THIS month sees a changing of the guard in Victoria's freshwater fisheries.
Murray cod season closes at the end of the month and a few days later, on September 5, the river trout season opens.
This is the best time to walk a stream or river as they have been off limits to trout anglers for three months.
The seasonal change will see thawing snow in the high country, which in turn will wash worms and other emerging insect life into streams.
My suggestion is that you head for the high country where water flow may be retarded but never stops.
Rivers like the Kiewa near Mt Beauty is a good starting point as it continues to produce brown and rainbow trout every season.
A large section of the Kiewa River, running from the township of Mt Beauty through Tawonga to Redbank, is considered blue-ribbon trout fishing water.
The best fishing is from September through to about mid-December.
Other northeast waters to fish include the Nariel Creek at Corryong, Rocky Valley Creek, Bundarra and Cobungra rivers, Upper Mitta Mitta River at Anglers Rest and Snowy Creek and the lower Mitta Mitta River at Mitta Mitta.
Closer to Melbourne, the Goulburn, Stevens and Big rivers are worth fishing.
In the southwest, the Merri at Warrnambool is consistent.
In the foothills of the Otway Ranges, the Gellibrand at Princetown and Aire River near Horden Vale are noted for their XOS brown trout, with fish to 7kg caught.
Anglers who prefer lakes and impoundments should head for the Western District Crater Lakes near Camperdown. Lakes Purrumbete and Bullen Merri have been producing good numbers of brown and rainbow trout this year.
West Barwon Dam near Forrest has started to fish well and Lake Wurdiboluc has produced good numbers of trout all year.
Eildon Pondage is easily Victoria's most consistent water, as it should given the regular, intense stocking regime.
Lauriston Reservoir has been producing brown trout averaging about 1kg in recent weeks. Lake Buffalo on the Buffalo River south of Myrtleford and Lake William Hovell on the King River south of Wangaratta are consistent trout waters.
Anglers working impoundments should watch out for a solid fall of rain. The resultant rise of water around lake shorelines inevitably results in trout moving inshore to graze over the freshly flooded grass for the likes of snails and worms.
Brown and rainbow trout can be caught on bait using light threadline outfits, spooled with 2-3kg lines. Hook size varies with bait, a No.6 is a big hook, and for mudeyes, you will find No.12 a better size.
In rivers, fish under a bubble float and drift the bait into deeper holes or put a couple of pieces of split shot on the line to take the bait deeper, casting upstream and allowing it to be washed into holes where larger fish are likely to wait.
In still waters, cast your baits out to sit close to structure such as weed beds. Popular baits include mudeyes, glassies, gudgeon, minnow, crickets, grasshoppers, maggots and scrubworms. Powerbait is popular and available from most tackle store.
Most fly fishers use five and six weight outfits, weight forward floating lines and leader length averaging 3-4 metres.
Tippet size is up to the individual but can be gossamer thing 1-2kg breaking strain for the small flies. Slippery rocks in some rivers make wading difficult so wear felt-soled shoes if you intend to enter the water. Always work upstream as the trout face this way and you are less likely to spook them.
Flies depend on the insects. The Bogong Beauty is an excellent dry fly, along with size 14 Royal Wulff and Red Humpy.
Spring sees the likes of green midges, dung beetles, caenis (mayfly), damselflies, and Kosciuzko duns breaking out.
Some more useful flies include red tag, orange spinner, brown nymph, gold bead head nymph, the fabulous Tom Jones and Greenwell's Glory. Nymphs and Stick Caddis imitations can produce fish in the deeper water during the day.
Use a light threadline outfit, no more than 3kg. The rod should be less than 2m long and have a sharp recovery. New lures come on to the market every week but old standards take a bit of beating.
Small bladed lures like the No.1 and 2 Celtas, or small bibbed minnows, do well. In flowing water, cast upstream and across and be prepared to vary the retrieve rate.
Soft plastic lures are proving successful in these streams and lakes.