Pondage browns impress
  |  First Published: June 2006

As most trouties already know the riverine season will finish at the end of the Queens Birthday weekend in June.

But don’t despair as there is a rumour that the Eildon Pondage will be low this year so they can do further maintenance.

The past month has seen diverse bags of fish from the local area with some good fish caught from the rivers and the pondage. The general consensus from anglers on the pondage was a little negative, but one lure caster weighed in a five trout bag limit of approximately 16kg. That’s certainly a good day out!


Downstream towards Alexandra has fished well. I’m not just saying that so everyone fishes down there either. I have had several reports from the Breakaway where, as I mentioned last month, the falling Goulburn River has allowed good access for anglers.

The river’s currently at 2000 megalitres, and if this rain keeps up, likely to reduce further very soon. Flyflickers have been having a ball with a new batch of small rainbows that have hit the river. These fish, up to 400g, will take just about any bead head nymph that you can get past them. It’s really great fun in the middle of the day! Don’t fall into the trap of waiting for an evening rise though, as it gets cold very early and is often a bit of a fizzer.

The best bait for anglers during recent rainy periods was the faithful scrubworm, by far! It makes sense because they are what would be washed in by the frequent showers. In the slower deeper water several trout up to 1.25kg were landed with a lot of stories of bigger fish breaking off. We all know that this makes sense given that some of those bigger rainbows have started moving around. The second best bait has been the gent. The guys who spent the time working berley into the coloured water certainly reaped the rewards.

The water was getting dirty with the rain so the darker lures came into their own with small Rapalas, Celtas and 7g Tassie Devils accounting for quite a few fish. I think the river conditions will remain similar until the end of the season.

A recent report from John Robinson from the lower stretch of the Goulburn towards Swan Lane was of five trout up to 1kg landed on Celtas. Not a bad day out for most.


In late April I had some reports of fish going up high in the Rubicon. Several flies in the bead head nymph range were the choice, from standard colours in black and brown through to Stonefly and Prince nymph ties. It is one of the favourite areas for flyflickers up there and continues to produce fish year after year.

I know that it had a fair work out again over autumn with some areas becoming standing room only. Quite a few anglers were disappointed though because the amount of rain affected them and the river did not really turn it on.

A few local kids had a great time with the carp in a backwater of the Acheron. These fish were trapped as the Goulburn dropped. The flooded bottom section of the Acheron was affected also. Carp are a pest – you will never hear me argue that point – but kids just love ‘em. Bait for carp is cheap, generally worms or corn, and they pull like a freight train. Unfortunately, carp are generally bigger than trout but schooling fish means plenty of action. Please dispose of the carcass appropriately and remember that you cannot release carp back into the water alive.

I think we will all find the smaller river action slowing before the closed season commences because the flow is bound to rise again with rain. Water temperatures will drop so the best areas will be at the base of the rivers.

The pool at the bottom of the Rubicon is a fair hike for most anglers but well worth it on the right day. The Acheron is a lot more accessible, as is the bottom of Snobs Creek – both are close to caravan parks. These are both great areas to fish. My biggest fish of last season was taken in the pool at the bottom of Snobs Creek on the second last day of the season while fishing with mate Graeme Sadler. It came from the same small pool that half a dozen kids were throwing rocks into 5 minutes before I got to it.


Considering the large number of people that were out there over autumn, including Easter, I’ve had relatively few reports. The usual reports of trout up the Big River arm taken on Tassie Devils came through the shop, but we weighed in very few. One lucky angler trolled the lake underneath the power lines for five trout in three hours. Two were over 2kg and all were taken on pink Tassie Devils.

The area around the wall has received more than its fair share of action as many boats aim to pick up the cod that seem to like this structure. I had a very scratchy report of one fella catching twenty cod in one day. I’m not sure if it’s on the money or not, but even if you halve it, and then halve it again, it’s still a good day’s fishing. That area has produced cod for me up to 57cm on deep diving Oar-Gee Plows in red, yellow and black.

There is still the odd redfin and golden popping up but by the time this goes to print they will be finished. We are definitely coming into the time when trout become the main target species. It will almost be standing room only up in the main arms. As with most people, I’ll be sticking to my Tassie Devils and small shallow diving bibbed lures. Chris Mackay was up there on a recent weekend and sounded large schools of fish congregating in the arms just weighting for the climate trigger.


One lure fisherman who has absolutely blitzed the pondage lately is Brett Creighton from Shepparton. In one session he landed three fish over 4kg, one reaching the magical 10-pound mark. I had the chance to fish with him the very next day, when he landed a further three fish up to 4kg.

When it comes to big fish in the pondage there has been a good run lately. Craig Frean landed a great brown, while Graeme Sadler took a hefty rainbow that could quite well have gone ten pounds if I hadn’t lost it when I tried to weigh it. It did count though because we had it in the net for a brief ten seconds.

Another good catch came from Bourke Street – a thumping fish for Tim Turvell – a 3.5kg rainbow on 2.7kg line. A fair effort for anyone!

It seems that lures have been just outfishing bait lately. Must have colours are gold and silver with a dash of red, even if you ditch the bronze treble hook and swap it for a red chemically sharpened one.

This approach worked a treat for me recently when I hooked 3 fish in 4 casts. A 10-pound plus male brown trout was the best of them. It’s taken many years of fishing to finally catch a magical 10-pound trout and it feels good to get the monkey off my back. All of my big fish swam away safely although they’re probably camera shy now having been heavily photographed. Even though it’s the pondage, a fully stocked fishery, there’s no need to keep all of what you catch – leave a few for others too, or for next time you come up for the weekend.

One more thing on fishing etiquette, particularly at the pondage. When people start catching trout, avoid rushing over to fish near them, despite the obvious temptation. You wouldn’t want it done to you, so don’t do it to others.

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