Low water but plenty of trout
  |  First Published: June 2005

Our rivers are low, but boy, are there some fish about. The last couple of months have provided anglers with warm days and clear skies. Although these make for nice days out on the water, we do need the odd rainy day here and there to keep our rivers flowing.

Most of the rivers in central Gippsland have been running low. The Strezlecki streams, such as the Traralgon, Morwell and Middle creeks, are no exception. Low flows have seen trout move into the deeper pools. It’s not been uncommon to pull half a dozen fish out of one hole. Most of these fish have been small, around 6 to 8 inches, but with a small no.1 or no.2 Celta, you can have a lot of fun. There has also been the odd big fish caught.

The Macalister has been disappointing recently. It is really low and only small rainbows have been caught. Find any section with rapids because the fish are holding up in these more oxygenated stretches. Flyfishing has been the preferred method because the river is so low. Any streamer pattern such as a Mrs Simpson or King Billy stripped through a rapid will catch these rainbows. This river will fire, but it won’t happen until we get a good drop of rain above Licola. If this occurs before the trout closed season commences at midnight on 13 June, get up there because some bigger fish will move upstream from Lake Glenmaggie.

The small tributaries north of the valley have been fishing exceptionally well despite low flows. It seems that the trout in these rivers haven’t waited for the rain; they’re already spawning. Some large specimens ranging from 2lb to 4lb have been taken. If you are fishing one of these rivers before the closed season, it is probably a good thing to release the females, as they will probably be carrying roe (eggs). If you want to keep a fish, keep a male instead.

It’s hard to tell the sex of small trout but once they get a little bigger there’s a couple of characteristics to look for that can give you a fairly good idea of whether or not it is male or female. If it’s a big trout but has a rounded smallish head, it’s a good chance it’s a female. Also, during this time of year, a female with eggs will have a bulging belly. If the head is larger and pointier, which a little lump starting to develop on the tip of the lower jaw, then it’s most probably a male.

We don’t have a lot of time left to fish for trout in rivers, so get out there while you can. This is the best time of year by far to catch big trout. Good luck!

For more information contact Will at Allways Angling in Traralgon on (03) 5174 8544.

Darren Baumgarten with a 38cm female brown trout. Note the smaller rounder head of the female trout. This fish was full of eggs and was released.
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