Mt Beauty as you can where the water will be cooler. As you get downstream of Tawonga, the water starts to warm up, especially if we experience a dry December and the water flow is low.

Across the valley into the Mitta Mitta River, it has been a similar story with trout numbers being well down on what they usually are. I have not had a chance to fish the Mitta Mitta myself this season, but from the reports that I have received it appears to be fishing one notch better than the Kiewa River, but that one notch is a very small notch!

Further over again to the Nariel Creek, I have had similar reports again. One of my editors, from a local newspaper that I write a weekly fishing report for, fished the Nariel Creek the weekend before I wrote this report. In two days they only managed 3 trout. They were fly fishing and said they saw a few trout in the water, but not a huge amount.

My experience, which has been mainly around the Kiewa Valley in this area, is that there are trout to be caught, but they are further up into the smaller tributaries and into the headwaters where the water flows are a bit more reliable and slightly cooler.

During January, no matter where you are fishing for trout in this picturesque corner of the state, make sure you head as far upstream as you possibly can, because right across the region it is these headwaters that are producing trout on a more regular basis. In these areas the water will be very low and most likely crystal clear, meaning that a stealth like approach is absolutely essential.

Natural presentations will work the best. Fly fishers using small black bead headed nymphs suspended under a well presented dry fly will pick up a few trout if they sneak up nice and quietly.

Bait fishers should try casting unweighted grasshoppers with very light line. Try waxing your line close to your hook to help the grasshopper float.

Lure casters should try using small natural-coloured soft plastics, and if there are some deep holes, a dark coloured small minnow.

The Kiewa and Mitta Mitta rivers are both stocked annually with Murray cod, and both house decent populations of these great fish in their lower reaches. In the Kiewa River, anywhere downstream from Dederang is worth a try, with the area down near Tangambalanga being a bit of a hot spot. The Mitta Mitta River tends to get stocked a lot at pigs point, so no doubt this area would be worth targeting.

Something that must be said about the Murray cod fishing in the Kiewa River, which I say every year, is that the water is subject to regular fluctuations as water is released from the Mt Beauty regulating pondage to make way for more water that is dumped during electricity generation in the power stations in the hills behind Mt Beauty.

This fluctuating water can turn the Murray cod on and off very quickly, which tends to cause hot and cold Murray cod fishing. In January, the aim is to try and fish the Kiewa River after a period of stable water levels, and the water levels can monitored on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

With Murray cod, no matter where you are fishing, stability in conditions is a key to success when you are fishing. Stable barometer, and stable water conditions always lend themselves to great Murray cod fishing, particularly during January.

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