Temperatures reaching more than 40oC dashed the hopes of many alpine trout fishers early in February, as many fish ceased feeding after 10am on most days, and only resumed well after sundown. Tailraces such as the Kiewa and lower Mitta Mitta rivers fared best, when good flushes of cold water discharged from lakes higher up controlled water temperatures and flows, thereby providing excellent conditions for fishing all day.
Things have now improved and many trout caught recently have been absolutely stuffed with wattle grubs. Anglers using them as live bait – or imitations of them – have been getting excellent results. Thankfully, normal temperatures are expected in March and we will see a return to early autumn conditions, which always brings exciting fishing in alpine rivers and streams.
For weeks now the lakes on the plains have been discharging water to drive four hydro-generators, so fishing conditions are constantly changing. At the moment there is excellent action at Rocky Valley Reservoir around the shoreline, especially for bait and lure anglers fishing the deeper sections. Flyfishers do better towards dusk as trout begin rising along the wind lanes, feeding on mostly drowned beetles.
At last, much of the Bogong High Plains Road from Falls Creek to the Omeo Highway near Anglers Rest is now sealed, with the rest due to be completed by July. When completed, the sealed road will allow anglers without 4WD vehicles to easily and quickly access several prime trout rivers and streams on both sides of the mountain.
The inflow streams feeding Lake Guy are flowing well and producing many small to medium-sized brown trout, with small lures and dry flies having the most success. Best flies are size 16 Royal Wulffs, Parachute Adams, Tea Tree Beetle and red or yellow Humpies.
The upper section of the Ovens River above Germantown is fishing extremely well and producing pan-sized brown trout in abundance, with sizes 16-18 dry flies such as Royal Wulffs and red or yellow Humpies and various ’hopper patterns taking the most fish.
The river downstream from Bright to past Porepunkah is low and affected by the hot weather, with most trout making an appearance only after sundown.
Lake Catani at Mt Buffalo is 100% full of cold water and offering excellent wild trout fishing this month. At 600m above sea level, this lake is perfect for fishing on hot days as the air temperature is much less than in the valleys. Not many anglers fish Lake Catani, but that’s because it’s a bit out of the way and not a water that springs to mind for most people.
The water level of the Pondage has been fluctuating severely in recent weeks as it responds to hydroelectric demands. It is not really worth considering at the moment. Some holidaying anglers have been observed fishing the outlet channel after a 2.5kg brown trout was pulled out from there a few weeks ago, but no new captures have been recorded to date.
The Kiewa River from Mount Beauty through Tawonga to Mongans Bridge has seen changing conditions in recent weeks as levels rise and fall according to hydroelectric demands further upstream. There are lots of large carp in the river around Mongans Bridge as the water temperature at this time of year really suits them. There are also lots of pan-sized brown and rainbow trout populations that are fairly evenly spaced along the river.
The best time for fishing the Kiewa in March is from late afternoon into night, when brown trout to 1kg and larger begin rising in fair numbers.
At the moment the lower Mitta Mitta River from Mitta Mitta to Eskdale is the best river anywhere in Victoria for trout fishing, exhibiting excellent stream flows of cold and well-oxygenated water that flows out of Lake Dartmouth. Trout are very active from mid-afternoon onwards and respond well to nymphs, especially when presented under a dry fly such as a Royal Wulff or a Red Tag. Brown trout to 1.5kg have been caught in recent days and all were full of wattle grubs.
The Snowy Creek at Granite Flat is low and fishing sluggishly during the day, although things liven up considerably as the sun drops away. Brown trout to 400g begin rising in the runs in good numbers after 7pm. They respond well to size 16-20 dry flies in various patterns. Most of the fish caught appear to be feeding almost exclusively on wattle grubs.
Alpine fishing conditions can change very quickly whatever the season, so for the latest update phone Geoff Lacey at Angling Expeditions Victoria on (03) 5754 1466 or check out website www.anglingvic.com.auReads: 1299