Atrocious. That’s the only word to describe the weather and the fishing conditions in this part of the world at the time of writing.
Before the opening of the trout season, those fishing privately stocked dams (which are not subject to seasonal closures) reported a definite increase in trout activity by mid-August. Things looked good for the September 4 opening – but then the heavens opened! Some areas had very heavy rain in the week before opening, so most local rivers were high and dirty by opening morning.
I fished the west branch of the Tanjil River with local fly angler Dave Halliwell. The water was much higher than this time last year and the discoloured water was still fishable. The increased flow made flyfishing tough, but eventually we took a small brown trout each, both on bead-head nymphs. When the water level is lower, the trout in this wilderness river provide great sport on dry fly and I look forward to returning there later in spring.
Things got even worse after opening, with a further 100mm of rain recorded in the following 10 days (yep, that’s four inches!). I took a drive along the upper Latrobe and the Toorongo rivers and found them to be raging, brown torrents. Despite this, a few anglers braved the conditions – including snow on September 11 – to fish these normally productive rivers. Those I spoke to reported pan-size’ brown trout taken on scrubworms from the Latrobe River near Noojee and the Toorongo near the Latrobe River confluence.
Further south, the impoundments have also been fishing slowly, with success rates averaging one fish per angler per session. The Korumburra Reservoirs have produced brown trout that are typically about 600g, though a 1.2kg fish was landed early in the month. The Leongatha Reservoirs have rainbow trout to 500g. To fish these waters anglers must be members of the Korumburra or Leongatha Angling Clubs – but membership is open to everyone.
Over the next month, the fishing can only improve (anglers are inherently optimistic!). Once the rain eases off, rivers should drop and clear, providing much better conditions, especially for those seeking trout with spinners and flies. Warmer weather and lingering sunny afternoons will also see an increase in trout activity. Angler activity will also likely increase because the trout streams of West Gippsland are great places to be when the sun is out!
Action on the West Tanjil River: Barry Bajada hooked-up to a feisty brown trout.Reads: 913