We’ve got snow already! It didn’t last long, but it was snow. Paradoxically, the Victorian alpine region has experienced an almost completely rainless summer and autumn, although the fishing has been surprisingly good in most streams and lakes.
Some handy rain fell in April but it was not enough and the Bureau of Meteorology predicts only a 50-50 chance of any decent rain before June. We live in hope.
Rocky Valley Reservoir at Falls Creek is hovering on one-third full and threatens to drop even further. Despite low levels, the water remains icy cold, an important feature courtesy of the lake’s high altitude.
Fishing in Rocky Valley Reservoir has been excellent with plenty of rainbow trout to 750g, some larger, taken from around the edges by bait and lure anglers during the day. There have been some good rises occurring on most days before 9am and after 6pm, especially when there’s little or no wind.
The best baits have been mudeyes and crickets, presented under a half filled bubble float. Because of the water’s clarity, lures should be kept small and dull as any flash will alarm fish. Beadhead nymphs are out too.
Pretty Valley Reservoir is currently half full and bait anglers have been doing well fishing around the edges with fresh bait presented under a partly filled bubble float. The float should ride high in the water to allow any breeze to take the rig to feeding fish in the wind lanes.
Lake Guy at Bogong Village has not been fished much this season, seemingly deserted. Any Village management is invisible and the general store has been closed for 18 months now, which is not helping matters.
The flow in the east Kiewa River is low and gin clear. It’s been fishing moderately well, although the fish are small. Some better-sized rainbows to 450g have been taken occasionally on dry flies during the day. This stream is rarely fished after 6pm for some reason, possibly because of the difficult terrain in places.
The Mt Beauty Pondage experienced a fish kill in January and has not recovered, so it should be left until the new season.
The pondage is restocked with 2,000 yearling rainbow trout each November, receiving 1,000 yearling browns as well last year. The pondage is often used as a venue for the state and national flyfishing championships, held bi-annually. Stay tuned come springtime!
The Kiewa River from Tawonga to Mongans Bridge is running very low and absolutely gin clear. Although there’s lots of small fish ready to jump on a bait, lure or fly at a moment’s notice, fishing for larger specimens in these conditions can be exceedingly good, even exciting – but only if one understands trout.
Except for hooking some virtual minnows, anglers may expect to go home fishless if they use heavy gear and anything bright or flashy, including attire, in these conditions.
It’s best to fish with fresh natural baits using 4lb line on ultra light gear. Avoid sinkers and bubble floats. Lures and nymphs should be small and not reflect light because the trout are easily spooked.
The west Kiewa River is in perfect condition and fishing really well, although a Melbourne-based angling club was here recently and almost cleaned some sections out.
I like to think of this water as a voluntary ‘catch & release’ water, as natural replacement of harvested fish is slow. Taking fish unnecessarily deprives other anglers of a chance to experience the joys of fishing this picturesque spot.
The Ovens River from Porepunkah to Germantown is low and clear but anglers can still catch a few good rainbows in the deeper pools drifting live bait or tossing a small to medium sized dull-coloured lure.
The pools in summer tend to be dark and mysterious places as trees shade the water, but things change about now as the trees shed their leaves, preparing for winter.
The upper Ovens River at Freeburgh is running low and very clear, making fishing fairly challenging in places. Mostly small rainbows to 350g have been caught recently.
John Scales from the Dartmouth Motor Inn reports that Dave Vander Broek caught two big trout of 1.9 and 2.7kg in the Mitta, below Lake Banimboola. He returned a day later with 6 more trout ranging from 990g to 1.6kg. All were caught on mudeyes.
The little Snowy Creek at Eskdale is low with a moderate number of brown and rainbow trout to 550g falling for drifted crickets.
The Snowy Creek at Granite Flat was running high and very cold in early April, much colder than other streams in the area.
I fished this water with flyfishing client Peter McCabe and found it absolutely teeming with rainbow trout ranging from 350 to 550g, with most at the upper end of that weight range. Fish have been rising during the afternoon into the evening to a variety of size 14 to16 dry flies.
Amongst the baits, crickets and worms suspended under a bubble float have been good fish takers, as have small lures, fished reasonably deep.
John Scales reports that there were some terrific trout caught locally in March and early April with Lake Dartmouth producing fish down deep in 30 to 40ft on down-rigged Tassie Devils trolled behind attractors like ford fenders and cowbells.
Albert and Linda Combrink from Violet Town landed 12 quality trout over two days. The smallest keeper was 800g, the biggest a 2kg brown.
Margaret and Trevor Paige worked hard for 11 keepers over a weekend, all from 30 feet, the largest of which weighed 2.3 kg.
Geoff Durling and his mates from Shepparton boated 11 trout, only keeping two of about 1kg.
Local Arthur Willison bagged 2 lovely rainbows between 530 and 860g while Bill Brighton caught 5 on downriggers at 50ft.
John goes on to report that Lake Banimboola continues to produce some magnificent fish. Lisa Seppanen and husband Nilo managed four trout between 750g and 1.2kg.
Colin Scales caught some beauties also using worms fished on the bottom. His trout ranged from 610g to 1.4kg.
For more information on the Mitta Valley contact John at the Dartmouth Motor Inn on (02) 6072 4233 or check out www.darttavern.com .
Alpine fishing conditions can change very quickly, even in summer, so for the latest update contact Geoff Lacey on (03) 5754 1466 or www.anglingvic.com.auReads: 4235