Extremely hot days over the last few months have disrupted the rivers in the area due to power stations generating power. This always plays havoc on the Murray cod population. Whenever we get a stretch of hot weather, everyone in the city turns on the air conditioners, which leads the power companies to generate more power. This causes the river to rise unnaturally by around 50cm or more.
The fishing throughout February should pick up, especially now that the rivers are getting a lot less pressure with the Christmas holidays well and truly over. The rivers maintained a natural flow rate for a few days in January, which saw some big numbers of Murray cod caught in the lower Kiewa river and upper Murray. Although the average size seems to be smaller than in previous seasons, it’s still a good sign of things to come. Most people have had quite a lot of success on spinnerbaits; however, surface lures and hardbodies have caught their fair share of fish as well.
The trout season has hit its normal summer low. A substantial amount of rain would bring the trout on the bite, but until then they are quite content lying low during the day and chewing insects at night. This makes for some exciting fly fishing during the evening rise and into the night.
The high altitude lakes in the area would be your best option for trout during summer, where the average temperature doesn’t get as high, and the trout feed more actively. Lake Dartmouth has fished consistently well over summer, but you must be prepared to troll deep. I’ve heard good reports of fish trolled in 30–40ft of water, with some fish around 5lb. The average size would be around the 1.5lb mark. Trolling winged lures like Tassie Devils or Loftys Cobras is your best bet, either on a downrigger or leadline setup to get that extra depth.
Trolling bait or soft plastics in Lake Dartmouth is also a popular option, either behind a set of cowbells or ford fender type attractor seems to work best. The Strike Tiger 1” Nymph is a great soft plastic to troll behind an attractor, as it can resemble a small mudeye or yabby. Remember that you will need a heavier rod and line to allow for the extra drag that the attractor causes.
Lake Hume has ticked over nicely on the redfin scene, and should continue to do so during February. Most fish have been caught in around 25ft of water, many of which have fallen to the humble worm or small yabbies. Try tying up to a tree and bob your bait up and down off the bottom. If you don’t get anything within the first five minutes, try a different tree. There is an abundance of small redfin in Lake Hume, it’s just a matter of trying to find a school of the bigger size fish. Trolling lures like a McGrath Wide Body or Oargee Plow can be a great way of locating these schools of larger fish. The yellowbelly seem to have slowed a bit as the water has warmed but can still be found, they come as a welcome by-catch when bobbing bait or trolling lures for redfin.Reads: 1411