Wartok fires for reddies and trout
  |  First Published: July 2011

What a wild month of fishing we have been enjoying here in the Wimmera.

Lake Wartook in the Grampians is now well and truly open again and has been producing some of the best fishing any of us have ever seen there. Bag limit catches of redfin have been very common here and the trout fishing has also been sensational with some very large browns coming out of here lately. Over the last few weekends it is the norm to see 20-30 boat trailers at the ramp, proving how good it is to the local economy to have a lake that is fishing well.

Some good news for trout enthusiasts is that the now-full Natimuk Lake (not far from Horsham) has now been restocked with 10,000 rainbow trout. The fishing will no doubt be red hot here once these trout become a bit larger. For those that don’t remember or know, Natimuk Lake had always been the Wimmera region’s best rainbow trout water. The trout grow very quickly here with the incredible amount of food on offer here and you can expect the rainbows to be trophy size here in a very short time.

Lake Wartook

This lake is the place to be at the moment with big catches of redfin and trout being taken on bait, lure and fly. Good fishing has come to those fishing from small boats and from the shore, but a boat definitely has been an advantage here.

It all started when the Horsham Angling club had a weekend competition up here just shortly after the lake had been re-opened after flood damage to roads. The fishing was sensational with many browns to 2kg being taken on trolled lures and mudeye. The redfin went mad with many anglers taking their 30 fish bag limit easily by either trolling lures or casting soft plastics and vibes.

I still find it amazing that a declared noxious fish like redfin even has a bag limit.

My son Curtis and I fished this weekend and found it fairly easy to catch a number of brown and rainbow trout around 1kg baitfishing with mudeye and peeled yabby tail. We fished near the wall and at the island. We were bait fishing a reedy area and noticed a large school of minnows being chased and breaking the surface. A few quick casts with soft plastics revealed we were onto a school of redfin and we had a ball catching big reddies one after the other.

This particular school stayed at this spot for the whole weekend. Most of the fish were the 600g-1kg, which are good-sized redfin at this water. We could have caught any number of big redfin as there were just that many there and so easy to catch.

Many other anglers also bagged out on the redfin this weekend.

The majority of anglers have been trolling lures such as Tassie Devils, Rapala minnows, Swagman minnows and Celtas; mostly up the north end of the lake. Excellent catches of redfin are being taken most days and some very nice trout are also being taken with biggest I have seen recently weighing a nice 3.5kg. This big brown took a pink Tassie Devil.

Lake Fyans

I have been fishing here a lot lately mostly because of the sheer number of people fishing Wartook and I hate waiting to get my boat in and out and then having trouble to find a park. No such trouble at Fyans and the fishing has probably been just as good.

We have been getting a number of good size redfin here to 1.8kg and brown and rainbow trout to 2kg. A variety of fishing methods have been working here for us but most of our better fish have been taken on bug or couta mudeye fished under bubble floats in the timbered areas.

The mornings have produced the best fishing and we seem to be getting more fish on the bug mudeyes than the couta mudeyes.

Trolling lures has also been good but the weed in a lot of areas can be annoying. The best area we have found to troll has been just out from the wall where it is a bit deeper and the weed is manageable. We have been getting some good trout on pink, gold or orange Tassie Devils and good redfin on Rapala Shad Raps in perch pattern.

Fly anglers are doing well here at present, especially neat the inlet. Good flies have been Woolly Buggers, Mrs Simpson and Weirs Roughies.

Lake Lonsdale

The yabbies have slowed right down here, which is normal for winter but the redfin fishing has still been good. The south shoreline has been producing good redfin to 1kg on trolled minnow lures with pink, purple or black being popular colours. On the days the trolling has been a bit slow, drifting with baits such as yabbies, gudgeon and worms on a paternoster rig has been working well.

A boat is a definite advantage at this water but good land-based redfin fishing can be had below the wall in the outlet creek or off the wall into the main lake with good lure and bait fishing opportunities here.

Rocklands reservoir

The fishing has been excellent here with good trout and redfin fishing at areas such as Brodies, Glendenning and at the wall. Most anglers have been trolling lures, with local favourites being Rapala minnows, Swagman lures, Stumpjumpers and Tilsan minnows. Both good trout and redfin are being taken on the troll and once a school of redfin is found large catches can often be easily taken.

This time of year the redfin form dense schools in readiness for spawning and these fish are very aggressive and will hit any lure that comes near them most of the time.

A lot of good trout are being taken on large scrubworms fished from the shore with a few thumping big browns to well over 2kg coming in recently. In the mornings and evenings trout have been coming in very close to the shoreline chasing minnows and can be easily seen smashing into them.

The only problem with baitfishing here though is there are heaps of huge carp about.

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