Hard Going Out East
  |  First Published: April 2009

Regretfully I have to report that the fishing in East Gippsland remains poor this month.

I recently fished the Mitta Mitta River from its junction with the Gibbo River right up to Glen Wills. The water temperature has now cooled down to a respectable level but it does vary throughout the river system. I found that the river was about 2ºC warmer at the bottom end than higher up.

Grasshoppers are still around but not in big numbers. Actually I saw very few terrestrials at all and there were no fish rising. Not a fish to be seen during the day nor the evening. I found that there were very few fish in the lower section of the river. My mate caught a 200g brown at the junction of the Mitta and Gibbo rivers but that was the only fish that we saw.

Further upstream around the Omeo Valley it was a similar story. There was a good number of fish killed in this section during February due to hot water temperatures and the only trout we saw were a couple of 15cm browns. Unfortunately there were quite a few carp in this area that had obviously moved upstream from Lake Dartmouth.

Around Glen Wills things were a little better with a handful of browns around the 200g mark although Robin Widdowson caught a fish of 800g on a grasshopper pattern.

The Mitta Mitta River is flowing well for this time of the year and as I have said, the water temperatures are also in a respectable range. I believe that most of the trout moved back into the lake a couple of months ago and have not yet returned. Although the water temperatures are fine, there is not a lot of food to entice them into the river. Mayflies and caddis are non-existent and terrestrials, including grasshoppers, are in low numbers.

I drove over the Morass Creek and apart from a few stagnant pools it is bone dry. We then headed to the Gibbo River and I am pleased to report that there is some joy there. The bottom end of the Gibbo River, below its junction with Morass Creek, is fishing poorly. This section is fairly exposed with little tree cover and we barely saw a trout in this section. However, the section along the Benambra/Nariel Road virtually flows under a canopy of trees and the fishing there was quite good. We were using dry flies, mainly Royal Wulffs and Nobby Hoppers.

The fish in this area were typical of what you would expect in this river. Almost all were small rainbows ranging up to 250g. Good fun.

The Bundarra and Cobungra rivers are both low and fishing poorly. There are a few trout to be taken in the Innisfail area on the Cobungra River as there are a reasonable number of ’hoppers in the paddocks adjoining the river. Livingston Creek is low and fishing poorly. A few small browns are being taken. Christie Aaras caught one brown while flyfishing for three hours.

The Timbarra River is low and fishing poorly and the rivers around Dargo are all in poor condition and not worth the drive at the moment.

So you can still chase down a trout on fly if you’re keen, but look for well shaded areas with a decent amount of water. The trout really need the cooler water to be on the job and April should see this arrive as the day temperatures cool.

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