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Lakes and streams fires up fish
  |  First Published: November 2013



The last couple of months have produced some solid stream and lake fishing off the back of the trout spawning season. Latrobe River, Toorongo River and Blue Rock Lake have all been fishing well early in the season. Expect other rivers to fire up over the coming months too, like the Tarago, Bunyip and the Tanjil rivers, by simply becoming more fishable when the flow drops over summer.

Streams are currently flowing well and should soon start slowing down as we head in to summer. Stream and lake trout will no longer go hungry over the next month as we start to see plenty of insect activity. Hatchings will take place on those warm spring evenings, which will keep the fish active and well fed, allowing lure and fly anglers to have some exciting fishing ahead.

Blue Rock has become a popular fishing destination for kayakers and small boat owners, thanks to the regular stocking program of both bass and trout. Bass will certainly start firing up now as the water temperature begins to lift.

There’ll be plenty of fish action at the surface as hatching insects get caught in the meniscus making the lake appear to be a witch’s bubbling cauldron. At this time of the year it is important to research what the weather has been doing in the past week before heading out to the lake for a fish; whether you are a land-based angler or out on the water. The weather in the last week will play a vital role in how you approach and fish the lake.

Often when you look across the lake you’ll see a line of mirror calm almost oil-slick-looking water after a windy wet few days. This in fact is an oil slick caused by the natural tannins/oils leaching from the surrounding lake vegetation. I refer to these as wind lines and if you get a closer look at them, there is an abundance of food trapped in them ranging from black beetles, flies, grubs and all sorts of other invertebrate. These wind lines get pushed around the lake depending on the weather’s recent history and this is where anglers should be focusing their attention. Trolling on the wind line, flicking a fly, casting a lure or float a bait out is a sure way to attract some interest from a grazing fish.

Stream fishing enthusiasts should now start focusing their attention on streams where they can get good wader access. Spring grass and vegetation growth will make it difficult and dangerous to stroll the stream banks. Snakes have been spotted as early as the first week in September this year and locals are saying that their numbers have increased in recent years due to the amount of feed around for them.

Snakes are relatively subdued creatures that only get angry when provoked. Most of the time you won’t see them as they feel the vibrations when you are approaching and they are more scared of you then you are of them. The only problem for stream trout anglers though is that we are often in stealth mode so coming across the odd snake isn’t that rare. The main thing is to wear gumboots or tough waders if walking the banks, don’t provoke a snake if you see one and change your course if one’s blocking your way. Too often they attack or become unpredictable if a stick or stone is thrown at them.

There are however plenty of long stretches on most West and South Gippsland streams that can be waded. The Toorongo, Loch and downstream Tarago are good rivers that can be waded for most parts as they often have shallow rapids, runs and knee-high pools. The Tanjil varies significantly depending on where you are fishing so be prepared that some spots (especially downstream towards Blue Rock) will require a bit of trekking through the bush to avoid a deep pool. The Latrobe River in Noojee is mostly wadable and a great spot for new anglers getting the feel for fishing larger rivers. The Bunyip River, although not wide, has some deep gorges that can’t be waded, but for many stretches it can be. Over summer it is much easier to navigate when the water level drops.

The blackfish season is closed as of the 1 September and re-opens on January 1 2014. If you do accidently catch one of these native fish, make sure you release it immediately to ensure its survival in our streams, as this species is important to our ecosystem. Please practise catch and release of all stream trout to ensure fun for all anglers in to the future.

These streams are not stocked and rely heavily on natural spawning each season.

Feel free to send me a report or photo particularly if you have any success stories fishing the streams or if you are one of the lucky ones getting stuck into the impressive bass action on Blue Rock. Happy fishing!

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Some West Gippsland rivers are navigable by kayak as shown by regular correspondent Toby Eastburn with a very decent river brown caught on a Warmisham soft plastic.

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