Now that trout fishing (in streams) is closed until September 3, anglers are taking advantage of the many lakes and reservoirs in the alpine region. Most lakes are heavily populated with wild-bred brown and rainbow trout and although a good number of them leave the lake to go a-spawning in winter, there are always plenty left behind and they are well worth fishing for.
Some alpine lakes hold truly trophy-sized individuals that lurk deep down, especially around dam walls and long-drowned trees. These monsters are usually cannibals, rarely eating anything other than their own kind, so they can be very hard to catch. A large lure, trolled very deep and slowly, is usually the best method to use at these times.
There are also lots of smaller trout to half a kilogram about during winter, and these are far easier to catch. They can be regularly found during daylight hours 30m or less from the bank (depending on the depth of the lake), so fishing is ideal for shore-based anglers and minimum mobility is required. Here’s a guide to some of the best lakes in the region.
Probably the best lake in the area and stocked annually with rainbow trout, the pondage is a regular venue for the national and state flyfishing championships, held bi-annually in December. Once introduced, trout grow quickly in this water, reaching weights of half a kilogram or more in their first year. This is attributable to the pristine water conditions and an excellent food chain. The thick reeds around the shallow sections of the shoreline provide ideal habitat for lots of juvenile Murray crays, dragonflies (mudeyes) and stick caddis nymphs.
Unannounced water level fluctuations are a problem when fishing this water. A huge power generator sits on Lake Clover, which is often put into operation at the most inconvenient of times. The lake holds a good number of naturally occurring brown and rainbow trout, although not many anglers fish it due to access difficulties around the shoreline. The banks are very steep and wet most of the time because of the hydro-generating operations. There is a good all weather boat launching area at one end that is also idle much of the time.
Lake Guy can also be a victim of unwelcome water level fluctuations; hence it is not considered a good fishing water by some, although brown trout weighing up to a kilogram are regularly taken each summer by visiting shore-based anglers.
Boat launching access is good and trolling is the most popular fishing method used on Lake Guy. Bag limits can be achieved quickly at any time of the year.
Rocky Valley is an excellent fishing water but extremely low at the moment. It’s filled by snowmelt only and has a very limited catchment. The reservoir was built in the ‘50s to store water for hydroelectric operations.
It is one of the highest altitude trout-bearing lakes in Australia and holds brown and rainbow trout in excess of 4 kilograms, according to the official results of recently held flyfishing championship events. Fishing this water can be very rewarding in summer but presents a problem in the dead of winter because of snow and ice build-up around the edges.
Pretty Valley reservoir is a little more elevated than Rocky Valley, so is probably the highest trout-bearing lake in Australia. It is smaller in area and shallower than Rocky Valley and holds trout to 3 kilograms and more, the average being around 600 grams.
This lake freezes over in winter and access is impossible anyway due to snowdrifts. It can, however, provide very fine fishing for bait and flyfishers in early spring when the snow begins to melt.
I know it’s not a trout water but here’s a bit of news.
Native fish species in Lake Mokoan prefer warm conditions, so seasonally cooler water temperatures are resulting in fewer fish being caught at the moment.
Several anglers fishing from their boat recently took just six yellowbelly per day, which is about average for this time of year. All were taken on either worms or yabbies and there are no recent reports of Murray cod or redfin catches. The lake is at medium level at the moment.
For the latest fishing information about the alpine high country contact Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on (03) 5754 1466 and check out the website at www.anglingvic.com.au.
Jason – take the slide image of the 5 rainbows and the scenic shot over the digital rainbow in the blue net that I can’t delete from pics to be convertedReads: 650