Flooded with Good Fishing
  |  First Published: October 2009

This month will be a lure-anglers delight with all rivers across West and South Gippsland receiving above average rainfall for September.

Late spring storms will also bring on hatchings of insects that will keep the fly anglers happy too.

The Tarago River downstream of the reservoir has been flowing poorly in recent months with minimal water being let out since the reservoir came back on line by Melbourne Water to provide water to the Mornington Peninsula. This has impacted on environmental flows and no doubt had an impact on this year’s trout spawn. Thanks to the September floods, the Tarago River along with its tributaries have received a much needed top up, therefore the next couple of months should see some great Tarago trout action.

I predict that many of the small streams feeding the Tarago River like Gum Scrub Creek in Drouin West will also hold trout once the flood subsides as the trout have explored new territories to feed. To tackle these smaller streams, drifting baits or dry flies is generally the most productive as it is very difficult to cast and retrieve lures, spinners and soft plastics.

Whilst I was out photographing the floods, I pulled into Picnic Point on the Old Princes Highway, Drouin West to see a couple of young anglers braving the elements and having a fish. Lachlan Johnson and Cory Becherer were fishing garden worms off the bottom and were also trying their luck with soft plastics and hardbodied lures. They hadn’t caught anything at that stage but Lachlan had been putting in a fair effort since the trout season opened.

On one trip, Lachlan landed four browns all around 40cm in the Tarago River upstream from Stock Road, Drouin West. He tried a range of techniques including drifting worms, casting Squidgy Wrigglers in a pearl white pattern and Celta spinners in green and yellow; all proving productive.

Another stream worth targeting over the next month is Shady Creek, which becomes fishable around the Neerim South Caravan Park on the Neerim East Road and flows into the Moe River just out of Yarragon. Over the spawning season, I spotted a number of good sized trout breeding behind the Caravan Park and from past reports I have heard of some big trout cruising this stream so the floods will give these fish an appetite. Once again, this stream may prove difficult for casting and retrieving, so drifting bait or fly together with stealth should provide you with a bit of fun.

The Toorongo and Tanjil Rivers will continue flowing hard in the month as Mt Baw Baw received another huge snow dump, which will melt quickly with spring weather. Unlike the flood-affected rivers, the Toorongo and Tanjil Rivers will present clear water accompanied with great sight fishing.

Other rivers having strong flows over the next month will be the Bunyip, Lang Lang and Latrobe Rivers. Rivers with strong flow offer some exciting trout fishing. There will be a heap of feed in the system and the fish will fatten up in no time. The best methods for fast flowing dirty water is to use bright coloured nymphs, minnow-styled hardbodied lures, spinner bladed lures and soft plastics that will stand out. Cast across stream to get the best action out of your lure as a cast upstream is difficult to retrieve with the flow and casting downstream will prove tough as you retrieve against the flow.

One last thing to look out for over the coming months is rogue fish in the system. Such a flood event that hasn’t been seen in this region for a good nine or so years, may just be the lucky break for fish to escape farm dams. So you may just come across a big rainbow or brown trout, bass, redfin or even a silver perch!

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

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