Prospects look good for a great lead up to summer
  |  First Published: October 2013

Winter finished with a cold and wet blast; well and truly topping up the catchments over West and South Gippsland.

Rivers and their tributaries are now flowing hard and will most likely continue to do so over the coming month or so depending on whether the bureau’s predictions are correct on a wet spring. Whilst not a great start to the stream trout season opening in respect to short-term fishability, long-term prospects are looking good as it rejuvenates life in streams, increases feed for both native fish and trout and creates fresh angling opportunities with new challenges.

If you are anything like me this means I’ll be reinvigorated to get back out there and shake off those winter fishing blues.

As the weather warms we’ll start to see a lot more hatches of flies, caddis flies, beetles, termites and other insects that are all fair game to any stream trout. Often these insects hatch in the paddocks and bushland surrounding streams and like moths attracted to the light, emerging insects are often drawn to the water where they are preyed upon by hungry browns and rainbows.

As the stream flow slows down over summer, this is the time to match the hatch with a dry fly and/or beaded nymph pattern. For now drifting worms and casting lures helps in the faster flowing water.

Sight fishing is particularly important when trout are feeding as it allows you to sneak up within casting distance or with in enough distance to drop a fly in a trout’s feeding path. Sight fishing is exciting especially as you feel the adrenalin build when you land that perfect cast and see the fish engulf your fly, bait or lure.

The Latrobe, Loch and Toorongo rivers in the Noojee district and the Tarago River in the Drouin West district are all great spots to start this early in the season. The rivers in the Noojee district are fast flowing but there are still plenty of spots where the water opens up into large pools or runs which present well for casting or drifting.

The Tarago River flow is managed from the reservoir therefore it has a regulated steady flow. Wading will be hard but manageable for some stretches if sticking close to the bank, otherwise don a tough pair of gumboots to keep your feet dry and to cover plenty of ground.

The Tanjil River will be flowing too hard up until late spring-early summer due to a wet and wild August and snow melt from Mt Baw Baw. The Bunyip River has a large catchment and will be tough to fish until summer with strong flows making it difficult to catch a fish given access is already hard at the best of times.

Blue Rock Lake

Blue Rock has been fishing incredibly well over the last few months. Many bass anglers have reported that things went quiet for about 4-6 weeks back in August but with the water starting to warm up again slowly, bass action will heat up and so will the reports. To be fair, bass have been generally targeted from kayaks and boats and the weather hasn’t been too favourable for either in late winter.

As for trout, there have been some absolute thumpers caught recently, both on lure and bait. Trolling has been the more fruitful method but the type of lure hasn’t been important. The biggest brown trout I’ve seen come out of Blue Rock caught only recently was a 5kg cracker witnessed by Kristy Mitchell of the Willow Grove General Store. It was a healthy looking fish and the angler was fishing alone on a fairly miserable day and needed someone to take a photo of him with the trophy catch which Kristy kindly obliged.

Regular correspondent Toby Eastburn of the local Gippsland Facebook network Wifish Locally reports that he’s been regularly catching and releasing 200-300g browns in Blue Rock using soft plastics or small hardbodied lures. Bass have been hard to find but Toby is confident they’ll be smashing lures again soon.

Just a reminder that the blackfish season is now closed as of the September 1 and re-opens on January 1 2014 so make sure if you accidently catch one of these important native fish that you release it immediately to ensure its survival in our streams.

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

Blue Rock regular Toby Eastburn with a late-winter bass at 28cm.

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