Go big to match the hatch
  |  First Published: December 2014

With Christmas and the New Year over, it’s time to sneak in a quiet stream trout fishing session or a day trip to Blue Rock Lake before the holiday season is over.

January will be an exciting time for stream trout anglers as there have been loads of insect hatchings over the last month, which is providing the main food source for surface feeding trout. Surface feeding fish means anglers can spot their target and approach the strike zone carefully, which results in more fish.

Site fishing with a pair of Polaroid sunglasses in the streams around West and South Gippsland adds a whole new dimension to stream trout fishing and definitely worth it if you haven’t tried it before. Use Polaroids with brown lenses for freshwater. There are so many styles and brands out on the market so start off with a pair in your price budget and see what a difference it makes to the stream fishing.

New fly anglers should pack an assortment of flies to mimic the local hatches. Hatches typically occur in the late afternoon, particularly after a hot day when a cool change is approaching. Matching the hatch increases the chances but some bright coloured larger flies and beaded nymphs can be very useful to have in the fly box. Dirty, dark water shadowed out by the hills and fast flowing runs could possibly hold trout and are possible reasons that you would consider changing from a ‘natural’ looking local fly to something that stands out. As we head into summer, dry flies will be popular, as trout will be feeding off the surface. You may still find now that a simple beaded nymph will still work wonders if the stream flow is still a little strong.

The key rivers for fly anglers over the coming months are the Loch, Toorongo and Tarago rivers. The whole stretch of the Toorongo River meanders through farmland and generally only has bank vegetation on one side of the bank; reducing difficult casting and tangles. There is great access to the river for most part and if you combine wading and walking the bank then you can cover some fair territory in a couple of hours.

The Tarago has many sections meandering through farmland below Neerim South right through Drouin West to Labertouche which, like the Toorongo, the river opens up a lot of potential fishing ground. The Loch River around Noojee is a narrow stream for most parts and well vegetated on either side so waders are a must. This stream presents some great fishing potential with narrow runs opening up to nice long deep holes where many fish will be feeding.

Lures such as spinner blades, hardbodies and soft plastics are also productive methods for getting into the trout action this summer. Lure fishing for trout is a great way to kill a few hours on the weekend or sneaking in a fish after work. The beauty about lure fishing for stream trout is that there are so many lures on the market that work well. If a lure is cast and moves within a trout feeding zone then chances are you’ll either a) get a follow-up or b) get a strike.

Spinner bladed lures, floating hardbodied lures and soft plastics all offer unique movement in the water when retrieved, which will get any stream trout excited. Lures are mimicking small fish and aquatic invertebrate that provide a staple diet for these fish. Using lighter lines, light rods and smaller reels intensifies that feeling when you hook into a stream trout. A small 250g trout puts up a great fight on light gear as you duck and weave your way over branches and other obstacles while the fish jumps and rolls using the stream flow to its advantage.

The river blackfish season re-opens on 1 January and offers another target species for these rivers. The Tanjil River will start fishing really well as the stream flows slow down in the coming months. Feel free to send me a report or photo and any questions feel free to email me. Happy fishing!

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