Welcome to the Ovens River Fishing Guide. The Ovens River spans 191 kilometres passing through popular townships including Bright, Beechworth, Myrtleford and Wangaratta. Descending 405 meters from the Victorian Alps. The river in stretches provides terrific freshwater fishing for species such as trout and cod.
Things to do along the Ovens River
The river passes through popular tourist destinations including Mount Hotham, Mount Buffalo and falls creek. These areas are popular fir skiing in the cooler months and popular for hiking and cycling in the warmer months. There is also a great selection of wineries and adventure such as paragliding. The Ovens River is fun for water activities including swimming, tube floating, fishing and kayaking,
Surrounding townships such as bright are a popular destination for families. Bright offers hotels, camping, restaurants, cafes and crystal-clear waters in a scenic setting. Popular places to visit here include splash park and canyon walk. There is also horse riding or enjoying the native birds, fauna and wildlife. In the not too far distance is Mount Beauty. Further down is the township of Beechworth full of history around the famous Ned Kelly, as well as bakery and brewery.
Fishing the Ovens River
The ovens river spans 191 kilometres and the fishing can be quite varying throughout. There are shallow streams, running water and still deeper stretches making it an interesting river to fish. The River was undamaged by the fires in 2006 but as a result, suffered low water levels for some years. However, fish populations were left in good condition.
Trout cod have been stocked in this system near Wangaratta since 2016 and that slowly is providing some excellent fishing opportunities. As stocking programs continue so will the opportunities to catch trout cod.
Some of the stretches in Bright and above provides some of Victoria’s best trout fishing. Clear, flowing water provides a terrific habitat for many brown and rainbow trout, blackfish, redfin, and tench.
Further down near Myrtleford and Wangaratta through the pine plantations and farmlands you can catch Murray Cod, Yellow belly, redfin and carp. The lower reaches near Wangaratta can be fished by land or small boats. Targeting Murray cod by kayak is becoming a very poular form of fishing in this area. These stretches can be great to fish with big numbers of redfin and carp and prized catches of cod and golden perch.
The best baits include Scrub worms, Crickets, Power bait, Yabbies, Mudeye. We also recommend flicking a wide range of spinners, soft plastics & lures can be a great method of catching a prized reddie or trout. Why not read our guide on the best lures to catch redfin.
When targeting freshwater species such as trout and redfin we recommend fishing with a light spinning rod. This will make the experience more enjoyable and improve your catch rates. We suggest a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod. Coupled with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 size reel that’s been spooled with a decent quality braid between 4-8 pound. Then finished with roughly a rod length of a quality fluorocarbon leader.
If you plan to fish with bait from the banks then good options include yabbies, powerbait in bright colours, worms, maggots, live minnows and mudeye. Either on a light running sinker rig, paternoster rig or suspended from a float. We have seen many trout and perch caught using these baits and methods.
The Ovens River holds freshwater fish that will actively take lures and soft plastics. We recommend small curl tails, minnow imitations, and paddle tails. Both natural and bright colours work well rigged with jig heads from 1/18 through to 1/20 in weight. Where possible cast towards structure and slow roll with occasional hops and pauses for the retrieve.
Small shallow diving hard body lures are also very effective in this system. As are old favourites such as spinners and Tassie devils. Ideally in smaller sizes and nice bright colours. Metal lures and spoons are also an option. Allowing you to cast great distances and target slightly bigger fish. But they are quite heavy and very prone to snags. If your targeting golden perch then vibes, blades, spinnerbaits and lipless cranks are also a great option, slowly worked ideally close to structure such as submerged trees.
When targeting cod and yellow belly then some great lure choices would include lip-less crank-baits such as Jackall TN series, stump jumpers which can be cast or trolled, surface lures, vibes, spinnerbaits, bassman spinners, large grub style soft plastics in dark colours & Savage Gear swimbait. Cod also do take a liking to large surface lures, slowly worked along with structure. There are some weird and wonderful surface lures and swimbaits new to the market so get creative and mix up your retrieval technique.
If your site is set on catching a big cod then you’ll need to up your outfit. A 6 foot to 7 foot rod in a 4-8 kilo or 6-12 kilo class rod and a quality baitcaster reel spooled with 20 to 50 pound braid finished with a solid Fluro carbon leader of equal strength. There is a whole range of baitcaster options suiting different budgets. An affordable starting point would be a either a Savage Gear black savage bait caster rod and reel combo or a Shimano raider cod 642 with a Casitas baitcaster reel.
Then, of course, there are carp and plenty of them. If you plan on targeting carp from the banks then we would recommend using corn kernels, worms or bread as good bait options. Either on a basic running sinker rig or suspended from a float. It would also be wise to upgrade your fishing outfit to something a little heavier. Perhaps a 3-5 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 3000 size reel spooled with 8 pound line as a good starting point.
Ovens River known hazards
Stretches of the Ovens River contain venomous snakes so do take care.
Additions and corrections of this location
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