River Natives the Go
  |  First Published: February 2005

February is a month of mixed fortunes in the north east. The hot weather can make for a tougher time, but as is usually the case, efforts spent around daybreak till it warms up, or, the last couple of hours of the day when the shadows hit the water are usually rewarding.

This is a great time for our natives in the rivers. The water levels are looking fine, with the water being clear and warm and I know I will do my best to drag out the canoe and throw some lures around the snags of an evening. The upper Murray above Lake Hume upstream to Tintaldra has been turning on some great fish of late. I’ve done a few trips up here fishing from a canoe and had mixed results. The great aspect of fishing up here is that ‘Trophy’ aspect. There are some thumping cod and I know it’s just a matter of time before I’m rightfully bragging about my next angling ambition, a cod casting from the canoe over a metre.

The condition of the cod here is just awesome and there are plenty of trout cod that all seem to be about 60cm - and boy can they pull. They are a great by catch but I should stress the need to handle them as little as possible and let them go quickly.

Spinnerbaits are hard to beat in most rivers and this water is no exception. Their ability to be cast in tight against snags and underneath willows makes them fantastic to use. I’ve just started using the AusSpin quad spin with the four blades. They have worked a treat on the drop. I usually use a 1/2oz or 5/8oz bait but I have been using the 3/4oz to combat that slower sink rate. It’s hard to effectively gauge if the four blades are better but they do work well. In the slower rivers like the Ovens below Wangaratta our classic hardbodies have worked better, but at the end of the day confidence really does pay.


The fly fraternity have been having a ball of late. The Snowy Creek, which is the main tribritury of the Mitta Mitta, has continued to turn on great results. Fishing a bead head nymph below a big buoyant dry that doubles as a strike indicator has yielded great catches. The evening rises have been spectacular and it’s been the standard Royal Wulf dry that has been the best. If that has failed a tiny size 18-20 brown spinner has come up trumps.

The Swampy Plains River above and below the Pondage has been fishing well and again it’s been the fly anglers doing best. Just recently my brother Craig and I had the pleasure of having a fully guided raft trip down the Swampy with local guide Neil Bennetts. Talk about a top day that proved to be a great learning experience on a great river and plenty of trout to top off a fantastic experience that I will certainly be doing again.

Neal’s ability to control the raft for hassle-free fishing from the raft is first rate and his stream craft and knowledge of where and what to do made for a great day. If you really want to treat yourself to a great day, I’d suggest giving Neale from Rise and Strike Guided Fishing Trips a call. Drop me an email if you would like his details.

1. Lake Hume’s redfin population will be on the top of their game this month. Here’s another fine AC60mm Minnow victim.

2. This is what the author will be setting his sights on this month. Big bags of reddies are great fun and even better eating.

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