April a perfect opportunity
  |  First Published: April 2012

April presents a perfect opportunity to take the kids out fishing over the school holidays in the West Gippsland region.

This month is one of the best times of the year to fish for stream trout as both brown and rainbow trout are actively feeding to build up condition before they start heading upstream to spawn. This means they’ll go ballistic for basic baits like garden worms presented on a small size 4 or 6 hook either fished under a float or off the bottom of the streambed in the slower flowing pools or drifted in moving water.

There are some picturesque clean rivers flowing only an hour and half from the heart of Melbourne so if you live in the outer eastern suburbs you’re probably already half way there!

With daylight savings over, the fishing pressure of these streams is lifted, so more and more trout feel comfortable cruising around for a feed. For the weekend angler and families looking at wetting a line, the streams around the Drouin, Neerim and Noojee districts will play host to a lot of good pan-sized fish. Remember to only keep what you need and release what you don’t. Unfortunately these rivers are not stocked, so this region relies heavily on natural spawning stocks. The bigger the fish the more eggs it can lay come spawning season so keep this in mind when deciding what fish to take home for the plate.

The local council have over the last few years spent a lot of money on improving recreational facilities along some of our key rivers in the district and are ideal destinations for a day out whether you are from Melbourne or you are a local. Starting closer to Melbourne; Picnic Point is on the Old Princes Highway in Drouin West and is situated alongside the Tarago River.

Some great fishing is to be had here with a big 1.5kg brown trout caught here only months ago on dusk. There is a deep hole perfect for bottom or float fishing and upstream from the hole are a number of good runs ideal for casting a lure, drifting bait or practicing your fly casting. Picnic Point has a large rotunda and free BBQ facility, toilets and a playground which is good backup if the fish aren’t biting on the day.

Fisher Road Reserve is upstream from Picnic Point, also on the Tarago River. Fisher Road is opposite the Robin Hood Hotel in Drouin West. This reserve features a fish ladder which was installed a couple of years ago between two deep holes suitable for bottom or float fishing.

Downstream of the fish ladder is a section of river which can either be fished from the bank or waded. Popular with beginner anglers, this stretch of river once again suits the lure, bait or fly angler and holds a lot of good fish, especially this time of the year. There are no toilets or BBQs here but there are picnic tables and a small rotunda.

Rokeby Reserve is a reserve I only learnt about recently but is ideally situated on a great stretch of the Tarago River. Blink and you’ll miss the entrance and there is no car parking at the reserve, which is located just outside the township of Rokeby on Brandy Creek Road. Park the car up the top and it is a short walk down to the river where there are some picnic tables and a nice grassed area. Drifting baits, casting lures or nymphing with a short fly rod are the preferred options.

Latrobe River Reserve is in Noojee and spreads itself for quite some distance along the Latrobe River offering great fishing access. The main picnic ground is off Loch Valley Road just up from the shops in town. There is a large rotunda with free BBQ’s, toilets and a playground. Upstream from here, there is another stretch of picnic tables off McCarthy Spur Road and offers great access to pull the car up alongside the river.

The fishing here is at its best in autumn with plenty of trout moving about feeding. Baits, lures and fly are all successful techniques and this stretch of river suits both bank anglers and those who want to slip on a pair of waders.

Those anglers keen on flicking out a few lures over the coming months will find the most productive lures are your spinner bladed lures, floating minnow-styled hardbodied lure or soft plastic wriggler tails. The perfect size lure should be 5cm or less in these streams and colour is no match for action. These aggressive trout will smash anything that resembles the movement of a small fish or aquatic invertebrate.

Feel free to send me a report or photo and happy to answer any questions too. Happy fishing!

The author with a nice evening stream trout caught and released on worms fished off the bottom in a deep pool at Fisher Road Reserve.

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