Trout are one of Australia's most sought after freshwater species, and for good reason! They are insanely versatile, put up a great fight on light gear, can grow to mammoth sizes, and are one of the best-looking fish in the water. The trout family is a large one, yet in Australian waters, brown and rainbow trout are the main targets for anglers. Trout fishing is incredibly diverse, and these beauties can be caught on any number of lures, baits, and flies, and can be found in the biggest lakes or the skinniest streams. With so many options it can be hard to know where to start, but don't fret, the BCF'ing experts are here to help! We've pulled together all the information you'll need to catch your first, second, or one-hundredth trout.
Where can I catch trout?
One of the most important things to think about when fishing for trout is location, as this will have an impact on the gear you use as well as your style of fishing. Generally, there are two types of water that trout call home - lakes and rivers. Fishing for trout in flowing water presents quite a different experience to fishing for trout in lakes, yet the simple formula remains the same. You need to find out where the fish are hiding and put something in front of them that they want to eat.
Trout need the water temperature to remain cool in order to survive, meaning that you won't catch them in just any river or lake! Highland lakes such as Lake Eildon, Lake Bolac, Lake Wendouree, Lake Dartmouth and the ‘crater lakes', Lake Bullen Merri and Purrumbete are all great places to catch trout. The Victorian Fisheries Association also stocks a few lakes and impoundments across the state during school holidays, such as Yarrambat Lake and Albert Park Lake, so if you've got a gang of little tackers and can't travel far, these stocked lakes are great places to catch a fish.
There are also a number of rivers in Victoria where you can catch trout. The Steavenson, upstream Goulburn, Rubicon and Acheron are all in the same area and offer great trout fishing only a couple of hours from Melbourne, while the Mitta Mitta, Ovens and King Rivers are solid options for those willing to drive a little bit further. In rivers, trout will sit and wait in well-oxygenated water near boulders or underneath undercut banks waiting for their next meal to come by, so focus your efforts on these areas. Trout fishing in Victorian rivers is subject to seasonal closures. Except for The Merri, Hopkins and Moyne rivers, as well as Mt Emu Creek, fishing for trout in Victorian rivers is prohibited during the closed season which typically runs from June to the start of September. It is important to check the VFA website for closed season info as it changes slightly from year to year.
What gear will I need?
Although trout can reach mammoth sizes, typically they are a much smaller fish species requiring a more finessed approach. This means that light gear will be your best friend! For skinnier waters such as small streams, pairing a 1000 size spinning reel with a 1 - 3kg rod will allow you to cast those tiny lures into the strike zone. Spool this combo with 4lb monofilament line or 6lb braid for some ultra-light gear fun. When fishing in lakes and larger rivers it pays to beef up your gear slightly, just in case you get onto a stonker! A 2500 size spinning reel paired with a 2 - 4kg rod is an appropriate outfit for these kinds of waters, and you can rest assured knowing that you'll be able to reel in even the biggest trout. Spool this combo up with 6lb monofilament line or 8 - 10lb braided line and you'll be set.
Save yourself the headache and take advantage of our in-store spooling service and browse our range of trout lures and reels hand-picked by our BCF'ing experts!
What rig should I use?
When fishing for trout it pays to fish as light as possible and letting an unweighted worm drift down the river is a fantastic way to catch trout. All you need is a worm and a hook! For added bite detection, a small float can be added to the line above the hook. Keep in mind that the distance between the float and hook needs to be adjusted depending on the depth of the river
In lakes you can opt for a similar set-up during the low-light periods. Fishing with a worm or mudeye under a float during dawn and dusk is a tried and tested way to catch trout. When the sun comes up, the trout move into deeper water and anglers can use a running sinker rig with a very light sinker to bring their bait down to the fish.
When choosing a hook, look for baitholder and long shank styles in size 8 or 10. For best results match the style of your hook to the bait you're fishing with. For example, a slightly larger size 8 long shank hook would be a great choice if fishing with worms. When selecting other tackle such as swivels and floats, it pays to go as small as possible. As always, our cracker in-store team can give you a hand if you get stuck.
What do trout eat?
Trout are opportunistic feeders, and naturally, they will feast on a wide variety of bugs from worms to crickets, minnows to fish eggs and even small crustaceans. This means that anglers have a wide variety of baits to choose from, with the most popular options being natural baits such as worms, as well as artificial dough baits, such as gulp powerbait.
What lures work best for trout?
Trout will take a wide variety of lures so it's important to change up your tactics depending on your location. Natural colours such as browns and golds work incredibly well on trout, and lures that have a trout pattern are also effective as trout are cannibalistic (they won't hesitate to eat and attack other trout)!
When fishing in smaller rivers and streams, it can be of great benefit to use smaller lures. Inline spinners, hardbody lures and soft plastics are all very effective lures in smaller sizes. Inline spinners are an inexpensive and easy way to fish, as are soft plastics which have the added benefit of coming in a wide range of natural colours. Hardbody lures offer an incredibly realistic presentation, and Rapala produces high-quality lures in a range of colours, sizes and styles that are sure to get the attention of a hungry trout.
In lakes all the lures just mentioned will still work well, albeit in slightly larger sizes. The most popular lure to use in lakes and impoundments are winged lures such as Tassie Devils, which have a swaying action when retrieved. Make sure you bring some of these along with you on your next trout fishing trip.
Bring a variety of styles, sizes and colours along with you, as you never know what the trout will be biting on a given day.
Are there other ways to catch trout?
While lure and bait fishing are the most popular and accessible ways to catch trout, by no means are they the only ones! Fly fishing and trolling are two other popular methods typically used by more experienced anglers.
Fly fishing is as much of an art as it is a fishing technique and requires a high degree of skill along with specialist gear. It is a lot more difficult than simply drowning a worm and takes a bit of time to master. If you are interested in fly-fishing, however, BCF has a few kits to get you started.
Trolling lures for trout is a simple idea and involves letting your lures out at a distance behind your boat or kayak, and letting the vessel drag the lures at a consistent speed. This method has caught a huge number of trout in lakes around the country. Although it is a simple concept, there are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of catching trout on the troll. Use a couple of different lures that swim at different depths to increase your chance of hooking up!
The beauty of trout fishing is in its simplicity and ability to connect you with nature. Armed with only a worm and a hook, you can catch some amazing fish out of the most pristine waters that we have in this beautiful country. But beware, trout fishing is very addictive! So, if you're prepared to spend countless hours walking down beautiful mountain streams with a rod in hand, get into your local BCF and start your journey today.