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Keeping stocks up for anglers
  |  First Published: October 2016



October can be a fantastic time of the year to fish in the Wangaratta area. Sadly, there are no real catchable fish species in Wangaratta itself, other than European carp. There are other waterways in the region, which offer great spring.

In the Ovens River, there is always plenty of carp to target. The river has a healthy population of Murray cod, which are off limits during the spring months due to the closed season. There is a wonderful population of endangered trout cod, and a small but growing population of the critically endangered Macquarie perch. Neither species are allowed to be targeted by anglers and are protected all year round.

Sadly, golden perch in the river are in such few numbers that it would be misleading to tell you that they even exist there at all. I’m working on getting a family friendly fishery in Wangaratta, to offer year round fishing for everybody, with a particular focus on kids and people with mobility issues. I’m getting places with this project and have a waterway worked out, ready to be stocked. Sadly though, the Wangaratta Council are dragging the chain at their end.

Victorian Fisheries are excited and happy to stock it with ready to catch rainbow trout, as soon as the council signs off. Unfortunately, Wangaratta Council has more pressing issues, like coffee shops, bike tracks and fancy footbridges to open. A fishing spot for the youth in this town appears to be a low priority. For now, anglers targeting golden perch are better off heading to Benalla and fishing the Broken River, or Lake Nillahcootie.

Lake Hume near Albury is a fantastic golden perch fishery, about an hour from Wangaratta. It usually fishes quite well during October, particularly later in the month. October is a great time of year to target trout in the region’s creeks and rivers, which are still running quite well. The water should be cold enough to ensure trout are still active and insect life picks up during warmer weather, bringing with it an increase in the trout feeding activity.

The Ovens River upstream of Bright will be a great place, as it’s one of the most reliable trout fishing rivers in the region. It hasn’t fished exceptionally in recent years, however it’s consistent. Anywhere along the Buckland River will be worth a look too – it’s delivered great results for persistent anglers over the last few years. Creeks and rivers are all carrying quite a lot of water, and lakes that aren’t already full are filling, thanks to above average rainfall this winter.

Around Beechworth, there should still be a few rainbow trout kicking around in both Lake Sambell and Stanley Dam, a remnant of the spring school holiday fish stocking. Lake Sambell will have more trout, as they’re harder for people to catch. Lake Sambell should be starting to turn on the golden perch fishing as water temperatures rise.

Lake Kerferd was a fantastic golden perch fishery for a long time. Stocking of the species was discontinued eight years ago, to make way for the trout cod fishery. Catches of golden perch were frequent and anglers often caught five or six in a single evening. Since the trout cod fishery opened, I’m yet to hear of a legal trout cod being caught.

Both lakes are now open year round for anglers targeting trout cod. They are the only waterways in Victoria that are open to trout cod fishing and are subject to strict size and bag limits. Make sure you check the latest Victorian Fishing Guide for the rules and regulations.

October can be a good month to target redfin, as they’re likely to become more active. Lake Sambell, Lake Kerferd and Fletchers dam are all great places to try, as are Lake William Hovell and Lake Buffalo. Lake Buffalo is shaping up to be a mini version of Lake Eildon – set in similar surrounds and fed partially by snow melt, it’s been stocked with thousands of golden perch and Murray cod in recent years.

Last year, heaps of Murray cod were caught during the cod season, which has been a fantastic result for anglers in the area. What was once a bustling redfin fishery has now come to life as a great mixed fishery with golden perch, Murray cod, redfin and the odd trout turning up on anglers’ lines. October and November will be great to fish Lake Buffalo as the water warms.

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Trout fishing in the small streams will be popular during October. This small rainbow trout was caught in a tiny tributary of the Ovens River last season.

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Like most kids, Holly Alexander loves fishing for redfin. October is when the redfin become active each year.

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With no golden perch being stocked into the Ovens River since 1994, and the Murray cod season being closed in October, all we have left to target in the Wangaratta area are carp.

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Will O’Connor with a nice brown trout caught in a small stream in October last year.

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A lovely small mountain stream. I can just imagine my bladed spinner swimming through that pool, with a 40cm brown trout chasing after it. October is a great month to target trout in small streams.

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