Pre-spawn stream trout are heating up
  |  First Published: April 2017

On 2 April we say goodbye to daylight savings and sneaking in that fish after work or school becomes a little bit trickier. With another winter approaching, it’s time to make the most of the beautiful April weather on offer in West and South Gippsland. There can be some magic days this month. What better way to spend them than having a fish in a wild stream or getting out to Blue Rock Lake.

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

A 6-7ft rod with a line class of 1-4kg fitted with a 1000-2500 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 are productive techniques for catching and releasing pre-spawn trout. This same outfit is also ideal for fishing Blue Rock, too. Trout are aggressive feeders, so anything presented well in their feeding zone is fair game.

Spinners would have to be the most dependable type of lure for stream trout fishing. Many anglers use these because they are inexpensive and they work. A spinner blade rotates around the shaft mimicking an insect or small fish moving in the water. The smaller the blade, the better it will work in faster moving water. The heavier larger spinners are ideal for deeper stretches of water.

Hardbody lures are gold for small streams and rivers in the West and South Gippsland region. My preference would be a 3-5cm floating minnow style lure. Minnow hardbodies have a great action in the water and the real advantage is that the lure floats, allowing you to retrieve it from amongst snags and other obstacles, or you can let the lure drift into trout feeding zones. These lures allow you to master the art of sight fishing.

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 out first time around. A grub with a wriggling tail is great, as it provides the best action in a flowing stream resembling a tadpole or small fish.

Fishing with livebaits 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 for catching stream trout and are still an exciting technique for any trout angler. Drifting baits is similar to casting a lure as you cast into trout zones and let the bait drift downstream before retrieving it.

If you are using a scrub worm or bunch of garden worms, it can be flicked out unweighted, but if you need a bit more weight, add a split shot above 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 with the ever-popular black bead-head nymph. Attaching a dry fly indicator with a bit of flare 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 please email me any questions. Happy fishing!

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