Get your trout fix before closure!
  |  First Published: June 2016

From the perspective of a Victorian fishing journalist, the hardest time of year to fish coupled with the trout season closure is approaching.

Monday 13 June is the final weekend of the current trout season. We can fish in the rivers and creeks up until midnight that Monday night, and that’s it, the streams close to all trout fishing.

There are some streams around the state that are completely closed to all forms of fishing. I am not 100% sure exactly which streams they are, so it may pay for you to check your local fishing guide to find out more.

It doesn’t bother me, as I refuse to wet a line in any trout streams during the closed season. Firstly, the streams are closed for a reason, and that is to protect spawning trout, or trout that are vulnerable and on a post-spawn feeding frenzy. Secondly, you will not make many friends with the locals if you fish in their local fishing spots under the false pretence of ‘targeting redfin’. Thirdly, you may find it incredibly hard to convince a fisheries officer that you are targeting any species other than trout in a highland waterway in the depths of winter.

So for anybody really wanting to wet a line during the trout closed season, I suggest you head to the lakes, which remain open all year round, or head way down south to the South West corner of Victoria where a few of the streams remain open to trout fishing all year round in their lower reaches. Before heading down there, you may wish to read up on exactly which streams are not subject to the seasonal closure.

In the last couple of weeks of the closed season, the trout will either be extremely hard to catch, or very easy. There is rarely much middle ground when the trout are already spawning.

When they are paired up and swimming over their spawning beds, known as ‘redds’, they can become extremely territorial. They love to escort fish out of their spawning area and away from their partners.

Quite often the result of this can be fishing all day only to have trout after trout follow your lure to your feet but not strike it.

One way to combat this is to put on something large. A very long minnow with a tight sway, like some of the long 11 and 13cm Rapalas. This may evoke an aggressive strike from a territorial trout rather than a bite from a hungry trout. This can be one way to turn your follows into hook-ups.

Another good way is to try something small and fluorescent coloured, such as a fluorescent orange Super Vibrax bladed spinner, or one of the new Obsession bladed spinners. These fluorescent coloured lures have a round body that mimics the freshly laid eggs of a trout spawning upstream, something which trout love to feed on and find hard to resist.

In early June, if you’re lure fishing, try a very long skinny minnow such as an 11cm Rapala Husky Jerk, or a fluorescent coloured bladed spinner, preferably one with a short fat body.

If you’re baitfishing for trout, it is really hard to suggest what to use at that time of the year. I would like to suggest that you use worms if you’re baitfishing, but I have no idea how much rain we are likely to get leading up to trout closing weekend. Hopefully we have had plenty of rain, in which case worms will work well.

The Murray cod fishing is pretty much non-existent in the Wangaratta area in the winter months. I have caught cod in the Ovens River in June and in August, but not often and usually only in dry years when we have not had enough rainfall to stir the waterways up. Hopefully this winter is not one of them!

Your best bet during winter is to target a Murray cod in Lake Mulwala, which seems to tick over pretty well throughout the colder months each year.

Lake William Hovell will be well worth fishing during June for both redfin and trout. The redfin have usually slowed down a little by then, but the trout are usually fishing pretty well. Towards the end of June there may well be a few of the larger trout returning from their spawning run up the King River or Evens Creek which will be underweight and hungry.

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