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Pre-spawn trout heating up
  |  First Published: April 2016



Despite saying goodbye to daylight savings and the doom and gloom of another winter being just around the corner, April can throw out some magical days – and what better way to spend those precious days than having a stream fish or getting out to Blue Rock Lake?

Rugging up and strolling along a trout stream set against a beautiful backdrop is a great way to spend a weekend. Brown and rainbow trout are lively at this time of year, and the quest for food helps them stack on the body condition they need to make the journey upstream for spawning. Catch and release of these exciting sportfish caught on light gear is rewarding. There are numerous techniques for catching stream trout, and most can be used with the same rod and reel set-up.

Fishing with a 6-7ft rod with a line class of 1-4kg fitted with a 1500-2500 class reel is a great versatile combo that you can use to cast lures, spinners and soft plastics, drift livebaits downstream, fish baits under a float or fish baits off the bottom – all which are productive techniques for catching and releasing pre-spawn trout. This same outfit is also ideal for fishing Blue Rock.

When it comes to lures, however, the possibilities are endless. Trout are aggressive feeders so anything presented well in their feeding zone is fair game.

Hardbodies

A good start for small streams and rivers in the West and South Gippsland region is a 3-5cm hard-bodied floating minnow style lure. The advantage of these lures is that they have a terrific action in the water and are able to float to the surface, which is great for retrieving amongst snags and other obstacles. These lures can allow you to master the art of surface sight fishing. Casting can be difficult amongst snags and dense bank vegetation so the advantage of the floating lure is that you can flick it out into the stream, let the stream flow take the lure to your strike zone, then retrieve.

Spinners

These lures have a spinner blade that rotates around a shaft, looking like an insect or frog moving in the water. Spinners come in a range of sizes and blade colours and you’d be hard pressed not to catch a stream trout on these productive and dependable lures.

Soft plastics

Small soft plastics have great action in a flowing stream, and the texture of the lure often encourages trout to come back for a second strike if you missed the first time around. A personal favourite is the grub with its wriggling tail. Grubs provide the best action in a flowing stream, resembling a tadpole or small fish.

Baits

Fishing with live baits or artificial baits is another popular technique for stream trout. Artificial baits tend to be a hit for anglers after the trout season has re-opened, as the baits have a hormone attractant which still excites a trout post-spawn.

Live baits such as garden or scrub worms are the most common form of catching stream trout, and are still an exciting technique for trout anglers of any age and skill. Drifting baits is similar to casting a lure, as you cast into trout zones, letting the bait drift downstream before retrieving it. Use a small baitholder hook with split shot attached right above the eye of the hook. Fishing baits off the bottom or under a float is the most relaxed method and often the most popular for a family day out.

Flyfishing is the pinnacle of skill and patience for stream trout fishing. As the stream flows begin to increase with more rain, many fly anglers will be nymphing using the ever-popular black bead-headed nymph. Attaching a dry fly indicator with a bit of flair and colour has also helped anglers have a productive day out on the streams.

Blue Rock in April should be a bit of fun as trout become more active on the surface. Bass are still being caught but they’ll start to become a bit harder on the surface, so fishing deeper for them will be the way to go as the water temperature drops.

Feel free to send me a report or photo, particularly if you have any success stories fishing over the Easter break, and email me any questions you may have. Happy fishing!

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