This is our final month to enjoy daylight savings and to have a decent midweek crack at catching a stream trout.
Unless you have a weekday off or you have a free weekend, then this is the perfect time to explore the streams of West and South Gippsland.
In March you should expect to see an abundance of insect hatches and plenty of grasshoppers which will keep the trout feeding aggressively, so all techniques will be productive.
Dry flies are the way to go for those slower flowing streams, but if this region gets a normal autumn break with some rain then switch over to beaded nymphs.
Bait anglers will start to trade artificial lures for live baits as the trout will be striking anything that moves to improve body condition in preparation for the breeding season in winter. Lure anglers will also be enjoying this time of the year as hardbodied minnow styled floating lures, revolving blade lures and soft plastics are all fair game for a hungry trout.
This is also a great time of the year to target the Gippsland spiny freshwater crayfish which lives in most of the streams, small creeks and even farm drains around this region.
To catch a cray, use a 1.5m-2m length of string or strong fishing line tied at one end to a stick on the bank and at the other end tie a large piece of meat off-cut – similar to fishing for yabbies.
If there is a cray on, pull the string in slowly and have a yabby net ready to scoop it. You are also allowed to use up to five hoop nets in the Latrobe River system but baited lines are a lot more fun for the kids. Remember not to keep females with eggs and the minimum length for the carapace in this region is 9cm.
There is a limit of five, of which no more than one cray may exceed 12cm carapace length. The carapace is the main body of the cray that is the section of shell from the eye socket to the last legs or where the tail begins.
All rivers are fishing really well around the Noojee district with the Latrobe River attracting most of the attention. Lisa Straatman, her brother, Matthew, and dad, Darren, fished the Loch River close to the Latrobe River early morning in Noojee using garden worms and #2 Squidgy Wriggler Hot Tail soft plastics in a Silver Fox pattern.
Lisa caught a beautiful brown trout in the early morning on garden worms while Darren caught and released three small browns.
I had an interesting trip out to the Tarago River below the Drouin West Primary School recently. Although I came back empty handed, I had an enjoyable and equalling frustrating few hours in the evening chasing brown trout. The Tarago River is looking horrible now that Melbourne Water have significantly slowed down outflows from the reservoir. What were once fishable lengths of stream, are now left choking by weeds and other aquatic vegetation.
Apparently they will be releasing plenty of water during timed periods to simulate natural flooding but the river is looking terrible between Gum Scrub Creek in Drouin West right up to the dam wall. The only positive that I can drag out of this from a recreational angler’s point of view is that while there are fewer trout in the system, they are much bigger! And I’m talking nine out of the 15 fish that I spooked or lost were over 1kg and the other six were not that far off the mark either.
I fished with Squidgy Wrigglers to get around the vegetation and lost a few beauties. One fish hit the lure so hard it landed on the bank but instead of running to catch it, I just stood there and laughed. It was a big stream brown probably around 1.5kg.
Make sure that if you sneak in a fish after work or on the weekend or even take the family for a day fishing around here that you send me a report or photo and feel free to ask me any questions. Happy fishing!Reads: 1180