Last running water trout fix
  |  First Published: June 2014

With just over a week left in the trout season, most anglers will be hitting the trout streams and rivers hard until the season closes officially at midnight on June 9.

It’s not just the looming deadline making anglers fish the running water, either. The fact that most trout are in full spawn mode or are getting very close means there can be some spectacular fishing to be had at the end of the season, and with so many big fish moving out of the lakes and into the creeks and rivers that feed them, your next cast could hook a trophy-size fish. Taking this into consideration, it’s easy to see why so many anglers salivate at the thought of the last month or so of the trout season.

Lure angling can work really well late in the season and it often pays to increase the size of your lure as well to really get that competitive nature of the trout going. Often this late in the season the trout aren’t thinking about eating. Instead, they’re concentrating on spawning almost entirely, and trout attempting to spawn are very aggressive and will fiercely drive off any nearby competitors in hope of holding that prime position. For that reason, using a large lure that could represent a challenge will often be met with an aggressive swipe, resulting in a hook-up. I find CD7 and F7 Rapala lures in either brown or rainbow trout colours are easily the best lures for getting that sort of reaction strike from the trout, but it doesn’t hurt to throw a bigger lure or a lure that is orange or pink in colour as this can sometimes get the fish going at this time of the year.

Fly anglers can also get in on the action with large wets striped through some runs and deeper pools. Additionally, the spawning means there will be eggs around so there will be fish feeding heavily on them – and any fly that looks even remotely like an egg will generally get sucked up by any nearby feeding fish. I often use two flies below an indicator, one with an egg imitation like a Glo-Bug or similar and the other with a red Copper John gold bead nymph. I find with this rig if there aren’t too many eggs about the fish will happily take the nymph, but if there are enough eggs around for the fish to be looking for them as a food source, you have that base covered with the Glo-Bug or other similar egg imitation.

It is important to note that the fish will be holding tight to the bottom so make sure your dropper is long enough to get your flies down there and that your flies are weighted enough to keep you down there. Do all this and you should hook a few nice fish to close the season.

Trout lakes

If you would prefer to get away from the often crowded creeks and rivers at this time of year, you can still do well in the lakes. Some of the larger fish in the lake might be still upstream trying to spawn but some will have not made it yet. A few may have even returned already, and they will be keen for a good feed, that’s for sure!

On top of still having a chance of a trophy in the lakes at this time of the year there will also be stacks of smaller fish about to keep you entertained all day. With the temperatures at this time of the year being just about perfect for trout, these fish will often feed freely all day long. Due to the water temp also dropping right into their comfort zone, they will spend most of their time up around the surface, making them much easier to target no matter what your preferred technique is.

Being bank-based at this time of the year is often the best option as trout will be cruising around in the cool shallows all day, looking for any easy meals.

Fly anglers should do well slow stripping medium to large wets like Mrs Simpsons, Hamills Killers and Woolly Buggers. In conjunction with that, it often pays to have a small bead head nymph on as well until you find what the fish are preferring on the day.

Lure anglers will also do well this month, and casting and retrieving lures while walking the bank just doesn’t get much better than at this time of the year. Once you work out what lure is working best it’s simply a matter of walking along, casting ahead of where you’re going and seeking out any active fish. On a good day you won’t get far as the action can get insane, but at other times you may need to cover half a kilometre of shoreline before you find an active fish or several active fish. Just like the running water, it is hard to beat the larger lure models like the CD and F7s but smaller 5cm lures will also do the job, as will spinners like Rooster Tails, Cocktails, Feather Tails and Mepps Bugs.

Soft plastics also work really well on the trout and are deadly up in the extreme shallows where anything with too much vibration or flash will often scare fish. There are many models that work but my absolute favourites are the Ecogear Grass Minnows and Power Shads in any natural colour, but especially the rainbow trout colour.

Bait anglers also do well at this time of the year. There are plenty of hungry trout about and not that much food on offer, so most well-presented baits will get eaten. Garden worms, wood grubs and dough baits like PowerBait will be all you need. Rig any of these baits (or a combination of them) on light line no heavier then 6lb with the smallest of sinkers, or no sinker at all if possible, and you are virtually guaranteed success.

It is also worth noting that even though there will be fish all over the lakes the biggest concentrations of trout at this time of the year will be around the mouths of the feeder creeks and rivers. If you can access these parts of the lakes I believe the time and effort required to get there will be well and truly worth it.

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