|  First Published: October 2006

The wait is finally over and freshwater anglers have been given the green light to raid their favourite trout streams. The best angling is still a few weeks away, but early spring is still an enjoyable time to target the plentiful trout in West Gippsland streams.

Opening morning dawned a brilliant day and I headed towards Noojee with Wally Ronalds and Dave Pyke. We looked at the Toorongo, Loch and Latrobe rivers and found they were all running very low. I watched with my camera poised while the others cast their arms off presenting a variety of flies. They scored about 15 follows but the trout seemed spooky in the clear water.

Eventually we decided on a change of tactics and switched to drifting worms on threadline gear. I know, it’s a shameful thing for a flyfisher to admit but we immediately found success with this technique.

I landed two pretty 250g brown trout which is pretty good for the Loch. One had a tag in it and later when I rang the number on the tag, John Douglas from the DPI Snobs Creek Hatchery told me the fish had been tagged on 2 May this year and released less than 50m from where I caught it. John also told me it wasn’t unusual for trout in these small streams to spend long periods of time in small stretches of river without moving far.

If you do catch a trout with a tag in it, record the fish number and phone number, and DPI staff will be more than happy to provide you with the history of your fish.

Elsewhere in the region John Dalla-Rosa reports similarly low water levels in the Tarwin River. He fished there on the opening morning with his grandson, landing four brown trout to 600g, also on worms. Rob Greenall from Warragul also reports an increase in the activity of stocked impoundment fish, so the wild trout should follow suite soon.

Looking ahead and the fishing from here will get better and better as the warmer months approach and insect activity increases. If you find the flyfishing hard early, the humble earthworm can be a handy back up. They’re most effectively fished by hopping in the water, casting upstream with light gear, and drifting the worm back towards you. I suspect small nymphs on longish light leaders could also work well – I’ll let you know next month!

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