The fish that didn’t get away
  |  First Published: October 2011

The brown trout have arrived in the southwest and anglers are trying everything to get their hands on one of these powerful fish.

I have been flooded with reports of anglers catching trophy size fish at both Lake Bullen Merri and Lake Purrumbete over the last month and I’m sure will continue.

Bullen Merri has been producing well with catches coming around the 4kg mark. Hans Bongart caught two over 4kg in one week, after putting in long hours and all-nighters. He was using bullheads suspended under a bubble float fishing the late afternoons and early mornings.

Bullheads and minnows are the two main sources food sources at Bullen Merri, as the lake has no weed beds and just the sandy rock bottom. The brown trout are easily frightened so they hunt at night or when there is little light, as this is when they feel safest. They follow the bait up to the banks and go on a feeding frenzy, smashing up as much as they can, at times coming in only 4ft from the shore. Fishing around these feeding times will produce the best results.

Bait fishing has been productive with fish mostly between 3-4kg, along with some smaller fish around 1.5kg.

Anglers trolling large hardbodied lures along the banks edges are picking up some nice fish. As the day gets later the trout tend to move deeper and look for cover, cruising up and down the drop-off. Trolling the drop-off is a good guide to where the fish will be; mix up colours and lure types until you find which is working best on the day.

The browns coming in are thick across the back and deep in the belly, which indicates they are feeding well and are healthy fish. The fish are still only young, so we can hopefully expect them to live and get even bigger over the next year.

Anglers who have been fishing down the road at Lake Purrumbete haven’t been missing out on anything and are also getting on to some ripper fish. Gary Jones caught a brown over 4kg on a silver Wobbler late in the afternoon.

The fish have a much wider range of feeding options than those in Bullen Merri, which gives them potential to grow much larger fish.

The weed beds that run along the edges of Lake Purrumbete are homes to a mass of species from the mudeyes to the small redfin, which use the weed beds as a covering. Fishing for the bigger fish be more of a challenge can at times due to the wide range of bait species, but if you put in the time and you can almost guarantee yourself a fish.

Remember to use bubble floats to keep your baits out of reach of the redfin and into the swimming paths of the trout. Fish just off the weed beds in about 10-15ft of water and have a few different baits in the water such as a mudeye and a bullhead. Hopefully you will hook up to one of these solid missiles.

Feel free to contact me or send your catches to --e-mail address hidden--

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