’Hopper explosion has trout firing
  |  First Published: February 2005

As I write this article we are right in the middle of the holiday season, which means that fishing the local streams is like attending the Boxing Day cricket match at the MCG. Crowds everywhere and barely a metre of water left unfished. However that will all change in the next two to three weeks when the holiday makers return to work and school and we return to ‘normal’ numbers.

The fishing in East Gippsland has generally been very good over the first month of summer. Our weather has been quite mild and we have received above average rainfall over the mountains, which means that the streams are all flowing well and are in top condition. Water temperature is also just right for the fish.

The other thing that is happening all over our area is the explosion of small to medium sized grasshoppers which should see us experience a fantastic ’hopper season this year.

The bush fires of two years ago are largely a thing of the past but they have changed the conditions of some of our streams. The top end of the Mitta Mitta River (or Big River) is a good example. Before the fires this river was surrounded by native forest, trees, undergrowth, blackberries and all sorts of foliage. The fire ravaged this area and consequently the canopy of trees no longer exists as it did before. Sun light is now able to penetrate to the valley floor and where there was scrub there is now grass along lots of the river bank. The grasshoppers are finding this grass much to their liking and are around in big numbers.

The upper Mitta Mitta River is fishing well for all forms of fishing. Worms have been very successful with fish up to 1.5kg being taken. A group of local anglers walked into the Black Duck Hole recently and did very well using worms. To access the Black Duck Hole requires a long downhill trek via an old closed 4WD track and a very hard uphill walk back to the main road. Hard going, but this isolated hole has produced some great fishing over the years. Spinner fishers are also taking their fair share of fish and the fly fishing is just starting to hit its peak.

The fly fishers have been successful using nymphs but good numbers of trout are also being taken on dry flies and this trend should continue over the next few months. Good flies include Royal Wulff, Elk Hair Caddis (evening), Red Tag and any of the popular ’hopper patterns.

Like the Mitta Mitta River, the Bundarra River is running clear and fishing well. Its sister river, the Cobungra, is also running well and fishing reasonably well and should improve significantly once the grasshopper fishing takes off. This stream is always a favourite of the trout in late summer and early autumn and is usually excellent once the ’hoppers put in an appearance. The Livingstone Creek around the Cassils area is also fishing quite well for mainly smaller fish.

The Delegate River has not always been at its best this season. Reasonable fishing has occurred on some days and pretty ordinary fishing on other days. The mayfly hatches that this stream is renowned for have not really fired up. The flow is still fairly low however the fishing has now come good and fish up to 1.4kg and being taken, particularly by the fly fishers. The Delegate River should provide some great fishing over the next few months particularly to those using grasshoppers.

The rivers around Dargo have been fishing well and should continue to do so until we get a spate of hot weather which usually knocks the fishing around in this area. The Dargo River is fishing reasonably well but the best fishing seems to be in the Crooked River and the Wonangatta River with the Wongungarra River worth a look. This area has been badly hit by drought conditions over the past 6 or more years but with a couple of good season under its belt, the fish stocks are recovering.

To sum up, I believe that we are going to get some terrific trout fishing over the next few months. Just remember to practice some catch and release and it could be a year to remember.

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