Excellent conditions for bait, lure and flyfishing have been experienced in the Ovens and Kiewa valleys, with streams running seasonally high and fast but now easing. There are significantly more large trout in the system this season than in previous years, no doubt due to the return of normal weather patterns and conditions.
The Kiewa River from Mt Beauty through Tawonga to Coral Bank is looking the best it has for a long time. Heavy spring rains and snowmelt have generated high and fast flows providing lots of food for trout beefing up for the summer. At the same time these flows have scoured the river of last year’s flotsam and jetsam.
Rocky Valley Reservoir at Falls Creek is largely full and ready for fishing, although access is limited to walking because the gates across the dam wall road are locked until the snow completely melts. Sometimes this doesn’t happen until well into November.
Pretty Valley Reservoir is even lower at less than a quarter full, with no water running over into the creek, which often provides great fishing for flyfishers in summer. We fished the creek briefly with size 16-18 dry flies in early October for one small fish that we released. We got some other strikes from trout that were too tiny to pull the fly under. Although seldom visited by anglers, except in high summer, these lakes provide some of the best loch-style flyfishing in Australia, with rainbows of up to 4kg recorded during the last National Flyfishing Championships. They’re only occasionally fished because of lower air temperatures and the incessant wind. That’s to be expected though, as the lakes are nearly 2km higher than Melbourne or Sydney. Just rug up a bit and you’ll have a ball.
Lake Guy at Bogong Village is a boating angler’s delight although the fishing’s been pretty ordinary of late. It should improve during November.
The Victoria River at Dinner Plain, near Mt Hotham, is in beautiful condition right now and providing excellent bait and flyfishing opportunities. Just watch out for snakes! Large hatches of snowflake caddis occur here during spring and big trout are often taken until the end of December, after which time their average size tends to drop.
The Ovens River around Bright has been fishing well this season, with clear water and stream levels ideal for fishing. One chap took four nice rainbows averaging 500g in less than an hour while flyfishing recently with size 12 weighted brown nymphs after dark in the swimming pool area.
The upper Ovens River from Germantown to Harrietville is in perfect condition for bait and flyfishing at the moment, with early season risers, all rainbows, falling for a variety of size 16 dry flies. Bait anglers may find the upper Ovens a bit frustrating to fish unless they’re willing to wade much of it. Shallow water and heavy tree cover limits casting opportunities.
The west Kiewa and east Kiewa rivers are also fishing well with excellent stream flows.
The upper Mitta Mitta River from Glen Wills, downstream to Anglers Rest and beyond, is in fine condition and dropping fast to its summer level. Anglers have reported good catches using livebait and metal lures. The best bait at the moment is a big bunch of garden-variety earthworms or mudeyes, the latter fished under a bubble float.
There are lots of reports of trout being taken from the Mitta on worms right now. An angler staying at the Blue Duck Hotel reported taking 12 browns from the Joker area in less than an hour on worms recently, the largest going 1.25kg and others of throwback size.
The Bundarra and Cobungra rivers at Anglers Rest are also fishing well, each holding good stocks of wild-bred rainbow trout and a few browns. With so much rain this year, check out where you’re going to park your vehicle near these streams to avoid becoming seriously bogged.
Crikey! There’s only doom and gloom news from the Omeo Valley I’m afraid. The lower Mitta Mitta River, the Snowy Creek at Mitta Mitta and the Little Snowy Creek near Eskdale all continue to be in very bad condition and are not worth even considering according to reliable reports. Added to that, the pondage at Dartmouth is high but has been fishing poorly of late. The Mitta Mitta is running very low and all waters mentioned are muddy. Nobody is catching fish from them.
For the latest fishing information in northeast Victoria’s alpine high country contact Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on (03) 5754 1466 or check out the website at www.anglingvic.com.au.Reads: 1453