April school holiday options abound
  |  First Published: April 2013

The school holidays present a perfect opportunity to take the kids fishing and the West Gippsland region is the perfect place to start.

Only an hour from the heart of Melbourne flow a number of clear-water streams holding wild trout populations. Travel another 30 minutes north-east of Warragul and you’ll find Blue Rock Lake nestled amongst farming country and bush with Mt Baw Baw forming the backdrop. Stocked regularly with brown and rainbow trout and Australian bass, this lake also boasts your usual suspect species like redfin, carp and eel.

Just by picking up a map, you can start to see the potential this region has to offer for a great day out wetting a line with the family. An introductory and very basic technique for catching a stream trout or lake fish is a light outfit consisting of a 1500-2500 class reel with 6-8lb line, 6-7ft 1-4kg rated rod set up with a running sinker rig to a size 6-8 baitholder hook. Attach a float stopper or split shot so that there is a leader of about 30-40cm between hook and sinker.

Raid the compost bin or garden beds for worms as these are a great bait for all freshwater fish. The kids will have a bit of fun too putting them on the hook. A little trick with the hook is to squeeze the tip with a pair of pliers so that the barb breaks off leaving you only the hook point. This is to prevent any little quick trips to emergency.

The following spots are highly recommended for families this Easter holiday.

Tarago River – Picnic Point
Tarago River - Fisher Road Reserve

Upstream and less than 10 minutes up the road from Picnic Point is Fisher Road Reserve. Fisher Road is opposite the Robin Hood Hotel in Drouin West off the Old Princes Highway. This reserve is also right on the Tarago River and presents a great place to drop in a line. There is a rotunda but no toilet or cooking facilities. Downstream towards Picnic Point fishes well trout season round.

Latrobe River – Noojee

The Latrobe River in Noojee always rates highly when it comes to family friendly fishing. On McCarthy Spur Road there is a number of car pull off points with picnic tables next to the river which best suit those who are self-sufficient. On the main road back in Noojee there is another large picnic area with a free BBQ under a large rotunda, picnic tables, playground, toilets and plenty of parking. The Latrobe River fishes well all trout season and there are a few good spots to throw in a few cray lines too. The river will be enticing for the more experienced anglers so make sure you pack a pair of waders so you can explore both down and upstream.

Blue Rock Lake – Willow Grove

Blue Rock offers two main areas for access to the lake. The western boat ramp is located right next to the dam wall and offers a two lane boat ramp, ample parking, toilets, BBQs, picnic tables and rotunda. The eastern boat ramp is located near the Tanjil Arm of the lake and is basically a mirror image of the western ramp.

Both spots offer heaps of fishing space along the bank and plenty of open area to kick a ball if the fish aren’t biting. Saying this, a few garden worms on a hook cast out in blue rock is bound to attract some attention from a small redfin or carp. Yes these species aren’t exactly desirable but I’m sure there are many anglers out there who started their passion for fishing catching these sorts of species; I’m one of them.

Feel free to email me any reports, questions and photos, particularly if you have had any luck over the school holidays or with bass at Blue Rock over summer. Happy fishing!

Milly with her first ever freshwater fish, a nice little redfin caught at Blue Rock Lake on garden worms. These are the perfect fish to get kids excited about fishing and the great outdoors.

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