Perfect conditions for the season opener
  |  First Published: September 2012

September is an exciting month for all stream trout anglers as we see the season re-open on the first weekend of the month.

Whether you are a fly, lure or bait angler you can’t hep but get excited by this year’s conditions and the prospects of hooking into some fantastic stream trout action. The streams are flowing well, maybe a little harder than we’d like but nevertheless the water is clear and carrying an abundance of food for these hungry post-spawn trout.

Some rivers are carrying more natural stocks of rainbow trout than years gone by and brown trout are in good numbers in all streams in the West and South Gippsland region. Remember that these streams are not stocked with trout by Fisheries Victoria but instead rely only on trout naturally spawning in the winter months so it is good practice to catch and release trout to ensure we have this terrific fishery in the future that is so close to Melbourne.

Typically stream trout in this region grow up to 500g in the bigger streams and up to 300g in the smaller streams. Don’t be fooled by thinking that a small fish like this isn’t fun. Using light gear and fighting a trout away from snags and against stream flow is very exciting and somewhat addictive.

Early in the season there still may be some bigger specimens up to 1kg still swimming around our more popular fishing spots, but of course these big fish end up returning to those much harder to reach stretches of stream as we head into later spring.

Rainbow trout are commonly found in the Latrobe, Toorongo, Loch and Tanjil Rivers and offer a pleasant surprise and by-catch to its close relative the brown trout. More and more rainbow trout are being caught in the Tanjil River which would be linked to the annual rainbow trout stocking program at Blue Rock Lake which the Tanjil feeds. The Tanjil River offers some amazing fishing surrounded by forest with fast flowing rapids easing out to large deep pools. Tough waders are needed as you will be able to wade sections of the river but access to other fishing spots will have to be walked along the bank which sometimes means trekking through a bit of scrub.

The only 2WD access to the river is from the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road just below the township of Tanjil Bren or at Costins Road off the Hill End-Willow Grove Road. There are a number of 4WD access points also to the river but you will need to get your hands on a current forestry map with tracks and contours.

The other exciting thing in September is that we start to see insect hatches with those warm, gorgeous spring evenings. Fly anglers should have a range of fly options on hand to imitate September hatchings of a number of mayfly and caddis fly species as well as the black beetle which usually makes an appearance this time of the year. A brass-beaded black nymph is always popular amongst fly anglers in the early stages of spring when the water flows are still quite high.

It is early days but I thought I would flag an event coming up in this region which is happening on the 23rd to the 25th of November. The event, ‘Fly Fish Baw Baw’ is an event specially organised to promote flyfishing in Victoria and to encourage fly fishers to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities local rivers and streams have to offer in the Baw Baw region.

The event is being held at the Mt Baw Baw Resort and will feature structured activities both on and off the mountain that include an information night for visitors to get all the local knowledge from local anglers, fishing on local waters and an event trade fair with fly fishing identities, fly tying, family casting in purpose built ponds, local food and wine stalls and much more. The event will be conducted in partnership with Fisheries Victoria, Mt Baw Baw Resort, VRFish and Baw Baw Shire Council. Please stay tuned for more details as they arise.

A quick reminder that the river blackfish season has closed and will re-open on January 1 2013 so make sure if you accidently catch one whilst targeting trout to release it back immediately. Feel free to send me a report or photo particularly if you have any success stories early on in the trout opening. Please email me any questions for the upcoming stream trout season too. Happy fishing!

Corey ‘Softie’ Lewis, caught this nice Blue Rock trout on a Berkley 4” finesse worm with a weedless style jig set up at the Hill End/Tanjil Arm boat ramp. Corey described this fish as pretty hungry as it came back three times to strike before the being hooked up.

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