Dartmouth Trolling Spectacular
  |  First Published: June 2006

Early snowfalls in the mountains and drenching rains in the valleys have refreshed, if not filled, local rivers resulting in improved fishing conditions for alpine waters. Just make sure you rug up!

The riverine trout season closes at midnight on 12 June, at the end of the long weekend. Fishing in lakes at Falls Creek and the small waters of the Bogong High Plains will also cease around mid-June as snowfalls below 800m restricts access. This leaves Lake Dartmouth, Lake Banimboola and Mt Beauty Pondage available for diehard winter anglers.

I heard several reliable reports of brown trout to 2.5kg spawning in the headwaters of several High Country streams during April, so it looks like we’re going to have some good seasons ahead.

I guided for several members of the Melbourne-based Southern Fly Fishers club recently, who were under the impression that Victoria’s alpine region rivers and streams were almost completely ruined as a result of the 2003 bushfires and were not worth fishing, even now.

Upon arriving, they were struck by the appearance of the whole region, commenting on how little evidence of the bushfire remained. Over three days, they fished a number of rivers and streams, catching and mostly releasing lots of healthy brown and rainbow trout. They left with a changed appreciation of the region. This begs the question though – how many other anglers think that the area is still in a bad way? It’s just not the case!

Falls Creek

Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley reservoirs at Falls Creek are both low and icy cold although fishing during the day is very good at times, with mudeyes and worms under bubble floats proving to be the best approach. There were still some rises occurring at dusk in May with many well within casting range from the bank. The best dry flies have been size 16 Royal Wulffs, midges, mosquitoes, Cocky-Bondus and yellow or red Humpys.

Pretty Valley Creek is low and producing small browns to 300g. It’s been an ideal water for beginner flyfishers lately.

Lake Guy

Lake Guy at Bogong Village is currently low and trolling is producing mixed results with the best trout, a rainbow, going 1.5kg. Most fish caught over the last few weeks averaged around 1kg or less.

The east Kiewa River is low and has been producing rainbows to 450g, averaging 350g.

Mt Beauty Pondage

The Mt Beauty pondage received 500 better-than-yearling rainbow trout in April, following a fish kill during summer that seriously affected the fishing.

Since the stocking at least two local anglers have taken rainbows exceeding 1.75kg on mudeyes under bubble floats and good rises have been occurring on most evenings around dusk.

Kiewa River

The Kiewa River from Mt Beauty to Coral Bank is running low and icy cold as a result of recent snow and rainfall in the district. Trout to 500g and larger have been taken on unweighted baits and lures during the day from runs that are knee deep or more. Anglers fishing after dark have been taking rainbows to 2kg in the same areas.

The west Kiewa River has been fishing well recently with low water providing easy access to the best stretches.

Ovens River

The Ovens River from Porepunkah to Germantown is low and the fishing has been slow, with rainbows to 400g taken on live baits and lures. The upper Ovens River at Freeburgh is very low and hasn’t been fishing well.

Lower Mitta

The lower Mitta Mitta River around Mitta Mitta is low and fishing moderately well despite inconvenient flow fluctuations. It’s yielded mostly rainbows to 400g on mudeyes and worms. Many smaller specimens of 350g and less have been rising during the day in the pools.

Barry Reidy of the Eskdale Caravan Park (02) 6072 0220 reports that the Mitta at Eskdale has been fishing poorly with few anglers about at present.

The little Snowy Creek remains high and has been producing good rainbows on scrubworms and small lures during the day.

Lake Dartmouth

John Scales from the Dartmouth Motor Inn and Tavern (02) 6072 4233 reports that Dartmouth Dam has been fishing exceptionally well this month, with lots of big fish falling for a variety of baits around the trees and trolled lures in open water. Out of many reports to hand, here are two.

A group of mates who come up regularly landed 70 trout over three days trolling Tassie Devils recently. Another group took 23 trout with none less than 750g, the largest going 1.7kg. Again, all were taken on trolled Tassie Devils. The best colours have been pink, yellow, fluoro green and mauve.

Anglers from The Commercial Club in Albury held their annual Dartmouth Fishing Competition over two days in May. Everybody who fished the event caught at least one trout.

Lake Banimboola

The pondage (Lake Banimboola) is high and has been producing rainbows to 650g, some larger, with bait anglers doing best. Over several days, one chap bagged 18 brown trout and rainbows recently, all taken on scrubworms.

Alpine fishing conditions can change very quickly no matter what the season, so for the latest update phone Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on (03) 5754 1466 or check out website www.anglingvic.com.au

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