Worth the wait
  |  First Published: November 2008

It has certainly been worth the wait! The past six weeks have produced some very exciting fishing. We couldn’t ask for better weather either, with rain to replenish tributaries interspersed with periods of glorious sunshine. To top things off there have been some large falls of white winged ants and hatchings of small black beetles.

Some of the fish I have been catching in the last month have had guts bursting with these insects, so they are certainly not going hungry.

For the fly anglers I recommend something like a Cochybondhu, which is a fantastic beetle imitation dry fly. You won’t go wrong with a white patterned caddis or stonefly imitation either.

Don’t think that flyfishing is the only answer to catching a decent November trout though. I have had loads of reports of good-sized trout caught on hardbodied lures, bladed spinners, soft plastics and livebaits like worms or maggots.

Brett Murphy from Bisho’s Bait and Tackle in Warragul reports that a local, Daniel Cleversley, fished the Latrobe River at Willow Grove for two hours in the evening and landed two 30cm browns on a red Celta, and lost a further four, one being around 600g.

Bill Wales and Martin Auldist fished the Tarago River and caught two trout, one of 400g and one of 800g. Both trout were caught on the ever-reliable earthworm fished unweighted.

While fishing last month, I bumped into a landholder whose property backed on to the Tarago River at Drouin West. My ears pricked up when he mentioned a Melbourne Water fish survey conducted in May this year.

A section of the river was electro-fished (in accordance with DSE and DPI policy) and an abundance of 100-200g brown trout were recorded, along with and two 2.5kg browns. Yes, that’s right, two 2.5kg browns approximately 70cm long! It proves these trophy fish are still out there. We agreed that these big trout hide in some pretty hard to reach holes and were obviously on their way upstream to spawn.

Another interesting topic of conversation was the number of other fish species found in the river. He reports that he hasn’t come across a lot of blackfish around his place, although they are present. At certain times of the year, however, there are several schools of Australian grayling that head upstream. These fish are found typically in schools of 20 and are around 15-20cm long – but they are, of course, a protected species so you are not allowed to catch them.

Another interesting fish that he observes in large numbers are tupong, the freshwater equivalent of a flattie. He reckons at night he’ll spotlight them everywhere and some are a decent size of 30-35cm. During the day there are none to be seen. It was interesting to reflect that these native species are able to live in harmony with the introduced trout.

My Tarago River fishing trip was topped off when I landed a 1.1kg brown trout on a Squidgy Shad. I also caught and released seven 100-600g browns on a F5 Rapala in a rainbow trout pattern and dropped a heap more.

The Tanjil River is flowing really hard and clear as the snow from Mt Baw Baw is melting and spelling the end of a good snow season. There are a heap of reports of pan-sized trout swimming in the west branch of the Tanjil around Icy Creek to Fumina South. The Tanjil would have provided a valuable breeding ground this year for trout.

The same can be said about the other rivers in West and South Gippsland, which all received good rainfalls over the spawning season. This is shaping up to be a terrific trout season. All techniques are proving to be successful and will stay that way into the summer.

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