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  |  First Published: June 2007

The closed season for river trout is quickly approaching, but there’s still time to get a quick fish in before June 11th.

The Latrobe River is still fishing quite well with many anglers successfully employing a variety of methods. On a recent trip to Noojee I was able to observe the range of techniques anglers were using to make the most of the tail end of the season. There were plenty of flyfisherman, anglers using bait (on the bottom or under a float) and anglers using lures or spinners. The beauty about fishing the rivers and streams of West Gippsland is that whatever your speciality, you’re bound to catch a trout or two in a very scenic setting.

I fished the Latrobe River southeast of Noojee for a couple of hours and caught three brown trout ranging from 17–25cm and two rainbows both about 18cm. These were caught on live scrubworms or soft plastics (small white grubs with tails). Although they are only small fish, they are great fun to catch and rewarding to release back to the wild.

I changed over to a 7g pink Tassie Devil and had a very nice follow by a 40cm trout that had been hiding under a log. Unfortunately I spooked the fish when the lure got caught on a submerged stick, so my second attempts were not successful. This is often a problem with the current low water level because heavier lures and spinners get easily caught on snags under the water.

The more successful techniques at the moment include flyfishing with flies resembling local insects, floating live baits or soft plastics downstream into small pools, or using lightweight lures and spinners like floating Rapalas or Size 2 and 3 Celtas in deeper pools and runs of water. Fishing a worm under a float in the deeper pools still proves to be successful and is a relaxing way to get the whole family involved on a Sunday afternoon.

Wally Ronalds from Rokeby has been catching brown trout to 750g in the Tarago River below the reservoir, using a home tied fly that resembles a red and black Matuka, fished upstream. These are some of the best fish in the region.

Although the Toorongo and Loch rivers are still relatively low, they are producing their usual numbers of small browns.

Hopefully we will have more rain over the coming weeks, so that the water levels will rise and we’ll start to see an increase in fish activity in the smaller streams and rivers as feed becomes more readily available. Whether this occurs in time for anglers to take advantage of some great fishing this season remains to be seen. If you do miss out, make sure you pencil August 31st into your diaries, as this is when the season re-opens.

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