Trout and Ladders
  |  First Published: July 2009

One more month till we dust off our beloved trout rod and hit the streams of West and South Gippsland. The trout season opens on Friday midnight September 4th and is sure to attract a lot of anglers.

Having not heard of many blackfish reports in the last month I was starting to worry what I could write about but there has been plenty to report about in terms of things being done to protect the future of trout fishing in this region.

Fisher Road Reserve in Drouin West has recently seen a new fish ladder installed by Melbourne Water. The Baw Baw Shire Council is also supporting the works by revegetating the reserve to enhance streamside biodiversity. The Reserve upgrade will be pleasantly welcomed by anglers as another great venue to take the family for a fish and picnic, adding to the many reserves and picnic grounds in West and South Gippsland.

The Fisher Road Reserve fish ladder was installed to aid the migration of native species like the tupong, galaxias and other small fish species such as the protected Australian grayling. This will no doubt have benefits for trout heading upstream during spawning season too.

Since writing about the freshwater fishing in this region for over two years, I’ve become quite passionate about the future of trout fishing in West and South Gippsland. Catch and release is something I always like to promote, respecting landholders and their properties which many of the streams and rivers flow through, taking rubbish home and minimising the impact on streamside vegetation are all important factors in protecting the future of stream trout fishing in West and South Gippsland. But nothing is more important than abiding by the salmonid closed season regulations. This regulation hasn’t been set up to provide another bureaucratic hurdle for anglers but has been implemented to protect the future of trout in Victorian streams. It is well recognised that recreational trout fishing brings in a lot of money for the economy, in particular our local economies.

Speaking to an angler fishing the Latrobe River in Noojee with his family late last year, I was gathering a report and we got sidetracked discussing his day out fishing with his family. He fuelled up in Neerim South, bought garden worms and hooks at Baw Baw Sports & Outdoors, bought fish and chips at the Noojee General Store and after helping the kids catch their first trout, he was going to sneak in a beer at the Toolshed Bar & Bistro before heading back to Melbourne. His day out was injecting over $100 into our local economy and the most important thing was that he was teaching his kids how to fish.

Offenders caught

In mid June I was reading a media release and got so fired up to find out that in early June a Croydon man was selfish enough to ignore the trout regulations and spear-fish for trout in the Tarago River. Not only was he taking trout in a closed season but he was also using a spear which is highly illegal in inland waters. Thankfully he was caught by Fisheries Officers and they assure us that they will continue carrying out patrols over the salmonid closed season throughout this region.

I really hope they make a good example of this Croydon man through various media as I have heard many other reports behind the scenes over this closed season of similar behaviour. His actions put our trout fishery at risk by taking spawning fish, resulting in a decline of offspring for our coming season. This ultimately leads to less anglers heading to these beautiful streams to chase trout, having detrimental impacts on our local economies. Remember to please report any illegal activity to 13 FISH.

Looking forward to the opener

For the trout season opener, I have learnt from previous experience that it is important to get down to your favourite spot before first light on the Saturday morning to secure your favourite stretch of stream. All techniques ranging from fly, soft plastics, lures, spinners, live and artificial baits are worth a shot and feel free to drop me an email of a fishing report, photo or question. A quick reminder also that the blackfish season closes September 1 through till December 31. Happy fishing!

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