Freshwater fishing fires up
  |  First Published: February 2014

There are plenty of great fishing opportunities over summer in the West and South Gippsland region and being able to cool off after a hot day’s fishing is a bonus in this region’s icy cold and clean waters.

We have all the cool streams and rivers, which are great places to fish on a hot summer’s day. Venturing along a valley with rugged hills either side with the trees offering shade and protection against the sun is a nice way to get through a hot one. Wearing an old pair of shoes and shorts instead of waders also helps! There is an abundance of stream trout throughout the tributaries and although not huge, they are a tonne of fun on light gear.

All rivers and streams are worth fishing over summer but you can’t go past the Toorongo, which has been fishing beautifully lately and has terrific access for wading; important so that you avoid contact with snakes.

The Tanjil River will also become a bit easier to fish as the stream flows slow down. This river has been flowing very hard for over 8 months so the fishing pressure has been minimal.

The Latrobe River in town at Noojee will also be quite popular and always seems to fish quite well despite the number of people who visit the area over summer to swim, fish and play in the water. Remember to practise catch and release with stream trout to ensure there are enough fish stocks to continue future spawning.

Blue Rock Lake is also on the summer fishing hit list with inviting cool lake waters providing the ideal place to take a dip when the sun is at its peak. Lake trout tend to go down to deeper cooler waters but they will come out to feed on the surface when there is a hatching of insects on those balmy humid summer evenings. Bass will be the main target for many anglers with kayaks or boats suitable for the lake.

Although difficult to find for first-time anglers to the lake, many who have been successful in the past are now able to have repeat success. Difficultness mostly comes down to where to start casting on the lake given the vastness of dead trees and structure where bass could potentially be hiding.

Redfin will also be fun over the summer months as they become more aggressive as the water temperature increases in the lake. The only big redfin I’ve ever seen on the lake was at least 2kg but was very ill and floating on the surface. Most redfin that are caught are only around the 15-25cm mark, but there must be some big fish out there up the Tanjil Arm in amongst the dead trees. Catching them is as simple as dropping a garden worm alongside a dead tree or casting lures at structure; a bass just might be a very nice by-catch.

The infamous carp are also everywhere in the lake and are very active over summer. In February you’ll see them schooling in coves as they prepare for breeding. This is often the best time to strike as they are quite aggressive and hungry. A small soft plastic or lure cast right at their nose can be enough for them to strike. Corn on a hook cast from the bank is also a nice way to spend a day relaxing by the water. Remember to keep the rod in a secure rod holder as a stick propping up the rod just won’t do if you’re not paying attention; too many times I’ve seen anglers lose their rods to the depths because of a carp.

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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