Small streams until after spring rains
  |  First Published: December 2013

It has been an interesting end to spring bringing plenty of rain and sunshine. One minute the paddocks were sodden and the next they were dry and cracking. I wish I could say the fishing action is cracking too but unfortunately I must have read my crystal ball wrong. I was assuming that come the end of spring into summer the rivers would be flowing clean and beautiful but instead they’re still flowing hard and dirty.

When I say dirty, the water is not yellow, red or discoloured from clay wash-off but more silty-alluvial with a dark tannin making sight-fishing quite hard.

The positives out of all this though are that there have been a number of hatchings already in the last few months of flying ants and other insects so the stream and lake trout of the region are getting a good feed.

The Toorongo River has probably been the most successful of the rivers over the season so far with plenty of stream trout caught and released. This river is certainly one of the most picturesque in the region.

Upstream the river meanders against a tall forest backdrop on the far bank and as it flows closer towards the Latrobe River in the direction of the township of Noojee it opens up into lush green open farmland. It is the most fishable of all the rivers when the water is still flowing hard as it has long runs and deep sharp pools that are able to control the flow better allowing anglers of all methods to still have some luck when the other local rivers aren’t cooperating.

A number of landholders are very welcome for day anglers to stroll the banks or wade the river but it is always polite to ask permission first. The Toorongo has a natural stock of brown and rainbow trout, Gippsland freshwater spiny crayfish, blackfish and eel. Snakes are also plentiful so always keep this in the back of your mind when walking along the bank sneaking up to a nice fishing hole.

Techniques vary like do they do for all rivers in the West and South Gippsland region. Fish however you like, but it is always exciting to step out of the comfort zone and try a new technique. Whether it’s drifting a garden worm, bobbing a scrub worm, casting a lure (soft plastic, spinner blade, hardbody minnow) or flicking a beaded nymph with dry fly indicator, they’re all great fun techniques when targeting stream trout to catch and release. Sight-fishing and stalking a trout on the Toorongo adds extra adrenalin to the adventure.

Blue Rock reports have been very quiet over the last few months but something tells me that has something to do with the strong winds and wet weather we’ve been experiencing in spring. No doubt the bass fishing will intensify as the water temperature heats up. For those looking for a fun fishing day out, sight fish for carp in coves and cast small soft plastic Wriggler tails at them until they strike. Hold on and tighten the drag to avoid bust ups in the snags as these fish have a lot of power and it’s a whole lot of fun on a calm summer’s day.

The river blackfish season opens on 1 January 2014 and if you don’t intend on taking it home, make sure you release these back immediately unharmed to ensure its survival in our streams as they are an important species in our ecosystem. Just recently I went for a night hike and I was amazed when I shone my headlight into the water to see quite a few small blackfish and eel out at night feeding amongst rocks in a slow running pool. They weren’t big fish but it was exciting to see them in their element feeding.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, stream trout fishing is certainly feeling the pressure in our streams and the size of the fish are not what they used to be. Please practice catch and release.

Feel free to send me a report or photo particularly if you have any success stories fishing the streams or Blue Rock. Happy fishing!

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