Bright future for Gippy trout
  |  First Published: February 2009

Reports from a number of local anglers indicate last year’s trout spawning season was one of the best in many years in West and South Gippsland. Combined with above average rainfalls in late spring and early summer, it appears we have a promising future for trout fishing in this region.

Regular reporter Wally Ronalds has spent quite a bit of time over the last month wetting the fly line and reports that the fishing is very good from Tanjil Bren all the way through to the Neerim district. Icy Creek is holding some good brown trout to 500g, as are the Toorongo and Latrobe rivers.

The Tarago River is holding bigger browns to 700g, with the odd 1kg specimen also turning up. There is a tonne of feed flowing through the system at the moment, with insect hatchings occurring with every cool front that moves through the region.

Wally also let me in on a little secret for fly anglers keen on hitting the streams this month. If white ants are hatching, then use a black dry fly. If a black coloured beetle or fly is hatching, then use a white fly. Although this doesn’t fit the orthodox rules of choosing flies to imitate the present insect activity, Wally assures me that this method works a treat.

The Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road is a picturesque road starting from Noojee and winding up to the summit. Along the 45km stretch of road are a number of terrific mountain streams that would tempt any trout angler. Icy Creek and the West Branch of the Tanjil River are fishing well for an abundance of small trout. The average trout is around 250g, but I have caught some rippers of 600g, which are a lot of fun in these beautiful streams. If you generally fish around Noojee in the Loch, Latrobe and Toorongo rivers, why not venture out further and experience what Icy Creek and the higher reaches of the Tanjil River have to offer.

Dave Pike from Neerim Junction has had plenty of experience fishing Icy Creek and the Tanjil River over the years and reports that some great fishing will be had over this coming autumn and winter. Dave says the streams are teaming with small rainbow and brown trout averaging 250g. While the high water levels and strong flow made it a little difficult to fish in December and January, February through to May should be a lot of fun for all anglers, and all techniques, as these fish will only get bigger! It shouldn’t matter if flyfishing is your game or you like casting out a lure or drifting a worm.

Another species being targeted around the Bunyip, Neerim and Noojee districts is blackfish, which are on the bite in the evening on worms as Dallas Gravener from Warragul found out. He landed a 1kg+ blackfish while targeting trout in the Tarago River around Neerim South. The most productive technique is to use worms or small yabbies under a ball float cast in a slow flowing pool on dusk or after dark.

The water temperature should start warming up now, which tends to make the trout more peckish. Minnow style lures like the Rapala F3and spinner blades like the Crown Seal lure or Celta are best fished in the early morning or late afternoon as the sun settles behind the hills. Trout will tend to follow the lure in during the heat of the day but not strike.

For the fly anglers, Royal Wulffs, Black Matukas and beaded nymphs work a treat over summer. Artificial baits like PowerBait and live baits like scrubworms, garden worms, maggots and small yabbies can be drifted or placed under a float. Baits can be fished all day, but the most productive times are at dawn or dusk.

Please feel free to email me any reports, photos or questions. Happy fishing!

Dallas Gravener from Warragul proudly displays a 1kg+ blackfish he caught in the Tarago River.

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