Lake Mokoan started life in 1971 with the flooding of the Winton Swamp, and quickly became a top notch redfin fishery in the late 70's and early 80's. Huge catches of quality reddies were common during these boom years, and it seemed that this species would dominate the fishing in the lake for many years.
Today those catches are just a memory, but with the decline of the redfin came the emergence of one of Victoria's most promising native fisheries, when the department began stocking of yellowbelly (1988) and Murray cod (1989). My first taste of the promise of things to come came in 1994 at the pumphouse with some great yellas one morning on earthworms. It didn't take long for the word to get around that the yellowbelly had established themselves, and soon anglers from far and wide were descending on Mokoan. Fisheries officers have had to battle some unsavory practices at Mokoan, such as huge setlines and anglers pleading ignorance, but despite this and the unprotected status of yellowbelly, the fishing remains good. Some great murray cod turned up earlier this year. These fish had attained weights of 20+ pounds, and the future for this species looks very bright indeed. Around christmas 1999 cod of 6, 9, 13 and 17 kilograms were landed, with the seventeen kilo fish falling to a trolled stumpjumper. With 20,000 cod yearlings released in January 2000, the best is yet to come. The biggest problem facing Mokoan continues to be the massive outbreaks of blue-green algae that now seem to plague the lake at regular intervals. As can be seen from the above photo, the lake has a lot of standing and submerged timber, and is a fairly shallow basin surrounded by open undulating grazing land. This makes for hazardous boating conditions when the wind arrives, and anglers should take extreme care as lives have been lost in the past.
Target Species: Yellowbelly, Murray Cod. Occasional redfin and abundant European Carp are also present.
Best Methods: For yellowbelly, bait fishing is the most popular and productive. Mokoan no longer has the water clarity to make lure fishing a preferred option, but as mentioned above, do not dismiss lure fishing completely. Best baits include shrimp, earthworms, scrubworms and yabbies. Redfin and carp will also take these baits. Murray Cod will respond to the above baits and the ever reliable bardie grub.
Hot Spots: Shore based anglers will find that a lot of the shoreline is shallow and snaggy. While fish are present all over the lake, some productive and deeper water can be found near the caravan park, the boat ramp reserve and the pump house south of the boat ramp. Shore based access is basically restricted to the western side of the lake. Some good fishing can also be had in the outlet channel at times. Boat anglers can explore the many stands of dead timber in the lake. There is an island towards the eastern shore from the boat ramp that is also worth a look.
Best Times: Mokoan fishes best during the spring months, and although fish can be caught throughout the day, early morning and evening fishing seems to be the most productive.
Getting There: From Melbourne, follow the Hume Highway past Benalla and follow the signs to Mokoan. From Albury, travel south on the Hume Highway and through Wangaratta. At South Wangaratta take the old highway to Glenrowan and turn right at the Taminick Gap road.