Trout opening started with a bang this year, with record snow falls and much-needed rain. Most rivers and streams in Central Gippsland finally have reasonable flow, which they have been lacking for several years.
Opening weekend saw the Macalister River flowing high and slightly dirty, which was great for the bait anglers. The section from Lake Glenmaggie to Licola was packed with people and popular spots like Cheynes Bridge and Basin Flats were no exception. This, however, did not put off the fish, with large numbers of rainbows around 400g taken. Classic lures like Celta and Tassie Devils didn’t seem to produce many fish, but a worm on the bottom with a light running sinker definitely did the trick. The Macalister’s tributaries fished well with lures and flies and that has continued.
The Thomson River around Coopers Creek and Brunton’s Bridge has been fishing well with Celtas and Mapso bladed lures taking quite a few fish, mostly small browns ranging 200-400g. A bead-head Hare’s Ear Nymph with a strike indicator cast upstream and allowed to flow down naturally has also been doing the trick.
Heading south, Traralgon Creek and Morwell River have been fishing well with worms when the water has been high and dirty. A small running sinker rig will do the trick when it’s flowing fast.
I will also mention that in these streams you are allowed to keep two fish over 35cm OR five under 35cm – the reason being bigger fish produce more eggs, and a smaller population in any stream will produce larger fish as the food source does not have to be shared as much as it does with a heap of smaller fish. I’m a catch and release angler and, while I don’t begrudge people keeping a fish to eat, I hate hearing of anglers who keep every fish they catch. A fresh fish is certainly much better eating than a frozen one, but no one can eat 16 trout for dinner! Some local angling clubs in the area should act responsibly and set a good example by learning about sportfishing and how to limit your kill and not kill your limit.
On a lighter note, the fish of the month in this area goes to Joe Sepala, of Traralgon, with a 3.2kg brown trout he caught while trolling in Blue Rock Dam with a Rapala lure. I also managed a trip to Blue Rock recently and snagged four brown trout at around 700g each. Three were caught trolling lead line with a Tassie Devil and the other was taken on a worm. Worms should fish well close to bank in any lake at the moment with new ground being submerged by the high water levels.
It looks like the Central Gippsland rivers should fish well all the way through to summer, so get out there and catch a few… but try to leave some fish there for other people to catch as well.
This 46cm trout fell to a Mapso lure cast by Brad Cartwright.Reads: 1253