Frustration and elation
  |  First Published: December 2004

I’ve always found January a very interesting time of year. The fishing can at many places be frustrating at best, while others can certainly fire.

No doubt in most places it’s the severe heat and low water levels that can have a big effect on the fishing. I have mentioned this quite a few times over my writings but the best advice for January is to make the effort to get out there at the crack of dawn or the last couple of hours of the day and into the night.

Most fish, be it native fish or trout, feed in the cover of darkness during summer and your best bet is to be out there when there’s that chance they are on the prowl. Oh, and a rule of thumb, concentrate on the shaded areas!

Most of the trout rivers have been fishing great. To date, the Mitta Mitta tailrace has barely been worth fishing due to the very high water height that really has restricted most efforts. I’m still sure that this month it will be still up but when it does drop (keep your ears peeled) it should fire.

The Mitta Mitta main tributary the beautiful Snowy Creek has been fishing superbly. My brother Craig has been a regular visitor of late and has had a ball. Flyfishing has been the standout technique for him. Upstream indicator nymphing using a brown bead head in a size 16 has been best during the day but, as is always the case, fishing the evening rises has produced the most fish and the Royal Wulff has sufficed.

Craig’s last trip was one he will never forget after blowing the chance of landing a monster brown. From all trips on the Snowy and other similar sized waters, a 1.2kg trout is a good stream fish but Craig swears he lost one around 2.5kg and judging by just how devastated he was, he was fair dinkum. He told me it grabbed his nymph next to a big boulder, pulled a little line immediately then just sat there as though it was snagged. Apparently it then charged down stream past him then jumped clear of the water then just kept going another 15m into a pile of snags and found its freedom by straightening the hook.

The Swampy Plains River below Khancoban, upper Murray around Towong, Nariel Creek, Kiewa around Tawonga and the Ovens upstream of Myrltleford should all be worth checking out. Flyfishing with nymphs during the day or beetle and ’hopper imitations in the shade close to trees will be worth a try. The evening rises can be fantastic and make hanging around until dark worth it.

Up on Dartmouth Dam, downrigging will be the name of the game and I’m expecting towing Lofty’s Lures at around 14m will be the go. The pondage below the dam will be a better place to fish and fishing mudeyes below a float will be the safest bet but because of its shallow nature, dusk and dawn will produce more and bigger fish and there will be plenty of fat trout available.

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