Luring Winter Trout

Jarrod Day is a well renown fisherman in the south of the country and his knowledge of trout is endless.  Here is a snippet of what he knows.

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Winter has begun to set in taking up permanent residence over much of the Victorian state in recent weeks. For some, this is the time to pack away the boat and fishing gear for another chilly few months while for others, the first hint of rain is a godsend knowing that the local trout population will be on the move.

Rivers And Streams

When the first signs of rain begin to fall in Victoria, particularly in the Alpine/Gippsland region, the slight increase in water levels throughout the streams and rivers causes trout to begin their annual spawning cycle.

Increased water levels means that the trout can navigate their way upstream and make their way over thick timber and up rocky rapids to head to a gravel bed in order to lay their eggs.

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This journey for some usually begins in the lakes which have rivers running into them. When the timing is right, the fish school up at the mouths of the rivers before waiting for the rains and when they arrive, the inert reaction to head up river is like someone flicking a switch as they all head begin the run.

In preserving the trout population, the trout season is closed from midnight on Monday 13th June (Queens Birthday Weekend) to Midnight Friday 2nd of September 2016. This enables the fish a good run and time to spawn.

Right around the state there are thousands of rivers and streams all worthy of wetting a line on any given weekend. Unfortunately the downside to fishing for trout in winter is that it is very cold and wet so it pays to rug up if you are venturing out.

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Just a few hours from Melbourne’s CBD, the Goulburn River and its tributaries support quite a healthy population of winter run trout along with the Acheron and Rubicon Rivers.

Smaller streams still get a good run of fish but none to the size that the aforementioned see. Further into the mountains, The Yarra, Tyers, Thompson, Tanjil and Mitta Mitta rivers see some of the best trout fishing the state has to offer.

It’s not just the Alpine/Gippsland areas that get runs of trout either but over in the West, the same occurs. However, things can be a little different, especially when you have sea run trout. These fish may move out into the ocean and between the waterways and have no closed season imposed on them as they cannot get up into the main rivers or dams upstream of the below locations.

  • Aire River – downstream of the Great Ocean Road Bridge.
  • Avon River – downstream of the Stratford Railway Bridge.
  • Ford River – downstream of the Great Ocean Road Bridge.
  • Gellibrand River – downstream of the Great Ocean Road Bridge.
  • Hopkins River – downstream of the Hopkins Falls.
  • Merri River – downstream of the Bromfield Weir.
  • Mitchell River – downstream of Princes Highway Bridge at Bairnsdale.
  • Moyne River – downstream of the Toolong Bridge.
  • Tambo River – downstream of the Bruthen Road Bridge.

Tactics

Fishing for trout throughout winter is not always the easiest of tasks, especially when they have only one thing on their mind. When spawning takes place, the trout are often focused on fertilising the eggs and take very little notice of the rest of their surroundings. When you do get a hook up, the bite is out of aggression rather than them wanting to feed, this is due to the smaller males attempting to reign in on the female in an attempt to fertilise the eggs himself as well as the smaller fish eating the eggs that become dislodged and float downstream with the current. In this case, any trout that gets too close to the buck is often attacked and killed.

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When targeting trout in any of the above streams and rivers, tactics are similar to that when targeting the fish at any time of the year. Walking upstream is an important part in being successful. Trout always hold in a river with their heads in the current, walking upstream will allow you to see them before they see you. This will allow yourself to get into a good position to be able to flick your baits to where they are holding.

Most of the fish at this time of year won’t be holding so much amongst structure or behind rocks or under overhanging river banks. Because they are in spawning mode, they will be where the female trout are which for the most part is in the middle of the river over a gravel bed. Looking for trout can be challenging but providing your wading the river and scouring up in front of you, you should have no trouble in locating them.

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Lures Of Choice

Due to the aggressive nature of trout at this time of the year, targeting them with lures is one of the most proven methods to use. However, in large wide rivers such as the Goulburn and parts of the Rubicon, glo-buggin is highly effective. Glo-buggin utilises a spin outfit but those that prefer to flick a fly rod can do that too.

The setup for the glo-bug rig is quite simple in itself. A length of 6lb fluorocarbon leader to a size 10 crane swivel to prevent line twist. Off the back end of the swivel, attach 2 lengths of leader, one around 30cm in length with a glo-bug fly attached to its end and the other around 10-15cm in length with 2-3 size AA split shot crimped to its end. Next is to attach another length of leader around 20cm in length to the hook on the glo-bug and on the other end of that leader, a brown or black coloured nymph.

This rig can be cast upstream and allow to be bumped over the bottom with the current. The glo-bug look like a fish egg and the nymph a normal meal they’d see day in day out.

If the rig becomes snagged, it can be pulled and you only lose the spit shot rather than the entire rig.

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Lures on the other hand require a similar approach but it is the lures themselves that require a change. First things first, lure choice is critical and considering the fish are aggressive, it pays to stick to using trout coloured lures in an attempt to fool them in thinking the lure is a smaller fish preying on the females eggs.

When choosing lures to use it is a good option to stick to lures in the 80 to 100mm length such as Yakamito’s Slim Minnow 100, Yo-Zuri 90mm Pins Minnow and toss in the odd Zerek Flash Minnow 90mm soft plastic for god measure. Any of these lures should be bumped, twitched and jerked past the nose of the fish in order to encourage them to strike.

The trout are now on the move and the season is drawing to an end. If you have ever wanted to target big bucks and feisty doe’s, you’d best pack your quarry and hit the mountains before the season comes to a close.

Jarrod Day

About Jarrod Day

As a young boy, fishing from the Portsea and Sorrento piers along the Mornington Peninsula coastline was a regular occurrence during the school holidays. My love for fishing grew and many years later now find it much more than a hobby, but a lifestyle. My website has been developed with fishing and photography in mind. Take a look around, I hope you enjoy it. www.jarrodday.com/

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