Trout time!
  |  First Published: June 2008

The start of winter can often be seen as a time to pack away the fishing gear – but there are still plenty of things to keep keen anglers motivated during the cooler months of the year.

Winter is peak trout time here in the southwest and fortunately some local trout waters remain open all year as they are classed as sea run fisheries by the DPI. Currently the local rivers that remain open during the normally closed trout season include Merri River downstream of the weir, Hopkins River downstream of the falls, Moyne River downstream of Toolong Bridge and Gellibrand River downstream of the Great Ocean Road Bridge. This provides anglers with some fantastic opportunities to target trout during favourable seasonal conditions.

In winter the likelihood of capturing a quality trout is higher than in the warmer months. Anyway, what other type of fishing works best on the coldest, wettest, windiest days of winter? If this sort of day ruins your planned estuary, surf or boat fishing options, having a trout rod packed can still put you in with the chance of catching a fish, and a quality one at that. Good trout to 2kg have already been captured by anglers fishing the Hopkins and Mt Emu Creek. I haven’t heard much from the lower Merri, but it will fire with some good rain.

A few good rain events should also help reopen the mouth of the Hopkins River, which has been closed recently. The river coped fairly well, and produced plenty of full bags during the recent Vic Bream Classic, even if the average size of the fish was a little down. Metal vibe lures were definitely the go to lure of the weekend. The bream lure scene is truly a lure manufacturers delight, as it seems every year the fickle bream decide that they’ll have a crack at something new. Atomic grubs, then Bass minnows, then Gulp minnows and camo worms, SX-40 hard-bodied lures, and various Japanese hard-bodied lures have all had their time in the sun. Now it seems metal vibes are King, at least for the next few months. Last winter we were catching good bream on more traditional plastic-bodied vibes, so winter might be a good time to get out and try a new technique.

After being overshadowed by the Hopkins for a few months, the Curdies has started to produce some quality bream. Good fish are being taken in all locations upstream of Boggy Creek, as well as down towards the lake entrance.

In May the tuna were still well west and well wide of here, but it’s still great to be able to make a quick trip to Portland or Port MacDonnell if you are looking for a bluefin or albacore fix. June was traditionally a good time to be out targeting SBT before the extended runs of the last few years. Winter is also the time to break out the surf gear and chase Australian salmon. East Beach at Port Fairy and Levis Beach at Warrnambool are two well-known and reliable locations at this time of year.

Quality trout like this can brighten a cold winter’s day.

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