Fishing in the Victorian alpine region this summer has turned up some unusual things, with flyfishers taking medium to large size Murray cod on dry flies and lakes fishing better than they ever have previously.
Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley Reservoirs at Falls Creek remain at 100% and 50% of capacity respectively. Unusually for this time of year, the fishing is exceptionally good, with lots of brown trout to 1kg or more being taken on dry flies throughout the day. This is despite choppy water due to a stiff to moderate breeze blowing on most days.
Lures fished around the lake edges are also working well, although a chap told me he caught 15 nice browns in the lakes on dry flies recently while another angler fishing the same water with lures caught nothing. Water temperature in both lakes remains ideal for trout, being far too cold for human swimming activities. Best flies to use are size 14-16 Royal Wulffs, Red Tags and most beetle patterns. Best lures are brown trout patterned sinking Rapalas, Tassie Devils in almost any colour, and medium-sized Celtas. Effective baits include worms and mudeyes presented on light line under a bubble float.
Lake Guy at Bogong Village is at 50% capacity and is fishing extremely well, with plenty of cold water stimulating large trout into feeding throughout the day. Shore-based bait anglers are doing well using mudeyes, as are lure anglers casting into pockets of deeper water close to shore. Lake Guy is also ideal for boat fishing, with good returns regularly recorded by anglers deep trolling or slow drift fishing. A new hydroelectric generator is being installed at the head of Lake Guy, with temporary buildings erected and large trucks everywhere. Thankfully the works are not affecting access to fishing the lake and the inflow from the east Kiewa River remains very good.
Mt Beauty Pondage is about half full and producing rainbow trout to 1.5kg, average 900g, on dry flies at certain times and weighted nymphs all day. Best results have been recorded by anglers fishing the deep water in the middle of the lake. Fishing around the edges has proved patchy although good fish are being taken on mudeyes under a bubble float as the day becomes cooler after 7pm.
The Kiewa River from Mt Beauty to Coral Bank is low although water temperature remains good. Lots of brown trout to 450g are being taken on dry flies during the day, although wet flies, especially weighted nymphs, are a better bet. The river is holding an exceptionally large number of wild brown trout this summer compared to other seasons. The rules for consistently catching good-sized trout in drought conditions include using stealth, wearing clothing that blends with the background, and using fine line and long accurate casts. There have been several reports of anglers catching Murray cod on dry flies and wet flies this summer, mostly above Mongans Bridge to Briggs Bridge.
The west Kiewa River is flowing well, having now fully recovered from the effects of bushfire ash being swept into the river after heavy rain around the headwaters recently. The river is producing brown trout to 700g, mostly on dry flies in sizes 14-16. A #3 weight rod and line are best here to avoid catching shrubs along the river’s edge. Watch out for snakes, too!
The Ovens River from Porepunkah to Germantown is low and fishing moderately well, with tributaries almost dried up. Best fishing is in the deeper pools at dusk when holidaymakers staying in Bright are taking brown trout to 400g (many are smaller). The upper Ovens River from Freeburgh to Harrietville is very low and fishing conditions are challenging this summer.
The lower Mitta Mitta River from Mitta Mitta to Eskdale is running very high and cold, with access difficult in most places because of the strong current. Heavy brown trout have been taken from under the banks and along the very edge of the river by lure and bait anglers. Line break-offs on hidden snags are common, but fishing under these conditions is well worth the risk.
Dartmouth Dam now has a new boat ramp, the works being completed towards the end of January. There are a couple of Goulburn-Murray Water guys on hand to assist with any launching problems, although none are expected and a 4WD vehicle is not necessary to get your boat into the water.
The lake is fishing extremely well, according to reports. Two locals took a total of 30 good-sized brown trout from the lake over a couple of days recently. They used Lofty’s 100 lures in seven different colours attached to cowbells and lead line, all of which was trolled back and forth across the 8 Mile Arm very slowly.
A regular visitor from Wodonga caught three very nice brown trout in the course of a day spent trolling around the trees recently. He bagged three heavy brown trout on a yellow Tassie Devil attached to a paravane and fished very deep.
Also, two friends fished Lake Banimboola after dark recently and between 8pm and 9pm they caught six brown trout on worms fished on the bottom. The best fish weighed in at 1.25kg and the rest were pretty good too.
Alpine fishing conditions can change very quickly whatever the season, so for the latest update phone Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on (03) 5754 1466 or check out his website www.anglingvic.com.auReads: 1978