Incredible Alpine Action
  |  First Published: December 2005

Fishing conditions in Victoria’s alpine region are nothing short of incredible this season, with lots of trout being caught and average sizes well up on previous years. Seasonal spring rains returned to normal after the long drought and summer looks like being the best for a long time. But here’s a warning: watch out for snakes, they’re almost in plague proportions this year.

The snow in the mountains has melted providing excellent access to Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley reservoirs at Falls Creek. Rocky is 90% full and ready to fire for boat-based anglers. Rocky Valley is an ideal lake for loch style flyfishing with trout to 4kg on offer. Pretty Valley is at 30% capacity, which is very low for so early in the season. The creek below the spillway is hardly flowing at the moment, with only a few small brown trout in residence.

Lake Guy at Bogong Village is full and both tributaries are fishing well, with mostly brown trout to 500g, averaging 350g, rising to a variety of dry flies throughout the day. Metal lure enthusiasts are also doing okay fishing the larger pools. The east Kiewa River at Bogong is full of small to medium sized browns taking small dry flies, cast straight upstream along the edge of the current.

The Mt Beauty pondage is full and providing excellent fishing for shore-based anglers, although those equipped with a canoe or small boat will cover the best water. The pondage is a natural breeding ground for dragonflies so mudeyes are plentiful. When fished under a bubble float they’re gobbled up by big trout.

The Kiewa River from Mt Beauty to Coral Bank is producing rainbow and brown trout to 1.5kg for bait and spin anglers. The fish are averaging 650g, with good stream flows and easy access to all popular locations. For fly fishers, trout are rising on most days just before sundown. Hatches will increase this month with more insect activity and warmer temperatures.

The west Kiewa River was running at full flow for a while but has now settled down well. Medium sized rainbows are rising throughout the day and producing exciting action on dry flies. Felt soled waders are safer to use here than other types because of the slippery nature of the stream. I often wade in just shorts and felt soled runners to avoid painful spills.

The Ovens River from Porepunkah to Germantown is flowing nicely and producing both rainbows and browns to around 400g on bait, lures and fly. This is just in time for the big influx of tourists who virtually flog this river to a froth over the Christmas holidays. I recently received a reliable report of a local angler who took a 4.5kg brown trout from the upper Ovens River at Freeburgh using worms. That’s almost unbelievable, except I trust the guy who told me.

The Victoria River at Dinner Plain is producing brown trout to 1.5kg on live bait, which should taper off this month as these big late spawners return to the upper Mitta Mitta River. There’s been some good hatches of snowflake caddis of late, as usual, but watch for king brown and tiger snakes, they’re both plentiful this year.

The upper Mitta Mitta River at Anglers Rest is at summer level and fishing well, as are the Bundara and Cobungra rivers. The Bundara’s holding some good sized browns this year with a few around the 1.5kg mark. Whatever the fishing method, long casts straight upstream often produce the best results in these waters. Watch out for black snakes moving about close to the water.

The lower Mitta Mitta River from Mitta Mitta to Eskdale is flowing clear after a poor start. It’s providing excellent fishing conditions, as is the Snowy and little Snowy creeks. Scrubworms are popular at the moment and producing impressive results. Good rises are occurring from mid-afternoon until dusk with lots of insects about this year. All trout are in excellent and well-proportioned condition according to reports.

Dartmouth is slowly filling. It’s 62% and fishing conditions are excellent, with many healthy, well-conditioned trout being landed at present. Boat anglers have been getting their bag limits of 10 trout per day, with fish averaging 850g each. Bait anglers fishing the pondage have taken trout to 3.25kg on scrubworms. One of these fish is currently being mounted for display at the Dartmouth Tavern. A fishing hall of fame is being established. The Mitta Mitta River below the pondage is producing trout to 1.2kg, averaging 400g, on scrubbies and pink lures.

Lake Mokoan, near Benalla, is half full and firing up well for native golden perch fishing now that water temperatures have warmed up. Good catches of larger specimens are being taken by boaties with shore-based fishers also doing fairly well. Native fish enthusiasts will no doubt be out in force on Lake Mokoan when the cod season opens on 1 December.

Alpine fishing conditions can change very quickly, even in summer, so for the latest update phone Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on (03) 5754 1466 or check out website www.anglingvic.com.au.

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