Central Gippsland fires up
  |  First Published: December 2004

The rivers continue to flow well into the beginning of summer, which is creating great trout fishing in central Gippsland.

To start off, Congratulations to the Heyfield angling club for another successful Licola fishing competition. The competition was held on the Macalister River in mid-October. Over 180 fish were weighed in, both brown and rainbow trout, the biggest around 625g. Many of the fish were smaller rainbows resulting from this year’s stocking by DPI Fisheries. Most of the fish were caught in the Licola region or above using worms.

Interestingly, a few small Australian bass ranging 15-20cm were also caught. This is great sign to see these fish that were stocked in Lake Glenmaggie in December 2002 are migrating upstream and growing quite quickly. (For more information on bass in Victoria, refer to Ben Sandman’s article ‘Budding Bass’ in Fishing Victoria Volume 2, also published by FM Group.)

The Wellington River has also been fishing well for small rainbows. Most fish caught have been fin-clipped, suggesting they are from the Macalister River liberation. It is good to see these fish moving their way up through the tributaries.

Lake Glenmaggie has been fishing very well of late, with water levels reaching 99 percent at the time of writing, meaning there should be lots of fish in close looking for worms and terrestrials that have been drowned. I had a fun day for a few hours after work recently using small soft plastics and light jigheads. I managed a heap of small redfin and three rainbow trout off the bank. One rainbow was quite good at 42cm. This goes to show you don’t need a boat to have fun.

To catch trout on soft plastics, use natural-coloured plastics like browns and dark reds, which might be mistaken for a struggling worm or minnow. I can’t stress enough how vital a light jig is as well. Too many people put on a 1/4-1/2oz jighead so they can cast a long way, but they don’t realise that the plastic loses all its action. This might be fine for an ambushing flathead, but not a cunning trout. I’ve have never seen a drowned worm sink to the bottom like a house brick.

The Thomson River has been fishing well up above the dam for brown trout up to 1kg. The preferred method has been to cast lures like Tassie Devils and bangtails.

Traralgon Creek and Morwell River have been fishing well upstream using fly and spinners. Some fish have been quite large around 1kg. This is probably due to the welcomed higher than average water levels, which have been a long time coming. There have been quite a few termite (flying ant) falls during the warm evenings, which have had flyfishers testing their skills, casting their flies among a million or so real flying ants laying on the water.

Other flies that have been working well of late in these rivers have been Black Spinners and Black Beetles. If flyfishing isn’t your thing, a size 3 Celta works fantastic at nearly all times of the day. So get out there and give it a go, but leave some for me and everyone else!


Darren Baumgarden with a 1.5kg brown trout caught in Latrobe region.

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