Paint it black
  |  First Published: March 2015

At last, summer has come to an end and my favourite time of the year has arrived… autumn!

March usually sees a couple of significant changes in environmental conditions, which can affect the fishing in numerous ways. Prolonged periods of stable warm weather can lead to some of the best Murray cod fishing conditions of the year during March, and a decent autumn break of rainfall and strong cool change can really kick the trout into gear.

The Kiewa River itself is a great mixed fishery with trout being the prominent species close to Mt Beauty and Murray cod being abundant further downstream from Dederang down to the Murray River near Doctors point. So whatever twists and turns Mother Nature hands us during March, there is bound to be some half decent fishing somewhere along the Kiewa River.

If trout fishing anywhere in this region during March, try using something black. If you are using a bladed spinner, try using a black Celta, or a black Super Vibrax. If you are using soft plastics, try using a black Strike Tiger nymph, or black Metalhead. Just something small and black!

If you are bait fishing, definitely use crickets. It’s all about crickets during March in North East Victoria. Warm March evenings can see swarms of crickets hanging around streetlights. Although they congregate around bright lights, they are also spread quite densely across the grasslands and paddocks. These crickets make up a huge part of the trouts’ diet at this great time of the year.

Fly fishers should try the black Matuka, as it is a proven trout taker during March when crickets are abundant.

Worms are unlikely to be good bait for trout anywhere in Northern Victoria during March unless we get an absolute deluge of rain.

Areas to head if you are wanting to chase a trout in the streams or rivers are the Kiewa River upstream of Tawonga, Mitta Mitta River upstream of Eskdale and the Snowy Creek upstream of Granite Flat will be worth a look.

The latter section has been pretty slow for a while now, however there are still some trout there and with a reduction in numbers comes an increase in size. Just a few days before writing this article I saw a photo of a magnificent brown trout caught in the Granite Flat area estimated to be around 5lb.

The upper reaches of the Mitta Mitta River will be worth fishing during March. The area around the Blue Duck Inn is a beautiful part of the earth and there are stacks of great camping spots. Trout numbers are not huge in that area, but there are plenty enough to warrant a camping trip into the area targeting trout.

Towards the end of March, as the water surface temperature begins to cool down, the giant Lake Dartmouth should start to fish well with anglers trolling shallow running lures closer to the water surface area. The water at the surface will still be a bit too warm, but towards the end of the month it should have cooled enough for the trout to rise to the top and start feeding on the abundant insects that usually fall into the water late in the afternoon at this time of the year.

Flat line trolling small diving minnows and winged lures such as Tassie Devils should see a few trout landed in Lake Dartmouth in March, particularly in the early morning and later in the afternoon. Before sunrise anywhere in the lake should fish well, and late in the afternoon you should concentrate your trolling efforts on the shady gullies along the western edge of the lake in the shadows of the steep hills around Mt Benambra.

As mentioned earlier, the Murray cod fishing can be fantastic during March. It’s all about stability during the autumn months. The lower reaches of the Kiewa River from Dederang downstream as well as the Mitta Mitta River from Eskdale downstream will be well worth your while fishing for Murray cod.

In the Kiewa River you should pay attention to the fluctuating water levels. Try and fish the Kiewa River after the water level has remained stable for several days.

If you are camping, or fishing early in the morning anywhere in this part of the state during March, just be prepared for some cold starts as March is often the time of year that sees the first frosts in some of these valleys. April is when the frosts usually start, however in these sub alpine areas frost in late March is not uncommon, so make sure you are prepared.

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