April fool a Gippsland trout
  |  First Published: April 2008

April is set to be an exciting month as the fishing is really heating up around Neerim and Noojee. You’d be an April fool to miss out on the fishing in this region, with so many reports of good-sized brown trout, the odd rainbow, blackfish and big crays.

Water levels across West and South Gippsland have dropped slightly over the summer, reducing the flow on the runs and rapids – but there are still plenty of great deeper pools worth wetting a line in.

Grasshoppers are proving to be reliable bait. They can be drifted down a run, or suspended under a float in a slow moving run or deeper pool. Use a size 6-8 baitholder hook with either technique. Put two or three small grasshoppers on a hook or, if you are lucky enough to catch one, one yellow-winged locust will do the trick.

Flyfishing is one of the most productive methods through the summer and early autumn due to the increased insect activity around dawn and dusk. Take a range of flies with you, and choose the ones that best imitate local insects. Certainly anything resembling a grasshopper, fly or nymph with red or yellow in it will attract a nice stream trout.

Martin Auldist and I fished the Toorongo River one sunny afternoon in February. Martin used a Humpy dry fly while I went for a Rapala F5 Floating Minnow in a redfin colour. The river was full of trout of 100-500g, which provided a good chance to test different techniques and methods. Martin was wading upstream whereas I was casting from the bank.

Although I attracted a great deal of interest with the Rapala, I was unable to get any of the many trout that followed the lure to attack it with any conviction. As we were fishing late afternoon, the sun was still high and my shadow was often cast over the river, spooking the fish. At this time of the day, trout can also be very wary of lures.

Martin on the other hand, caught three brown trout of 200-300g, plus two smaller ones of around 100g, all within a 40m stretch of river. Waders were an advantage, and the Humpy fly was certainly the success of the afternoon.

As the sun fell, we tried the Loch River without success. I did, however, have a number of hits on the Rapala from quality stream trout ranging 600-700g.

Darren Bishop from Bisho’s Bait & Tackle in Warragul reports that Ray Throup has had a lot of luck flyfishing in the west branch of the Tanjil River. Ray has hooked into numerous brown trout of 400-700g. He reports the east branch is also fishing extremely well.

Nick Iwanov and Rob Embury from Melbourne fished the Tarago River above the Tarago Reservoir using small Celta spinners and Gillies Hopper spinners, catching and releasing eight browns of 200-400g, and keeping two around 600g. They were also fortunate enough to come across three prehistoric-looking spiny freshwater crayfish. These were caught and measured before being released back to the river. Carapace lengths ranged between 8-13cm.

Most local streams are producing plentiful numbers of brown trout along with the odd rainbow. Most techniques are successful too, although be aware that the flows have reduced, so heavier spinners and lures will be hard to use in shallow waters.

With winter quickly approaching and the water getting cooler, freshwater crays will start burrowing later in the month, yet blackfish and trout will become more aggressive due to shortened daylight hours.

Good luck and feel free to email me any reports or photos.

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