Colby Lesko by Victoria’s trout hotspots

The cold weather has started dissipate, and the trout are starting to fire as they feed up after breeding. This makes for some exciting fishing. This season is shaping up to be a cracker on the trout front, and with many locations set to fire I can't help wanting to share a few of my favorite locations across Victoria that I'll be spending some time this trout season.
There is a plethora of high country rivers in the states northeast that hold some great populations of self-sustaining brown and rainbow trout. Starting from the upper Yarra, to the upper reaches of the Goulburn basin, all the way to the upper Ovens and King rivers, then all the way over to the Nariel and upper Murray basin, there are wild populations of trout.
It's just a matter of finding a clear flowing stretch of water in these systems and trying your luck. What the fish lack in size they make up for in their willingness to eat a small lure or fly; this makes for some exciting angling. Just before and after the closed season are ideal times to target these rivers. Walking the upper Ovens, Nariel and Goulburn rivers flicking small spinners is my favourite way to tangle with these river fish.
Bullen Merri and Purrumbete are undoubtedly some of the biggest names in Victorian trout fishing and for good reason. Large trout are caught in these lakes regularly. Purrumbete was a consistent producer of 4kg+ brown trout last year and if the same class of browns poke their heads up in spring again this year, it will make for some of the largest brown trout angling seen here in Victoria. This is exciting for anglers looking to crack the magical 10lb mark, as many did last season at Purrumbete.
These browns are smart, so don't expect to catch them regularly. If you do manage to snag one, it will make all the donut sessions worthwhile. Casting minnow pattern hardbodies or plastics at feeding fish on early mornings or late afternoons is most effective, however trolling is also worth a shot. Lake Bullen Merri is set to produce some fat rainbow trout and Chinook salmon with the best results coming from trolling the lakes edges or on a downrigger.
At the moment it looks like we are set for the first season in history where Victoria's South West rivers will have some of the closed season laws lifted, allowing year-round trout fishing to occur on these great rivers. The rivers show very minimal if any natural breeding of trout and rely on the yearly stockings by fisheries to sustain their populations. It makes perfect sense that if the trout aren't breeding, they don't need to be protected over a breeding phase.
I am personally stoked about this decision as it means I can now target my local rivers during the peak trout season. This will make for some great fishing and mean that the fish that are stocked in the rivers to be caught can be caught! This hasn't been formally announced