The wait is over!
  |  First Published: September 2007

Good steady winter rains and some warm days have created great anticipation for trout opening and the coming river trout season. Action over winter has been slow but I know from customers and my own staff that anglers are ready and eager for trout opening and some great spring fishing.

Perhaps the only ones that may be delayed in putting the rod into the water will be the diehard Victorian football supporters who may choose to watch the big games rather than chase the trout. That’s OK, as it will leave more space on the Yarra for the rest of us. Overall it’s been a good winter – more rain than in previous years, good snowfalls and a Vic team with a chance of taking home the flag later in the month. What more could a Victorian trout angler want?

Recent reports indicate the fish are the most active they have been in years, with good winter rain raising river levels and providing trout with plenty of food. The rising water will also provide good oxygen levels throughout the system, making the fish more active and aggressive, as well as fitter and fatter.

In my experience, the amount of cold moist air around us from the snow in our local mountains should result in better spring rain than previous seasons. Good spring rain will keep the rivers fresh, clear away slime and debris, and dig deep cool holes for the fish to hide in the summer months. This should result in a longer trout season.

If the spring rains are strong enough, the flooding of fields that have not seen water for several years will result in critters such as grasshoppers, crickets, spiders and worms being washed into the water, giving the trout a great food source at a time when they are growing rapidly.

Over winter I have been riding my bike along the Warburton Trail, which has provided me with an insight into the condition of the Yarra, as well as the paddocks and fields surrounding it. I have checked out places that I will be targeting over the coming months.

The early parts of the season are very successful for bait drifting, as the fish will be closer to the surface looking for worms and bugs that have been washed off the banks. For this technique, use a 7ft soft-tipped graphite rod to fish a large scrubworm on a size 6 Baitholder hook tied to 6lb line. Place one or two split shot approximately 10cm up the line. Use the smallest split shot possible to ensure the scrubworm can easily drift close to the surface, while still allowing enough weight for a short to medium cast.

Wading in the river facing upstream, cast your bait drifting rig upstream around small to medium structures along the river’s edge. Small wispy twigs are ideal. The scrubworm should at all times be drifting naturally with the current, while you maintain close contact with your bait by retrieving line as it drifts towards you. When the scrubworms get within 60cm of your rod tip, retrieve and re-cast upstream.

To assist with this method, coat your line with a line floatant to give the line a high-floating action and provide a more natural drift with better strike visibility. Always strike at every movement. Eight out of ten times this movement will be the line hitting a stick, but the other two will be fish!

Lilydale Lake has been fishing well over past weeks for trout, redfin and carp. Water levels have been high and there has been good stocking by Fisheries over winter. These conditions should continue over the coming months, making for some great local fishing.

The Yarra River around Warburton and above always fishes best in the three months before Christmas. The ideal conditions occur in late afternoon, after a warm sunny day, with an early insect rise. These conditions suit both the fly and spin angler. This is when you will get spectacular termite hatches, which results in frenzied feeding by the trout and some hot action for the flyfisher. Although it only happens a few times in a season, when it does the action is worth the wait.

With the pools and lagoons having water in them this year, we should see some good mudeye hatches this season. This will give the angler a good natural bait source to collect locally. It is best to drift the mudeye about 30cm below a bubble float the full length of the pools.

The area around Warrandyte has been very slow for redfin and doesn’t normally fish its best until later in the year – but don’t be put off. Try the shallower areas around the bridge at Warrandyte, Wonga Park off Reserve Road, or the area around Chirnside Park.

Had some success? Send the details via email at --e-mail address hidden-- including the angler, species, where caught (you don’t need to give me all your secrets) and what bait, lure or flies were used.

For up to date Yarra Valley fishing information contact the boys at Compleat Angler in Ringwood on 03 9870 7792 or better still drop in at 92 Maroondah Hwy– we’re open 7 days a week with plenty of top quality fresh bait and a great selection of freshwater gear.

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