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Make the most of May
  |  First Published: May 2008



It’s amazing how the weather can turn around in one week. It is safe to say that the sun and warmth have gone for now and winter is settling in for this year. Anglers have two options – settle down in front of the fireplace at home reading your favourite fishing mag (VFM), or get down to West Gippsland and try your luck on the May trout.

May is an exciting month fishing for trout. Icy rains dramatically drop the water temperature in the rivers and streams, which sees an increase in trout activity. More feed is brought into the tributaries from rainfall run-off in the hills. Big trout will also start emerging from the hard-to-reach holes along the streams as they gear up for the breeding season.

So why would you stay at home? Put on your thermals, waders, gloves and a beanie, re-spool the reel, fill up the fishing vest with a range of gear and spend a great day’s fishing amongst some terrific scenery not far out of Melbourne.

Whatever your speciality, whether you are a lure, bait or fly angler, any technique is worth a go.

Use hard-bodied lures like an F3 Floating Rapala or Juro Strike Pro Minnow in shallow pools. To get more depth in the deeper pools, use a CD3 Countdown Rapala or a 5g Gillies Hopper or Spinna. In these streams, colour isn’t as important as lure action. Don’t use a snap-swivel but tie the line straight to the eye of the lure, leaving a small loop so the knot isn’t tight against the eye. This greatly improves the action.

Drifting live baits like worms and maggots, or Powerbaits and even soft plastics, will work a treat with fast flowing water. Allow your offering to drift downstream and enter a rapid, which opens out into a pool. This is usually where a hungry May trout is sitting.

The beauty about May for fly anglers is that trout will hit a wide range of dry flies. Flies like the Royal Wulff or Green Humpy are sure-fire winners. Using waders, sneak up to a pool and cast the fly upstream, letting it float back towards you. Using a dry fly allows you to easily spot a strike.

Using wet flies and nymphs for trout is a little trickier as it is harder to tell a strike. Nevertheless, patterns like the Black Matuka or Prince Nymph are productive. Place a highly visible indicator above the nymph to aid you with spotting a strike.

The lead up to May has provided some exciting stream fishing. Only the other day I landed a decent blackfish on an F5 Floating Rapala in a redfin pattern. This time last year, I struggled to even get a sniff from a blackfish.

I do, however, have one little gripe for this month. I have heard many reports from fellow anglers of rubbish being left behind at popular fishing spots. I urge the culprits to please take their litter home. It looks ugly and spoils it for the rest of us.

Just a reminder that the river trout season closes at midnight on Monday, June 9 – so make the most of May.

Please email me any reports or photos or feel free to ask me any questions.

The author with a small brown trout caught (and released) on a F5 Rapala in redfin pattern. These small browns are great fun on light gear, but expect some better fish to be around in May.

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