By Mark Gercovich
Rainbow trout are heavily stocked in Victorian waters as they are ideal specimens for “put and take” fisheries. They are a fast growing species that quickly reach catchable size. Fisheries Victoria also uses Rainbow trout for a number of other specialized stocking programs. Fisheries Victoria undertakes an annual program of stocking on-grown or advanced yearling rainbow trout into small waters (normally less than 5 hectares surface area) in or adjacent to population centres, with the waters being accessible for juniors and anglers with limited mobility. The majority of these stockings coincide with the second and third term school holidays when water temperatures are best suited to trout.
Click here to see where your nearest family fishing lake is. Rainbow trout are stocked as they are normally bigger than the available brown trout at that time of year and are easier to catch by inexperienced anglers. Rainbow trout are a ravenous predator. I have kept a wide variety of angling species in aquaria and the rainbow is right up there as an aggressive predator. Rainbows will respond to all manner of lure, fly and bait techniques given the conditions that suit each specific technique. However if we’re talking about introducing young and inexperienced anglers to rainbow trout fishing there is one very simple, yet effective technique.
This method is bait fishing Powerbait on the bottom on a running sinker rig. Powerbait is a synthetic bait that comes in paste or nugget form. I mainly use the nugget form just for its complete simplicity. Simply slide two nuggets along the straight shank of a Mustad Aberdeen hook in size 4 or 2 and you’re away. The thin profile of this light weight hook allows the power bait to float just up off the bottom, right in the vision of any cruising trout. The weight of the sinker is necessary for casting weight and also to hold the floating Powerbait near the bottom.
Once cast out the rod is then put in a rod holder that allows it to lay vertical, pointing at the direction the cast has been made. Line is then looped around a bite indicator, often just an empty bottle. Now you can either sit back and relax or, particularly if it is a family trip, do things like kick the footy around or play in the bank with some toys. There’s nothing too fancy about this, but the excitement amongst the kids when the call goes out that the bottle has gone over and they drop what they are doing and race towards the rod is priceless.
Tackle for such an operation can be simple or expensive as you wish to make it. It’s important though to have well maintained effective gear for a number of reasons. You wouldn’t like to use poor, ineffective gear yourself so introducing youngsters to angling with gear that won’t cast or retrieve effectively will only frustrate them too. Daiwa has a number of pre-mounted combos perfectly suited for getting young anglers into fishing.
Another one of the things that makes this an easy option for family fishing is that rainbows often bite best during “gentlemen’s hours” No need for freezing early morning starts, just rock up and set up during the best part of a winters day, the hours between 10am and 3pm. So if the kids are bored and looking for something to do why not get along to the nearest stocked lake and try some bank fishing for bows, you might be surprised how much fun you’ll have yourself.