Welcome to the Tarago Reservoir Fishing Guide. The Tarago reservoir was built in 1968 as a domestic water supply. Over the years it has had several modifications such as allowing water to be released from the reservoir to the river. The reservoir is located near the township of Neerim roughly 100 kilometres east of Melbourne and flows out into Western Port. This system supplies 37 million litres of domestic water supply to surrounding residents of the baw baw shires. Please note that fishing is not permitted in the main section of the river. You will need to fish the river streams that flow into the Tarago River during trout opening seasons. It’s a lovely location with scenic views, picnic areas, and BBQs. Offering interesting freshwater fishing. In recent years the most common catch has become carp, but it can still produce trout to good sizes and redfin.
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Things to do at Warragul, Neerim Tarago River
Tarago Reservoir Park is a great place for a picnic or barbecue with family and friends. The picnic area has open grasslands with views of the reservoir and surrounding landscapes. The rivers are home to platypus and many waterbugs. It also offers terrific freshwater fishing in the surrounding streams. Surrounding the lakes are many dairy farms in Neerim which provide a large volume of Victorias milk and dairy supplies. On the way are opportunities to taste local produce with wine and cheese tasting. Neerim also has nearby horse riding and trout farms. Warragul is the closest major township which is a vibrant town with restaurants, parks, bowling, museum and shopping. A short drive away is the Toorongo falls circuit walk which is quite spectacular. Picturesque waterfalls in a tranquil area with hiking trails and camping.
Fishing the Tarago River Streams
The main river holds trout, redfin, carp, blackfish and Eels but fishing in the main reservoir has recently become prohibited. Watch this space as we know local fishing bodies are keenly protesting to have this system reopened for fishing to anglers once again. However, the surrounding trout fishing can be exceptional walking the streams within scenic farmlands. Casting flies, floating or shallow diving lures and unweighted baits such as worms and crickets are great techniques. The streams off Noojee, Neerim south and towards East Gippsland offer terrific opportunities to catch wild brown trout. You may have to walk through some rugged areas to find proper spots to fish, or you can walk upstream in search of deeper pools to try. These streams are a great spot for fishing during the opening of trout season as water is generally high and clean flowing from Mt Baw Baw. Most of the streams are quite shallow between half a meter to 1.5 meters and 5 – 10 meters wide.
This is an amazing spot for fly fishing. We suggest a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod. Coupled with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 size reel that’s been spooled with a decent quality braid between 4-8 pound. Then finished with roughly a rod length of a quality fluorocarbon leader. The main river holds plenty of carp. Fishing from the banks with corn, scrub worms and bread will work very well. It also might be worth upgrading to a heavier rod and line as there are some big ones in there. If you plan on fishing with bait from the banks then Scrub worms, corn, mudeye and Power bait and great options. This is a great location for lures and soft plastics. Click here to read our guide on the best lures to catch redfin. Long casting metal lures are great for land-based anglers. Top options include the nories wasaby and pontoon 21 paco spoon. Both are great for targeting both trout and redfin. Shallow diving hard body lures such as bullet lures, Daiwa double-clutch, Rapala Countdown series and Savage gear minnows are also excellent choices. Soft plastics and spinners are also fantastic options.
When bait fishing a 3-5 kilo rod, with a 4000 size reel spooled with 8 pound line is a good all-round choice. A light running sinker rig, with a small sinker to a swivel, 50cm of leader with a size 6 hook. When targeting Trout and Redfin fish as light as possible which will make the experience more fun and improve your chances. Redfin will actively take many baits or lures. To maximize your chances fish with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo rod. The main line spooled with 4 pound braid finished with a good quality leader.
An aerial video of Tarago Reservoir and river can be seen here
In recent years the reservoir has been heavily stocked with trout fingerlings. Use this link to follow Victorian trout stocking programs. Check out this video if your after some tips on how to catch recently stocked freshwater fish
Recommended baits Tarago Reservoir
- Scrub worms
Recommended lures Tarago Reservoir
- Bluefox spinners
- Daiwa DR joint minnows
- Daiwa Bait Junkie 2.5 inch grub
- Savage Gear minnow blade
- Berkley powerbait grub
- Daiwa Presso minnows
- Tasmanian Devil Blade
- Bullet lures 5-0 minnow
- Bassman spinner bait
- Bullet lures 3cm lure
- strike tiger nymph
- Nories Wasabi spoon
- Rapala countdown floating minnow
- Pontoon 21 paco spoon
- Daiwa Double Clutch
- Tasmanian Devil lure
- Gulp 3-inch minnow
- Zman 2.5 inch grub
- Dawia Bait Junkie paddle tail minnow
- Zerek fish trap
- eco gear ZX40
- Savage Gear Fathead crank shallow diving
- Squidges biotough grub
- stump jumpers S3
Targeting Trout at Tarago Reservoir
We would highly recommend that you read our detailed guide on how to catch trout which details our favourite lures, baits and techniques. You can follow trout stocking timelines by reading the Victorian trout stocking guide as part of the target 1 million by 2020 and 10 million by 2022 initiatives. When targeting trout with lures we recommend using shallow diving hard body minnows, metal spoons, spinners, Tassie devils and soft plastics which are also very effective on trout. If your bait fishing, then Mudeye, scrub worms, power bait, yabbies and minnows suspended from a float or a running sinker rig are great options when targeting trout at this location. Trout are more active in cold conditions with most catches on the first and last light of the day. We recommend targeting trout with a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 1000, 2000, or 2500 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader. If there are larger trophy size trout around then you can go heavier moving up the scale to a 3-5 kilo class spin rod spooled with fine 8-12-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader.
We conducted a test to see which would perform better for stocked trout powerbait or lures. Watch the video below to find out the results which were interesting.
Targeting Redfin at Tarago Reservoir
We recommend targeting redfin with a light spin outfit. This will make the experience more enjoyable and improve your catch rates. A 1-3 or 2-4 kilo fishing rod coupled with a 2000, 2500 or 3000 reel spooled with 4-8-pound braid and equivalent fluorocarbon leader should be perfect. Redfin respond really well to lures and soft plastics so do check our guide on the best lures for catching Redfin When using soft plastics, we highly recommend curl tails, minnow imitations, and paddle tails in both natural and bright colours. Rigged with a jig head that’s 1/8 through to 1/20 in weight. The most effective way to use these is to cast towards visible structure and slow roll the soft plastic with lifts and pauses for the retrieve. Shallow diving hard body lures, blades and vibes are also very effective in this system. So are traditional spinners and Tassie devils in bright colours. Metal spoons also play a role allowing you to cast great distances and targeting the bigger size reddies. Just remember they are quite heavy and very prone to snags in small inland systems like this one.
Targeting Carp at Tarago Reservoir
There is a large volume of carp in local lakes however they are fun to catch and you can learn more about catching carp have a read our detailed guide to carp fishing around Victoria. When targeting carp standard baits such as corn, bread, and maggots work great for carp here. Using a simple running sinker rig with a pea-size sinker works great in this area. So, do suspend baits using a float. We have also fished well using unweighted baits. You can also target carp with hard body lures and soft plastics. This is a difficult technique that generally requires sight casting. This means spotting a nearby carp and casting right in there and working the lure of plastic slowly hoping they will strike. Its tough but very rewarding when you catch a carp using this method. Most however will stick to targeting them with bait.
For rod selection, a 3-5 kilo rod coupled with a 4000 size reel is very suitable. You could even fish a little heavier with rods designed for snapper that are generally 4-7 kilo 7 foot in length. For fun, I have caught some monster size carp using a 2-4 kilo rod and 6-pound braid. But I am prepared to lose some good fish in the process. We like to target carp on sundown, particularly in the warmer months. This is often when you see carp swimming along the edges or jumping out of the water around September-November which is their spawning season. European carp must not be returned to the water. Always carry your Victorian fishing license.
A simple yet effective fishing rig here is to thread a small running sinker through the mainline shown in blue, which is usually around 8 pounds. Then tie a medium swivel to the end allowing the sinker to run up the mainline freely. Then tie on the other end of the swivel 50cm of 8-pound fluorocarbon leader (the leader is shown in grey ). Finished with a hook. I generally use a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank which is perfect for corn kernels or scrub worms, however, you can also use small treble style hooks which is a better setup if you use bread.
If your getting snagged up than you can also use a flot rig. Attach a quill or bubble float to your mainline. Thread the line through and adjust the length using a size 6 bait keeper hook or size 10 long shank keep your bait suspended at a good depth. Ideally cast down breeze which will stop the float from coming back to you. If you’re not getting bites then adjust the line depth and If necessary add a splint shot to add weight.
Please note that fishing is not permitted in the main section of the river. You will need to fish the river streams that flow into the Tarago River. Please make sure you check trout opening guidelines in rivers within Gippsland area. Camping and open fires are prohibited. Always carry your Victorian fishing license, FishingMad encourages ‘catch & release’ of all native species to help maintain the water quality within the lake however European Carp must not be returned.
This creek has had several recent outbreaks of Blue-Green Algae so always be wary of the water conditions. There is also known debris in the water so be careful when using small boats or Jet skis. Of course, this area is inhabited by wildlife such as Snakes and Lizards, so be wary of venomous snakes such as Brown, Tiger and Red-bellied Black.
Images of fish supplied VFA and DEPI. All other images shown on the Tarago Reservoir Fishing Guide are Fishing Mad originals.
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