Here's some expert trout fishing guidance from Michael Guest.

Spectacular world heritage Barrington Tops stands tall at the highest point of the Barrington Coast west of Gloucester.

It’s amazing to think you can be beach fishing with sand between your toes on the coast one minute and within a two hour drive you can be targeting a tenacious trout in the high country.

Trout fishing ticks all the boxes: amazing scenery, crystal clear water along with the hunting aspect, casting a lure/fly that mimics the natural food source of the target fish.

It’s all about staying low, casting upstream in shallow vodka-clear water and fooling a wary trout.

This is a prime example of the fishing options available in this beautiful part of the world.
Michael Guest
Soft plastic lure rainbow trout Michael Guest

The Ebor hatchery have an extremely successful trout stocking program in both Barrington Tops and Gloucester Tops with over 100,000 rainbow and brown trout stocked in late 2021.

Since the first fish stockings many years ago, trout have fitted into the Tops aquatic scene very well. They love the cooler conditions that come with the elevation.

Trout are a cunning predator and much more aggressive than the first-time trout fisher might expect. There are really two styles of trout fishing:

- with flies, a revered and a well-practiced method to target trout;

- with modern light weight spin gear, which I would recommend if you’re new to the game.

Rainbow Trout on fly Michael Guest
Rainbow Trout on fly Michael Guest
Rainbow trout Michael Guest
Rainbow trout Michael Guest
Manning River Falls Michael Guest
Manning River Falls Michael Guest
Manning River brown trout Michael Guest
Manning River brown trout Michael Guest
Fly fishing tackle Michael Guest
Fly fishing tackle Michael Guest

There are plenty of other successful methods to catch trout. One of the old favourites is the little metal celta lures. These have been around for such a long time and most freshwater fisherman have got a few buried deep in the tackle box. They were the original spinner bait with a small blade spinning on a thin wire shaft. This action certainly turns the head of even the most discerning trout. They come in a range of colours from shiny silver and gold to flat black.

The introduction of more refined and smaller spin reels in the 1000 and 1500 size over the last twenty years has really helped cast such tiny lures further. This is a huge advantage when targeting trout as once they’ve spotted you the angler, the game’s over. To make matters worse they are a terrestrial feeder. They are always looking up so the movement of you or your shadow will instantly trigger a safety response and they will quickly look for cover.

The soft plastic revolution has etched its way into trout fishing. Tiny moulded plastics in the shape of nymphs are a fantastic trout lure and one of my favourites. Couple this with a micro jig head and these lures are an absolute trout weapon. Cast upstream with a small, slow twitching action they catch their fair share of trout. I tend to like the more natural colours, browns, blacks and greens as they tend to represent the food source.

Small, hard bodied lures resembling trout fingerlings or baby trout are another excellent option. The shallower running versions are great in the skinny water and deeper divers work well for the slower pools, especially around structure such as sunken timber.

Trout in the high country are generally going to be between 200g and 1.5kg, so to get the most out of your fishing experience it’s all about fishing light. Fluorocarbon leader in the 3 to 6 pound region is a good place to start, not only is it sporting but in clear water chasing a fish with such good eyesight it will help to improve your catch rate.

A 1 to 3 kilo spin rod loaded with a 1000 size spin reel and 4 pound braid will make a perfect trout outfit or give the fly fishing a crack.

The majority of creeks and rivers systems throughout the parklands of Barrington Tops will have trout in them. If you sit quietly you will generally see them working a beat moving up and down a hole or section of rapids. The next part is up to you and that’s the beauty of trout fishing, working out what lure, what colour and the best way to present it on the day.

Good luck and remember to let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back.

And remember, you must know the fishing rules:

  1. There are fish size limits and maximum limits for the number of attended lines you can run; the number of hooks per line; plus daily limits and possession limits
  2. Only fish during the official trout season (the October long weekend to the following June long weekend inclusive)
  3. You’ll need a fishing licence to catch trout (unless you’re under 18 years of hold an Australian Government Pensioner Concession Card) that you can buy online or at Barrington Coast Visitor Information Centres.

Some suggested locations in/near Barrington Tops: Dilgry River, Little Manning River, Polblue Creek, Moppy River, Barrington River above Moppy, Gloucester River (above the falls at Gloucester Tops), Cobark River, Moonan Brook, Nowendoc River.

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