The going gets tough
  |  First Published: June 2004

MUCH as I hate to say it, this month, coinciding with the cold weather setting in, can be possibly the toughest month of the year on our waters.

Lake Hume’s water levels are at a depressing 8% and still dropping. Boat access has been almost impossible and the fishing has been nothing to get excited about. I can see the fishing pick up substantially only when the water starts to rise and the trout get in on the act, usually from late July onwards.

We are really limited on our doorstep this month but one option that pops up for a couple of months is the Albury to the spillway area. Sure, it’s possible to fish here year-round but now is easily the best time for lure anglers chasing trout by wading and casting lures, because the water level is low.

The great thing for Albury anglers is that it is only five minutes from the CBD to great starting points such as the waterworks reserve, so there’s still that opportunity to wet a line after work. Most of the trout caught during the low water periods usually average only 400g, with a good mix of browns and a sprinkling of rainbows. There’s also the chance of getting into something worth bragging about. A 2kg spin outfit with a selection of Lofty’s Cobras and the classics like the No 2 Celta or Rooster Tails will do the job.


Native fish could be really hard work but certainly not impossible. By concentrating your efforts around high barometer readings (over1020hPa) days, especially around the full moon and over the warmest part of the day, you will stack the odds in your favour.

Lake Mulwala and the Murray River downstream have proven themselves in past years but it is really hard work. In the lake it is likely that you will find plenty of cod hanging deep in the channels, so it would really be worth concentrating on these deeper areas.

The fish are usually not too active, so the best tactic in the deep water is to troll very slowly. It is critical that the lures are banging the timber. Lures with a very strong action at a slow speed, or even a rattle, are very handy in the cold water. Top colour is green with bold black bars.

Just below the lake, right through to Tocumwal and beyond, the water should be very low. This can make casting easy and the yellas can provide some great sport. Downsizing your lures or spinnerbaits and fishing them very slowly should get you action.


Last June Dartmouth fished fantastically well and I will be trying for a repeat effort this month. The wall area and the main basin proved the best and flatline trolling with the Cobra lures worked well.

The best advice that I can offer is to give yourself plenty of options. The problem with the ‘Dart’ is it’s so deep that the trout can be anywhere from 15 metres up to the surface. I’ll take a leaf out of Rex Hunt’s book and say ‘it’s no use fishing where the fish ain’t”.

Downriggers, lead line, cowbells and snap weights are worth considering. On the Easter weekend I was up there and the best results were from a couple of blokes fishing at 13 metres off a downrigger and with a paravane as deep as they could get it. Surprising, considering that it was cool weather and the fish could have been higher.

The Lake Banimboola/ Dart Pondage has been fishing well and should continue so. Recently the wall was heightened and the pondage has transformed, with the water now regularly high and over the old margins that are full of food.

The recent stockings would make this the best land-based trout option in our area and browns up to 2kg are common. Baits like mudeyes, worms and PowerBait will be best. Lure-casters and fly anglers are also in their element so check it out. Don’t forget the waders.


Monday, June 14, is the last day of the trout season for all our streams (with the exception of the Murray below the Hume). The Mitta Mitta, Kiewa, Nariel Creek, Swampy Plains and the Murray around Brigenbrong\/Towong will be popular this Queen’s Birthday Weekend but all should produce fish.


With the trout rivers closing this month, now can be a great time to have a crack.


It can certainly be cold but the trout make rugging up worth it. Russel Taylor scored this 1.6kg fish trolling a Rapala Shad Rap.

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