Trout fishing heats up
  |  First Published: December 2008

In West Gippsland all the rivers are holding good numbers of trout. The outlook is great, as there was above average rainfall for November accompanied with a cool start to summer. This means more river flow and plenty of hungry active trout!

For the fly anglers, in particular, there is a lot of fun to be had over summer with plenty of storm activity promoting insect hatchings. It is certainly worth paying close attention to the weather over the next few months. Dry flies will work best as the insects fall on the water surface, with the trout just picking them off one by one. Take along a swag of flies so that you can pick the one which best imitates the flavour of the day.

There have been a lot of promising reports for a summer of entertaining fishing. Nash Lilic from Endeavour Hills caught and released 12 brown trout of 100-300g in the Toorongo River near the Toorongo Falls camping grounds. He reported that the river wasn’t flowing very hard, so he was able to find some good pools to fish live maggots under a ball float.

Scott Emslie and his mate from Warragul fished the Tarago River around Labertouche and landed five very nice stream browns on hardbodied lures. The smallest fish weighed 600g and the largest was just on 1kg.

I also had a report of two brown trout, both around 400g, and three eels taken on worms in the Lang Lang River around Heath Hill. To access this river there are a number of roads that come off the Western Port Road. There is even a weir at Heads Road, which is well worth looking out for.

Daniel Petrevski and his dad Naume, from Dromana, fished a range of spots along the Latrobe River. The first spot they tried was Hawthorn Bridge, out in the Neerim East State Forest. The Latrobe River Road from Neerim South will take you to the river but despite what the name suggests, there is currently no bridge.

Daniel fished with a Rapala CD7 in a brown trout pattern and landed a nice 300g brown. He also had a lot of hits and misses, all from small trout. Naume drifted garden worms downstream, catching and releasing a lot of small browns.

They then moved on to Noojee and fished the Latrobe River, at the timber mill and at the picnic grounds in town. Once again, there were a lot of small fish including quite a lot of rainbow trout. Daniel had more success on the smaller Rapala CD5, as it was easier to manoeuvre through the different depths as well as being a little more palatable for the smaller fish.

For those looking to take the family for a day trip over the summer break, Noojee has some terrific picnic spots along the Latrobe River. The carpark at the barbeque rotunda is once again open, allowing you to park the car right next to river. This picnic spot features toilets, large rotunda with a free barbeque, table and chairs all under cover, and a playground. It is a great place to teach the kids how to fish with plenty of trout on offer.

There are a few deeper pools that will allow you to fish live baits like worms or maggots under a float, or off the bottom using a light sinker. Using artificial baits like PowerBait is also a productive alternative worth trying. Bladed spinners, hardbodied lures and soft plastics also work a treat, presenting a good opportunity for the kids to practice their casting.

For those kids that have mastered these techniques, it may be time to introduce them to flyfishing, and the Latrobe River is an exciting river to start on. With all the small trout around, it is a great sign of big fish to come over summer and autumn.

Gippsland spiny freshwater crayfish are on the prowl and are very active throughout all the rivers and tributaries at this time of the year. The best method for catching these prehistoric looking creatures is to tie a sliver of meat, preferably liver, to a 1.5m string, making sure the string is well attached to a stick on the bank. Leave it for 30 minutes to an hour. If the string is taut then pull it up slowly and have a small net ready in the water to scoop the cray up in. Always get the net behind the crayfish before scooping, as they’ll move pretty fast backwards when they see you. In other words, this is very much like yabbying but on a bigger scale.

A reminder that the blackfish season re-opens on January 1.

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

Daniel Petrevski with a small brown trout caught in the Latrobe River on a Rapala CD5.

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