Trout season opens at midnight, Friday September 2. We’ll see the streams of West and South Gippsland bustling again with anglers chasing feisty stream trout. Blue Rock Lake is filling up – it dropped a fair way over summer. The long awaited winter rains and snowfall on Baw Baw have ensured streams will be flowing nicely, the lake is topped up for spring, and hopefully beyond.
Streams are abuzz with aquatic life, thanks to the winter top up of the catchments. Good rain also brings on good insect hatchings, so the spring season should be fruitful for fly anglers. This time of the year when flows are still strong, bead head nymphs work really well. If you notice a bit of surface action – either fish feeding or insects skimming the surface – use a dry fly as a strike indicator to increase your chances.
The Toorongo River is a must-fish destination. It’s an ideal flyfishing river with plenty of open river meandering through farmland. There’s a heap of good pools and slow runs to cast a fly in. This river always holds brown and rainbow trout. They’re not big on average, but there are nice pan-sized fish about. Even the small fish put up a good fight for any fly angler using light gear. There are plenty of other small streams to explore in the region including Loch Creek. Tarago River, back towards Melbourne, is downstream of the reservoir.
Lure anglers will have a lot of fun chasing stream trout too. The most popular lures for targeting stream trout in the Latrobe, Tanjil, Tarago, Bunyip and Lang Lang Rivers are small spinner-blade lures, small floating minnow hardbodies and small wriggler-tail soft plastics on a light jighead. Small lures between 25-50mm work best – they’re not cumbersome in the water and will attract small and larger fish.
To wade or not to wade, is the question. Wearing waders isn’t necessary to fish most streams in the West and South Gippsland regions, but it can be an advantage for particular fishing methods. If flyfishing, waders are an essential part of your kit. It gets you closer to water level, allows you to sneak upstream and cast at potential trout feeding zones.
Most of the rivers can be waded, but will require you to get out and bypass deeper pools or obstacles in the way. If lure fishing, waders are not that essential, as the streams have varied access points. Many stretches allow for casting from the bank. Depending on how far you’re willing to venture, waders may end up bogging you down, and limit where you can go. In summer though, wading in a pair of shorts and old shoes can be a fantastic way to cool off.
September is good month for trolling at Blue Rock. The water is still cool and trout are actively feeding off the surface. Wind currents create bait trails for hungry fish to feed off. Flat-line troll winged lures, big spinner-blades and minnow style lures along the wind trails. Fly anglers can also have a bit of fun if they have access to a boat or sturdy kayak, or canoe. Apply a stealthy approach to the wind trails and cast a dry or wet fly on the margins for a hook-up. Don’t be surprised if you end up with a carp or two. You’ll often see their orange lips slurping bugs trapped in the surface tension of the water.
The river luderick season also comes to a close on September 1, until December 31. If you have any reports, questions or photos from the opening of the stream trout season, don’t hesitate to email me.
Last season there were small rainbow trout swimming about the streams. Let’s hope they’re a bit bigger this season.Reads: 743