A Smelting We Will Go
  |  First Published: October 2005

Trout season is finally here but Central Gippsland received a huge downpour of rain, which flooded and dirtied our alpine streams to an un-fishable state.

The Macalister catchment absolutely copped it, raising Glenmaggie to 100 per cent almost overnight. This was not good news for anglers, whose numbers were down quite a bit from last year. Not many fish were caught over the opening weekend.

The tributaries of the Macalister, such as the Wellington, were a little kinder to anglers. It was discoloured but wasn’t a raging torrent like the Macalister. The few anglers fishing caught a handful of trout, all of which were caught on worms.

The rain also saw Blue Rock Reservoir, in the La Trobe catchment, rise dramatically to over 90 per cent capacity. Some killer reports came in from nearly every angler who fished in the catchment. Local Dave Bonnici had an awesome day given that the trout in Blue Rock had begun to smelt. For those who don’t know, smelt is a name given to baitfish or baby fish. At this time of year, when the trout are coming back downstream from their spawning run, they go berserk on smelt. You can see trout chasing schools of these little fish into the shallows where they pounce on them. Dave said he had fish doing this all day at his feet. He saw the biggest Blue Rock trout of his life, going well into double figures! He managed to land six nice fish to 1kg on soft plastics and bladed lures.

If fish are smelting, casting a metal slug such as a Lazer or Raider can work a treat! Dave was fairly pleased with his catch so he went back the next evening and landed four lovely browns on worms under a float. One weighed a whopping 2kg. The other fish weren’t bad either, with the smallest weighing 1kg. All the action has been happening at the Willow Grove boat ramp end of Blue Rock and all the fish I’ve mentioned were caught from the bank.

The Tanjil River below Blue Rock also fished well. Another local Mick Gned caught a couple of lovely browns on worms. The trout were about half a kilo and in lovely condition. He tried lures as well, however the river was far too dirty from the rain. Mick had a bit more success in the Narracan Creek, where he caught seven brown trout to the same weight on worms on opening morning.

Moving back towards my neck of the woods, the Traralgon Creek has been fishing well despite high water levels. Up high around Traralgon South, Celtas have been the go with plenty of fish up to 35cm caught. Down lower, the fish are a little more scarce but Dave and I managed to catch a couple a pan-sized browns after work. 3cm Rapalas seemed to do the trick for me while Dave preferred to use a Snapback soft plastic.

The other Strezlecki streams I haven’t mentioned like the Morwell, Middle and Turtans Creek are all fishing very well. One local angler and a friend fished Turtans Creek and caught 10 trout up to 3lb on Celtas.

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

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