Rivers glisten rainbow and brown
  |  First Published: October 2012

The trout season is now in full swing, but this relentless rain and gloomy weather doesn’t exactly welcome us in to the great outdoors. But with those few beautiful days we do get, the streams of West Gippsland are ever so inviting as the slight tannin waters of the Latrobe, Loch, Toorongo, Tarago and Bunyip Rivers glistens gold; we hope brown and rainbow too!

August and September are always known in this region as the wet and windy months with the occasional break in weather revealing calm blue skies and crisp air. Thankfully October is much kinder to us and the further we delve into the month, the warmer and calmer the weather gets.

I recall over the last few years, the last two weeks in October have always been pretty spectacular and this really has to be the most enjoyable time in spring to wet a line in these streams.

With spring comes new growth in the forests and farmland that brings new life. In the evenings on a warm day you’ll notice an abundance of insect hatchings and the stream pools and slow runs come alive as brown and rainbow trout sip the insects that fall on to the water’s surface.

Sight fishing is a popular element of stream trout fishing and when the trout are feeding like this, sneaking up within casting distance or dropping a fly in a trout’s feeding path becomes quite intense and exciting. The nerves build when you land that perfect cast and as you retrieve slowly a sudden strike on the bait, lure or fly really gets that adrenalin pumping. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 200g rainbow or a 600g brown trout, the excitement is all the same.

There are numerous techniques to catching stream trout regardless of your age or skill level. The beauty is that the basic elements of one technique often lead into another technique.

Learning how to drift a bait and read the stream may lead you to pick up a fly rod and drift a dry fly in the same manner. Casting a spinnerblade lure into a shallow pool is a similar technique to casting a hardbodied minnow style lure. Each technique can progress into another, or you can just have fun exploring different bodies of water using the same trusted technique.

Each technique may take a little practice but trout thankfully can be quite forgiving so a day practising out on a stream can be very rewarding.

The common techniques anglers use for stream trout include drifting baits downstream, like garden worms, scrub worms or maggots. The rig is simple: use a size 4 or 6 baitholder hook and add a split shot above the hook for some extra weight to help with casting or if the stream flow is strong to help the bait sit lower in the water.

Bottom fishing for trout can be done in slow deep water using livebaits or artificial scent baits on a size 4 or 6 baitholder hook and a running sinker held 30-40cm above the hook.

Lure casting is also a popular technique and there are a huge amount of styles, shapes and colours on the market to suit everyone’s taste. Trout on the other hand aren’t so picky but you can’t go wrong with small spinnerblade lures, floating hardbodied minnow style lures or soft plastics, like grubs or worms threaded on to a light jighead.

Colour is not as important as the action. Trout are very quick to strike on a lure if they like the way it moves in the water, so choose something that vibrates, spins, flutters or wriggles. To intensify the action of a lure, don’t hesitate to move or flick the rod about and vary the speed erratically as you retrieve a lure or soft plastic.

Fly fishing is another popular technique requiring a lot of practice, skill and finesse yet is a very satisfying sport. Drifting or flicking a beaded nymph in fast flowing waters following winter is the best option at this time of the year. However, as the streams start to slow down in the warmer months, dry flies cast on to the water’s surface is an exciting way to hook in to some stream trout action.

Stay tuned for more details on the Fly Fish Baw Baw event being held from the 23-25 November. The event is specially organised to promote fly fishing 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 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. More details will follow or check out www.flyfishbawbaw.com.au.

A reminder that the river blackfish season is closed now and will re-open on the 1 January 2013. If you do accidently catch a blackfish while targeting trout, release it back carefully and 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!

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