Dartmouth Slower in Mid Winter chill
  |  First Published: August 2006

Winter has locked the Victorian alpine region in an icy embrace with snow, rain and very cold nights becoming more frequent during July. The rivers remain closed to trout fishing until next month, but Dartmouth and the pondage are ticking over despite the cold.

Falls Creek

Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley reservoirs at Falls Creek are snow bound and inaccessible to anglers during winter. Lake Guy at Bogong Village is fishing well although not many people are taking advantage of it. Most visitors are only up that way for the skiing.

Mt Beauty Pondage

The Mt Beauty pondage has been fishing extremely well with rainbow trout to 1.25kg falling to mostly live baits and Tassie Devils.

Flyfishers have also fairly doing well on large, weighted black nymphs.

Kiewa Clearing

Many non-indigenous trees, shrubs and blackberry are being removed from along the banks of the Kiewa River between Mt Beauty and Tawonga.

The works will progress along both banks to Coral Bank, and possibly beyond there in the near future.

Native trees are being left in situ and other indigenous trees are to be planted in time for spring.

Management works seriously stripped almost all vegetation from along the banks five years ago, leaving the river in a disappointing condition for several seasons.


John Scales from the Dartmouth Motor Inn (02 6072 4333) reports that the cooler weather seems to have slowed the big catches of trout at Dartmouth. The nights have been freezing, but the days have been sunny with very little wind.

Despite the cool conditions, there continues to be large numbers of anglers on the lake chasing trout.

John says that the great dry continues, but the lake remains steady at about 64%. When the rain does finally come and the lake’s level begins to rise, we will see lots of fish caught. There must be plenty of food still around though, because those fish being caught are in excellent condition.

On reflection, John reckons they’ve had a magnificent autumn throughout the Mitta Valley. The streams and Lake Banimboola were productive, as was Lake Dartmouth. He would struggle to recall a better year, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Soft Plastics

Tony Hiam and John Derbogosian have fished the lake and the pondage throughout autumn and done well casting Berkley 3” Bass Minnows to rising fish.

“We just walk along the bank, or wade out a bit if we’re in the pondage, and cast Berkleys rigged on resinheads or very light jigheads,” said Tony.

“In an hour or two of an evening it’s not uncommon for us to land half a dozen fish between us. They’ve been a mixture of browns and rainbows to 3lb.”

“We try to cast ahead of the rising fish, giving the lure a few quick flicks after it’s hit the water to get their attention. It’s not unlike fishing a bit wet I suppose only we’re doing it with spin gear.”

“We use plastics on snapper and flathead in Port Phillip Bay and figured that they’d work equally well in the high country. We’re looking forward to next season when we’re going to give this approach more time,” Tony concluded.

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 website www.anglingvic.com.au

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