West Gippy Getting Busy
  |  First Published: December 2005

In West Gippsland the trout are moving and the fishing is good. The best fish are coming from privately stocked dams and those with access are having a ball. These impoundment fish can be a good barometer for the activity of wild stream trout early in the season – and lately they have been going crazy.

In the streams the action hasn’t quite reached the red-hot heights of summer, but there’s plenty of fish getting caught. I made a quick after-work sortie to the Latrobe River with Warragul-based fly enthusiast Dave Halliwell. The water was slightly discoloured – like it often is in the Latrobe – so we opted for bead head nymphs. Dave swung a long line through the large pool at the Toorongo junction and managed to extract a feisty little rainbow after two missed strikes.

Not long after, just before dark, I found a cooperative brown trout while upstream nymphing in front of the timber mill. There is easy access to this part of the Latrobe and though it probably gets its fair share of angling attention it’s a handy spot that usually contains a few fish. Flyfishing, spinning and baitfishing are all productive techniques in the Latrobe, which is one of the biggest rivers in the region.

Meanwhile, Wally Ronalds and Dave Pyke have been sneaking down to check on developments in the Loch and Toorongo Rivers. They report four to five brown trout a session, but they reckon the action should really fire up soon with the migration of trout upstream as they escape higher water temperatures in the lower Latrobe.

Wally ties his own dry flies that he fishes wet with extraordinary success. I keep threatening to publish a photo of one but he won’t hold it still for long enough! I can tell you that he fishes them upstream and that a leader of less than 1.5 metres is all that you need in these shallow streams.

Similarly, good numbers of both brown and rainbow trout have been landed in the ever-reliable west branch of the Tanjil River. Those I heard of came up to a dry fly drifted through likely-looking pools and gentle rapids.

January should see some sustained hot weather even in Gippsland. This might turn the impoundment fish off, but fishing for wild trout in the streams should reach its peak. With trout, a warm summer evening on a Gippsland stream is as close you’ll get to a sure thing!

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