Anglers wait to spring into action
  |  First Published: December 2004

The trout season here is basically in a holding pattern while anglers wait for things to really take off later in spring. Many anglers are still relying on stocked impoundments to get their fish.

If you’re lucky enough to have access, these waters contain some of the largest trout in the region and provide top sport. They are also great barometers as to what is happening in the wild(er) fisheries. If the trout are starting to move in the impoundments, you can bet the same is happening in the nearby rivers and streams.

Warragul-based flyfisher Rob Greenall has had consistent success in local irrigation dams, landing rainbow trout to about 500g. He fishes right on dark on fine evenings, and reports that the best flies are small wets such as Craig’s Nighttimes or Hammill’s Killers. Similarly, Bruce Pinder reports that Korumburra Reservoir No 3 has yielded a mix of browns and rainbows with the largest being 1.2kg.

The weather has improved and the early season downpours have gone, but the sporadic rainfall typical of spring in Gippsland has led to inconsistent fishing conditions in the rivers. The countryside is saturated and even the slightest rain leads to discoloured water – though it doesn’t take long to clear. When the water is dirty, the best technique is to use bait. An earthworm on a small hook coupled with a tiny running sinker lobbed into the deeper pools will often yield results when other techniques fail. Alternatively, a small black Celta can also be a successful in dirty water.

Reports from the rivers have been few and far between. The best have come from the middle sections of the Tarwin River where anglers have been landing brown trout to 800g on bait – not a bad result at all under the conditions.

Looking ahead and early summer should see much more settled conditions. Already we have experienced some warm spring evenings that in the green hills of Gippsland are usually very humid as well. This should lead to more frequent insect hatches and increased trout activity. This is where flyfishing really comes into its own, presuming the streams drop and clear as expected.

Also, don’t forget that the season for river blackfish south of the Great Divide reopens at the end of December. This native fish provides an interesting alternative for baitfishers into the New Year – more on that next month.

Any reports or photos of catches from the West and South Gippsland region will be gratefully received at the email address above. Look forward to hearing from you!


Warragul-based flyfisher Rob Greenall holds a fat little trout caught in an irrigation dam right on dark.

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