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Rivers of Plenty
  |  First Published: April 2005



What a summer! One day the weather was hot, the next day, cold and wet. Such conditions may not be very appealing for a lot of fisherman, especially those who enjoy saltwater, but for freshwater anglers, it means fast flows and discoloured water, perfect for hunting trout.

Over the last month, the rivers of Central Gippsland have been rivers of plenty – in terms of both fish and water.

To start with, Traralgon Creek still has a great flow as we move into autumn and the creek has even been a little discoloured most of the time. This has lead to great catches in the upper reaches of the river, as the fish are not easily spooked. Of course, the fish have not been huge, but there have been a few better than average ones taken.

Grasshoppers have been doing very well unweighted and floated down stream. Hopper pattern flies have therefore been very popular with flyfishers and have been working a treat.

At the time of writing, the Macalister had a great flow. Worm fishermen were doing better than anyone else and plenty of pan-sized browns and rainbows were caught. Up high on the Macalister near the Barkley River, small bladed lures have been doing the trick. Good numbers of brown trout have been caught, although the fish haven’t been big, which is a bit unusual for this location.

Recently, Paul Spehr and I had a session in Blue Rock Dam on a very cold and windy summer day. Because the lake was very high (at least 97%), the banks were fully submersed, as was all the vegetation. We were using soft plastics on very light jigheads and managed to pull out a heap of small redfin. Paul got a hard-fighting carp of around 6lb on an avocado Squidgie. In one inlet we saw a bank literally full of fish moving ever so slightly, and were really excited until we realised they were all carp. We didn’t see even one trout this day, but the conditions were atrocious.

Just before the time of writing, Darren Baumgarten and I fished a local stream in the Morwell area. It was a heavily overgrown stream, so we decided to use Celtas and Mapso bladed lures to see how much money we could lose. Seriously though, most people don’t try to use lures in small, shallow, overgrown streams, which is a bit of a shame. You can’t flyfish and the water is too fast and shallow to use bait so lures are the only option. Therefore, these shallow, overgrown rivers can hold good-sized fish because everyone is too scared to try them or simply overwhelmed by the conditions.

We used size 3 lures because we both believe that a bigger lure in a smaller stream catches far more fish, as it stands out better and is guaranteed to stay near the bottom in the these fast flowing streams. All too often, I hear people say they fished a tiny creek with a number 1 Celta. However, if the river is fast flowing and you want to fish rapids, a number 1 Celta barely breaks the surface and simply skims across the top of the water.

Try using a number 3 Celta in the same conditions, and the lure will stay under water all the time, even when dragged upstream through fast flows. The lure is therefore in the strike zone longer. In addition to this, a bigger lure will catch the fish’s attention more quickly.

Using this method, we caught a couple of browns each, and also lost quite a few. Baumy pulled a thumper brown of 46cm, weighing just under 3lbs – an awesome fish, especially considering the size of the stream.

For all the latest news, or to report what you’ve been catching, drop in and see me at Allways Angling in Traralgon or call me at the shop on (03) 5174 8544.

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