The Victorian trout season draws to another close on June 8. Following many years of good fishing, this season has been quite a disappointment. Overall we have had good water flows and for the greater part quite reasonable water temperatures.
The exception was during early February where we had a period of about two weeks where the air temperature reached the mid 40's and the water temperature soared to over 24 degrees. This resulted in a fish kill in the Mitta system. However as quickly as the temperatures increased they also fell just as quickly and the hot weather was followed by some relatively cool and mild weather, which has continued well into autumn.
The usually good hopper season has been poor. Early in December it looked like we would be in for a good season with plenty of hoppers present. However as the season progressed, the hopper numbers decreased. A similar thing happened with the beetles. It was okay early and then they went missing as the season progressed. The usual evening caddis hatches went from poor to non-existent and there seemed to be a lack of mayflies early in the season. All in all the trout's stable food supply was not up to the standard of previous years. Consequently there was no reason for trout to leave Lake Dartmouth and reside in the river system.
The current situation is that all the rivers are very low. The Mitta Mitta River between Lake Dartmouth and its junction with the Bundara River is fishing very poorly with only the odd small brown showing up. In the headwaters above the junction the news is slightly better with a few small browns present. Flyfishing is the most successful method but the flies have to be small and the leaders long and fine. Nearby the Cobungra and Bundara Rivers are both very low and the fishing is almost non-existent.
The exception to the season’s poor fishing has been the Gibbo River. It has fished well all season. As you would expect here, the fish are mostly small rainbows with the odd bigger brown mixed in. The river is still very low, but has the best fishing in the area and a reasonable number of rainbows were still being taken. Its tributary, Morass Creek, is bone dry except for a handful of stagnant pools. Livingston Creek is also low and not fishing well however a few small browns are being caught.
Further to the east the Delegate River is also very low however the Delegate is basically a series of almost still pools that are connected by a trickle of water. Fairly good numbers of small brown trout are present here and fishing is still okay. Small dry flies with a small trailing nymph are working best.
All this may change before the season ends if we get some good rain. The browns will be congregated in Lake Dartmouth at the river mouths and it will only require the right condition to send them into our rivers.Reads: 1996