Rain won’t stop play
  |  First Published: September 2014

September 5 sees the season re-open. Don’t expect any fireworks and grand openings; instead there will be a lot of happy stream trout anglers wading the streams or walking the banks of their favourite stretch with a smile on their face.

Not even the icy cold and wet conditions can deter a stream trout angler venturing out this time of the year. Mt Baw Baw has had a good snow season and later this month we’ll start to see rivers, like the Tanjil and Tyers, rise with strong clear icy flows. And because of the snowmelt into the Tanjil, we’d expect to see Blue Rock Lake at 100% well into summer.

Icy waters will make for another top spawning season for the wild populations of stream trout. What anglers have to remember is that these rivers in West and South Gippsland rely solely on wild populations spawning annually. No stocking programs take place in these rivers, so anglers must catch and release to protect the sport they love doing.

Blue Rock on the other hand is the only waterway stocked in this region. It receives healthy stockings of brown and rainbow trout and Australian bass. Bass are by far becoming the target species on the lake over trout. In saying this, there are some monster trout at Blue Rock cruising about and if you have the patience to troll day in and day out you can be pleasantly rewarded. September is the best time of year to get on the lake trolling a couple of lures.

The best thing now is that lake anglers have a few options: troll for trout in the morning and flick lures around the trees in the afternoon for bass. Bass are also being caught on scrub worms either fished unweighted from the bank or under a float next to a dead tree; another option if you feel like tying up to a tree or pulling up to the bank.

Blue Rock has a size restriction for boats (hull no greater than 4.3m and engine rating of no greater than 9.9hp), which allows kayakers to enjoy the lake without the worry of fast boats darting around. It really is a haven for small boat owners and kayakers.

With the season opening for stream trout fishing, fishing fast flowing water is always a challenge, especially this time of the year. Retrieving lures, particularly bladed lures and hardbodies with a bib is difficult against or with the flow. Flicking a beaded nymph will also be difficult as it rises up to the surface with the strong flows and out of the strike zone.

Lure and fly anglers will have their work cut out for them as they search and concentrate on slower flowing stretches of stream. Working the river bends where the flow slows down will be the best option for the start of the open season. Soft plastics cast close to the bank on straight sections of river will work well as you generally have a bit of backwater right up along the bank. You may have to increase the weight of the jigheads to combat the flow of the water.

The opening of the season is a great time to get back to basics using baits for stream trout. At this time of the year artificial baits with hormone and scent added attractants are very productive on stream trout. Live baits, like garden or scrub worms also work a treat and if fishing two rods, it’s well worth having a line out with an artificial and live bait fished in small pools with backwater or in river bends. Once the line is cast and the rod put into a rod holder, it is important to stand well back and keep activity well away from the water’s edge so that you don’t spook any interested fish.

The river blackfish season closes for the south of the Great Dividing Range is the 1 September and re-opens on 1 January 2012. Feel free to send me a report or photo particularly if you have any success stories from the opening of the trout season. Please email me any questions too. Happy fishing!

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