February fish frenzy
  |  First Published: February 2008

All rivers in West and South Gippsland are firing, with steady reports of aggressively feeding browns, and the odd rainbow, taking anything thrown at them. The heavy rains in mid-December only added fuel to the fire, the good flows combining with plenty of insect activity to set up a fish feeding frenzy in the New Year.

All techniques are working well, but hard-bodied lures and bladed spinners are certainly amongst the angler’s most effective weapons. Strong winds have meant fly anglers really need to choose their day. No trout will be able to resist a juicy worm or grasshopper, so live baits are worth a try too.

I fished a good length of the Toorongo River over a couple of evenings in summer, using an Original CD3 Rapala and a Juro Strike Pro Minnow hard-bodied lure, and caught and released well over 40 healthy brown trout between 300-700g. I also dropped some real beauties that would have been close to 1kg, or just over. Every river bend, hole or rapid had a fish ready and waiting to hit the lure.

After conquering the Toorongo I decided to try somewhere different. I fished the section of the Tarago River where it flows into the Bunyip River, and just by observing the size of the trout from high up on the river bank, I knew I was going to be in for a bit of fun. So much so, that I have since been back three times!

The bank of the river here is about 10m high in some spots, making it a very difficult and somewhat dangerous exercise to wet a line. The rewards, however, are some big browns of well over 1kg, and with all the structure and timber around it provides exciting fishing. Once again I was using a hard-bodied lure, but any technique would be productive, and waders would allow you to target some of those hard-to-get-to spots.

In other reports, Karl Sabott caught and released 10 browns, all in an hour, on a green Celta spinner fished in the Loch River. A couple of those fish were around 700g, with the rest being less than 500g.

Scott Emslie and Dwayne Needham from Warragul hunted trout in some of the deeper holes in the Tanjil River, and were rewarded with three very healthy 600-900g browns. They used a small hook baited with a grasshopper, and added a small split shot above the hook.

Crayfish are still around and blackfish are an alternative if you want to chase something different. On my Tarago trip, I spotted three schools of what I believe were the protected Australian Grayling, which is a positive sign for this migratory fish.

With the hot weather over summer, Noojee is the perfect spot to bring the family and cool off in the rivers, and provides the perfect excuse to drop a line in.

Feel free to email me any local fishing reports, questions or photos.

This nice brown didn’t hesitate to snatch a Juro Strike Pro Minnow in the Toorongo River.

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