Trout on the March
  |  First Published: March 2008

Now is the perfect time of year to dust off the old flyrod and have a flick around in the streams and rivers of West and South Gippsland. As we come out of summer and into autumn, the wind is a lot calmer, making it less stressful to cast the fly. The sun is still out nice and high in the evening, leaving plenty of time to sneak in a few hours of fishing after work.

It was amazing to wander the banks of the Tarago and Toorongo Rivers in late January and spot so many trout patrolling their water looking for a feed. Quite a few fish were well over 1kg. At this time of year they are becoming a little bit more fussy about what they’ll go for, and I’m finding that live baits such as the humble garden worm, grasshoppers, maggots, mudeyes and cockchafers are very productive, as well as artificial flies. Hard-bodied lures, spinners and plastics also spark interest from the trout, but it can be a little difficult to turn follows into takes.

My dad, Mike Haughton, fished the Tanjil River with a handmade beaded wet fly courtesy of my little brother David. He caught and released four brown trout of around 400g, and a rainbow of 500g. All the fish were very healthy, perhaps due the regular rain this region has been receiving over the last six months.

Wally Ronalds has fished many of the local streams and rivers over the last month. He reports that both the east and west branches of the Tanjil River are fishing extremely well, producing nice browns and rainbows of around 800g. The Latrobe, Toorongo, Tarago and Bunyip rivers are also buzzing with activity. Trout are being caught on light-coloured dry flies, with many fish around 700g and some reaching 1kg. Fishing is best after sunset, and the smaller the fly, the better. Wally recommends downsizing to a size 14 hook and have a mix of dark and light flies on hand.

The key for the coming month is to be flexible and be prepared to try a number of techniques. Play around with the plastics, but if they’re not firing, then try a worm on a hook. The same goes for flyfishing – alternate between dark and light flies. There is without doubt some big trout to be caught in local streams so the outlook is exciting.

The streams of West Gippsland are small, but they are full of trout. This stream is the Loch River, which has been fishing well in the evenings.

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