Mountains of trout
  |  First Published: May 2007

The Victorian alpine region has seen some of the best lake trout fishing for a long time this season, as there’s no sign of it easing off as the weather slowly changes and days become cooler.

The last days of May mark the approach of the end of the fishing season up here, as heavy snow will begin falling by mid-June, which usually inhibits access to the best lakes in the region. The rivers also close to fishing on the Monday of the Queen’s Birthday in June, so all fishing will stop in about six weeks or so until September.Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley reservoirs at Falls Creek are at 45% and 100% capacity this month and both are fishing extremely well, with rainbow trout the main species being caught. Trout caught around the edges have been fighting fit and many have been lost at the net. Average sizes range from 450g to 1.25kg, with several in excess of 3kg being recorded.

As usual, only a few boaters have been on the lakes this season, despite insufficient water for good fishing in many impoundments elsewhere around the state. I am at a loss to understand this situation, as the lakes at Falls Creek provide some of the best lake fishing in Australia, with trout to 4kg being recorded during the last National Fly Fishing Championships held there. I understand that the National Fly Fishing Championships, which is a bi-annual event, will be held there again at the end of this year.

Pretty Valley Creek is flowing very nicely this month and producing brown trout around 300g. The water is too shallow and weed infested for bait and lure fishing but great for dry fly fishing, but the fish are very quick and you need skill to catch them.

Lake Guy at Bogong Village is at the mercy of engineers who are building a new hydro-generator near the head of the lake. In mid-April Lake Guy was completely empty, something I have never seen in my 12 years here. As a result, I cannot recommend it. However, the old creek is still flowing through the lake and if the soft mud along the edge dries out and firms up over the next few weeks it may be worth a try. The flow-in stream, east Kiewa River, is flowing well and producing brown trout to 450g.

Mt Beauty Pondage is at about 50% capacity and fishing very well, although the fishing may deteriorate as the lake empties due to the new hydro-generator being built at Bogong Village. At the moment rainbow trout to 1.5kg are being taken by bait and lure anglers during the day and flyfishers using nymphs towards dusk.

The Kiewa River from Mt Beauty to Coral Bank is absolutely, positively fabulous! Fishing is excellent or better, with many brown trout to 600g, some larger, being taken by all fishing methods throughout autumn. I’m pleased to report that many were subsequently released, as responsible anglers heed the conservation message.

The west Kiewa River is also flowing well and producing nice browns to 450g on dry fly. The best flies have been size 14-16 Red Tags, yellow Humpies and Royal Wulffs, while size 12-14 weighted black nymphs and brown nymphs have also been successful.

The Ovens River from Porepunkah to Germantown is extremely low and hardly flowing. It’s producing a few brown trout to 400g, although most are smaller. No serious anglers are fishing the Ovens River and tributaries at present. The upper Ovens River at Freeburgh is also low and not fishing well.

The lower Mitta Mitta River from Mitta Mitta to Eskdale is currently flowing very nicely at 2000ML, which allows anglers to reach most productive spots along the river without any trouble. Many brown trout to 450g (termed pan-sized by some) have come to net since the water flow was reduced last month. Flyfishers report good access to all sections of the river with regular rises observed during the day. The Little Snowy Creek at Eskdale is practically dry, according to reports.

Lake Dartmouth is at 12% capacity and may fall to 9% if it doesn’t rain soon. Despite this, there’s still plenty of water in the lake and brown trout to 1.5kg are being taken during the day by boat anglers employing flat lines and Tassie Devils.

Lake Banimboola Pondage is high and producing brown trout to around 1kg, with a few rainbows of a similar size and redfin to 500g falling for drifted live baits. The lower Mitta Mitta River below the pondage is accessible and fishing well also.

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 the website at www.anglingvic.com.au.

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