I love the King River. I have fished it on and off for many many years. The tailwater section below Lake William Hovell is a good fishery, but for me it is probably the most enigmatic trout fishery I visit. Good in some years and seemingly devoid of any life in others.
To some extent, I have worked out it’s quirks, best time of the year to fish it and preferred flows. But as it happens, I haven’t fished the King for trout for a few years, opting for more reliable streams.
However, recently I’ve fished the mid reaches of the King for Murray cod, with some success. Earlier this year, in high summer, whilst casting 6 inch flies for cod, I polaroided a nice trout. My friend, just upstream from me, also spotted a trout. We were somewhat surprised, as this is not typically where we would fish for trout on the King in midsummer.
Then yesterday, a friend and I decided to fish for the day, but where? This time of the year is right on the edge: trout can be all but shut down, and a challenge to catch. We decided on the King. Being a tailwater, we thought the river may have been somewhat buffered from recent floods, and from the cold weather and snow we have also experienced. And of course those two trout we spotted in January stuck in my mind. Curiosity got the better of us and we had to give it a go.
We arrived at the river around midday, blessed by a mild sunny autumn day. The King Valley looked stunning. The river was running hard and had a slight tinge of colour to it. I immediately thought, double nymph rig – two nymphs fished under a wool indicator. The nymphs: a size 12 gold bead head pheasant tail followed by a small Cadillac, had enough weight and flash to get down, and hopefully win some attention from a trout or two.
We only fished for a few hours, diligently searching perfectly-formed runs and in particular, the quieter water off the main flow, which is where the trout seemed to comfortably sit.
The action wasn’t spectacular but I managed to catch two beautiful King River browns. My friend also had some good takes and was unlucky and not to convert his chances.
For me, a good trout from the King River is worth 10 from other, less complex waters. The trout I landed yesterday are my most satisfying of the whole season; albeit a season interrupted.
Well, there are a few weeks left before the season closes. If conditions are right, I will gladly get back in my car for what is a 7 hour round trip, just to spend a few more hours on this beautiful north-east Victorian River.