March into Trout Action
  |  First Published: March 2011

March is our last chance to get a decent fish in after work as daylight savings finishes up on April 3.

Stream fishing is at its best after a good summer providing plenty of insect hatches to fatten up the trout. By March the fish are fattened up nicely and only in a few months they’ll begin heading upstream to breed, so they are building up the energy reserves now.

This is an exciting time for trout anglers as many techniques work well including dry fly fishing and nymphing, casting hardbodied floating minnow style lures, spinner bladed lures, soft plastics and drifting live baits or fishing a bait on the bottom or under a float.

Fishing in the morning or late afternoon is most productive as the sun is yet to rise above the hills, thus not casting a your shadow over the water which spooks feeding trout. While this is true to some degree, don’t let it put you off fishing in the middle of the day. Just recently I fished the Toorongo River between midday and 3pm ignoring my own better judgement on a bright blue day when the temperature was about 34C.

Too hot to wear my waders, I walked the stream bank casting lures both upstream and downstream. Within 10 minutes I had caught and released my personal best brown trout for the Toorongo. I was sight fishing and saw it feeding in a slow run of water and the almost 1kg trout engulfed my Rapala F5. Soon after I was back into the action catching and releasing a good-sized rainbow trout caught on a Squidgy Wriggler.

By the end of the 3-hour session I had caught and released all of my 25+ brown and rainbow trout and I missed a heap more strikes, some were very nice fish! Most of the seven rainbow trout I caught were less than 100g, while all of the browns were good size between 300g and 1kg.

My technique varied from casting a Rapala F5 or Squidgy Wriggler and if I missed the strike, I’d change over to drifting a scrub worm or 3-4 garden worms to entice the fish back.

The Toorongo River is a must over March as well as downstream of the Tarago River around Drouin West. The Toorongo River is flowing beautifully with clean water and steady flow making it a joy to fish. Trout can be caught along the whole stretch from right up at the Toorongo Falls car park right down to the junction where it flows into the Latrobe River near the timber mill outside of Noojee.

The Tarago River downstream has copped plenty of flood action over the last nine months resulting in less angling pressure so expect to come across some very nice fish up to 1kg and beyond. Big fish don’t grow big because they’re dumb so be prepared to work hard for a big Tarago trout.

The Tanjil River, believe it or not, is still flowing hard and is making the fishing a little difficult, as it is hard to retrieve lures in powerful, fast flowing water. The water is very clear however and hopefully will be more fishable in the coming months. This is an exciting river to fish set amongst a beautiful backdrop of native bushland.

Freshwater spiny crayfish are also a great target species and good fun for the kids to catch. Meat tied to a line and dangled next to the stream bank is the best method and whether you keep or catch and release them, they are amazing creatures to look at.

This will be a great spot to take the family on the weekend and it’s right alongside the river so it’s perfect for teaching the kids how to fish within close watch of you cooking up a feast on the barbie.

Feel free to send me a report or photo particularly if you have any success stories over the summer holidays with the family and please email me any questions. Happy fishing!

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