Well, here we go again! It’s almost like Christmas up here at the moment. Local anglers have been talking up a good season and everybody is busy preparing their gear and fine-tuning tactics in readiness for trout opening this month.
This month the fishing should also be especially remarkable as the large amount of good steady rain that has fallen during winter that has flushed out the rivers and streams, while also allowing trout to spawn in high numbers in a relatively stress free environment.
Both Rocky Valley and Pretty Valley reservoirs remain snow-bound and difficult to access, a situation that will improve in coming weeks. Springtime fishing is always productive on the high plains although you need to rug up warmly for a while yet.
Lake Guy is almost empty and with a steep and muddy shoreline is not worth considering at the moment. The inflow streams, the east Kiewa River and Rocky Valley Creek are flowing extremely well and producing many trout, mostly browns to 600gm on live bait and lures in the runs and deeper pools.
Lake Clover is also practically empty and not worth considering this month. Fortunately, the inflow stream, the east Kiewa River, is running nicely and producing some brown trout to 750gm on live bait, according to reports. Most fish are being caught on a bubble float rig cast well out from the shoreline.
The Ovens River around Bright and Porepunkah is in ideal condition for the opening weekend and beyond and good catches should be recorded. Of interest, a holidaying angler (from W.A.) fished the Ovens River at Bright for a few hours two weeks before the trout opening. He was fishing with live bait for native species, which is permitted, but only caught 20 brown trout, which is not permitted. Of course, he returned all fish to the river unharmed, but it just goes to show what to expect this month.
Lake Catani is at 100% full and fishing conditions are perfect, if a little cold at 600m above sea level. The best time to be here is from mid-December through to April, when conditions are most favourable for fishing and the comfort of anglers.
The Mt Beauty pondage is full at the moment but that could change quickly and without notice. Fishing through winter has been constantly fair to good, according to reports. Best fishing is along the northern shoreline with drifted live bait and lures. Anglers are advised to keep their bait well clear of the bottom, which is infested with weeds.
The Kiewa River from Mt Beauty, through Tawonga to Mongans Bridge is running high, fast and icy cold as plenty of rain and large volumes of snowmelt contribute to excite both trout and anglers. Opening weekend and the weeks that follow always provide some great fishing in the Kiewa River and this year is no different. Brown trout to 1.5kg, many smaller, have been a feature once again with most being caught on live bait, either drifted or on a running sinker rig.
Last year a number of trout weighing in excess of 2kg were recorded in the first few weeks of the opening. Most were taken from near the Mt Beauty Pondage outflow using big bunches of worms on number 6 bait hooks, heavy sinkers and strong line.
The Lower Mitta Mitta River from the township of Mitta Mitta to Eskdale is running high and fast and crystal clear right now. Magnificent early-in-the-season trout are a feature of this water, with many large rainbows and some browns on offer for both bait and lure fishers in almost any stretch of the river during the day. Some wading may be required to access the best water in places and anglers should beware of deep holes and fast currents when wading.
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: 989