Broody trout will pull hooks this month
  |  First Published: May 2016

The autumn break didn’t quite eventuate as planned last month. With very limited rainfall, unseasonally high temperatures and subsequent high demand for critical irrigation water, flows have been very high in the Goulburn system. This climatic situation has created very difficult fishing in our area. Smaller rivers, creeks and streams have dwindled to levels not seen since before the drought broke in 2006!

The Goulburn River from Eildon to Molesworth has still turned out some very nice trout, not in the numbers that have been maintained over the last few months but still fairly reliable for those willing to put in the effort and fight against the very high water level and strong flows. The bigger fish are preparing for the annual spawning runs but seem to be waiting for the more moderate and natural flows of water that are triggered by autumn rains.

The big fish can be seen in the water, but have been difficult to entice to take bait or lures. The bigger sized minnow style lures have accounted for some quality fish, which may be triggered out of aggression and/or territorial behaviour as much as feeding behaviour at this time of year. Colours that have performed well include the usual brown and rainbow patterns as well as silver and gold with orange coloured belly in 9-15cm range.

Baitfishing and flyfishing has been tough at best. The rains we had have triggered some action, particularly with un-weighted or lightly weighted scrub worms in the slower, deeper sections of the river. All-in-all, it’s pretty hard going but with a bit more of this beautiful autumn rain the smaller tributaries and systems will spring back to life, and the Goulburn can settle to a more ‘normal’ situation and the mature breeding trout will become more active and start to move and feed. I would almost run my plans as if we were a month later than normal but try to make the most of the fishing opportunities available before the trout season closes at midnight Monday 13 June and work towards an encounter with those big mature pre-spawning fish that will be looking to build condition for breeding. Just remember to respect and look after these great fish.

The absolute lifeline for many trout anglers in our area has been the Eildon Pondage. Fisheries have again been regularly stocking the pondage with catchable sized and ex-brood trout. Great catches of ‘fair dinkum’ 10lb+ fish have been recorded along with plenty of smaller 1-2lb models. The Tassie Devils, spoons, Wonder Crocs and Celtas are still working well. Mudeyes have been the most productive bait, closely followed by local dough, PowerBait, and scrub worms.

Look forward to some cooler weather, pray for rain and make the most of the best time of year to encounter some great trout before the close of the season.

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