Big River Browns
  |  First Published: December 2005

There’s been some terrific trout fishing in the High Country of late. I recently fished the Big River, otherwise known as the upper Mitta Mitta River, and had a great time of it.

Perhaps I should explain that the Big River and the upper Mitta Mitta River are one and the same river. Above its junction with the Bundarra River, the Mitta Mitta River is correctly known as the Big River although most people still refer to it as the Mitta Mitta.

The river was running at 12, which is just about perfect. During the evening there was a caddis hatch that lasted for about 20 minutes. It’s interesting to see how many fish are actually in the river and where they’re holding during a good caddis hatch. When the caddis are about, so are the trout. During the daytime it’s not uncommon to see caddis flying above the water and around bankside vegetation. Although they’re often seen in good numbers, they’re not normally of great significance to the trout during daylight hours. But all changes during the evening!

Long after the sun has set but before total darkness, the caddis start to hatch and reproduce. It’s at this time that the trout come out to play big time. Trout taking caddis are easy to spot – they slash savagely at the insect. To catch these fish, the old tactic of skating a dry fly, such as an Elk Hair Caddis, on the surface so that it forms a V behind the fly, is usually deadly. Expect a savage take.

During the daytime on the Big River there were very few rises apparent, however the fish would rise freely to take a dry fly and seemed just as happy taking a bead head nymph. It’s not only flyfishing that’s going well at the moment; the spin fishermen are having a ball and the trout aren’t too proud to take a humble worm.

Local veteran angler Bill Fisher parked his campervan beside the river. He spent 8 hours flyfishing two pools and ended up with 8 trout up to 3lb, all of which he released. Between casts he lit up his Cobb cooker and prepared a very nice lamb shanks and vegetable roast dinner too. Way to go Bill!

All the tributaries of the Mitta Mitta are fishing well at the moment. You really can’t go wrong no matter where you fish. Outgoing chairman of VRFish, Pat Washington fished the Cobungra River for several nice trout up to 2lb and Bairnsdale identity Rex Estoppey has been having a great time catching browns up to 3lb.

Colin Pittard also did well fishing the Bundarra River catching several nice browns.

The rivers around Dargo are also in great shape. The water is flowing nicely though the fishing is still a bit patchy. The Macalister River, which is stocked by DPI Fisheries each year, and one of its tributaries, the Wellington, are both fishing extremely well.

During January the fishing should continue to be good. We’ve had very little hot weather so the water temperatures are good and we’re still receiving lots of rain to keep the streams flowing well. All we need now is for the hoppers to arrive.

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