A chunky Warren River rainbow trout

A chunky Warren River rainbow trout

A new freshwater season is upon us and there is some exciting new stuff happening this year.

Although a few spots are open all year, the trout season officially opens on September 1, next Friday, and it is a date eagerly anticipated by WA’s small but passionate band of South-West freshwater fishers.

With so much rainfall in recent months, the dams should be holding good water levels, while the streams and rivers will be flowing high and strong.

That means the best early season fishing could be in impoundments like Harvey Dam, where trout are likely to move up into the flooded margins looking for a feed.

The rivers and streams are likely to fish better as the water levels drop back towards October/November and the clarity improves.

It shapes as the best season for a while, with good summer flows in most streams and rivers ensuring more fish survived through the warmer months.

In a great new initiative this year to encourage more fishers to try for trout, the first full weekend of the season will be licence free.

Normally a freshwater licence is required to fish for trout in WA, but next weekend anyone will be able to try their luck with needing a licence.

Next Saturday will also see Recfishwest holding a fun freshwater fishing event at Drakesbrook Weir, on the outskirts of Waroona.

They want members of the public to come down to Drakesbrook from 10am and help them stock thousands of trout in the weir.

The event runs until 1.30pm and some of WA’s best fly casters will be there demonstrating this unique style of fishing.

There will also be members of the Western Australian Trout and Freshwater Fishing Association on hand to offer tips for freshwater angling in WA, including information on tackle and rigging for trout fishing.

I started trout fishing around Waroona and if you’ve never given it a go, next weekend shapes as a perfect opportunity to get some advice from the experts and give it a try.

Drakesbrook has been well stocked in recent years and fished well for trout, while also offering good numbers of tasty redfin perch.

This year there have been more than 630,000 trout (a record) stocked through the South-West, from tiny little fry to the ex-broodstock fish which make up most of the trophy fish caught.

Increased stocking of brown trout this year is great news for the fishery, as they offer a different angling challenge to the more aggressive rainbows which are the main species stocked in our waterways.

Harvey Dam has both browns and rainbows and is a picturesque spot suited to both shore and kayak anglers, and because it receives ex-broodstock each year it offers a good chance at a trophy catch, while Logue Brook has once again been stocked in recent years.

For those keen to find some wild river trout, the waterways around Pemberton are the centre of this fishery with the Warren and its tributaries, including the Lefroy Brook which runs through Pemberton, offering excellent fishing.

The nearby Donnelly River also fishes well and Big Brook Dam has again been stocked.

The Collie River is another spot which produces nice trout each season and the Blackwood above Nannup is stocked with healthy numbers of fish each year, while closer to Perth the Murray and Serpentine rivers are stocked.

For more information on the rules and regulations, and what waterways are stocked with trout, visit www.fish.wa.gov.au . Caption: Matt Lilly with a chunky Warren River rainbow trout.