With trout opening just a week away, I thought I would run through some proven techniques for catching early season trout.
The rain over the past few months has been just what we needed here in Central Gippsland. Our local Strzelecki streams were looking very dismal at the end of the trout season and it didn’t look good for the spawning trout. Our prayers were answered, however, and good rains dramatically turned our mountain trickles into prime pristine mountain streams.
Morwell River and Traralgon Creek are the two most commonly fished creeks down our way, and both had some above average fish spawning in their headwaters over winter. These fish use a hell of a lot of energy spawning and lose a lot of condition, so when they finish doing their thing, there are ferociously hungry. Lucky for us trout anglers, this coincides with the first week of September.
Usually there is good flow at the start of September and if the August rains are any indication, this September should give us some good fishing water. This means we can use a wide range of soft plastics. There is no need to go to super finesse in presentation: the fish are hungry and will usually violently slam the plastics. Any plastic from 1-3 inches long will work fine.
Colours are a personal choice, but I find natural colours work best. If the water is still turbid and dirty, don’t be afraid to use black plastics as these stand out against the dark water. Jighead size is always dependant on the water speed and depth. If the plastic is washed downstream so fast it has no chance to submerge to a depth where the fish are, then a heavier jighead is needed. On the other hand if it sinks like a brick and snags up too often, a lighter jighead is needed.
The cast should be placed in front of or behind rocks and snags. The bank edges should be fished hard as well. Walking upstream stops you from spooking the trout so easily and is advantageous as trout face upstream not downstream.
There are plenty of bladed lures on the market. The most popular by far are Celtas, Vibrax spinners, Rooster Tails and Mapsos. They all work a treat, however our small Strzelecki streams are often better fished with smaller lures. This means that sizes 1 and 2 in these lures are very appropriate.
The exception is if a lot of water is coming down and the current is fast, when a size 3 may be the best option. Bigger rivers in our area such as the Thomson and Macalister, or even the Tanjil, can be far more accommodating to bigger bladed lures.
Bladed lures can be more versatile and can be fished either upstream or downstream.
There are a lot of new hardbodied lures on the market, so I’m not going to mention many. I’m simply going to say that minnow style hardbodies in 3-5cm are usually optimal for our small creeks. Obviously Rapalas are an old favourite, yet the new Japanese hardbodies that have flooded the market work a treat too.
The key when selecting a hardbodied lure to fish in small water is to choose one that does not dive too deep. For Strzelecki streams, a lure that dives to no more than 30cm deep is a pretty good choice.
Nymphs will work a treat in small creeks early in the season. Bead heads nymphs will probably be needed to keep the nymph on the bottom. Strike indicators can be very useful as they show you strikes from timid fish. This is not always needed in September, as the fish can be very ferocious. Hares ear and brown nymphs are exceptional for our waters.
Streamers such as Mrs. Simpsons and Tom Jones are great at trout opening too. Twitch them back fast when fished upstream, or even across and down if you find a bigger stretch of water.
There’s probably no point fishing the lower reaches of Central Gippsland streams, because many of the trout will still be coming down. Some trout may still be spawning and are well upstream. This means the mid and upper sections of the Strzelecki streams will be the best place to look for a trout.
I’m sorry there are no secret spots to give way, but if some of these tips are used, I’m positive some big trout can be caught in September. Good luck!
For more information on fishing Central Gippsland, contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on 03 5174 8544.
Small soft plastics are a great option for tempting early season trout. This one took a 3” Berkley Power Minnow in the emerald shiner colour.Reads: 1230