Caught 7 fish
Spinning, Bait
Species caught: Brown trout, Rainbow trout

With Mel­bourne cur­rent­ly under Stage 4 coro­n­avirus lock­down, my annu­al trip to the high coun­try around Lake Eil­don with my mates Stephen and Mick for the open­ing of trout sea­son has been post­poned at least a few weeks. As I live in region­al Vic­to­ria and am sub­ject to less restric­tions, I decid­ed to take a lit­tle solo overnight trip up to the Goul­burn Riv­er by myself.

I head­ed up yes­ter­day morn­ing, and arrived just before mid­day to Thorn­ton, where we usu­al­ly fish under Gilmore’s Bridge, a favourite spot. The Goul­burn Riv­er was just a trick­le, only pump­ing out 400ML, and sub­se­quent­ly the low­est I’ve ever fished it. The one ben­e­fit of the slow-mov­ing riv­er was I was able to use some small lit­tle float­ing min­now lures that I’d nor­mal­ly nev­er use in this spot, and was able to float them slow­ly across the riv­er, giv­ing lit­tle flicks and paus­es nor­mal­ly impos­si­ble when the Goul­burn is at full pow­er. With­in an hour I land­ed two large rain­bows, one about 6lbs and the oth­er 8–9lbs. The first took a spin­ning Blue Fox Vibrax lure, the sec­ond an Eco­gear brown trout min­now. With my first day’s bag lim­it1 filled, I cast about for a lit­tle while longer then head­ed into Eil­don to col­lect the keys to my cab­in at the Blue Gums River­side Hol­i­day Park, then hit the Rubi­con River.

Where­as the Goul­burn was a trick­le, the Rubi­con was rag­ing. With plen­ty of rain over the past few days, the Ruby was also a bit murky, and by the time I’d walked down 500 metres of the riv­er, I fig­ured my time was best spent else­where and returned back to the car. I fin­ished my day fish­ing the Goul­burn at the back of Blue Gums, where Snobs Creek meets the main riv­er. I caught a cou­ple of nice lit­tle wild browns, both released as they were only small, but by this time the weath­er had cleared up and it was a very calm­ing and plea­sur­able way to see out the day.

In an area usu­al­ly swarm­ing with fish­er­men at this time of year, I saw one oth­er bloke fish­ing for the entire two days in the area. It was a stark con­trast to my last trip, where even though Vic­to­ria was in a Stage 2 lock­down, social dis­tanc­ing was severe­ly lax. This time it was the oppo­site: Eil­don itself was a ver­i­ta­ble ghost town last night, with every shop except the Food­works com­plete­ly closed, despite being school hol­i­days. The hit to tourism from COVID-19, on top of the bush­fires from this year’s ‘Black Sum­mer’, must be tak­ing a huge toll on the locals. I grabbed some steak and beer from the Food­works and head­ed back to the cab­in for the night.

This morn­ing I woke up and after hand­ing in the cab­in keys, head­ed to Gilmore’s Bridge again. I chased some trout at the trout farm out­let for a lit­tle while, then caught anoth­er cou­ple of large rain­bows under the bridge, with one a mas­sive 10–12lb beau­ty that went about 67cms in length, and I even man­aged some video footage of the fight. My two-day bag lim­it done and dust­ed, I released the next cou­ple I caught (all were large rain­bow hens) and then called it a day and head­ed home before the pre­dict­ed thun­der­storms hit.

I missed my mate’s birth­day last night, so dropped off one of my fish for him on my way home. All up, a very enjoy­able lit­tle trip, though it would have been bet­ter if I’d had my fish­ing bud­dies Stephen and Mick along as well. There are heaps of fish in the riv­er at the moment, and with COVID-19 effec­tive­ly length­en­ing the ‘off sea­son’ for trout this year, it will be inter­est­ing to see how well the riv­er per­forms over the com­ing months.


  1. The bag lim­it for Vic­to­ri­an trout waters is 5 fish per day, but only 2 can be over 35cm. With my first two fish being large, there was no rea­son to keep any small­er, thus I’d con­sid­ered my “bag lim­it” filled.
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