Stream flows for the rest of summer are set to be ideal as a dry end to last year allowed streams and rivers to slow down after 18 months of solid rainfall and strong flows in the West and South Gippsland regions.
Gentler flows provide perfect conditions for many fly anglers keen on flicking a surface fly on the crystal clear waters over summer. Most evenings when the sun settles below the hills, various hatches of insects can be encountered over many of our tributaries. When the sun disappears but leaves plenty of daylight in the evening, trout feel safe to surface feed and this is the magic hour too for many anglers as they are less easy to spook and spot fishing intensifies the adrenalin when chasing a stream trout.
The Toorongo River just out of Noojee is a great starting point for any fly angler experiencing these streams for the first time. This stream is right up there as a brilliant trout fishery, featuring crystal clear water with countless feeding zones for stream trout and is easy to access from the Toorongo Falls Road. Wading is the best way to cover territory and there are plenty of clean and open stream banks allowing you to hop out of the river when the pools are too deep to wade. Fly patterns like the Royal Wulff and Humpy are popular and have some grasshopper patterns on hand if they start emerging, which tends to occur mid-summer.
The Fly Fish Baw Baw event was held in late November 2012 and on the open-fishing day on the Saturday, many fly anglers took to the Toorongo River to hone their skills on catching and releasing a classic West Gippsland stream trout. The river certainly turned it on for many, with an abundance of small 150-200g trout caught and released, making for an entertaining day. The event was a big success for the organisers with 60 plus attendees on the Friday and Saturday nights that included a workshop focusing on the future of fly fishing in Victoria.
Whilst this time of the year is prime time to wet a fly line, all the rivers and streams are fair game for bait and lure anglers too. As well as the Toorongo River, the Latrobe, Loch and Tanjil rivers around the Noojee district are fishing well. Heading closer to Melbourne, the Tarago and Bunyip Rivers provide hot fishing action through summer into autumn. Wading is best but many sections do present difficulties where you are forced to walk along the bank.
You must have your wits about you when strolling a stream bank in the long grass as this is often the place you’ll encounter a sunbaking snake, not to mention copping a mouth full of grass seed and cobwebs! The Lang Lang River is also fishing well with a number of decent sized redfin being caught in recent months under road bridge crossings, which happen to coincide with the limited accessibility to the water.
The most productive techniques for bait and lure anglers this summer will be drifting live baits like scrub worms or grasshoppers downstream into trout feeding zones. This technique is not too far different from lure fishing where you are constantly moving along the stream flicking baits until you get a strike. Allow the bait to be taken with the stream flow, therefore only a small split shot is required to aid with some casting weight. Lures to use include soft plastics like grubs, worms and wriggler tails, hardbodied floating minnow style lures and small spinner-bladed lures.
The blackfish season re-opens on the January 1 2013. Feel free to email me reports, photos or questions. Remember that the bass fishing should also liven up at Blue Rock as the water temperature increases so keep those reports coming in.
The author with a typical size brown trout caught and released on the Latrobe River.Reads: 799