Hopes for Clean Opening Dashed
  |  First Published: October 2005

We were welcomed to the opening of this year’s trout season with 100mm of rain and snow falling on Mount Hotham and the surrounding mountains two days before the opening. This virtually wiped out the fishing for the opening weekend across the entire area.

The rivers and creeks were running bankers washing down trees and rubbish and looking more like coffee than gin. A few hardy souls still ventured out but only a very small number of fish were taken.

I had a trip to the Cobungra River to check it out the week before opening and, as usual for this time of year, the river was flowing clear with just the slightest tinge of snow melt obvious. The water temperature was 3 degrees. The Cobungra River flows directly off Mount Hotham and daytime temperatures on the mountain that week were up to 10 degrees plus, which accounted for the melt. I had high hopes for the opening weekend.

However, just a few days later on the Wednesday and Thursday, a southerly blast arrived dropping 100mm of rain and snow on Mount Hotham. Within hours, the river was in flood and my hopes for a clean water opening weekend were dashed.

Over the next month most of the snow should melt off our mountains and the rivers will start to warm and clear. The trout fishing will improve significantly. To get the best results water temperatures will need to rise to between 8 and 18 degrees. This will start to happen soon. We’ve seen numerous days recently where the air temperature has reached 20 degrees in the high country. The willow trees are still bare but the new foliage is just starting to appear and the wattles are in full colour. The beetles and terrestrial insects will start to make their presence felt very soon and the trout will be on the lookout for an easy feed.

During the next month it will be best to concentrate on the smaller streams and the streams that are rain fed. The Gibbo River is a good example. Although there is often winter snow in its headwaters during winter, the snow usually melts by this time of year. Springs and rain then feed the river.

The Bundarra River is normally a good early season water because it flows mostly through native vegetation and remains clear and fishable. Others worth looking at are the Livingstone Creek, Middle Creek and the Delegate River.

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