Dust off the freshwater gear, load the car, pick up your mates, and head off for the annual trout opening weekend. Anglers all over Victoria will be gearing up for the start of the trout season this month.
After a closed season to allow the trout to spawn, Victorian rivers will again be open for trout fishing on September 1. Many anglers use this as an excuse to get away for the weekend or, if time allows, the whole week. Camping grounds all through the Otway Ranges will be dotted with tents as everyone fights for the chance of being first on the water.
I love walking the Barham River and Wild Dog Creek at this time of year with my flyrod and a pocket full of dry flies. I have had my best success casting a Royal Wulff or Red Tag in size 10. Other flyfishers do very well fishing small nymph patterns under a strike indicator, but I like to watch the fish take the fly off the surface.
Bait fishermen will catch plenty of trout by casting a scrubworm upstream and letting it drift back down with the flow of the river current. This is a deadly way of fishing, but if you plan on releasing your catch you will find artificial lures a better option. When bait fishing the fish are often hooked deep in the throat or stomach, while a lure or fly will more often hook them in the lips, giving them a much better chance of survival. Good lures to use in the small Otway streams include floating 3–5cm Rapalas, Rebel Minnows or Celtas.
In the saltwater, anglers are still having good success from the beaches at Wild Dog and Marengo, with schools of hungry salmon and the occasional silver trevally being landed. Best baits have been whitebait and bluebait fished on a paternoster rig.
The boat harbour has been full of garfish but they are proving difficult to hook. Use plenty of berley to bring them around, then a small piece of pipi or squid on a size 14 hook should bring them undone. The Barham and Aire estuaries are giving up plenty of black bream to anglers fishing with prawns and worms from the bank. Both of these rivers are open to the sea and should remain that way if the rain keeps falling.Reads: 1043