Persistence pays in the Wimmera
  |  First Published: March 2008

Fishing in the Wimmera has been a bit inconsistent, but things haven’t been all bad. In particular, the Wimmera River has provided some superb fishing this summer, with many great catches being made around the Horsham area.

Wimmera River

I have been doing a lot of fishing in the Wimmera River lately, mostly in the evenings after work. Baitfishing with worms and yabbies has been working well, as have spinnerbaits cast around the snags.

There has been a very good run of catfish below the Horsham Weir, with some fish around 2kg being caught on worms and peeled yabby tail. The average ‘cattie’ is 30-40cm and they have been caught in good numbers. The best catfish fishing is usually an hour before dark and then right up until sunrise, particularly when it is a full moon. Some nice golden perch averaging around 1.5kg are also being caught, with the odd larger fish to 3kg. The occasional Murray cod of 50-60cm has also been caught near the Horsham Weir, mostly on baits of yabbies.

There is an unconfirmed report circulating Horsham of a 20kg Murray cod being caught and released at the Horsham Weir. Hopefully next month I will have a few photos of this great fish.

This once great river is really suffering in most areas due to poor water quality resulting from a lack of water flows. Some areas of the river are fairing a bit better than others, with good fishing still to be found from just upstream of Horsham down to Dimboola. The trick is not to fish the deep areas, as they are generally highly saline and devoid of life.

Taylors lake

The water in Taylors Lake is very low, but a few good fish continue to be taken here. The main species being caught is redfin, which have been caught to nearly 1kg, but average around 500g. Small to medium carp have been abundant, and are easily caught on worms. A few golden perch to 1.5kg have also been caught, but Murray cod have been quiet.

Baitfishing from the shore with yabbies, gudgeon and worms has been working well. Very little lure fishing has been taking place here due to the dirty water and weed growth around the lake margins.

The outlet channel is still fishing well for redfin and golden perch, with gudgeon and yabbies being the best baits. Small lures and spinnerbaits have also been producing a few goldens in the channel, but the weed and fairy grass has at times made things a bit frustrating here.

Lake Bellfield

There has been some very good fishing in Lake Bellfield, with rainbow trout and redfin on offer. The average size of the redfin has been only 400g, but some nice rainbows of around 1kg have been caught, with the last month also producing some bigger rainbows to nearly 3kg.

The flyfishing has been good here too, with many rainbow trout rising freely in the mornings and evenings to take flies such as Mrs Simpsons and Woolly Worms.

Mudeyes fished under bubble floats have also been working very well.

This lake also received extra stockings of rainbow trout recently, on top of its normal stocking. This is definitely a bonus, and should ensure good fishing for the next few seasons if all of us look after the place and let the small new release fish go.

Lake Bellfield is best fished from the shore at present, due to the low water levels and a ban on outboard motors.

Lake Wartook

The fishing at Lake Wartook has been improving over the last month, with a few nice brown trout to nearly 2kg taken on mudeyes, and by flyfishing. Many small redfin up to 400g have also been caught, but what has really pricked up my ears is that some very large redfin, to nearly 2.7kg, have been landed over the last couple of weeks. These big redfin were caught as a very welcome by-catch by trout anglers fishing with mudeye. It has been a while since big redfin have been caught here in any numbers, but maybe this will be the year it will all happen again.

The brown trout have been providing some action for those putting in the time, with one fly angler spending a week here and landing six brown trout to 1.8kg. He also had a lot of fun catching the small to medium rainbow trout that have been rising well early in the mornings. The best flies have been small wets such as Mrs Simpsons and Woolly Worms. The wall and island have been producing the better fish.

I expect the fishing to get better here as we head into autumn. At this time of year the larger browns become very active, chasing minnows and redfin fry around the lake margins and making for some very exciting fishing.

Cod Musterers

A group of very keen cod anglers from Horsham known as the ‘Cod Musterers’ have been having some outstanding success on very large cod in the Murray River at numerous spots between Robinvale and Wentworth. These guys have probably caught and released more cod over the magical 1m in the last few months than most expert cod anglers see in many years of fishing. Check out codmuster.com for some great reports and photos from these Wimmera cod masters.

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