It’s a dry old show
  |  First Published: March 2008

The angling around Ballarat is basically a non-event at the moment. Many anglers are choosing either not to fish, or are heading up to the Murray River or down to Port Phillip Bay. This is all due to the continuing drought that has affected much of our state.

Many of our once-famous waters are bone dry: so dry that recently the Department of Sustainability and Environment performed controlled burn-offs on Burrumbete and Learmonth lakes. There are a handful of waters left to fish, however, and they do hold good populations of fish. Perseverance and a bit of good old-fashioned luck should see anglers gain the rewards.

Newlyn Reservoir is the best chance of catching a fish within half an hour of Ballarat, with both trout and redfin on offer. I suggest wetting a line early on the morning or late in the evening. All forms of angling can be productive.

John Monteduro and Vern Barby have been flyfishing Dean Reservoir regularly, with frustrating results. Trout have been rising on evening to take midge from the surface, but they are proving to be very elusive. Anglers should note that a permit is required to fish Dean Reservoir, and this can be obtained from Central Highlands Water.

Cairn Curran usually fishes well in March for redfin and golden perch, but so far things have been a little on the quiet side. Will Cass has been fishing Cairn Curran, trolling lures and also fishing yabbies and worms on the bottom using a running sinker. He has been landing some large carp, mainly on worms.

Lake Purrumbete is now unfishable from a boat unless permission is gained to access the water through private property. It is, however, still producing excellent fish. Brian Nygaard reports large brown trout of 8-9lb being caught from Hoses Rocks using gudgeon fished under a bubble float. Rowan Thorne fished Purrumbete recently, landing a few small redfin from Hoses Rocks using local minnows fished on the bottom with a running sinker.

Pikes Reservoir between Ballan and Bacchus Marsh fishes very well during March for redfin. Bait and soft plastics are both successful techniques. Anglers should check with local water authorities as to whether boating is permitted.

Up at the Grampians, Lake Bellfield is holding a good population of rainbow trout. Anglers have been catching them from both shore and boat, and all forms of angling methods are worth a try. Boat angling is only permitted with an electric motor.

At Lake Wartook, the warm weather should fire up the reddies. Try trolling lures in the morning and evening, or drifting with Baltic Bobbers. Baitfishing with the ever-reliable worm or gudgeon is also a good method.

Talbot Reservoir is another water well worth sneaking out to early in the morning or in the evening, because there has been a recent release of trout by Fisheries. Flyfishing using midge patterns, and drifting bait suspended under a bubble float, are productive ways to fish Talbot.

Other waters around the region that are still fishable include Wombat Reservoir, Tullaroop Reservoir, Lake Fyans, Lake Bullen Merri and Cosgroves Reservoir.

Water is hard to find in many impoundments around Ballarat.

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