Trout streams open for business
  |  First Published: September 2013

September 7 sees the stream trout season re-open in the West and South Gippsland regions.

Despite below average rainfall, all rivers are flowing well so the season ahead is looking promising. This is the perfect time to mention the importance of catch-and-release with stream trout in this region. Blue Rock Lake is the only waterway locally that receives good stockings of rainbow and brown trout and bass. The Tanjil River that feeds Blue Rock holds a great population of trout thanks to the stocking programs in the lake. Other rivers however like the Latrobe, Toorongo, Tarago, Bunyip and Loch aren’t so lucky in receiving any stocking. While stream trout populations are good; unfortunately stream trout fishing is far from what it used to be. It is important that all anglers fishing these streams practice catch-and-release to ensure wild populations of trout continue spawning into the future.

At this time of the year the rivers are always flowing quite hard due to winter rainfalls and snow melt from Mt Baw Baw. Fishing fast flowing water is always a bit of a challenge, especially when using lures and fly. Retrieving lures, particularly bladed lures and hardbodied lures with a bib is difficult against the flow or with the flow. Flicking a beaded nymph will also be difficult at this time of the year as it rises up to the surface with the strong flows and out of the strike zone.

Lure and fly anglers will have their work cut out for them as they search and concentrate on slower flowing stretches of stream. Working the river bends where the flow slows down will be the best option for the start of the open season. Soft plastics cast close to the bank on straight sections of river will work well as you generally have a bit of backwater right up along the bank. You may have to increase the weight of the jig heads to combat the flow of the water. It’s also a challenge when a fish is on and you’re fighting it against stream flow and structure so make sure you consider tactics before every cast so that you’ll have more luck getting the fish into a net.

The opening of the season is a great time to get back to basics using live and artificial baits for stream trout. Artificial baits with hormone and scent added attractants are very productive on stream trout this time of the year straight after spawning. Live baits like garden or scrub worms also work a treat and great fun for the kids. Once a bait line is cast and the rod put into a rod holder, it is important to stand well back and keep activity well away from the water edge so that you don’t spook any interested fish. This also goes for land-based fishing at Blue Rock. Keep bank noise to a minimum and avoid bright coloured clothing and lots of movement.

This is a great time of the year to teach the family the basics of stream trout fishing as there will be plenty of fish about. The Tarago River around Drouin West and the Latrobe River in Noojee are the best family fishing spots offering picnic, toilet and BBQ facilities with fantastic access to the river. The Loch and Toorongo rivers are flowing well and like every year, you should expect another great opening to the season from these consistent performing rivers.

The Tanjil River will be difficult to fish early on in the season but should be on your list of places to visit over summer when the flows slow down and the river becomes a lot more fishable.

The blackfish season is closed as of September 1 and re-opens on January 1 2014 so make sure if you accidently catch one of these great native fish that you release it immediately.

Feel free to send me a report or photo particularly if you have any success stories from the opening of the trout season. Happy fishing!

Stream trout like this brown make for exciting day out exploring the rivers and streams of West/South Gippsland.

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