Frisky end to the trout season
  |  First Published: June 2011

Another trout season draws to an end with just under half a month left to chase a stream brown or rainbow trout.

The trout season closes on midnight Monday the 13th of June and doesn’t reopen till midnight Friday the 2nd of September.

As the weather has been wet and cold leading up to the closure of the season, it would be difficult but not impossible to catch a spawning trout now, as most fish will shift their focus from feeding to spawning. The cold weather means icy waters that are ideal for trout moving upstream to their favourite spawning grounds.

If you have the chance, walking a stream bank minus the fishing rod can be just as fun when you stumble upon a spawning ground. In past years, I often sneak up to a secret spawning spot which is not so secret when you hear from a distance the splashing and carrying on by these frisky fish. Observing their behaviours and seeing the size of some of the stream trout does get you excited for the season ahead.

So the question is; how do you catch a stream trout when their mindset is spawning? I’ve found in the past the most successful method is back to basics with an unweighted scrub worm or 3-4 garden worms on a size 6 or 8 black baitholder hook with only a little bit of barb showing drifted downstream whilst you hide in a well camouflaged spot.

Spotting the trout is vital, as they won’t be found in their usual trout feeding zones, so approach the stream carefully and lay low behind vegetation. Having the sun in front of you is also very important so that you are not casting a shadow over the water. Wearing polarised with brown lenses is helpful but not necessary.

The water in most rivers is very clear at the moment and generally spawning trout are found in shallow water anyway. Trout preparing to spawn or at least playing around a spawning ground tend to feed off the bottom so surface or floating baits and lures tend not to be as successful. A wet fly or beaded nymph would work better over a dry fly and any live baits slowly drifted along the bottom work best. Trout are also not as aggressive, which makes it hard when trying to lure them to a hardbodied, soft plastic or spinner-bladed lure.

When out and about over the next couple of weeks, particularly if you are around the Tarago, Toorongo, Latrobe, Tanjil, Bunyip and Loch rivers, be on the look out for foul play. At this time of the year, people with no respect for our fisheries come out with guns, nets and spears to catch these spawning trout. The biggest shame is that these fish taken mean less offspring for future years of stream fishing in this region and it is extremely frustrating to hear some of the stories and behaviour that goes on to catch these fish.

Never approach these people but simply call 13 FISH (13 34 74) and take down registration plates or whatever possible identification you can obtain.

Netting is often the worst offender as it destroys the biodiversity in the river, wrecking vegetation and as many as 5 platypus have been found dead in nets in the last 18 months in the West Gippsland region.

Opera house nets, stake nets and drive-in nets are generally to blame for platypus death as they swim in and are not able to get out. There are a range of nets that have been used in these illegal operations and if you ever come across netting, please retrieve from the water, rip up and leave well away from the water’s edge. Ultimately putting it in the garbage is the best thing, but obviously impractical when out and about.

Feel free to send me a report or photo particularly if you have any success stories just before the closure of the trout season or if you have been targeting eel and blackfish. Please email me any questions too. Happy fishing!

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