Winter is a good time of year to fish the major lakes in the Kiewa/high country area such as Lake Dartmouth and Khancoban Pondage.
My good mate Sandy Hector and I headed to Khancoban pondage recently for a winter trip, and one thing I can tell you is that global warming was not the main topic of conversation! It was bloody freezing.
It was dull, and rained on and off all morning, and after lunch when the rain finally cleared, the nearby hills were caked in a white blanket of newly fallen snow. It was almost as cold as it was beautiful.
I love Khancoban Pondage, and if there is one thing I love even more than the lake itself, it’s the drive up there. Sandy’s car thermometer showed that it was 2C and raining quite heavily at times as we passed the pine plantations near Koetong, and we saw fallow deer and shared a few laughs.
The fishing was OK first thing in the morning. Using mudeyes suspended under a float we managed to land one fish each and both lost a handful each also. By mid-morning it had gone quiet, and by lunchtime the action was dead which is where it stayed for the rest of the day, we never had another touch after lunch.
I lost three trout on a cast soft plastic, and we both lost a few on mudeyes.
Other boats revealed the same story; action in the morning with plenty of lost fish. The trout must have just not been aggressively feeding enough.
Still, we had a fantastic, freezing cold day with lunch time being very welcomed not by the hotdogs and porterhouse steak cooking on the portable gas BBQs, but by the fact that I could warm my hands up over the portable gas BBQs.
Words alone simply cannot describe how much I am looking forward to the upcoming trout season reopening on Saturday September 3. I am expecting the rivers to be quite high. At the time of writing this report, the rivers are all very high, and we still have a few weeks of winter ahead before the streams open.
Conditions may be tough, especially in the unregulated creeks and rivers such as the Kiewa that will be carrying a lot of water.
The only unregulated waterway in the area will be the Mitta Mitta River below Lake Dartmouth so if we get floods, the Mitta Mitta will be the place to head, especially the area between Mitta Mitta township and Lake Dartmouth.
Drifting worms into the holes with a number 8 or 10 hook weighted down with a couple of small split shot sinkers will be your best bet in just about all the streams in the area.
Casting bladed spinners, and small hardbodied lures will no doubt also be effective, however with the high water levels, I just think that drifting worms will be the standout technique.
Standout areas will be the Kiewa between Dederang and Mt Beauty, The Mitta Mitta between Eskdale and Lake Dartmouth, Snowy Creek anywhere upstream of, and including Mitta Mitta township and little Snow Creek upstream of Eskdale.
All of these streams will be high, and wading will be difficult and dangerous, so take care while wading and don’t take any risks, because the water draining the snow capped mountains in September is bitterly cold.
Aside from the great trout fishing in this area, the redfin and yellowbelly fishing may be just starting to pick up in Lake Hume as the days get longer and the sun gets just a little warmer.
The fishing will be slow for both species, especially at the start of the month, but into the second half of September I would expect anglers to start picking up one or two here and there.
On the subject of redfin, Alans Flat Waterhole has a good population of redfin. The average size is pretty small, but the small lake is sheltered from the wind and provides a much safer environment, especially on a windy day. The lake has public toilets, picnic tables and an undercover area.
Aside from the redfin, it should still have reasonable numbers of yearling rainbow trout swimming around, remnants of the July school holiday stockings.
It has been stocked with yellowbelly over the last few years that could turn up as a surprise by catch at any time.Reads: 3363