Big trout out west
  |  First Published: December 2007

We’re back to January again already, and that means lots of holidaymakers and their families all trying to catch a fish. Maybe a trip to the western district could be the answer?

Our late spring rains have not helped the level of Lake Purrumbete, but that hasn’t stopped anglers launching boats up to 14 feet long. With boats on the lake, we have started to get some excellent reports of brown trout to 2kg. Anglers are doing best fishing baits of bullheads around the deeper areas of the lake.

Horans and Rainbow points, and Hoses and Shag rocks, have all been producing fish for shore-based anglers. The boat anglers have fished the back edges of the weeds with bait, while trolling Tassie Devils and Loftys Lures has been successful as well. Flyfishers using smelt patterns from the shore, and anglers using plastics from both shore and boats, have all been amongst the fish.

Actually Purrumbete is fishing as well as it has been for a while. As well as the browns there are rainbow trout and salmon to 1.5kg ­– plus of course there is that odd horse. The accompanying photo of a 5.15kg brown taken by Josh Terpstra is testament to what the lake holds. Josh, from Grovedale, is a regular at Purrumbete, and landed this monster on minnow, fishing from Horans Point.

Fishing along the edge of the lake should continue to improve, with mudeye patterns fished into the evening a good method during January.

In Lake Bullen Merri, there is plenty of the dreaded algae about, but this can disappear as quickly as it appears. Some locals even claim that the algae can enhance the fishing for big browns, especially at night. Remember though, if you are looking for a quiet weekend’s fishing, you may find yourself dodging skiers and yachties, as the sheltered waters at Bullen Merri can be very busy at this time of the year. Be prepared to fish early and late, and you will be fishing the best part of the day with not too much company.

Another local water worth a look while you are in the district is the West Barwon Dam. This sheltered water has a good stock of 1kg brown trout, and smaller rainbows. Spinning from the bank is a good method and on the right day or evening, a healthy rise can make for some good flyfishing too. There are BBQ facilities at the dam, which make it family friendly, but the European wasps can be a pest.

My favourite little spot is the Gellibrand River. It has a healthy supply of trout, plus the added bonus of the opportunity of hooking into the biggest river blackfish in Victoria during the next couple of months. If you’re wanting a bit more information on local spots, I will guarantee the bloke at the local Sportspower store is friendly and knows a bit about fishing.

Josh Terpstra with a cracking 5.15kg brown trout he caught from Horans Point at Lake Purrumbete.

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