Fishing Trip Report – King River, Victoria High Country

Back in December last year we decided to do a trip on one of our favourite rivers, the King. This is a great river to fish for fishermen of all skills levels, and especially good for people starting out with backcountry fishing. Unless you are going to hike the whole backcountry section of the King you are going to be hiking back down the river to get back to your vehicle, this can be good as it does give the option of choosing how far you want to hike upstream, depending on variables like your fitness, the weather, time frame etc.


The King is a picturesque river, starting as a nice little freestone stream in the mountains behind Mt Stirling, it travels its way north out of the high country through the King Valley and into the Ovens River at Wangaratta. It has been dammed near cheshunt, for use as a town water supply, which is known as Lake William Hovell.
Our trip started at Top crossing hut in the Alpine National Park, which is accessed from the north via cheshunt, and from here there is about 24km of river which can be explored and fished before the next tracks cut the river up near pineapple flats.

The King is a beautiful river with long deep runs and a good variety of large and small pools plus all the good bits in between. It runs through beautiful bush which makes the hiking and fishing even more appealing to us.


Best time to visit the king would be November through to February. We have found that later in the season when the flow slows a bit the water temperature can get a bit warm and fish become lethargic and very spooky in the clear water. But too early can result in a river which is flowing too fast to wade and that makes hiking up stream extremely difficult.



Our Trip last December was perfect, the river was at a great height and temperature and the weather was perfect. We had decided to go for a one night hike, so we left Top Crossing Hut on the Friday Morning and started hiking. We fished and hiked our way up the river for about 6km where we decided we would camp for the night. We had a late lunch and then continued to fish upstream without the weight of our packs for another 1km until about 30mins before dark, when we high tailed it back to camp before it got too dark.

Fishing during the day was great, with plenty of smaller fish caught on dry fly’s and a few also on the nymph droppers which we decided to run to help increase our catch rate. We found that generalist dries like the Royal Stimulator and Royal Wulff worked fine along with any weighted beadhead nymph suspended up to 1m below.



While we encountered plenty of fish during the day, we found that the last few hours of light gave us the best results, with most large deep pools having good size rising fish. Half the challenge was figuring out what the fish were rising for, and after a bit of investigation we found large numbers of little black ants coming down the river. With no little ant patterns in our fly boxes, we went for the closest thing we had which was a small black dun in size 18. After about a dozen casts to the rising fish one of them finally took my fly and I was met with that great feeling of a solid fish on the end of my rod. I didn’t want to rush this fish as I new it was going to be a personal best for me, so 5 minutes later we netted a nice 3 pound brown trout.


After we took some photos and released the brown we noticed fish still rising in this large deep pool, so I was now Ben’s turn to try and hook one, again after about 15 casts he managed to also hook a good size fish, but unfortunately it was lost right at the net. We then headed back to camp, cook dinner and relax for the night.


The next morning we rose to another day of beautiful weather, and packed up camp after breakfast. Since we only had limited time for the day we decided to hike straight back up to where we finished fishing the previous evening, and start from there. We fished upstream for a few hours encountering more of this great river until we decided we had a big walk ahead of us to get back to the vehicle. So off we headed back downstream the 8km we had travelled to the vehicle and then regrettably back home.


The King is a easy river to fish and we have met plenty of lure fisho’s who also have had great results from the river. So next time you are out that way check it out, or plan a few days off to hike and explore this amazing river.

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Published on: November 22, 2010

Filled Under: REPORTS

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17 Responses to Fishing Trip Report – King River, Victoria High Country

  1.' Rob says:

    Great article, wish I had of come on that fishing trip. The pictures and the video look amazing. Nice work on matching the food source it look like it payed off! Love the underwater shots of the fish you will have post a few more videos like that!

  2.' Bruce Pipkorn says:

    Good work fellas with the website and the story (King River), loved it! I’m super keen to do such a trip (it’ll be a first) and now I’m even more motivated. Well done and thanks. Bruce

    • Darren says:

      Gday Bruce, thanks for the comment. Glad to hear we have given you some motivation to do a trip up the King, it is a great river and you will thoroughly enjoy it. Let me know if you need any more info on the trip etc, and keep us posted as to how you went.

  3.' Malcolm Robertson says:

    I did a bit of deer hunting in that area many years ago. In fact I drowned a nissian patrol in the king river just near the hut. It’s a great spot.

  4.' Chris says:

    Looks amazing! Huge fish caught by Darren. Is it safe to pitch a tent that close to the river?

    • Darren says:

      It is such a great river to fish, and that style of river would not rise very quickly with heavy rain, so we felt we were ok with the tent. cheers

      •' Todd says:

        Dude! That tent is way too close to the river. You say the river ‘wouldn’t rise quickly’ – what about when you wake up to find the tent surrounded by water!

        I’ve spent a lot of time camping on rivers and always put myself higher than that, and always put a stick in when i set up camp to monitor the flow.

        Thats nuts. You guys are hardcore.

        • Darren says:

          I guess we were very confident with what the weather was doing on that particular trip, normal circumstances we wouldn’t camp that close to the water but we didnt have too many options along that stretch of water. Lucky I am a very light sleeper!

  5.' Max says:

    Did you blokes hike into top crossing on the friday morning, or drive a 4wd? I only have a 2wd and am planning a trip similar to yours, but apparently its mostly 4wd trails up to sandy flat?
    Am considering that I may have to drive to lake WH then hike it all the way up the river.

    • Darren says:

      Gday Max, Yeah when we go up there we drive all the way to top crossing hut. There are a few river crossings on the way and is definately 4wd only. The walk in from LWH would be a long one, but well worth it. Yeah a 2wd wouldnt get too far past the LWH park area. Otherwise a Pushbike would be a good alternative too, to get you up to the hut at least. There is also some good fishing from LWH up to the hut too if all else fails. cheers

  6.' Andrew says:

    hey guys im heading up to cheshunt in a couple of weeks is there muck fishing below LWH as its a family trip and will only have a few hours here and there to explore.

    • Darren says:

      Gday Andrew, I have only fished below Lake William Hovell just once, and it was only a few km down from the dam wall. Yes we did have some success that day, and found quite a few average trout in the river. So it is definately worth a fish down there. Let us know how you go.



  7.' Sam says:

    Can you fish there during winter or would it be to cold and snowy say june?

    • Darren says:

      Gday mate, Victoria has regulations for trout and Salmon which we need to follow. This year the closed season for trout starts on 11th June, and then re-opens on the 31st of August. So in that period we cannot fish for trout in majority of Victorian streams and rivers. Check out the DPI website for more info. If you were fishing before the closed season, then chances are most rivers are starting to run too cold and too high to fish. Of course there are exceptions to the rules, and some years we have been able to fish the last day of the season with no problems. Depends on weather and which river etc. Hope the info helps. Cheers

  8.' aaron mcandrew says:

    havnt got my hands on a map for the king river area yet but was wondering how many km approx of river would there be between top crossing hut and pinapple flat camp ground ?? would it be able to be done comfortably in 4 – 5 days allowing for more fishing than hikeing ?

  9.' aaron mcandrew says:

    was also wondering what gear your using for videos and photoes ?

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