New Zealand in NE Victoria?

Kiewa River

Well maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but for a few hours today, Max and I could have been excused for thinking we were fishing out of Murchison rather than Mt Beauty. We were on the Kiewa, a river I’ve always loved but which hasn’t always loved me back. At its best, this stream provides several chances a day at genuine 2 pound plus fish. At its worst, such as when it’s too high (as a tailwater, this is unpredictable) or when a silt slug comes down the East Kiewa (again, unpredictable) the Kiewa is a disappointment.

Almost like New Zealand.

Not today. Under a blue autumn sky with giant Mt Bogong keeping watch at the head of the valley, the Kiewa was a crystal-clear river of dreams. I could count the stones in ten feet of water, and with enough patience and belief, polaroid two to three pound browns holding in the current. These fish weren’t particularly ravenous, but make them an offer right on line with a small bead-head nymph like a Cadillac or Green Drake – or better yet, a Kossie Dun dry – and they might eat. If there’s anything better in fishing than spotting a 20 inch brown in half a metre of sunlit gin, then having it drift back a rod length before slowly sticking its top jaw out of the water to engulf a size 10 dry, I want to know about it.

A sighted Kiewa brown on the Kossie.

Today was the highlight of the last few days in the valleys around Bright and Myrtleford. This was a mixed autumn mission for cod and trout. We blanked on the cod, despite seemingly ideal conditions on the mid Ovens and lower Buffalo. I had one decent chance and two half chances, but no pics to show except for near-perfect spots and river conditions.

Cod heaven on the Ovens, but seems we weren’t good enough.

The trout part went better. While today was a highlight, the Ovens earlier, above Bright, was great fun – near perfect height and very clear, while the upper Buffalo probably deserved more than our somewhat rushed visit (blame first stop impatience).

Upper Buffalo.

The theme on both rivers was that it was worth having a dry like a small Royal Wulff above a dark nymph (size 16), with the nymph catching most fish, but the dry attracting enough interest to keep it on.

Ovens trout water.

Given the warm, settled weather, Max and I were surprised we didn’t see more trout eat off the top – either our dries or naturals. Still, when you have to stop and think to work out how many trout you’ve caught in a session, catching the majority on a nymph is just fine.

Ovens rainbow.

With the upcoming Easter/ Anzac Day ‘super’ long weekend looming, there will soon be lots of people around the north-east and no doubt quite a few on the rivers. The usual holiday weekend issue of finding spots to yourself will apply, but at least I can vouch for the fact that there is currently a lot of good water to go around.