Rocky Valley Rainbows
  |  First Published: May 2005

Since the beginning of autumn, stream flows in the alpine high country have been declining. Despite this, plenty of trout are still being caught by bait, lure and flyfishing enthusiasts, with the latter the most visible, especially over the Easter break.

Unfortunately, most fish have been a bit on the smallish side since the end of last month, with weights of around 350-400g common. The fall in stream levels and cool water temperatures make conditions ideal for wet wading (wading in just shorts, a shirt and sneakers). Anglers who practise this type of wading can access some very nice waters that often contain large trout, especially from mid to late autumn, just before their run to spawning grounds.

Captures of brown trout to 1.5kg in the Kiewa River at Tawonga and Coral Bank were recorded at the start of the month by anglers fishing with live grasshoppers floated on the surface and flyfishers using size 12 imitation hopper dry flies during the day.

The Kiewa River has been very good all season. However, a few locals are reporting poorer returns over the last few weeks, even though there have been excellent insect hatches and rises beginning just before dark every night for weeks now. Most of the problems seem to arise from a lack of larger trout, which many locals are accustomed to taking. There are still large numbers of trout to 350g in every stretch of the Kiewa, replacements for those lost in the 2003 bushfires.

Nymphs, which live under rocks in fast water and form a major part of a trout’s diet, are plentiful this year, but mostly in the juvenile stage of development. They have three stages of development before emerging as mayflies and caddis moths up to 2 years later. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why there are so many small trout about at present.

Several groups dropped boats in and trolled Rocky Valley Reservoir at Falls Creek over Easter with mixed results. One group caught nothing during a 3-hour session, but on the trip back to shore bagged 12 nice rainbows from the one small area. Shore-based anglers have taken fair numbers of rainbow trout to 400g on selected days, mostly on worms fished under a bubble float. Strong winds are a factor at this altitude (1600m above sea level), and are always present to some degree, but relatively windless days are best for fishing.

The Ovens River around Porepunkah and Bright was flogged to a froth over Easter by holidaymakers. Bait anglers using worms and grasshoppers took many rainbow trout between 300g and 400g. During this period, the upper reaches of the Ovens towards Harrietville were hardly touched as low stream levels made access for bait and lure fishing difficult in many places.

Lake Dartmouth has not been flat out of late, with only a few reports of fish being caught, despite lots of boats being on the water over Easter. One lucky angler took a 1.3kg brown trout from around the edges using scrub worms fished deep. The pondage (Lake Banimboola) has dropped considerably because work is being carried out to install another power station in the area. Aaron Scales, the new owner of the Dartmouth Pub, assures me that it will be at full level again in three weeks time. There were some nice trout taken as the pondage water level was falling, with one report of a 1.5kg rainbow falling to scrubworms fished under a bubble float. There are also reports of lots of redfin and pan-sized trout being caught in the pondage over Easter and earlier in March by bait and lure anglers.

Lake Mokoan, near Benalla, was host to three fishing clubs recently, when 150 anglers stayed at the caravan park and recorded good catches of yellowbelly and redfin, many of the latter being just size or slightly undersize. Most fish were caught on yabbies, worms or shrimps and a few on lures.

Several very heavy cod were taken recently from the outlet channel along the Yarrawonga Road, as the weather changed and the water became quite cloudy. The duck opening apparently frightened off the fish – not many were caught during that weekend, until Sunday afternoon when a few yellowbelly were taken on worms and yabbies by shooters sitting in their duck punts. A number of holidaymakers are currently at the lake’s caravan park and all are reporting good catches of yellowbelly and redfin on the usual baits, according to host Heather Williams.

For the latest fishing information contact Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on (03) 5754 1466 or check out the website at www.anglingvic.com.au

One of the author’s flyfishing clients, Mick Casbolt, captured this fine bag of trout recently.

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