I've been hanging out for September, the start of spring and more importantly the opening of trout season, since it closed way back in June.
It has certainly been an old school winter, reminiscent of 10 years ago: wet, wild, windy and cold.
It will be good to see the clouds start to break up and the odd ray of sunshine warming the earth again. The wattle trees are all in full bloom and the sleepy post-spawn trout are ready to feast on the abundance of food available as spring brings the Otways back to life.
We are lucky in this part of Victoria as both the Aire and Ford rivers remain open year round to trout fishing below the Great Ocean Road bridges and along with the West Barwon Reservoir we have some great fishing opportunities leading up to the opening of trout season on the first weekend in September.
I have visited the Aire and Ford systems recently with good numbers of trout taking my lures but have noticed that the average size is down on previous years. With a 1-1.5kg trout being an average fish in these waterways I have struggled to land anything bigger than 500g in the past few trips.
This doesn't mean that the big fish have gone and I'm sure once the whitebait run starts later in the month that some big fat silver bullets will uncover themselves and make some lucky anglers very happy.
Casting 3" soft plastics has been working well for me in the high flows but as the water starts to drop I will resort back to small hardbodied lures such as Eco Gear SX40's or Rapala 5cm which are both proven performers in these waters.
Walking the banks and flicking a lure along the reedy edges in anticipation of the next aggressive strike is one of fishing's finest moments, if you have never fished these rivers then clear your schedule for September and come and enjoy the thrill of chasing the Otway's wild brown trout in the spring time.
As mentioned earlier the West Barwon Reservoir also produces some great action and according to local angler Andrew Orchard the stocked rainbow trout are feeding vigorously along the main rock wall. Winged lures such as Tassie Devil or long slender lures like the Ecogear MW62 work well in this water supply on both rainbow and brown trout.
The best fishing here is had after heavy rainfall as the water level rises and floods new ground. The spring rains are perfect for this as the ground is already wet and it doesn’t take much rain to raise the level of the reservoir.
Walking the banks and fishing over the freshly covered ground should see you encounter some nice sized trout with 1.5kg fish being common and 3kg a possibility.
As anglers across the state are getting ready for trout season, things are already well underway in the Otways.Reads: 2486