Wimmera River the standout
  |  First Published: February 2008

It sure has been a scorcher of a summer so far, which tends to limit fishing opportunities to the mornings and late afternoons. It’s just been way too hot to spend a full day fishing anywhere, but the mornings and afternoons generally produce the best fishing at our waters anyway.

The lakes haven’t been fishing quite as well as they usually do. Low water levels, low stocking rates and high angler pressure have taken their toll around this area. The fishing in the Wimmera River has at times made up for this, with some outstanding golden perch and catfish caught, along with a few Murray cod.

Taylors lake

The water levels in Taylors Lake are now very low, about the lowest I have ever seen. Consequently, most fishing here has been shore-based. The fishing has been OK, but definitely not as good as it was the previous two summers. Most anglers are fishing for golden perch and redfin with baits of worms and small yabbies. A few nice goldens to around 1.5kg are being taken, along with some nice redfin averaging 500-700g. The carp have been very abundant here, as usual, and are easily caught in good numbers using baits of worms.

A few small Murray cod of around 40-50cm have also been caught lately, mostly on small yabbies. There are some very large Murray cod in this water too, but they have been a bit quiet. With the huge supply of small carp in this lake, the cod don’t have to move around much for a feed. A well placed lure or spinnerbait would be the best way to connect to one of these big cod.

The outlet channel has been fishing well for golden perch, which average around 1kg, as well for redfin. Walking the channel casting small lures and spinnerbaits has been working well, as has baitfishing with gudgeon and yabbies.

Lake Bellfield

There has been plenty of action here in the mornings and evenings, with fish coming in very close to the shore to smash into the schools of minnows. Anglers fishing from the bank with gudgeon, worms and mudeye under bubble floats are catching good numbers of small to medium redfin of 200-600g.

There has also been a lot of small rainbow trout caught, along with the occasional better one of up to 1kg. Baitfishing with a big unweighted bunch of worms after dark is a great way to get onto a few blackfish here at this time of year. This technique will turn up the occasional big trout as well.

Lake Wartook

The fishing has still been a little quiet at Lake Wartook, but a few nice brown trout to 2kg are being taken very early in the morning. After dark would be well worth a try as well. Mudeyes fished under bubble floats work best on the trout here.

During the heat of the summer days, very few trout are being taken, though a few redfin have been caught even if they are a bit on the small side. Anglers trolling small lures such as Rapalas, StumpJumpers and Min Mins have caught a few redfin around 500g, while those drifting with gudgeon have also found success.

The lake is very low but the boat ramp is still just in the water, so small boats can be launched with care. The best land-based fishing is from the wall.

Mckenzie River

I have been spending a bit of time fishing the McKenzie River below Lake Wartook, and having a lot of fun on the small wild brown trout and redfin. Walking the banks casting small lures such as Rapala Countdowns and small Husky Jerks is my preferred way to fish this place. Baitfishing with worms and mudeye also works very well.

Good numbers of blackfish can easily be caught here by baitfishing, and there a few good-sized ones amongst them too. The best stretches of water have been at Smiths Mill, McKenzie Falls, Fish Falls and near Zumsteins.

Wimmera River

The fishing in the Wimmera River has been very good so far this summer, particularly at Riverside and around Horsham. Fishing in the late afternoons, evenings and after dark has been best. Some thumping golden perch to 4kg have been taken at Riverside and below Horsham Weir, with lures such as StumpJumpers and spinnerbaits doing most of the damage on these larger fish. A few Murray cod to 55cm are also being caught on the same lures.

The best lure fishing has been just out of Horsham around Riverside, where the water has been nice and clear. The water around Horsham and below the weir has been a bit too dirty for good lure fishing.

The baitfishing has been very good with golden perch, redfin, silver perch, a few Murray cod, abundant catfish and carp being taken. Baits such as worms, yabbies and peeled yabby tail are working well, particularly when fished unweighted. The best bait fishing has been after dark, particularly on a full moon, which really gets the catfish on the bite. Some of the catfish have been very large and are good fun on light gear.

A couple of average-sized golden perch caught by the author at the Taylors Lake channel on baits of gudgeon.

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