School holiday stream trout fun
  |  First Published: April 2015

April presents a perfect opportunity to take the kids out stream trout fishing over the school holidays in the West Gippsland region.

Both brown and rainbow trout are actively feeding to build up body condition before they start heading upstream to spawn in winter so now is a great time to wet a line. There are some picturesque clean rivers flowing only an 1 ½ hours from the heart of Melbourne so if you live in the outer eastern suburbs you’re already half way there.

The streams around the Drouin, Neerim South and Noojee districts hold a lot of stream trout averaging 250gm, and while only small fish they are great fun for kids and anglers who enjoy light line trout angling. Remember these streams are not stocked and rely on natural spawning so only keep what you need and release what you don’t. The bigger the fish the more eggs they lay come spawning season so keep this in mind when deciding what fish to take home for the plate.

There are some terrific recreational facilities along some of our key rivers in the district making them ideal locations for a day out with the family. All you need are the basics, a light 6-7ft, 2-4kg rated rod, 1000–2500 sized spin reel spooled with 6-8lb line, some simple tackle, including split shot sinkers and size 4-6 bait holder hooks, and some garden worms as bait, and you’re set to go

Closer to Melbourne

Fisher Road Reserve is also on the Tarago River, and located upstream from Picnic Point. Fisher Road Reserve is opposite the Robin Hood Hotel in Drouin West, and features a recently upgraded fish ladder that connects two deep holes that are suitable for bottom or float fishing. Downstream of the fish ladder is a section of river that can be fished either from the bank or by wading. Popular with beginner anglers, this stretch of river once again suits the lure, bait or fly angler and holds a lot of good fish, especially this time of the year. There are no toilets or BBQs here but there are picnic tables and a small rotunda.

Being Reserved

Rokeby Reserve is a small hidden reserve positioned on a great stretch of the Tarago River. The entrance is just out of Rokeby on Brandy Creek Road. If you park the car up the top it’s only a short walk down to the river to some picnic tables and a nice grassed area. Drifting baits, casting lures or nymphing with a short fly rod are the preferred options. There is the potential for some decent sized trout in this section.

Latrobe River Reserve is in Noojee and extends for quite some distance along the Latrobe River offering great fishing access. The main picnic ground is off Loch Valley Road just up from the shops in town. There is a large rotunda with free BBQs, toilets and a playground. Upstream from here there are picnic tables off McCarthy Spur Road, and offers great access to pull the car up alongside the river. The fishing here is at its best in mid-late autumn with plenty of trout moving about feeding. Baits, lures and fly are all successful techniques and this stretch of river suits both bank anglers and those who want to slip on a pair of waders.

Anglers keen to flick lures over the coming months will find the most productive lures to be bladed spinners, floating minnow-styled hard bodies, or soft plastic curl tail grubs. The ideal lure size is 5cm or less in these streams, with no particular colour a standout. The aggressive trout in these streams will smash anything that resembles the movement of a small fish or aquatic invertebrate. So it you match the hatch and put the lure in front of their face nine times out of ten they’ll eat it.

Feel free to send me a report or photo and happy to answer any questions too. Happy fishing!

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